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Eight things to ask before hiring a web developer

Sep 02, 2013 - Elliott Draper

Hiring a web developer is an important decision, and a good web developer can make all the difference between a successful, on budget, on time project, and one besieged by delays and issues. So we had a think and have come up with some questions to ask to help get the information you need to make a good choice when discussing a potential project with a web developer.

1. Do they have experience in the same area as the app you’re looking to build?

You should be able to view case studies or their portfolio on their site, or if not, then they should be able to provide information about the projects they’ve worked on upon request (or at the very least, references that back up their claims). You should ask for further detail about their work on projects in a similar area or niche as your own, specifically finding out their role on the project, and what value they delivered.

2. Are they fixed cost, or hourly/day rate, and do they have a method for handling and communicating issues that arise?

This needs to fit in with your expectations and your budget, although billing based on value will almost always be better for everyone involved over fixed cost. Find out how they deal with changes in requirements, new features in the middle of development, changes required as a part of business development, as well as unexpected issues with implementation that can crop up.

3. Do they use source control?

They should be using source control throughout development to track and version their changes. If it’s an existing codebase, this might be something you need to give them access to, or if you don’t already have it, they should offer to set it up.

4. Do they setup a staging or QA system, and deploy regularly from day one to launch day to show progress?

It’s no good getting everything delivered in one go, even if it’s exactly on the deadline day - for anything but the smallest of projects, it’ll require a bit of back and forth in terms of testing and QA, and making sure not just that everything works and is bug-free, but also that everything is optimised for the best user experience.

5. Do they use a project management app to track progress through development?

They should use a tool to define all of the stories/cards that make up the development, and preferably it’d be a web based tool that gives you insight into what is yet to be started, what is currently being worked on, what is finished, and what is delivered ready for testing.

6. Do they do their own automated testing on the code to avoid regressions?

Using a Continuous Integration (CI) server, they should be able to use their automated testing suite to let them know when something breaks elsewhere in the codebase. They should also have tools or metrics available to keep tabs on overall code quality - while somewhat subjective, there are ways and means to find out overall standard metrics that would pick up larger red flags in the code before they become a problem.

7. What experience do they have in deploying and running an application in production, especially with the target traffic you’re aiming for?

They should be able to give you an idea of ballpark figures for traffic/usage levels of the projects they’ve worked on previously, which will give you an idea of whether they’ve worked on the sort of scale of project that you are estimating for your own app.

8. What do they offer in terms of maintenance after launch, or in terms of handover to internal personnel where applicable?

Are they able to train your own personnel, or help hire personnel for long term maintenance of the app? Do they have examples of documentation they provide for their project that will help with this? In the meantime, are they available to maintain the project after launch, and deal with urgent production issues?

Of course, here at KickCode we offer much more than just web development, we apply our wealth of expertise to find solutions for your business. For the KickCode answers to these questions, click here.

Why not get in touch with us today for a free 30 minute consultation where we can get to know your business better?

Check out our macOS apps, AppTrack and WordTarget.

If you're looking for bespoke development for your own apps, using Ruby on Rails, RubyMotion, React Native or Unity, you can hire @ejdraper - visit ejdraper.com to learn more.

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