Picking a Developer: How to Be Heard and Understood

How do you ensure at the start of a project that you and your developer are on the same page and they understand what you need? In this article we’ll show you how to spot a few signals that will help you choose the right partner to complete a project and create an application.

Keep in mind that developer companies can be either local or foreign, and each situation has its own strengths and weaknesses.

  • Mentality
  • When deciding on a service provider, do not lose sight of the fact that Eastern and Western companies have very different worldviews. It is important to realise that even in speaking the exact same words, your and the developer’s understanding may contrast sharply. “Yes” can often not be affirmation, but instead, a necessity of politeness in many traditional, Eastern cultures. Discussing a deadline does not always mean that they have agreed to take on the project. And some seemingly harmless remarks can be horrific slander in their eyes.

    A particularly tricky point often arises when working in traditional Arabic countries, where women are not always recognised as business partners. If your team is mixed gender, be prepared that input will sometimes be handled differently or even ignored, depending upon whether a man or woman offers it.

    Lastly, pay attention to nonverbal communication. Hand and foot gestures, bows and glances are all acts to absolutely avoid or perfectly perform at critical moments to avoid any crises. And that is just the beginning.

  • Language Barrier
  • Choosing a local partner company, you save yourself from conflicting mentalities and potential issues stemming from non-native English; however, there can still be language problems even with a British developer if he speaks in the lingo of technology that you don’t understanding, talking more about optimisation of code than about concepts like profitability, cost reduction and ROI.

    Some language difficulties are inevitable with a foreign partner, but they can be easily minimised if you make sure that not only the sales staff, but also the project leaders, are fluent in English.

    TIP: How can you judge this? Have an interview

    You don’t need to have it in person; it is enough to chat over the phone or by Skype. An interview will help you get a first impression about the company and assess language proficiency with international and foreign companies. Ideally, the interview should involve the project manager, as well as the other key players in the process, like the project architect, team leader and designer.

    Don’t miss a great opportunity by rejecting foreign companies out of hand and only choosing local ones. You may find that a common native language does not guarantee the best conversation.

  • Comfortable Hours for Chats and Reaching a Partner
  • A business that uses outsourcing opens all borders. A partnership between modern companies working across different countries, time zones and even continents is not a hindrance. It is a question of finding the best way to maximise productive and collaborative time. Involving a partner from Australia or Asia means your partner has already put in a full day of work when you are waking up.

    TIP: Coordinate Schedules

    A convenient and comfortable schedule is necessary for project work. A good designer adapts to your needs and is available to communicate when you want to discuss the project, but is not on call 24/7. It is best to agree upon specific times for working together. Rather than simply “being in touch”, a professional will define response times with their clients. Regardless of geographic location, efficiency and reaction speed on the part of the developer is essential on a joint project. Quick answers help the work to move forward and keep you from wasting time.

  • Communications and Psychological Compatibility
  • You want a project manager who is fully in charge of their project. They are the one responsible for hearing your questions and offering a competent, qualified response.

    Contact may go through technicians, who have a narrow professional vocabulary that makes it difficult for them to present information. On the other hand, excellent speakers may lack a full technical understanding.

    TIP: Choose your project manager

    Choose someone who shares your vision for the business. They have to be obviously invested in solving your problems, and able to clearly express results of discussions. After the interview, ask the project manager to answer a few additionally questions, in writing.

    Rate their answers based on:

    • Clarity
    • Conciseness
    • Accessibility of presented material

    Trust your instincts and select a manager using a combination of factors.

  • Honesty
  • A program developer can run into obstacles at any stage of the project. An experienced professional will keep the customer in the loop, even when the news is negative, openly and directly explaining problems and never hiding the facts from you.

    Growing honesty

    Before the interview, think of a situation to test the reaction of an interviewee and ask him, “What would you do if someone got sick?”, “if someone left for a different project?” or “if the program was not completed on time?” You need to know ahead of time how open and transparent the dialogue will be, and if that openness and transparency are standard business practices at the company you choose.

  • Positive Reviews and Word of Mouth
  • To be fully certain in your choice of developer, request recommendations from past clients. Don’t just read them, but call those companies and ask them to share their impressions. Find out about their communication, how the developer answered questions, if they were honest and open and if the project manager was reachable. A vital aspect in this is the length of time - it’s only worth looking at “fresh” projects that have been completed in the past year.

    By following these steps, you will be able to entrust the drafting of your project to people who really understand you and your needs, bringing you that much closer to an effective mobile or software application for your company.

Alex G.
December 09, 2015
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