The Most Important Warning Signs to Know When Hiring a Development Company
Many people who are new to the world of development make the mistake of not trusting their instincts when it comes to hiring. It’s easy for non-technical people to get overwhelmed by the technical requirements of their projects, so much so that they walk away from the process leaving their newly hired development company in charge.
Oct 2020 - 4 minutes read
While trusting in your developers is important, too many people overlook critical warning signs from their development team until it’s too late. This can lead to unsatisfactory deliverables, and a process that’s much more stressful than it needs to be.
Instead of continuing down a path that will only lead to disappointment, make sure you’re aware of these common warning signs before you hire any development company. That way, you can handle these situations as they arise, instead of waiting until it’s too late.
6 Common Warning Signs to Look Out For
Before you hire any development company, it’s important to thoroughly prepare for your upcoming project. Going in with clear requirements and goals will help you determine the best candidate to help you get there.
Once you’ve prepared, and have hired a team, be aware of the potential red flags that may pop up along the way. These are some of the most common complaints that individuals have with outside developers or development companies.
Your team has made your resource inaccessible
If you’ve asked your development team to update or refresh a resource that’s currently in use, they’ll need to work carefully to ensure that it remains accessible. Make sure to communicate your needs clearly before the start of the project, including your expectations for the accessibility of your resource. If they don’t abide by their promise or are unable to tell you whether or not this is a reasonable request, it will only lead to bigger problems down the road.
Your data doesn’t feel secure
Data privacy and security is a huge issue in 2020 and beyond. Small businesses are being targeted at higher rates than ever before, and a breach in your security can have huge financial and reputational ramifications for your business. Your project should be built with security in mind, and your development team should be able to explain in plain English what they’re doing to ensure the security of the final product.
Additionally, you should feel confident that staff at the development company are taking every precaution to ensure that nothing happens to your data while it’s in their care.
Delays that don’t seem legit
Unfortunately, there are many situations in the development world that can delay the final delivery of your project. If there’s staff turnover at the development company, it can set your project back. Delays can also arise if a third-party integration goes awry, or if quality assurance turns up more bugs than expected. These delays are normal, but a good development company will know how to design a reasonable timeline that takes these types of delays into account.
However, your dev team’s delays may not be legit if they’re unable or unwilling to explain to you how it happened, or what they’re going to do to get the project back on track. A lack of transparency around delays is a huge red flag.
You can never get your dev on the phone
Sometimes, the easiest way to sort through problems is to hop on the phone and have a five minute conversation. Direct communication is extremely effective. If you’re unable to get your development team on the phone, or if they refuse to communicate in any way other than email or Slack, it’s a warning sign that they may not take your partnership seriously.
They offer to work without a contract
A good development company values their time too much to work without a formal contract. The willingness to work without a contract can also be a sign that they don’t want to be formally liable for their work. It’s a horrible situation to be in, and ensures that all the power is in their hands. A good contract protects both parties, and lays out expectations clearly so there are no surprises later on down the road.
The prices are too good to be true
A key part of preparing for your latest development project is coming up with an estimated budget. If you’ve done your research, the quotes you get from reputable development companies shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
If you get a quote that’s too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. Companies who are willing to sell their labour for well under market price either know that their work is inferior, or are secretly using offshore workers that they pay a much lower rate.
How You’ll Know When You’ve Got a Great Development Company
Finding a great development company to partner with can feel like an insurmountable struggle. First, you have to find one that can handle all of your technical requirements. After that, you should make sure that the company is a good cultural fit for your organization.
Here are some ways you can make sure you’re hiring the right company.
They’re communicative with clients
A great development company makes its staff available for regular check-ins and can provide periodic updates on the status of your project. This can be difficult to determine before you’re actually working together, so make sure your interview with them includes questions like:
- How do you like to communicate with clients?
- How often will I get updates on the status of my projects?
- Who can I call if I have questions?
A great development company will have clear and straightforward answers to these questions. If they don’t have a plan for communication with clients that they can tell you in your initial interview, it’s clearly not a priority for them.
They make sure your resources are backed up securely
Another key question to ask during your initial interview with a development company is how they back up your data. They should be able to tell you in clear and simple terms the precautions that they’re taking to make sure that your data is secure, and which members of their staff will have access to it on a regular basis.
Passwords are stored so they can’t be compromised
If your passwords and other sensitive information is stored where any member of the development team can access them, that’s a huge security risk. No one should be able to hold your data hostage.
They can show a portfolio of high-quality work
Any development company you meet with should be able to show you a portfolio of work for past clients. If they don’t have a portfolio, it’s a sign that the calibre of their work might not be up to the standards you would expect.
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