A lot goes into developing an app in the space of just a few weeks. But by far, the most important business decision you’ll make is choosing the right agency to partner with.
Not only can an agency save you precious time, energy, and stress levels when it comes to such a mammoth of a project, but the right agency can ensure your app becomes a huge hit. After all, the difference between a great app and a mediocre one is in the level of detail, skill, and resources poured into developing it.
But there’s only one problem. Every development agency claims to be the best. How to pick right then?
If you don’t want to end up with an average app, or worse, have it turn into a flop with zero sales, then read on. We’ll unpack some key pointers that’ll help you identify the right agency for your app development needs— every single time. And that’s not even the best part. The tips outlined here can be applied to just about any digital product you’re looking to build or create with an agency. So feel free to bookmark this guide; you’ll likely need it later down the line.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
There’s no such thing as perfect
Spoiler alert: no matter what agency you go for, we’re all imperfect beings at the end of the day. There’s no ‘one’ perfect agency out there that will live and breathe every single value you embody.
But they can very well be nearly perfect.
Here’s the first test an agency must pass when you’re on the hunt for fresh blood:
- You land on their site and get hypnotized by their brand’s story and core offerings.
- Their mission doesn’t put you to sleep.
- They’ve worked with some pretty impressive brands.
- They have raving customer reviews.
- Their app development portfolio is colorful.
- The team members look like they’re ready to slay any problem that comes their way.
Good on this front? The next step is to dig deeper.
How to choose the right agency to lead your app development
Picking any established agency to do your bidding is easy. But choosing the right agency can be tricky. Fret not. There are three things you can do to streamline the whole ordeal, ensuring you come out on top with your agency pick. Below, we’ll unpack each one in painstaking detail.
1.Walking the talk
Nowadays, it’s common for businesses to brag about their brilliance on the internet. But how to weed out the phonies from the genuine minds? In most cases, your agency’s site holds all the answers.
Here are some positive signs your agency is indeed a rockstar:
- Brand messaging is clear and clutter-free (your agency seems comfortable in its skin and mission).
- The site is easy to navigate around (it shows your agency is tech-savvy and takes the user experience into account).
- Glowing client testimonials are openly displayed (happy customers mean a job well done).
- The agency mentions ‘years’ when talking about its experience level (the more experienced they are, the faster they are at delivering results and dodging common pitfalls that can crop up throughout a project).
- They’ve won awards for their brilliance.
- Their project management skills are impeccable (a quick way to check how they handle projects is to look at their blog posts or success stories). Do they mention how they tackle projects internally?
- Their project life cycles are long (the more time an agency spends on a project, the more experience they usually have in handling all kinds of technical challenges that may arise).
- They have a few app development case studies under their belt and are heroically talking about the challenges they’ve faced and subsequently solved.
Bonus point: Scanning through your agency’s portfolio, you can see they’ve worked with several startups before. Considering that things happen at lightning speed by a startup’s nature, hard deadlines often require a quick pull off. So if your agency is familiar with the startup scene, there’s an excellent chance they have agile methodologies in place to handle all kinds of projects set at different paces.
2. It’s all vibes
There’s a saying among the recruitment industry that when it comes to hiring an agency to build your product, you’re essentially hiring a culture. Do you want a band of fierce experts on your team who are proactive, collaborative, creative, and above all, in love with what they do and what their agency represents?
Probably yes. Here’s what you can do to ensure your chosen agency is all about the positive vibes.
- Is the team happy? Do some LinkedIn snooping and see what the agency’s retention rate is like. If employees are switching jobs every six months, it’s a red flag. Extra tip: Comb through Glassdoor employee reviews to see if the team cultivates a positive impression of the brand they’re working for.
- Is there a work-life balance among employees? Countless studies showcase how important a healthy work-life balance is to employee performance. Scout the agency’s social media accounts to get a flavor of employee engagement. Are there any cool company events out there? Does the team seem to have a life outside of work?
- What kind of expertise does the app development team have? Usually, every website has a ‘meet the team’ section where you can see everyone’s qualifications. If you’re coming up empty-handed, hop on LinkedIn to view the team’s skills. As a rule of thumb, the more talent there is on the team, the better versed they are at handling all aspects of a given project.
- Do they offer flexibility in the way they work? Does the agency provide flexibility in terms of meeting in person or remotely? If they mention remote a few times on their site, then it means they’re likely experts at virtual communication.
- Do they have well-thought processes in place? How much UX design, workshopping, and strategy are they involved with? Sometimes companies embed their internal documents on their site, so you can check to see if their processes are tailored to each client.
- Does the team innovate? This might be a tricky one to prove, but generally speaking, does the team seem to take on new skills or pivot toward trends? There’s no point in hiring a team of software developers implementing outdated practices.
3.Communication always wins
In 2015, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) released a groundbreaking study that notably shifted the perception of agency-client relationships. Their results showed how 74% of clients who work with agencies believe their partnership plays a defining role in exceeding business goals and driving results.
