Summary: Prospecting for a reliable web development partner can seem daunting. Many potential partners promise positive results, but choosing the right development company to help you curate a website for your business takes considerable effort, research, and thoughtful deliberation. In this article, we’ll cover the necessary steps involved before you finalize a vendor.
There’s a cognitive dissonance that haunts entrepreneurs – what if I choose the wrong partners? What if I collaborate with the wrong fit while trawling the internet for potential development partners?
With limitless resources, we often find ourselves galivanting between multiple options. And trust us; you aren’t alone in the journey. To help you find the right fit for your project, we’ve curated a detailed list of pointers to help you move forward. Dig in.
Define your requirements
Assess your market, goals, and requirements
the essential step in finding the right web development partner begins with defining the precise web development solutions you seek. Distill your goals and business objectives to pick the right partner to help you accomplish them.
Some examples might include the following:
- Developing a web application to improve employee productivity and workflows
- Designing a customer-facing site to generate leads
- Linking and integrating platforms, such as automation tools and CRMs
- Creating and launching an eCommerce website
Identify the primary features and functionalities
Web development vendors run the gamut in terms of specialization. One company might be great at designing landing pages that pull in leads, while another might focus entirely on eCommerce. Knowing precisely what you need from the start goes a long way toward helping you select the right partner.
Be clear about what functionalities you require for the project – it could start with contact forms on your eCommerce website, blog content offers, or maybe a creative 3d header! Narrow your features list and communicate distinctly with your potential web development partners.
Find and vet your prospects
Research potential web development partners
Once you’ve figured out exactly what you need, it’s time to start looking at actual companies to partner with. And while a simple Google search undoubtedly yields plenty of results, keep in mind that the top hits aren’t necessarily the best web development vendors- they’re just the companies that are the best at SEO.
Instead, leverage your networks to find agencies with proven track records. LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent places to locate and research potential web development partners. Moreover, these sites provide feedback from past clients to help inform your decision.
You can also refer to ‘word of mouth’ based on trusted referrals from your friends and colleagues. Another option could be industry events. You can secure many qualified leads and find the right fit based on your requirements.
Vet your potential partners based on their expertise, portfolio, and case studies.
Once you’ve narrowed your list to a few likely prospects, do your due diligence and check their work. A good development agency will have a solid portfolio of past work on its website. The best ones will go a step further and detail how their work helped solve real business problems for their clients. At this stage, comparing the agency’s work to the requirements you laid out beforehand is also good.
Look out for their past work and check how the previous clients rate their quality of work. This will give you enough information before finalizing your web development partner.
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Ask about processes and approaches
Assess their project management processes
At this point, you’ve likely narrowed your choices to a handful of agencies. And while these prospects may boast impressive portfolios that show off some of their real-world solutions, it’s only half the story.
The processes used to produce those results are as important as the results you see on a portfolio. Now, when you think about management – you think about planning and execution of ideas within budget. Ask about their risk management measures, communication protocols, and strategy management. Some good questions to remember during the initial communication stages are:
- What processes does this agency use to design, develop and launch websites or web applications?
- How will these processes help ensure smooth development?
- What research does this agency do to ensure good usability and design?
- What technologies does the company use, and how does that tie into the project’s success?
Evaluate their problem-solving and decision-making processes
A good web development partner can provide detailed answers to all of the above questions and provide you with a product roadmap developed around your business’s unique needs. Problems are inevitable when your start executing your ideas because reality hits differently. It comes with repercussions. Make sure your potential partners are well-aligned with the risk management system and if it is at par with your expectations. How they respond to unexpected challenges, and how structured their approaches are.
Remember that once you choose a development agency, you’ll likely work with them for months or even years. Their processes should meld with your own organization’s way of doing things. The best way to do this is to ask plenty of questions about the agency’s project management style, design sensibilities, and development methodologies.
Agency’s take on project management
Understand the company’s project management methodology and tools
How an agency handles its project management says a lot about it. A dependable web development vendor has a well-defined project management process that encompasses the full lifecycle of your project, from product discovery to outcomes.
A great web development partner should be able to lay out a roadmap based on your project’s specific requirements. It can also tell you about the project or product development methodologies used to accomplish your business goals.
