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If you’re going to invest the time and money to develop a custom application, it’s worth your while to do some legwork upfront and research your prospective partners. A custom-developed application may have numerous benefits and advantages over other browser based solutions, but they can also be more complex. If you’ve decided a custom application is the best route for you, you should do extensive due diligence before choosing a partner – from both business and web development standpoints.
So without further ado, below are seven key questions you need to be asking before choosing a partner for custom web application development.
1. How many years have you been in business?
When choosing a web development partner, you want to be sure they’re going to be there when you need them, should you need them. It’s important to be confident that your future partner knows how to survive the ups and downs of the business world. The last place you want to find yourself is with a custom solution on your hands and no support from the company that built it.
2. Is your company a one-man show?
This question goes hand in hand with the first one. It is important to clearly understand all the ramifications of hiring an individual to develop a custom solution for your company. What happens when that individual gets sick or has an emergency and you need support from him? What if one day he decides self-employment isn’t for him, takes a job offer and moves out of state? By partnering with a team instead of an individual, you are minimizing potential risk.
3. What is your experience with custom applications?
If a custom-developed application is the best solution for your company, you should make sure the company you are working with has experience building apps. They will understand the common challenges and be able to help guide you through the process.
4. How many projects have you successfully completed?
This is a good indicator of their track record. It will answer two questions: Can they deliver and can they deliver on a consistent basis? Partnering with more experienced web shops that have been around the block more than a time or two will also minimize the risk for your investment.
5. Do you have a documented approach to web development?
In order to provide a quality solution, web development companies need to follow a standard process which should be documented. If a potential partner cannot provide project documentation, that means they probably don't have a structured approach to development and you might be better off asking for a second opinion.
6. Do you have references?
Ask for their references. Be sure to ask their references important questions like: Did they deliver on their promises? How did they deal with situations that came up? Did they deliver the project on the agreed-upon deadline?
7. How does your company take my business goals into consideration?
Companies invest in websites and application development to increase revenue, decrease costs, address identified problems and/or attain goals. When you are talking to your potential partners, pay attention to whether or not they are speaking in business terms. As a business, when making an investment, you should have certain expectations and it is important that your partner sees your investment in the same way.
What are some of your key questions when meeting with potential partners? Share your ideas in the comments below.