10 Ways to Select an Awesome Digital Product Agency

Connecting with a strong digital product agency is becoming very important to businesses in every industry to help with keeping ahead of the fast changing competitive landscape. Companies are hurling into industry-leading positions through the development of disruptive software that changes how processes are performed. This digital transformation is the biggest opportunity enterprise has seen for decades. However, we must always keep in mind that strategy, not just technology, drives successful digital transformation.

Strategically selecting the digital development company you want as your product partner is an extremely important decision. There are several factors that you should consider when making that decision.

1. The agency you select should have a wide range of experiences with customers from a variety of industries.The more partnering the team has done across various businesses and applications, the better they will be able to architect a solution to position you as a leader. Our portfolio, for example, ranges from oilfield construction to ride sharing, real time border security and supply chain security to mobile apps and responsive web design. This variety means we at CabForward have seen a lot, and can leverage those experiences to better advise you.

2. Your development agency needs to be a polyglot shop; meaning they use a variety of different technologies, languages and frameworks. You should find a firm that has skills in integrating Java, php, .Net, C++, for a variety of platforms and has applications in the online stores for mobile devices. Even if they like to specialize in one discipline, such as Ruby on Rails, they should be able to leverage experience in other languages that might benefit your project.

3. Avoid a digital product agency that doesn’t have at least two times more software engineers than you will need working on your project. Most software projects flex in activity requiring more team members at different times than others. A large benefit of a company with adequate staff is their ability to increase or decrease the number of developers on your project with no notice. If the company is too small they may not be able to deliver on your timeline or within your budget.

4. A competent development team will make small but frequent releases, usually in weekly or bi-weekly sprints, depending on the size of your project. You don’t have to deploy those releases until you’re ready, but your software team should be posting improvements frequently for you to see and respond to along the way. At CabForward, we typically submit code enhancements several times a day until the objectives have been met.

5. Another very important trait of a reliable mobile app development partner is transparency, meaning that you have access to what progress is being made at any given moment. This is accomplished via an online project management tool. It should display user stories and features and also allow you to see the developer’s hours and notes. We use project management software that allows our clients to see the status of projects at any time, post questions and comments, read the responses from the development team.

6. Your selected product partner is likely to be a “time and materials” shop, rather than working from a fixed bid. This is becoming more and more common today. There are a couple of very good reasons for this; most fixed bid projects run over budget due to the discovery along the development process that additional features are needed. And secondly, “time and materials” lets you pace the development according to your needs and budget — starting and stopping progress as you need.

7. Avoid firms that will work in exchange of equity. It is tempting to use a firm that will work for a lower rate or even offer free services in exchange for a share of the company or profits.  However, such a company generally needs a stream of income to make payroll, which could leave your project on the back burner when they have income producing work available.

8. Examine how those companies you are considering work with you. Study their Mutual Services Agreement, Non-Disclosure Agreement and sample Statement of Work. Make sure your proprietary information is well protected under your agreement and that ownership of the code developed for you is clearly transferred to you at the conclusion of each development sprint. You should expect ownership of the resulting source code, as well as any inventions that arise from the development process. You can see here how we do it.

9. Select a partner that uses open source software, which has no fee for use. Open source software makes development less expensive, and because it has extensive libraries, it makes development faster. There are thousands of collaborators who work to continually enhance open source software, so it is always up to date with the ever-changing requirements of responsive web design requirements.

10. Your product partner should be able to offer you all the services you need from start to finish. Their offerings should look similar to our own:

Discovery Sessions – This engagement provides customers with access to two or more solution architects to review the business and technical plan for your project. We provide our customers with documented user stories, estimates for development, architecture recommendations, hosting options and DevOps considerations, which gives them a detailed understanding of what it will take to build their application. The Discovery Session also frequently offers our customers an opportunity to explore new business and technology ideas they had not previously considered.

Custom Software Development – Technology innovation is a must for companies looking for a competitive edge in a business environment where change is the only constant. However, while technological advancements have enabled companies to operate more efficiently and effectively, they’ve often made it more difficult to stay current. CabForward has the experience and expertise to help you overcome these challenges through custom Rugged software that is scalable, maintainable, and defensible.

Velocity Boost – Some customers need help augmenting their team with Senior Level Developer talent. We call this Velocity Boost. This can be driven by a need to meet critical milestones or deadlines, an inability to find full-time skilled resources, or to compensate for the loss of a key team member. Our team has experience working in many industry verticals and across a diverse range of technology architectures, which helps them quickly ramp up and provide immediate value. When we don’t have the talent that you need, we go out and get it. We like to say, “Fast Forward with CabForward!”

DevOps ProcessDevOps is a process of collaboration and communication between software developers and IT professionals to efficiently produce software products and services. Companies need operations delivered in a shared resource model that is cost effective. CabForward recognizes the challenges many companies face in their lack of DevOps experience, so we offer expert service in this area. CabForward’s Rugged approach to test driven application development, continuous deployment and operations meets this need.

Open Source Software Consulting – CabForward℠ promotes the use of Open Source Software to help relieve our customers from the long-term financial burden of proprietary software, the exorbitant cost of mandatory virus protection, support charges, vendor-required upgrade expenses, and mandatory terms. Open Source Software is the product of thousands of developers worldwide improving the quality, security and stability of the source code. CabForward can quickly and efficiently modify existing Open Source code to provide the functionality our customers need with the reliability they expect.

Marketing Strategy Services – When it’s time to announce your product to the world, our product marketing team will provide you with services to aid penetrating the market and getting your product noticed. We can create your product’s website and optimize it for search engine functionality, do social media marketing, analytics and customer development. We will even provide penetration testing for ongoing product assessment.

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More about strategic Product Partners
How to Select a Strategic Product Partner