The Top 9 Characteristics of Great Web Application Development Companies
One of the most important things to understand about web development companies is that not all providers are created equally.
If your business is interested in pursuing custom web application development, you're likely doing so for a reason. You're trying to enable your employees to work smarter, not harder. You're trying to give them access to resources that they don't have right now. You're trying to create a legitimate competitive advantage for yourself in your industry. The list goes on and on.
Because of that, you need to understand that the chasm between a good web application development company and a great one is deep, indeed. There are many options for you to choose from out there these days, but all the truly great ones share several characteristics that guarantee a company like yours receives A) high quality applications at the end of the process, and B) gets a predictable and positive experience at the heart of it all.
Therefore, if you really want to make sure you're ending up with more than just another services provider and are finding a true partner in every sense of the term, there are a number of core qualities you'll want to watch out for.
9 Characteristics of Great Web Application Development Companies
1. Requirements Gathering Skills and Process
Almost more important than anything else, any web application development company you choose to work with needs to have the skills to truly collaborate with you all throughout this process. They need to be willing to understand not just what you're trying to do, but why it's ultimately so important.
Only then will they be able to document your current process, at which point they can successfully translate it into the context of the web application itself.
2. Design and Architecture of the Application
A web application development company team also needs to be able to translate those unique, business-specific requirements into a design that works within the larger idea of a web application environment.
Remember that at the end of the process, this may not work in quite the same way as your current manual process. This is because certain steps may be unnecessary or otherwise redundant, at which point they can and should be eliminated.
Likewise, a web-based environment may reveal certain opportunities for improvement and optimization that simply didn't exist in a manual, paper-based system. These, too, should be capitalized on to make sure that you end up with something that is more valuable than what you had when you started the process
3. Communication and Project Management Skills
If you had to make a list of the reasons why software projects tend to fail, poor communication tends to be right at the top. Therefore, your web application development company partners need to establish an open and constant communication channel for questions, concerns, feedback and more.
If communication is poor, the requirements of your web application will likely not be accurately captured. This can lead to design flaws getting into the application that are difficult to correct down the road.
Never forget that good project management skills will always go a long way to reduce flaws due to poor communication.
4. Work Ethic and Focus on Service
Whenever problems arise, your web application development company team needs to be willing to step up and solve them - regardless of what they happen to be or their scope. This is especially true when the application itself is mission-critical to the current and future success of your business.
Truly, it takes a special company that has the right culture - one that enables every employee to have a high degree of commitment for the customer.
5. Availability of the Team for Client Needs
Along the same lines, you also need to choose a partner who is readily available whenever you need them. Far too often, smaller development firms in particular - and especially one-man consultants - can get overwhelmed because of too many project requests. This causes their availability to drop at the worst possible moment.
Not only does this lead to a frustrating experience on behalf of the client, but it could also easily create several months delay in the development of your project, too.
6. Technical Ability of the Team
Another one of the most important characteristics to look for in a web application development company is the technical ability of the team in question. The speed of software development technology improvement is nothing if not rapid - meaning that it requires developers to essentially recreate themselves every two to three years. The great companies do this by prioritizing things like ongoing training and education, all so that they can stay on top of technology innovations in the field. Those innovations are then what they use to accomplish your goals faster, more efficiently and more cost-effectively than ever before, which from the point of view of the client really is the most important thing of all.
7. Scalability of the Team
One important quality that many clients don't think of until it's far too late comes down to the scalability of the team in question.
Scalability is essential because it gives you the chance to add more resources to a project to get it done sooner rather than later should the need arise. If conditions change and you need to speed up your time requirements, your web application development company should have access to the resources needed to support that. They can add new developers to get things done faster, all without sacrificing quality.
One of the unfortunate things about smaller outfits is that they're not really scalable at all - meaning that the client has to wait until the existing team can complete a job given their current workload. This leads to a situation where you're working on their schedule - they're no longer working on yours.
Scalability is a strategic element of any great web software development company, and it's absolutely one that you should be on the lookout for.
8. Quality Assurance for the Application
Obviously, one of your major concerns when it comes to software development is the quality of the finished product and your web application development company partner needs to share that same vision.
Sometimes, small companies don't have independent quality assurance team members that test the work done by other team members. If you're developing an application to run on both desktop and mobile devices, for example, you have to test it for all different types of devices and for every screen of the application. It's a tremendous amount of work, but it's also important because the stakes are so high in this situation. Unfortunately, a lot of smaller companies just don't have the ability to do this at all - leading to quality issues before you know it.
9. Ability to Provide Maintenance and Support Services
Finally, it's crucial to understand that even when a software project is done, it's not really done - at least not in the most literal sense. There will always be issues that arise or certain optimizations that can be made to help it run better and more efficiently in the future. Likewise, you may suddenly want to add new features based on your ever-changing business requirements. Any web application development company you choose to work with should not only understand this but encourage it.
The ability to address the client's ongoing needs is a big, big part of the software development lifecycle - and any partner who doesn't understand and embrace that isn't really a partner at all.
Custom Web Application Development Services
Overall, truly great web application development companies will always provide services for each type of solution and every client's own unique needs. In addition, they will have document processes for each development service - allowing them to gain a higher level of predictability and quality in everything that they do. With this level of process and documentation, their clients can trust their ability to deliver on schedule - the importance of which simply cannot be overstated.
Based on the above, it's actually quite easy to know if you are working with a great web application development company. Hiring someone who is technically competent is important, yes - but it's only one small part of a much larger story.
Single software developers usually lack communication skills, for example. What you need is a software development company that has not only the communication skills but also the project management skills to develop a web application that exactly matches your business processes.
To find out more information about our ASP.NET software development outsourcing capabilities, or if you’d like to discuss how to create a great web application with Keene Systems CEO, Lance Keene click here to book a call with him. You can also download our eBook - Why ASP.NET Development Services Fuels Business Growth - to learn more about this essential topic.