June 18, 2020 | 4min read
Mobile App Development Companies—What Should You Expect
A high-quality mobile application is bug-free, reliable, doesn’t crash, has nice animations, working functions, and a stable BLE connection (if it relies on one). Additionally, it is also accessible, has great UX design, and, above all, the end-users actually need it.
And, since it’s all for your users, you should deliver a great app even at the MVP stage. Your MVP can be simple, however it doesn’t mean low quality. If your users are not satisfied with your mobile app straight away, why would they use it later, even when it gets more features? Making the right first impression is key.
This is why you need the right experts to develop a perfect mobile app for you.
Deciding on the right tech partner—whether it’s a freelancer, an on-site developer, or an external development company—can be quite difficult, especially if you’re not a technical person. The pricing is important, yes, but it’s not everything: it’s about finding a perfect match for your business. Check what is the specialization of a company or a person—is it one, specific technology? Is it an area close to your business model?
Invest a lot of time in research and discovery—compare the offers, portfolios, check referrals, talk to the potential partners face to face (a video call would do). During negotiations, the other side should be proactive and you should feel taken care of and understood. Trust and experience are more valuable than getting the cheapest offer.
Everyone’s favorite answer: it depends.
If you want to employ a developer in-house, it can potentially be the riskiest option. You have to be the one who decides on the specific tech skills you need for the project. On the other hand, having someone on-site is great for project maintenance, and overall cheaper compared to keeping an external agency on a pay-roll for a long time.
Hiring a freelancer is a good idea if you have a small, simple project on your hands and not a very big budget. Freelancers are cheaper, but, you have to be the one who manages his or her work and the entire process.
However, if you have a big project, especially one that needs to be done asap—a good development company is your guy. They gather many people with various skills, including testers who quality check your code and project managers who run a project for you. And if you have to change the scope or scale up your project suddenly —it’s usually no problem to find a person with the specific tech skills you need within the company. Of course, all these good things come with a price. If you have a limited budget, it’s great to explore your vision and set up the product with a development company. Once it’s ready, move the mobile app maintenance back home to your on-site team. Additionally, if you’re not a tech-savvy person, having a development company on your side can make you feel more secure about your business.
A cooperation with a development company relies on a certain established process. This applies not only to mobile app development but to all other technologies that a development company specializes in. At Polidea, for example, we usually invite our clients to take on the role of product owners responsible for making business decisions. Together, we follow the Scrum methodology, attending demos, standups, updates etc. Our teams take responsibility for tech decisions, presenting possible scenarios of a project and their outcomes, but of course letting our clients have the last word. This is the biggest difference between freelancers and development companies: having a proven process for delivering a project.
Actually, you can look for an app development company—period. If the company has an agile approach to running projects, the fact that its office is near you or far away shouldn’t make much of a difference. The most important thing for successful cooperation is trust and ongoing communication. If the mobile app company is in a different country, you can rely on video chats, or messaging via communicators like Slack. It’s of course good to visit each other from time to time for workshops or to get to know the team members face to face.
However, when it comes to mobile apps, testing might be challenging when teams are far from each other. That’s why we created Shuttle—an app distribution tool for our internal purposes (however, you can give it a go—it’s open sourced!). It allows fast and efficient app distribution, so the client can check the app whenever they need, and give us feedback on a regular basis.
Another challenge is related not really to distance but to different time zones—coordinating a perfect time for a call for the entire team might be difficult. It requires excellent organization on both sides—the client and the development company. If you’re interested in how the Polidea team handled a big project that was spread out in 3 different time zones—check out the Dolby On case study.
Whether you’re looking for a freelancer, development company or an in-house developer, focus on choosing the right partner you can trust, and who has relevant experience. If you have a small project, a simple mobile app with no unique UI or features—go for a freelancer. If you have a big project that is mostly about maintenance—hire a developer on-site. If however, you want a great mobile app that the users would fall in love with, get the development company.
Director of IT & Cloud Consulting
Senior Communication Specialist