Why You Should Work with a Development Partner and How to Choose One

For some companies, the thought of working with an outside vendor for development projects seems like a gamble.

They think they’ll lose a sense of control over their projects, may want to keep all of their knowledge and tech in-house, or have worked with vendors in the past that didn’t deliver results. But, when you work with a respected vendor that’s the right fit, you can leave these concerns behind and focus on building a partnership.

We see the collaboration between internal and external teams much more as a partnership than a client-vendor relationship. In a partnership, teams work closely together, leveraging each other's unique expertise to produce the best products possible. Furthermore, a great deal of transparency, communication, and accountability is woven into any effective partnership.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why partnerships make sense for companies of all sizes and describe what to look for in your next potential development partner.

Reasons Partnerships Make Sense


Building an Internal Development Team is Difficult

Many companies experience various challenges when building an internal development team. Between navigating turnover, finding talent that works effectively together, and staying up to date on the latest technology, many internal teams simply don’t have the manpower or subject matter expertise needed to handle specific projects.  

Additionally, there is a lot of time and effort put into hiring internal talent for a company. With hiring rules and regulations to follow, there’s also the risk of making a bad hire and navigating the consequences of it. When you consider these challenges, outsourcing to a ready-built team of development experts becomes an appealing option.

Companies of All Sizes Can Benefit from Working with a Development Partner

Small and large companies alike find development partners to work with for their unique reasons. Even public companies that have been around for many years find that at some point, they need expert development guidance to continue growing the business. 

Examples:

  • A smaller company may want to build out an app or platform quicker than they could handle internally. In this case, they can find a partner to guide and support the process of launching their product in a more timely and calculated fashion.
  • A large company that traditionally uses on-premise data centers may want to make operations more effective by moving into the cloud.
  • A company with a dated approach to its customer-facing web applications may want to level up by building out mobile applications and more functional web-based ones.

Partnerships Facilitate Collaboration Between Subject Matter Experts

For any company to be successful, the leaders need to understand what they are subject matter experts on and be willing to seek guidance in areas they aren’t. These leaders understand the complexities and nuances of their given industry. Still, many lack the knowledge needed to tackle certain development projects. By consulting with a development partner, these companies can gain insight into the areas they need support and guidance on. 

For Example:

We’ve been partners with Audiomack for many years and have supported their team various ways. Their team has a great vision of what features and functionalities millions of fans and artists want out of a music platform. But, maintaining this functionality and being able to scale it is no small feat. They understood that to see the growth they wanted, they needed to work with a development partner to build out the best mobile application possible.

For any company to be successful, the leaders need to understand what they are subject matter experts on and be willing to seek guidance in areas they aren’t.

What to Look for in a Potential Development Partner


Relevant Experience in Your Industry

One of the most important things to do when choosing a partner to work with is proper upfront research and vetting. Though it will take some time to go through the due diligence, it’s well worth it. You’ll want to talk to your prospective partner’s past and current clients to get a feel for what the experience was like and if expectations were met. It’s also essential to make sure that your partner has examples of their past work relevant to your industry or upcoming project. 

When we are in the vetting stage with a client who wants to partner with us, we work through a competitive and comparative analysis. 

This analysis gives us the opportunity to:

  • Showcase features we’ve developed that apply to the client’s current project.
  • Share knowledge we’ve gained by working in a client’s industry (e.g. showing a healthcare company that you’ve worked with confidential patient data or other sensitive information on previous projects).
  • Discuss features and functionalities that a client’s competitors have and how to make those elements better within their product.

Ability to Deploy the Right Skills and Technology Stack

Before working with a partner, you need to ensure that they have all the tools, resources, processes, and teams needed to handle your project. Whether you need help with a small aspect of development or need your partner to manage an entire build, they should be able to describe why they are the right fit for the job.

For example:

If you want a partner to build out an iOS app, they will need many resources and skillsets. These would include:

  • A strategy team to define the initial feature set
  • A UX team to build the workflows and wireframing
  • A design team to create logos and branding elements
  • An iOS development team that includes frontend and backend developers
  • A QA team to run all of the required testing

When outsourcing, it’s important to be upfront about any questions you have about a project. Your development partner should be able to give you a clear answer right away or be able to talk to someone on their team and come back to you with an appropriate response.

They Put an Emphasis on Documentation

Your development partner should have a thorough documentation process for several reasons. First, if you ever want to move a project over to your internal team after working with a partner, you’ll need extensive documentation of what’s been done and how to manage it. Secondly, proper documentation makes troubleshooting much more effective if something does go wrong.

For most of our projects at Majestyk, we use Github to track everything we’re doing in code and then leave written comments as needed. At the beginning of any project, we’ll open up a readme file and outline the various sections of the project we are working on.

We will document things such as:

  • The steps needed to start up a new section of a project
  • The initial base requirements needed to run an application
  • How to add code to a project
  • How to create a new pull request
  • How pull requests get merged
  • How to make a new commit
  • How a developer can access the API keys and secrets
  • What dependencies are in a given project and how to install them 
  • The rules and standards of our linting 
  • The type of development framework we are using (e.g., Scrum, Kanban, etc.)

In essence, we are following basic Gitflow principles so our partner understands the history of the project, all the commands, and why the commands were structured in a certain way. We do our best to make this information visible in one location so it’s easily accessible by all parties involved. As the project grows, we’ll go back through and make edits as needed to those files to ensure the documentation aligns with the current codebase.

They Have a Process for Integrating Workflows and Tools with Your Team

At the start of a new development partnership, there’s always a learning curve for how to integrate the workflows of both parties. For this process to be effective, collaboration and communication are key. You’ll have to align on what project management tools you’ll be using as well as what development frameworks and methodologies you’ll follow.

There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach to how teams will integrate with each other, so it’s vital that your partner is willing to find a solution that maximizes the efforts of both teams.

It’s a Good Cultural Fit 

During the process of vetting your development partner, you should look for cultural values and attitudes you align on. Connecting culturally off the bat doesn't mean that there won't be disagreements down the line. But having a partner that you can easily connect and communicate with means that there will be less friction when challenges do arise. Further, if your executive team has a good feeling about the arrangement, that attitude will trickle down to the rest of your team, setting up a good start and base for your working relationship.

Maintaining and nurturing a good cultural fit requires great communication and collaboration from all parties involved. There are cases where once you get deeper into a project with a partner, conflict can arise between teams. There could be misalignment about workflows, goals, and or various personality conflicts. These, in a sense, are natural but can be reduced through continuous communication.

As a development partner, we frequently check in with our team about any personal or project-related concerns. If we can catch these early, we are much more likely to get the issue resolved. We also encourage the companies we partner with to do similar check-ins with their teams, and there are times when we take on some of that responsibility as well.

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Level Up Your Company by Working with the Right Development Partner

Whether you’re a small, mid-sized, or large company, working with a development partner can help you reach your unique goals. When you do your research and put in the time during the vetting process, it’s possible to find a partner that can serve your needs now and into the future.

There’s no doubt that your company has subject matter experts that understand the complexities of your industry. However, when it comes to higher-level development projects, it serves you well to seek the guidance of development experts. Furthermore, by outsourcing this work, you’ll save a tremendous amount of time and energy compared to trying to hire an entire internal team.

If you would like to talk more about this topic or see if Majestyk might be the right development partner for your next project, feel free to reach out to us today. 



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