Finding the right contract developer can be a big undertaking, especially if this is your first time doing. This blog will provide you with some critical advice on how to develop an effective and efficient relationship with a contract developer.
1. Define the goals of your project
Before you approach any contract developers, you will need to understand and have clearly defined your project goals. Usually, you will fall in one of two boats: you either want to develop a prototype or beta that will allow you go out and start testing your product, or you will want to make the end product perfect, just as you envisioned it. If you fall in the former category, you will likely be able to higher the cheaper developers. Though, keep in mind, you will need to do a lot of hand-holding and provide a lot of feedback. If you fall in the latter category, you will need to shell out the money for a professional developer that can create great code and provide advice for overcoming any ambiguities.
2. You are paying your developer to code, not to consult
It is important to go into the relationship knowing that your developer is not your strategic adviser The more clearly you can convey the desired features that you are going for and your vision for the end product, the better the outcome will be. If you can provide mock-ups of how you envision the end product, even better. The more you know what you are looking for and the better you can communicate this to you developer, the better chance you’ll have of getting exactly that.
3. Negotiations and Milestones
For the most part, you have the upper hand when negotiating with your contract developers. If you are not sourcing your work to several developers, you should be. Not only does this allow you to compare pricing, services and capabilities, but this gives you leverage in your negotiations as well. Two great ways to leverage this power to protect yourself are through milestones and payment terms. Setting up milestones will allow you to see progress and determine if you want to continue with the developer before you have gone too far down the process. Similarly, setting up the payment terms to have as much payment as possible towards the end of the project, after you have been able to review some of these milestones, will further protect your pocketbook.
4. Elance and Lower-Than-Market-Value Developers
In today’s globalized society, you can find great developers abroad via freelance websites such as Elance for a fraction of the cost of a domestic developer with the same skill sets. Be sure to review their portfolio, ensure that you can clearly communicate with the individual and they are able to answer your questions in an intelligent and timely manner. If they have reviews posted, be sure to read those as well. One great way to interview the developer (and to work with them down the road if you contract them) is to communicate via Skype.
5. Project Management
You may have thought that hiring and paying your contractor was enough to ensure that your project is appropriately managed. However, this is not always the case. While it is in their interest to do their best work for their clients and to keep them happy, be sure to touch base frequently to ensure that progress is being accomplished.
It is very rare for a contract developer to get it right the first time around. This should be expected. Rather than letting your emotions get the better of you, take some time to clearly describe to your developer what you don’t like about the product and what would make it better. Again, clearly defining the scope of what you are looking for will help.
Like most service providers, the better you pay, the better the service you will receive. If you like what you have received be sure to pay your developer for their hard work. Additionally, pay on time. This will make them much more likely to continue to do their best work for you down the road.