5 things to consider when collaborating with an app developer

by Dries Vandermeulen
When you need external help to build your digital product, it’s important to team up with the right experts. Here are 5 things to consider when joining forces with an app developer:

What makes a good app developer?

Nine out of 10 times, you’re not actually just looking for an app developer. You’re looking for a digital product builder. The difference? An app developer has specific technical expertise, while a digital product builder helps you conceive your digital product according to your company’s digital strategy, requiring a combination of different skills.

The type of expertise you require for your project will depend on the specific challenge you are looking to solve.

Which one you need depends on the problem you need help with: for example, if you require iOS or machine learning expertise, you will be on the lookout for a developer with those specialist skills. While developing a Software as a Service (SaaS) product takes more than just specific expertise, since it means creating a complete solution to provide the value you are looking to provide your target customers. This likely entails developing mobile and web apps, and connecting and automating all platforms. In this case you’re looking for a digital product builder.

Things to look out for when hiring a digital product builder

A good digital product builder:

  • Thinks critically. They dare to question their clients’ assumptions, rather than merely executing the work.

  • Has a well-rounded product team. They have all the right profiles on board, collaborating to build solutions.

  • Is about more than just the fancy stuff. They don’t just try to wow you with lots of bells and whistles, but are focused on strong core features.

  • Has an agile culture. They have a culture of learning, experimenting and adjusting, a cyclical process of continuous improvement. This is necessary to further tailor your product to your audience, as well as to keep up with the fast-changing tech landscape.

  • Is a trusted partner. Trust is essential, and building digital products is a partnership. There is a lot of input going both ways when building a digital product: lots of input about your company going one way and lots of input about managing a digital product and the product cycle the other way. You are both putting your name on the line and depending on the other to deliver quality.

Good agreements make for good partnerships

It’s important to know in advance what budget to set aside. Don’t base your agreements on the basis of a specific budget: that is the wrong way around. Your agreements should be based on the desired outcome, with a clear view of how much budget is allocated to achieve it. That way you do what is right for your product, and you lay the groundwork for great collaboration.

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