Background: Our leads and clients have often asked us, what is the best way to evaluate and decide which mobile app development studio for the project? That is a tough question to answer. Our previous article on picking the right mobile app development studio in Singapore shed some light on the topic, but it is a really complicated question and I felt that the previous article still lacks some degree of depth.
I’ve been on the client side, managing vendors for my bosses, have developed software for more than half my life, and am now the Managing Director of Originally US, an award-winning mobile app development studio. I thought it would be interesting and beneficial to share my honest perspectives on the topic to our client and leads.
To that end, I’ve embarked on the process on writing a mini guidebook, to be distributed as an ebook format once it is completed. In this book, I try to be as entertaining as possible, while covering a potentially very dry and complicated topic. I hope that works out.
New chapters will be made available here on a weekly basis (I try my best).
1. Why Mobile App Projects Fail
To understand how to select the top mobile app development studios in Singapore, one must first have background knowledge of how project failure can happen. After all, nothing helps make success possible like failures. And with this chapter, (hopefully) you don’t even have to fail before you succeed.
Outsourced mobile app projects can fail for a variety of reasons. What I’ve written below isn’t supposed to be an exhaustive list of all the reasons why a project can fail. But it can serve as a pretty good guides on the things to look out for and as well as traps that you should avoid as a client.
1.1 The Procurement & Tender Process
All Mobile App Projects start with procurement & tender process. It seems most straight forward. Yet, despite the best procurement processes, many project failures have roots that can be traced all the way back to when the procurement was made.
What Clients Want
I won’t pretend to speak for all clients, but in 99% of all projects, the clients want the projects to be delivered:
- as fast as possible
- as cheap as possible
- as high quality as possible
The ‘Universal Truth’
In Singapore, we have a saying that among the holy trinity of “cheap, fast and quality”, a buyer or client can only pick two. E.g. If you want something that’s fast and of high quality, then it certainly don’t come cheap. If you want something that’s high quality and cheap, then it definitely won’t be completed cheaply.
There’s certainly truth to this saying. This isn’t some rubbish theory pulled out from someone’s hind quarters. To understand how this saying come about, let’s do a little thought experiment by putting yourself in the developer’s shoes
In Vendors’ Shoes
We look at some of the constraints that developers are faced with.
If a client requires something to be delivered quickly, the developer can either reduce the quality drastically to cut down the design & development time, or throw more headcounts into the project, which drives up the cost.
If a client requires something to be done very cheaply, the developer will either reduce the quality drastically by using the cheapest and least experience of labour, or to allocate the least resource (both in quality and quantity) to the project, thereby stretching its turnaround time.
If a client requires something to be built with quality, then the developer will have the put their best guys on the project and spend more time on the project, which increases both the timeline and cost.
Working With the ‘Universal Truth’
I often encounter clients whose demands go against the ‘Universal truth’. They want us to build an app for them in the shortest possible time, using the cheapest possible methods and at the highest possible quality.
When this happens, I have a choice to make. Should I tell them the truth and potentially lose the deal (because the truth isn’t what they want to hear), or just agree to their request first to secure the deal, and worry about it later?
“Promise first, say sorry later”
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a typical sales or business development guy. If he closes the deal, he get a tidy sum of cash and hit his sales target. If he tells his client the hard truth that it can’t be done, he would lose the sale, his commissions, and get questioned by his boss. Perhaps at the end of the day, he could be fired. How should he decide what to do?
For most sales and business development people, the choice is obvious.
The sales guy who agree with the client’s request first, and worry about it later. There’s a saying in the industry, “Promise first, say sorry later”.
You don’t want to sign on the dot with a mobile app development studio with such sales guys.
This is why some of the best mobile app development studios in the world do not have a commission incentive for their business development people. Money gets in the way of providing real advices and value to clients.
At Originally US, we believe in calling a cat a cat. If we feel that it is too risky to build a quality mobile app within the client’s timeline and budget, we will tell this to the client upfront instead of trying to make the sales and then apologizing for clients when we can’t meet the quality or deadlines later on.
We have even built a site to help give prospects an estimate of how things are going to cost. Check out: How much does it cost to build a mobile app in Singapore.