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How to choose the right app development agency

Updated: 14. 2. 2024

There are many agencies out there that offer mobile application development, but how do you choose the right one? Developing an app tailored to specific needs is not a commodity with clean parameters that can be acquired as easily as office supplies.

When you want to obtain software of a high quality

It’s more or less similar to a legal representation service where it is also impossible to define the scope of work and price of the legal case beforehand. Moreover, some app agencies, especially the better ones, wouldn’t even respond to demands that specify the tasks and ask for a definite price. Instead, they prefer time & material contracts and more agile development techniques.

Choosing an IT agency to work with is quite a complicated decision-making process where many factors must be considered. However, if you pay kind attention to them, it will help you enrich the final mosaic.

Development Team

The times when one developer could have created an application are gone now. With the expansion of this field, the number of people needed in the developing process is increasing. Ask your app agency if all working positions are taken care of. It is absolutely OK to require CVs from all team members.

All these people need to work together, thus team communication is crucial. Although there are various online communication tools, the best ideas are still born around the office coffee maker. That is why the best-synchronized teams all work together in one room.

Bringing the design and programming departments to work next to each other makes a big difference in the development itself. Not only does it save time and lower risks because feedback can be delivered more effectively, but it also increases the quality of each step. The project manager can keep an eye on the priorities and shape them according to the current situation more easily while working with an on-site team.

Outsourcing does not go along with quality, which is why we at Ackee never outsource, and our team members always sit together in a shared office.

Modern Technologies

Another important aspect is the technologies used by the particular app agency. As mentioned earlier, compared to bodyshopped freelancers, the agency should provide clear benefits, like the substitutability of workers in all positions. As a client you shouldn’t even notice that there are some issues like sick days, days off or resignations. The prerequisite to guarantee this to you is an integrated technology stack that is commonly known to all programmers (and sometimes designers as well) because all projects have the same architecture. At Ackee, it is MVVM and reactive programming. The Stackshare should not be the only thing visible, but also internally used tools like Github, for example.

Technologies the IT agency uses to build your software should always be up-to-date or even better: ahead-of-date. At Ackee, for instance, we started to work with the programming language Kotlin half a year before it became the official language for Android – if it works like this, the client gets an app with a longer technological lifetime. Don’t fall for the agencies working on already receding technologies – it might seem well functioning now, but you are preparing yourself for a huge technological debt accompanied by increasing future costs.

The more technologies the agency can execute in-house, the less effort is needed to coordinate other subjects, the fewer friction areas appear, and logically, the fewer problems occur. It is essential to have an in-house backend team and an agency that can handle the newborn app with tools for continuous delivery as well as support from a DevOps team. You don’t want to pay the app agency for the hours spent on every testing version of the app, do you? The designers’ job should be visible as well. Ask for the company profiles, such as the one on Dribbble.

At Ackee, we invest a lot of time and resources into technologies. Our programmers and designers frequently visit various conferences and we also lead internal researches and training programs. We open-source most of our know-how and share it on our blog. Our goal is to be the best in the field we are working in.

Quality References

The last chapter is references. Don’t be fooled by the epic logo wall on an agency’s website; ask them what the original project was concretely about. Find out whether the IT agency delivered the complete package (draft, design, programming and service) or only worked on a partial order. Demand the previous client's contact details and make sure the agency is telling you the truth about their collaboration. If they’ve been sincere with you, they should happily provide the details.

Last but not least, it is important to make sure that the app agency has experience in your field of interest. Technologically, there are few differences across the different branches, but it is always a plus if the agency can provide a know-how that concerns your field. This is extremely important in integrative projects such as digitalization.

After more than 10 years of existence, we at Ackee have gathered a portfolio full of apps from various contexts, from dating to banking.

Result: The right app development company

If you tender an alarm clock with only one screen for your clients’ campaign or a banking app with an SAP integration, you are probably about to start a long-term cooperation with the agency because, honestly, something like a final scope does not exist. If you want a good result, don’t underestimate the tender. Remember it is a technological process; don’t listen to the numbers only. Only after that, the result will be worth it.

Josef Gattermayer
Josef Gattermayer
Co-Founder Ackee & CEO Ackee BlockchainJosef is one of the three co-founders of Ackee, CEO of Ackee Blockchain and doctor of distributed systems at CTU.

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