4 questions to ask a development firm to see if they’re right for you

Our customers often share stories with us about other developers. And of course, since they’re coming to us for support rather than sticking with those firms, many of these stories aren’t great. 

They often reveal that some developers avoid telling their clients the full truth about certain elements of the app production process. Or that they just don’t take the time to understand the business needs of their customers, which means they are not as well-equipped to build an app that helps achieve those goals. 

One simple example that happens all the time: Customers who come to us saying they were told by their previous developers that Apple iOS approvals take 30 days to complete. Which is not true, and in fact if you follow Apple’s guidelines properly, approvals typically only take about 24 hours. But not every firm has a specialist on their team who makes sure every platform-specific requirement is met. 

This is why it’s important that you work with a best-in-class development team. They should not only be straight with you about the development process, but also design your app so that it fits seamlessly into your overall business plan, helping you actualize key objectives. 

To figure out whether a development team is telling you everything you need to know, we suggest you focus your planning and assessment on four areas:

Is your timeline realistic?

We often hear from customers that they were promised a completely unrealistic development timeline just so the dev firm in question could win the work. A responsible product and app development company will not promise you the moon. 

And you can’t always make things move faster by throwing more people at it. Putting 25 developers on a project that only requires 10 won’t cut the time in half. Proper software development doesn’t happen overnight and you should be wary of people who say that it does. 

Tell me about your other projects?

Most firms (including ours) don’t list every client on a website. But if you want to determine whether a team has the experience to create a high-quality mobile app or custom software for you, they should have no problem providing you with glowing references from their top clients. 

Once they offer them up, make sure those references can be trusted. For instance, if a development team has only worked with a referring client for a short period (e.g. two to three months) that’s not a long enough timeframe for the client to have determined whether the developer has created what they need. 

How many active projects do you have?

By learning about the other current projects a developer already has on the go, you can gauge whether or not they seem equipped to take on your app development needs. 

For instance, at Vog we have 80 people in our company working together on about 22 projects concurrently. This is a decent ratio. 

But if a developer tells you, “we have five staff who are working on 20 projects,” something is not adding up. It is also very possible that the firm is outsourcing some of the actual development work (see the next question). 

Tell me about your staff, and do you outsource your work?

People are the heart and soul of any organization. So if you are looking for a way to measure the efficacy of a development team, start by learning more about their staff. 

Ask for bios, read up about the people on LinkedIn, or even ask for a discussion to meet the people who will work on your software or app. Seeing that there are enough people with the right experience will reassure you that it’s not being farmed out the second it lands the developer.

Another important element of the people conversation is outsourcing. Many development teams depend on contract or freelance talent who are usually based overseas. This then leads to security and quality risks that should not be ignored

At Vog, we don’t outsource development at all. All our work is done 100% in-house. 

Hopefully, with these questions in hand, you are now better equipped to determine whether a development team is being fully honest with you — and worth hiring to build your app. 

Vog Earns 2021 Clutch Global Top 1000 Award

The end of the year is often a time for reflection. A chance to look back at what went well, and what didn’t go according to plan. We all know who the evil villain of 2021 was, we’re looking at you Covid. Fortunately, we also have some positive news to share. 

Vog has been officially recognized as a leader on Clutch’s global top 1000 companies rankings!

Clutch is an independent B2B review and rating platform dedicated to helping millions of browsers navigate through different markets and industries. Throughout the year, analysts from the site evaluate countless solutions providers to determine which are the best of the best from their respective industries.

In addition to Clutch’s recognition, we’re also proud to be featured as a leader on Visual Objects, a B2B platform that showcases the best creative companies around the world. According to their research, Vog App Developers was among the most prominent software development companies in Canada in 2021.

We are incredibly proud and thankful to have received these honours. We owe this milestone to our amazing clients who show us their overwhelming trust and support. Working with them to build innovative digital products is the motivation behind everything we do at Vog.