But how can both parties work toward a successful relationship? Like most relationships in life, it’s about maintaining complete transparency, and you guessed it—excellent communication.
A lot can be said about your initial point of contact with a potential agency. You’ll most likely fill out a contact form, then book an introductory call to get to know each other a bit better. This is where you need to pay attention and use your intuition. The way you and the agency communicate here makes all the difference.
In the call, don’t be afraid to ask the big questions like:
- Are they available when you need them? There’s no point in partnering with an agency that takes a week to get back to you.
- Does the agency get stuff done? Look at the kind of projects they work on in a given year.
- How many decision-makers will be between you and the product? The more people managing the project, the messier it could get.
- How does the team communicate when a problem comes up? Do they provide daily or weekly updates or prefer to deliver the product at the very end? Periodic check-ins are usually the way to go, considering that any issues that may arise in the project can be raised here.
- Can they talk straight with you? If one of your ideas is bad from an implementation angle or business standpoint, does the agency feel comfortable letting you know?
Example of a winning agency-client partnership
Now that we’ve explored key pointers to look out for when hiring an agency to build your app, let’s unveil a real-life example of what a successful agency-client partnership looks like. Or so we like to call it our own success story.
How Clip Health hired us to build their COVID-19 rapid antigen testing app in just four weeks
When health-tech company Clip Health approached us from their headquarters in California, they were in a bind. In the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clip Health tried to make their COVID-19 rapid antigen tests accessible to everyone. They needed a new application that connected their hardware device that runs rapid antigen tests. In a nutshell, they wanted a minimum viable product that would be ready to go for clinical testing and evaluations in just four weeks. We happened to be their guy.
Knowledge? Check ☑️
- What may look like a simple technology application like Bluetooth usually requires expertise. Thankfully, we already had experience building Bluetooth-enabled apps for the healthcare industry.
- Our developers have integrated all sorts of Bluetooth devices for different clients. So from the get-go, our team went into the project with confidence.
- Since our developers specialize in software development, they had the deep knowledge to pull off the technology required for successful outcomes.
From developing lighting systems for Simon Electric to building high-sensitive sensors in jet fighters flying at 3,000km per hour with the Australian Air Force.
Dream team? Check ☑️
- All work and no play is a motto our team definitely doesn’t follow. In fact, most of our teammates are scattered around the world, working from the comfort of their own homes.
- We went remote long before the world did, ensuring our remote company philosophy could be practiced in all corners of the globe.
- Tackling projects in different time zones? It never fazes us, thanks to our flexible, well-performant workflow.
- The glue that holds our team together can be seen in our strong retention rate– most of our team members have been with us from the beginning.
- Our specially curated knowledge is kept in-house, which is fully channeled into our projects.
Communication tools and healthy habits? Check ☑️
- Transparency and agility are our founding company values. We hopped on weekly calls with Clip Health, providing progress reports along with project check-ins.
- We weren’t shy to say no when on a few occasions, we believed things wouldn’t add value to our client’s business
- Our workflows are hyper-responsive to our client’s needs, so it was a breeze to adapt our workflow to how Clip Health saw fit.
Project match? Check ☑️
- We’ve done rapid prototyping for many projects already, helping our clients to validate ideas quickly.
- Our agile methodology means we go from A to B smoothly.
- Our release procedure meant we didn’t abandon Clip Health once we created their application. We were there with them in the post-launch phase, helping solve any issues that cropped up.
Outcome? One gorgeous app, one happy client.
All in all, we pulled off building a functioning, solid, and bug-free minimum viable product— in the space of just four weeks. Clip Health were able to get FDA approval for emergency use. Fast forward to today, and the product is being used in hospitals across the United States. But the story doesn’t end there. It’s been almost two years of non-stop fun with Clip Health, with our partnership flourishing to new heights.
As for Clip Health? They’ve given us a nod (or two). See For Yourself
“In need of speed, efficiency, and knowledge Mobile Jazz has proven to be a great partner.”Clip Health
To Wrap Up
When all is said and done, a lot goes into choosing an agency you can ultimately trust to get the job done well. The truth is, having a reliable partner in your corner at all times takes work and grit. It requires meticulous research and careful planning. But if you’re ready to put some thought into it, you’ll undoubtedly be rewarded with an empowering agency-client partnership.
We’re a group of software engineers and designers who build forward-thinking software solutions for companies in need—all while having fun doing it.
How does it work? It’s pretty simple. Clients approach us because they have a vision or an idea of what their product could look like. We help turn their bold concepts into a successful reality.
From mobile technology and enterprise software to IT security and UI/UX design, we’ve racked up experience in various fields, working with big-name brands like Airbus, Skyscanner, and Intel to transform their ideas into strategies. The result? Our apps have proudly been downloaded over a hundred million times and have solved some of the world’s most pressing healthcare, mobility, and aviation challenges (to name a few).
As a fully remote company, we also provide end-to-end solutions for clients looking to reinvent their approach to project management, advising on the use of modern digital tools to transform workplace efficiency.
Whether your project demands cutting-edge or ultra-simple software, we’re here to help.