Hiring a product development agency - how to do it right


February 12th, 2024, posted in for_founders, learning
by Miruna

There comes a moment in your life as a business or startup owner when you decide to get help from specialists. We’re talking about hiring a product development agency, to help you and your team make your product fully functional and ready to meet the world.


However, finding the right people to collaborate with might be quite a hard thing to do. There are several reasons why this decision is not easy to make, starting with the fact that it’s YOUR product we’re talking about. You want to make sure you found the best people out there, so what should you be focusing on to get it right? Here are some key steps and considerations to ease your job:


Define your project goals

Before you start making phone calls and seeking out the best rated agency on Google, you have to have a clear understanding of your project's goals, objectives, and scope. 


Ask yourself some important questions, like “What problem does my product solve?”, “Who is my target audience?” and “What are my key features and functionalities?” Having a well-defined project scope is crucial for agency selection.


Research and shortlist agencies

Maybe the first idea that pops in your mind is to hire the best on the market. However, this plan might become quite expensive, especially for a small business. Try to consider your budget first, before committing to a deal that it’s too much to handle.


On the other hand, people who pretend to have the best results in all fields of interest might not be the right fit for your specific needs. Worry not, there are a lot of options out there. Look for agencies with experience in projects similar to yours. You can find them through online research, referrals, or platforms like Clutch and Upwork. Create a shortlist with the ones that seem like a good fit.


Evaluate their experience and expertise

Now that you made a list, you should review each agency's portfolio and case studies to assess their expertise and the quality of their work. Pay attention to the industries they've worked in and the types of products they've developed. Consider their experience with technologies relevant to your project.


Check their references and reviews

Even if things sound good in the beginning, you might want to check by yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask the agency for references from previous clients and projects in the past. You can even contact these references to gather insights into their experiences. Additionally, read online reviews and testimonials to find out about client satisfaction and the agency's reputation.


Assess communication and collaboration

Now that you are closer to making a decision you have to make sure the collaboration will work well for both parties. Effective communication is vital for a successful partnership. Have a cup of coffee together, if possible, and evaluate the agency's communication style and responsiveness during the initial discussions. 


Are they from the other side of the Earth? Don’t forget to consider time zone differences if the agency is located in another region. Even if they might seem to be the perfect fit it could get quite difficult to have calls only at 7 in the morning, especially when you need a quick adjustment made.


Review work processes

Don’t be shy and ask about the agency's development process, methodologies and the project management tools they use. Ensure that their work processes align with your project's needs and preferences.


It is quite important for them to have a well structured development process, as you may want to hear about some estimates that are close enough to reality. This way you will also know that they are professionals and this is not their first rodeo.


Technical capabilities

Take the time to evaluate the agency's technical capabilities, including the proficiency of their development and design teams. Ask about their experience with relevant programming languages, frameworks, and technologies. You have to make sure that their knowledge is what you need for your project.


Timeline and deadlines

Discuss project timelines and deadlines. Ensure that the agency can meet your project's launch date or milestones, as delays can cost you time, money and everyone’s sanity. 


Don’t forget to ask about estimates. It might seem difficult to guess how long a piece of work it’s gonna take, but professional people already know the drill. The estimates will also help the project if the payment is done by hour. This way you should be aware of the amount of money that’s gonna be spent and avoid fraud attempts.


Scalability and support

Consider whether the agency can scale its team if needed and provide ongoing maintenance and support after the project is completed. Bugs and errors can always appear so you need a reliable partner that can provide you the long-term success and stability of your product.


Budget and pricing

Last, but not least, discuss your budget with the agency and ensure transparency in pricing. Be cautious of agencies that provide significantly lower costs than others, as this could indicate a lack of experience or potential hidden costs. You don’t want to be surprised in the end with enormous costs.


Trust your instincts

All these "rules" can be forgotten if you just don’t vibe with someone. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts and choose an agency that you feel comfortable working with. The right fit in terms of culture, values, and communication style can contribute to a successful partnership.


Start with a smaller project

If you're unsure about a long-term commitment, consider starting with a smaller project to assess the agency's capabilities and compatibility. This might slow down the launch of your product, but it can help you avoid choosing the wrong people. 


Negotiate and finalize

Once you've assessed multiple agencies and received proposals, negotiate terms and finalize the contract with your chosen agency. Make sure both parties know exactly what the terms and conditions are so you won’t face any unpleasant surprises.

Don’t rush to choose the first product development agency out there. Even if they have good reviews or remarkable projects it’s not necessarily the best choice for your company. Take the time to analyze their work, how they communicate, their technical abilities and their price. 


Compare all these with your wants and needs and see if you found the perfect match. Don’t forget to also listen to your instinct, as it might make a change in your final decision. 

Are you looking for a product development agency to help you transform your product into reality? Why don’t you give us a shot? We can have a discussion to see if we meet your expectations.



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About the author


UI/UX designer, copywriter, wanna be photographer and doggo lover. Sarcasm and bad jokes are my superpowers.

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