Hiring a Dedicated Team of Developers: Checklist for Startups
Hiring a Dedicated Team of Developers: Checklist for Startups
Make sure that you have the best team for your development job by using one of these methods to secure the appropriate skillsets.
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In order to deliver an awesome MVP and launch successfully, every startup needs a reliable software development team. Where do you look for such an asset and how to evaluate their skills? We share our experience based on composing teams for more than 600 successful projects.
MVP development is the basic part of software startup activities, so it’s only natural the entrepreneurs want certain proofs that their MVP development will be successful. That said, a reliable software delivery team is a crucial asset for a startup, and hiring one is of the utmost importance.
There are two common scenarios in software development for startups: either they have the team they need at hand, or they need to hire one from the beginning. If the team is readily available, you benefit from established workflows, polished communication, and a good understanding of your project requirements. If you haven’t got this asset at hand, there are several possible approaches to finding a good software development talents for your product:
Gathering recommendations from credible sources
Contacting the developers using freelance portals like Upwork
Searching through social media and LinkedIn to find good developers
Looking for professional developers online
Engaging a Managed Services Provider to deliver the software development services
Networking on various software development community events
We will briefly describe the benefits and flaws of each of the points from this checklist.
Gathering Recommendations from Credible Sources
Personal brand advocacy and word of mouth are essential parts of connecting startups with software development teams. Ask around, as some friend or relative of yours might have recently employed a team of developers who accomplished their tasks successfully, and can refer you to them.
Just remember that the skillset required can differ a lot for various projects, so the team that performed well in mobile app development might be useless for delivering an analytical and monitoring solution. However, these developers can refer you to exactly the talents you need, so this is a totally viable approach to finding a team for your project.
Contacting the Developers Using Freelance Portals
Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, Behance.com, and other work marketplaces provide freelancers with the means to showcase their work, and the startups with the means to search for the most relevant team for their project. Some benefits of this approach include:
Search across the platform with various filters to shortlist the relevant candidates quickly;
Every team of software developers provides descriptions of their expertise domains, technology stack, skills and tools used;
Every team has a rating based on the reviews of their customers to showcase the team’s performance, reliability and ability to deliver;
The teams also actively search for new projects, so posting your job offer will result in lots of proposals.
The main downsides of this approach are the risk of your job being reposted at a lower rate, so that you pay one team, and the job is done by a cheaper (and worse) team. The other risk is being flooded with offers from eager (but incompetent) developer teams. The last flaw of this approach (and the most damaging one) is trying to compose the team of freelancers and manage them remotely on your own. This is a very risky approach that rarely leads to success.
Searching Through Social Media To Find Good Developers
LinkedIn and other social media are the mediums where various specialists post their portfolios, highlight their skills and previous employment history. These platforms also have certain niche groups, where you can find the talent you require. You will most probably be also referenced to such groups if you choose to search for references among your acquaintances. Some of your contacts might refer you to the professionals you seek, so social media is a powerful tool for establishing contact with the software development teams.
The main advantage of leveraging LinkedIn is that this social media was created as a network for professionals and businesses, where they mention their skillset and tech background, so the advice from the second paragraph also applies — you will be able to find the teams you need by searching for relevant keywords. You will get a list of companies and teams that maintain their presence on LinkedIn, will be able to check their websites, portfolios, and reviews — and select the best fit for your project.
Networking on Various Hackathons, Meetups, and Conferences
There are multiple startup accelerators, conferences, and hackathons around. These events are frequented by developer teams eager to showcase their skills and gain new customers. Networking there will be a perfect chance to see several teams in action, meet them in person, and discuss the project idea in detail. Even if the talents you meet there will not fit your requirements, they can still refer you to the right team.
The downside of this approach is the same as for the word of mouth campaign — great mobile app development teams are rarely doing well with, for example, big data analytics
Looking for Professional Developers Online
When a team of software developers operates successfully long enough, they begin offering their services through a personal website, as well as on various ad boards, forums, and work marketplaces. These offers can be found online by for the relevant keywords.
It goes without saying that you must search for the services relevant to your project. You will definitely stack up contacts of several contractors from niche-specific forums or work marketplaces, and the further search will help reveal reviews of their work from their previous customers.
Contacting a Managed Services Provider that Is Providing the Software Development Services
There are multiple Managed Services Providers (MSPs), which specialize in delivering software development and support, data analytics, digital transformation, cloud transition, DevOps adoption, marketing and promotion, and other IT services. As a matter of fact, you might have encountered them already, while searching online for the development teams, checking the social media and freelance marketplaces, as well as from your friends.
Analyzing the outcome of the previous comparison you can yield the following results:
If you encounter the link to the company website on the 1st or 2nd Google SERP, the company has done their SEO promotion right.
If this website appears in searches for multiple keywords — the SEO and marketing strategy was correct, and this MSP will be able to do the same for your business.
If the company website is engaging, user-friendly and intuitive, as well as the projects showcased in their portfolio — they will be able to design the positive user experience for your target audience.
If the portfolio is sufficiently large and customer feedback is positive, this can indicate that the company can deliver on their promises and accomplish the projects successfully, on time and under budget.
The reverse applies. If the software development team or a contractor company has a bulky website, notoriously empty social media pages, and gained no positive feedback on business rating boards and work marketplaces, this will definitely not be the best fit for your project. Try to search for negative reviews for this team online, sometimes they help form the correct opinion.
How to Know if The Team You Chose Is Good
After using one or more of the aforementioned practices, you will form a shortlist of potential contractors for your project. As MVP development is a costly endeavor that can either make or break your project, finding the best fit is essential for success. Here is what to analyze:
Company record. Fresh teams might be able to handle simpler and shorter projects, yet delegating the development of a complex platform to a team under 3 years of experience is quite risky. They can simply fall apart during the development process, damaging your project.
Team size. Teams with less than 10 members cannot replace the crucial skills fast, should one team member take a sick leave, vacation or just quit. This is another potential danger for your project. Therefore, it is recommended to work with the companies that have at least 40-50 staff members to safeguard your MVP from such situations.
Customer reviews. Try to reach the team’s previous customers. Ask for their opinion regarding the project handling, team workflows, and feedback response practices. If the contractor is reliable, their previous customers would be glad to refer you to them. Clutch.co and Goodfirms are prominent resources to look for unbiased customer reviews.
Showcase. Every software development team has certain pieces of code, modules or working demos they are proud of. Ask for these and evaluate their quality. This will show their ability to deliver and the qualities of their products and services.
Examine their activity. Devote some time to reading the company blog. Do they post regularly? Are the materials interesting, educative or informative? A good team has a lot to tell about their work, as well as highlighting the latest news, trends and valuable pieces of advice specific to their industry. They are active in social media and often post to popular blogs or forums, showcasing their expertise.
These simple checks will help you evaluate the software development teams and select the best fit for your startup.
Conclusions: Evaluate 7 Times, Hire Just Once
Every entrepreneur can hire a reliable team of software developers, should he devote sufficient time and effort to this endeavor. Attending the local IT-related events, searching on freelance marketplaces and niche-specific boards, contacting the leaders of IT outsourcing market who have good customer reviews, asking your friends, colleagues, and relatives, surfing the social media — any of these approaches can lead to the result.
Have you any experience with hiring a reliable team of developers? Please share it below!
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