The decision to outsource MVP development takes a lot of thought and research. Outsourcing development gives you an edge in terms of cost, time and technology. But choosing the right technical partner can be as fussy as deciding whether to outsource or not.
Let’s be honest. You believe that outsourcing will be the best thing for your idea and company. But you still have insecurities about choosing a technical partner. Pretty natural, we must say. You are passionate about your ‘dream idea’. You are possessive about it. You don’t want to ruin it because of a bad selection of the technical partner. You can’t afford an improper choice.
It’s tricky but not very difficult. We have simplified it for you. Our guide will help you identify the right technical partner for your MVP development.
Step #1 Identifying the necessary parameters
This is the most important part as it will give foundation to your search activity. The parameters give you a basis to compare and analyze the options. While browsing around for options, make sure you look for these parameters and score various companies on these grounds:
Industry domain of the company
Some companies prefer to stick to a particular domain or two to three domains at a time. The domains can be, for example, social, retail, talent search, entertainment, etc.
It makes more sense to approach a company that specializes in the domain of your interest. That’s because of understanding the company will have, of the target audience. They must be aware of the consumer psychology for a particular domain. People use products from different domains in different manners. An expert company from the domain of your product will give you the right exposure and balance. It will also provide a more relevant group of early adopters of MVP leading to accurate feedback. If a company hasn’t mentioned the domains explicitly, you can check the previous projects to find out.
Previous Projects and achievements
This is one of the most self-evident judging criteria. A glance across the clients and projects will help you analyze the quality and domain of the company. You can dig further by asking questions about a particular previous project. All companies are open to answering such questions.
Read the case studies and stories of clients. Although testimonials and case studies are advertorial, scale and type of projects reflect a company’s capabilities. You can even find a project that has similarities with your idea. The present status of that project/product can help you have an estimation of what can you expect.
There are various technologies and services available like Amazon Web Services, Bootstrap, ElixirLang, React Native, CSS3, Ember JS, Heroku, MongoDB, MySQL, New Relic, Pusher, Ruby, etc. It’s better to use the technology that will also be useful at the time of scaling up. An aware developer within your company can help you choose the best suited underlying technology or help you prepare a tentative list.
While communicating with the shortlisted company, you can talk about this. You’ll be in a better position to have this conversation when you have a list of best technologies that will suit the development of your MVP.
Although it’s difficult to dig deep and tell the exact technology that will be suited most, it’s good to have some homework on this topic. It won’t go in vain.
Agile Development Method
Agile Development involves building the product in iterations. At the end of each iteration, the product is made available to early adopters who then give useful feedback. This ensures that working software is delivered in weeks, instead of months. Also, the product is developed on relevant feedback from early adopters.
Make sure to check if the company provides agile practices like using an agile framework, etc. for MVP development. Agile methodologies will lead to faster development, rapid responses to change and better scalability possibilities.
Types of MVP development offerings
There can be different aspects of MVP development that might be categorized on a company’s website. For example, other than pilot MVP development, you might also see options like Proof Of Concept (POC) development, Prototype Design, Single-feature MVP, etc. Some of the companies offer design services and maintenance services separately.
Proof of Concept (POC), by the way, is testing a principle without considering usability or audience’s feedback. It is simply for testing feasibility. Here is a good resource to know the difference between an MVP and a POC.
Depending upon your vision and plan, be sure of what are you looking for. There is another type of division for MVP strategies. The categories out of this division are as follows:
- Wizard of Oz MVP- The aim is to have a picture of the final product. The MVP helps you observe the client’s response. Automatic functions are done manually.
- Concierge MVP- For each client, service is carried on manually to test initial performance parameters. The main difference with Wizard of Oz is that in a Concierge MVP, no technology is used at all. Each function is carried out manually.
- Piecemeal MVP– Existing tools and resources are used to deliver the MVP.
Presence of a blog – Insights and resources
A blog on a company’s website is an excellent indicator of how much the company values its customers. Make sure to check if there are informative articles on the blog, not just the self-endorsing ones. Lack of a blog is not exactly suggestive that the company does not care about its customers, but the presence of a useful, updated blog is surely indicative of a company’s customer-centric values. Do check the resources like ebooks, guides and articles to frame an impression of the company.
Visually appealing interfaces is one thing, optimized design leading to faster interaction is another. Your MVP should have both. Go through the design offerings and you can have an idea of how much emphasis you can expect in design. Visual design and user experience matter a lot. After you have shortlisted some companies, you should throw some questions about UI design and user experience.
Transparency and Tracking
When we say transparency, we mean transparency during the development phase. The team assigned to your project must be approachable, friendly and cooperative. You should be able to receive regular updates and proceedings. You must also know the various stages and related deadlines.
