Hiring mobile app developers isn’t easy. A good choice can lead to the results you want: finished apps and features in an efficient, timely manner. A bad choice can lead to, well … unexpected delays, huge cost overruns, missing your target windows, and other headaches you simply don’t need.

Your due diligence is important when hiring mobile app developers. So is asking the right questions. The trouble is, if you’re not familiar with mobile app development, you might not know which questions to ask.

Here are seven questions you should ask when hiring mobile app developers. I’ve also included follow-up questions for each, to help you dig down to the most important answers.

1. What are some of the mobile apps you’ve developed?

Obviously, they’re going to tell you about their mobile development “wins” here. That’s good, because you want to know what they consider their wins to be. But when hiring mobile app developers, the main thing to listen for is how these past experiences relate to your needs. Do they make the connection themselves, or do you have to draw it out? And what mobile applications have they published that you can see and investigate for yourself?

Follow-up questions:

  • Tell me about a project similar to ours that you’ve done. Describe how you you completed it from start to finish.
  • What apps do you currently have active in iTunes or the Android Play Store? What have user reviews said about it?
  • Describe how one of your customers implemented an app you built, and what were the results?

2. Tell me about your worst experience creating a client’s mobile app.

Here you’re listening for the kinds of problems they’ve faced as app developers and how they’ve resolved them. Equally important is how they react to those problems now. Do they blame the customer? Do they accept responsibility? Did they learn from it? How have they improved?

Follow-up questions:

  • How did the situation end up? Is that client still a client? Why or Why not?
  • What did you learn from that experience?
  • In what ways has your organization changed at all because of this experience? How so?

3. What development platform do you recommend for our mobile app?

When you’re hiring mobile app developers, the response you want here is cross-platform development. If they recommend one platform or the other, ask them why, but be prepared to cut the interview short. An unwillingness to pursue cross-platform development is a major red flag.

Follow-up questions:

  • Tell me why I should (or shouldn’t) go with cross-platform development?
  • Describe a situation where cross-platform development caused problems for you or the client. How did you resolve those problems?
  • What tools and methods do you use for managing cross-platform projects?

4. Tell me about your development methodology.

Here you’re listening for agile development, and a project management process like Scrum. If agile doesn’t come up in a mobile developer’s response, it could be a bad sign.

Follow-up questions:

  • Why do (or don’t) you use agile development methods?
  • What does your typical release schedule look like? How would you envision ours?
  • How do you manage your projects? Why do you use that?

5. How will you communicate with me during the project?

What you’re listening for here is a team-based approach. You want regular meetings with your app development team – at Ascendle, we recommend a status review meeting every two weeks. More importantly, find out what to expect during those meetings. Our goal is to show our clients ACTUAL WORKING SOFTWARE during every update. So you’ll be looking forward to those meetings for all the right reasons, instead of the wrong ones.

Follow-up questions:

  • Describe my role on your project team. How will your Product Owner represent me?
  • What is your process for requesting a change in the middle of a project?
  • How will I make sure the project’s outcome is exactly what I want?

6. What are your fees, rates, and terms?

Listen for how they want to set up the project. Is it time and materials or flat-rate? Be very careful if they want to go flat-rate with you. At Ascendle, we always set projects up on a time and materials basis because it allows the flexibility you need in mobile development – especially when your needs change halfway through.

Follow-up questions:

  • For what reasons do you bill based on time and materials (or flat-rate)? What happens if my needs or requirements change during the project?
  • How are your fees tied to milestones and performance?
  • What if I’m not satisfied with the project’s outcome … or how the project is proceeding? How will you / we resolve this?

7. What’s the most important thing I should know about hiring your app development team? How is it different from all the others?

Find out what they feel is most important about their company. This will tell a lot about how they view their business and what their core values are. You want to listen for the quality and versatility of their people, excellent teamwork and relationships, and stellar customer service and support. If all they talk about is the strength of their technical skills…run.

Follow-up questions:

  • Who are the members of the team I would work with? What roles do they fill?
  • Where are your team members located?
  • How will you support the product after launch? How long does that last?

BONUS QUESTION: Will I own the source code once the project’s completed?

You always want to own the source code, of course. Owning the code keeps your options open down the road. Whether you need operating platform adjustments or major modifications like new features or a redesigned UI, you don’t want to rely solely on that same mobile development team to make every change. What if the relationship doesn’t work out, or they go out of business, or they don’t have the capacity to work with you when you need it? Owning the source code is important, and it’s worth paying extra for, too.

Follow-up questions:

  • How is the source code managed?
  • What measures do you take to protect a client’s source code securely online? What security do you use?
  • What kind of access will I have to the source code during the project?

Hiring the Best Mobile App Developers Requires Asking the Right Questions

Hiring the wrong mobile app development team can be a huge setback for your company. Do yourself a favor — dig deep into their processes and experiences as part of your due diligence. Use these interview questions for mobile app developers as a guide to avoid making costly mistakes and, of course, feel free to reach out to us, too!

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