With 34 reviews on our Clutch vendor profile, it’s rewarding to see our clients share their satisfaction with what we do. Their feedback is more valuable than anything else.

We’re always excited to take on new projects, challenges, and opportunities. We’d love to work with you too. Have a project in mind? Let’s talk more about it. Send us a message today and the Vog App Developers team will get back to you as soon as we can.

How developers become (and remain) best-in-class

Making the final decision to hire a development team to build custom software or an app for your business can be a nerve-racking experience for those who aren’t technical themselves. 

Maybe you’re not sure your developer — or the company you’re hiring — has all the skills needed. Or maybe what’s making you uncomfortable is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and thus don’t know to ask your developer if they know it.

That feeling sucks, but rest assured you aren’t alone in feeling it. We’ve had many clients come to us because they thought they had a great dev, only to learn later that nothing was getting done properly, on-time, or on-budget. We’ve also been brought in to fix a problem –– or even create a whole new app –– because a client was previously burned by an offshore team that wasn’t current on technical knowledge, or they didn’t understand the business goals.

If you are thinking if hiring a developer, consider asking these two questions:

  1. Does your team provide business insight as well as development support?
  2. How do I know your developers are best-in-class with up-to-date knowledge?

Question #1 matters because your application doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You need it to serve a specific business purpose –– which means your development team needs to intimately understand that purpose and help you achieve it, throughout the creation and launch of your app. 

Question #2 is an open-ended question that will shed light on how the team works and stays current. Best practice advice can change over time, so the answer to this question will help you gauge expertise. You don’t need to know how to code, but knowing how a company approaches sharing insight and learning internally is an indicator that you’re in good hands.

In this article we’re breaking down ways you can gauge answers to both questions, and we’ll share some insight as to how we approach these.

1. Your business needs should drive the conversation

When we meet a client, one of our first questions is: Why do you need this app built? 

Asking this question to start out is important because it gives us an opportunity to hear about the pain points or opportunities that have inspired you to want to build an app.

We have a few different types of developers on our team, and the answer also provides detail for our solutions architect to consider when structuring the app. We want to provide solutions to real problems, and avoid replicating any problems that may already exist in your workflow.

At this point in the process, we still haven’t talked about code. A good development team will function like a business partner, and not just a technical support resource. So when you are assessing who you should work with these qualities should be high up on your list.

Once we understand the business needs we can then start to make recommendations on what type of app you need

You should be concerned if your app developers are not trying to deeply understand you and your business goals as the primary drivers of the process.

2. Your developer should have a process for sharing insight

Being a developer can be a tough job. Platforms change, there are always many ways to tackle a problem, and best-practice approaches will evolve over time.

The ways in which your developers stay on top of changes will distinguish bad, from good, from great.

For example, Apple released iOS 15 this fall and for consumers and end-users it doesn’t mean much other than faster, more stable operation. But for developers, iOS 15 is the biggest change in four years and has several changes for workflow and development features. At Vog App Developers, we stay on top of changes like this by building in opportunities to share learning and news across the company.

For instance, each of our platform teams have their own learning group that meets weekly to discuss  industry innovation they have learned about and are implementing in their projects. In this way, every member of the team is aware of any new changes to iOS or Android operating systems, for example. 

We also have a policy called the “the rule of two” that we employ. Not only is every developer educating themselves and others on their team about industry updates, but we have documentation practices in place that ensure a second developer can pick up where the first developer leaves off in a project. How? Because they’re all following the same development techniques and process. 

This helps us ensure both quality control and uninterrupted timelines if a developer has to take part in a project started by someone else.

Internal knowledge sharing is important, so we recommend you ask the development team you’re considering hiring how they keep up with change.

Staying on top of industry standards

In addition to the experiential knowledge and insight our development teams glean in their day-to-day work, they also turn to regularly updated industry tools to stay current. For example, our devs routinely engage with the following resources:

So again, before you engage a development team, have a conversation with them and ask how they are keeping up with industry trends and changes. 

Their knowledge will make all the difference for your app and your related business objectives.