Although there is no way to assess the amount of cooperation to expect, some companies boast of remote-friendly management. A few of them go a step further and offer dashboards for monitoring progress. We have seen a few companies that explain their Agile Project Lifecycle Management of which the client will be a part of.
Step #2 Creating the Big List
Now you have some clarity on your expectations. You also know that analyzing previous projects of a company is a good way to start your ‘massive search operation’. If a company specializes in the domain your MVP falls in, then it can be a potential option. You understand that agile methods and principles can get your project the speed it requires. You are sure if you are interested in a prototype, POC or an MVP. Also, you are looking for a company who are efficient in work communications and are transparent throughout the development.
You are now aware of the parameters you’re going to judge a company upon. It’s time to start the big search.
Change the ‘search phrases’ and try to identify which sites are common in all searches. Start compiling a list with sites you are able to identify with. Make sure you add comments with each list item so that it’s easy to come back later.
Offshore outsourcing will help you save a lot of funds without compromising on quality. You can use location filters in your searches to target the most workable and cost-friendly outsourcing destinations. India stands at the top of outsourcing destinations followed by China and Malaysia (see table below). India also shares 55% of global offshore revenue. You can use such stats to use location-filters to refine your search.
|Rank||Outsourcing Country||Outsourcing Attractiveness|
You can also try a top-down approach in searching where you enlist the MVPs you’re fond of. After that, you can start searching the developers of MVPs and reach out to the respective company. Keeping track of new MVP launches will help you find an MVP that matches your business model or business domain.
At the end of these exercises, you’ll have a long list of websites/companies with relevant comments next to each name. More descriptive the comments, easier it is to refer the list again.
Step #3 Narrowing down the Big List
If the previous step involves a lot of hard work, this one will use high levels of awareness and critical thinking. You’ll have to let go of some of the companies from the list you have. The factors that you’re going to use to cut choices are feasibility, affordability, location, domain and the parameters from the first step.
Don’t make assumptions while eliminating a company. You can send queries to understand an aspect of a company better. Try to frame an image of a company by analyzing how rich and relevant was the content on the website (and on the blog!). As mentioned before, analyzing the previous projects and the company’s portfolio is most helpful. Don’t be lured by the aesthetics of the website, look for originality and relevant content instead.
So a combination of various judging parameters will help you narrow down the list. If you are not sure about a company, make a separate ‘maybe list’. Don’t just let go a name based on instinct. The more time you give to the exercise, closer you are going to be in picking the right technical partner for your business idea.
If your mind is cluttered, take appropriate breaks. Sleep on your ‘maybe list’. Spend more time browsing the website and try to find more information through FAQs and support. Take help from your existing team and experts you may be knowing.
After careful evaluation, shed off the incompatible names from the ‘maybe list’ and merge the remaining entries in your main list. Go through your main list again to check if you haven’t missed an important entry. You can do this by cross-checking with the comments you made while compiling the big list.
At the end of this step, you’ll have a truncated list full of highly compatible MVP development services. This will be your new base camp for further pondering.
Step #4 In-depth background checks and Communications
Now that you have a short list of probable technical partners, it’s time to get into minute details. Start getting in touch with the companies in a more decisive manner. Your homework will allow you to ask clear questions on capacities of the business. Represent your core idea and your expectations. Observe how the organization is responding to your ideas. Keep noting important takeaways from each conversation. Also, keep jotting down your impression of the company after each conversation. It’s easy to forget something important you felt about a company while communicating.
By background checks, we mean to track various activities performed by the company. Check the Facebook and Twitter handles of the company. Have a look at the communications done through the LinkedIn profile. Analyse the relevance of posts, interactions with others, reviews and quality of posts. Check the LinkedIn profiles of prominent members of the company. You can analyze how much of these activities are in line with the company’s mission and goal.
Tools like Similarweb can help you get an idea of the volume of the traffic on a particular website. Comments on social media posts and blog articles is another effective way to understand how effectively is the company engaging with the audience. Visiting previous posts on social media can help you trace the progress of the company since its start.
Step #6 Making the final decision
It’s time to make the decision after weeks of analysis and consideration. To do so, you can further trim your ‘narrowed down list’ from the previous step to 3-4 final options. Continue communication with these final companies. Request quotations and compare the offers.
By the time you reach this stage, you will have every detail of the companies — offerings, portfolio, blog presence, social media presence, customer reviews, website traffic, pricing, quality of customer management and various other minute observations. Compare each of the ‘finalist’ again on all the parameters. Scoring a company on a score out of 10 for each parameter is an effective way to quantify your data. After completing this exhaustive comparison, observe how the scores align with your impression of the companies. Repeat the comparison process at least 2 times to do justice to your analysis.
Pick up the company that you think will do justice to your amazing business idea, that is easy to work with and scores well on your parameters. Don’t be rigid about a particular parameter, make the decision based on the overall impression.
Best of luck for your unique journey with your new technical partner!