Discuss timelines, milestones, and deadlines in advance
Make sure your potential web development partner’s methodologies align with your expectations. Be assertive about your timelines, milestones, and goal-setting with your partners. However, be wary of any agency that promises absolute certainty. Technology is inherently fluid in its development and implementation — a great web developer will be able to tell you where these pain points may be and how they intend to deal with them when and if they arise.
A close look at design sensibilities
Review their design approach and visual sensibility.
A design is not just about the visual appeal of your project; it’s the experience you deliver to your customers. Ensure that you assess your partner’s aesthetic and practical approach before finalizing the creatives without considering the functional aspects. Ask questions about their design philosophies and review portfolios.
Design often takes a back seat when businesses are looking at developing a complex web application. But design is crucial to the development process. It’s so important that 75% of users judge a company based on its website design. As such, you’ll want to dive deeply into an agency’s design processes to determine whether it has what it takes to create great user experiences.
Check their ability to create user-friendly designs that align with your brand identity.
Granted, you can glean a lot from the quality of the portfolio, but pretty only sometimes equates to the best user experience. Quiz your prospects on how they employ design thinking and what processes and research they have for UX and UI design. Check if their design approach aligns with your goal-setting and objectives. Also, ensure they carry all the required skills, experience, and tools to help you visualize your ideas.
Understanding development methodologies
Understand their development methodology (agile, waterfall, or hybrid)
The technology aspect of web development is often the murkiest and most challenging for business people to understand. But understanding these aspects is worth the time and effort because this is often where less reliable companies baffle you with buzzwords.
Take the time to understand industry trends in web development, such as Agile development methods. A good web development vendor will help explain how their development process works from one stage to the next — and how that leads to success in your website’s development.
Discuss coding standards, testing procedures, and quality assurance processes
A good agency can explain what technologies are used, why they’re being used, and how they’re better than other offerings. Be bold and ask as many questions as necessary to grasp the technical aspect of web development.
Don’t hire a company, choose a partner
Evaluate the benefits of having a long-term relationship with a web development partner
The bottom line is that web development is a complicated process. There are no simple, one-size-fits-all processes or easy solutions. Digital transformation and quality product development take a lot of hard work, experience, and expertise. You and your organization must take the time to choose an agency that can truly understand and quantify your business goals and create a roadmap for success. In other words, you shouldn’t be looking for a web development vendor— you should be looking for a partner.
At Net Solutions, we’ve spent years refining our web and product development processes. By leveraging proven Agile methodologies and the best design thinking, we’ve helped our partners IMG Worldwide – a global leader in sports, s fashion, and media, to create successful, future-proofed solutions that drove business success.
Nike required a website to promote the Run to the Beat marathon, in which they assist charities in spreading awareness and raising funds for a variety of social causes. The plan was to make the Run to the Beat website a one-stop shop for all-inclusive information and updates about the event.
Net Solutions offered great assistance with website engineering and optimization. The result?
Run to the Beat website was named “Best Travel and Events Site” in the Kentico Site of the Year 2012 competition.
If you’re looking for your next partner to help guide your organization’s digital transformation, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top 6 steps of web development?
- Identify your goals
- Define your project’s scope
- Create a sitemap and wireframe
- Finalize your project’s visual elements
- Quality testing
Which agile methodology is the best?
Scrum is undoubtedly the most favored agile approach. It is characterized by cycles or stages of development called sprints. Scrum is often best suited for projects with complex objectives, a high likelihood of change, and a high testing demand.
How do I finalize a budget for my web development project?
- Identify the goal of your website
- Choose between a theme-based design or a custom design
- Make a list of “required” characteristics and those that “want.”
- Be flexible with your budget
- Do your research
What factors should I consider when choosing a freelancer, agency, or in-house web development team?
Here are the five things you need to consider when deciding whether to hire an agency, an in-house team or a freelancer.
- Total time taken to complete a process
- Project Management
- Technical knowledge, resources & expertise
- Risk management processes
- Overall budget
Choose the right web development partner for your next project.
Contact us to take the first step towards a profitable outcome.