Onit Digital News • December 28, 2017
You want to find a top web development company, but an online search only brings up a sea of companies with a ton of different approaches.
Some of them have fantastic creative, some of them have thousands of developers. Offshore, nearshore, local. .NET, PHP or Java? What CMS system is best for your team?
You’ve worked with your team develop the RFP and now it’s time to find the right shop. This decision is way too important to get wrong. Even with a triple bid process, you’re likely to get lots of promises and will still question the team’s capability. Here’s 5 handy tips that will get you going on the right track.
Tip #1: Make Sure The Web Development Team is Right-Sized For Your Company
When seeking the expertise of a top web development company you want to make sure that the company is the right size for your company. Don’t choose a web development shop that is too big. You’re likely to get a high price tag (relative to your budget) and very little in terms of time and attention. The same advice applies to a web shop that’s too small. The owner may not have the time or ability to fulfill your needs. Further, you’re project can be jeopardized by financial instability.
The right-sized web development firm will have a record of doing projects about the same size as the one your seeking to do. They will also have a PnL that reflects the size of companies that reflect many of your current vendors.
Tip #2: Make Sure the Web Development Team Has Local Talent
There are many global web development firms that will promise great service, great timing and a great price. In order for your web dev project to be a success, make sure these teams have local talent on the ground in and around your timezone.
Even though you may think you’re doing a technical project, all web development has a creative side. This may be creative conversations about how to normalize data; it may be about the layout of the creative itself. Because there are so many facets to your fast moving project, you definitely want to have local talent on the ground in or around your timezone.
This will ensure that when you need changes done on-the-fly to reflect your conversations, you won’t have to wait 24 – 48 hours between cycles.
Tip #3: Don’t Be Fooled By Rate Cards – Flat Bid Your Project
There is a tendency to be swooned by a low hourly rate. Many seasoned professionals in the United States, for example, will tell you of the great hourly rate they received in India or China only to have their project be pushed by overwhelming delays- and eventually overruns in cost.
This isn’t because of skill level. Cultural differences and timezone differences will always create these types of issues. Hourly rates don’t mean anything. Anyone can charge a lower hourly rate and provide more hours against the project. Make sure to flat bid your project so that you know what you’re getting and what the final cost will be.
Tip #4: There’s a Difference Between Great Creative and Great Development
If you have a challenging web development project ahead of you, make sure that you’re evaluating the technical chops of the top web development company you’re about to hire. Don’t be blinded by creative. So many fantastic creative shops have sub-par web development efforts. This results in cost overruns and doesn’t allow your vision to be realized in a timely manner. Don’t forget that creative and technical development are inherently different skill sets and need to be evaluated very differently.
A great web development house will respect the creative process and will ensure that your creative is pixel perfect on all devices. They will bend over backward to make sure that your award-winning creative is just that- award winning.
Tip #5: Check References
Many web development shops will have amazing technology and creative on their websites. Big questions remain for those with a keen eye. How hard was it to get there? Were former clients satisfied with the timing and cost of the project? Does the backend hold up to traffic? When the project got tough did the web team partner with their clients or did they try to simply pull more cash out of the deal? Did the web development company essentially hold up their end of the bargain?
You won’t know these answers unless you check references. Make sure you spend time on this effort. It will answer more questions than any other that you have in the RFP.
Web development is not an easy or short term task. It’s an ongoing and iterative process that will profoundly affect your operation for the duration of the project. Average projects last anywhere from 3 – 6 months. It’s important that you have the right partner and that they are a top web development company. With the right web development team in place for your project you’ll be able to ensure that you have a team that is helping you achieve your business objectives while not disrupting your business.