Regina Fox

Regina Fox is a writer and editor with a passion for music, books, and technology that makes daily life just a little bit easier (she'd quite literally be nowhere without her phone GPS).

software development company

3 Questions To Ask A Software Development Company

Welcome to your software development journey! We’re your host, Sunflower Lab, and we’re here to help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing a development partner! You’ll start this adventure with three lifelines which will take the form of questions. These lifelines will help you navigate your way down the path towards the software development company of your dreams. So, lower the lights, and let’s begin!

1. How much will my application cost to build? 

Most likely, the #1 thing on your mind is cost, and rightfully so! But, there’s a few things we need to consider before jumping into project costs. Three factors play into the price of app development: what features will the app possess, how much time the app will take to develop, and the reputation of the developer.

App Features

This is the main cost-driver. Push notifications, native integration, web portal, and performance management are all common app elements. The number of features, along with the process and complexity associated with each feature, are the main components in determining mobile app development cost.

Time To Develop

While the number of features is correlated to the amount of time it takes to develop an app, it is not causation. Maybe you’re not looking for a feature-heavy app, but you have a very specific aesthetic and user-centric design in mind. The appearance and usability are two factors that can add time on the clock, thus increasing cost. Additionally, if you are seeking a quick project turnaround, it will require more resources and manpower to deliver. This will also lead to a jump in price.

Developer Reputation

Choosing the right developer to take on your project is a major decision. Mobile app development costs may be lower with a less experienced developer. Some tell-tale signs of an inexperienced team are minimal to no previous work samples on their company website, and a lack of customer reviews on Google or Clutch. What you need to be on the hunt for is a seasoned software development company; these teams will have the project portfolios and client testimonials to back up their experience. 

Read More Reviews

Sunflower Lab has been a trusted name in technology for over 11 years. Our project size minimum is $15,000 for software development. However, we can still be of service if that is outside of your budget. Our engagement model consists of four stages: Discovery, Design, Development, and Deployment. For clients securing capital for development costs, or simply looking to get their project underway, we lump together the first two stages and offer a Discovery & Design package. Discovery & Design costs anywhere from $6,000- $12,000 and typically takes 4 to 8 weeks to complete. At the end, the client receives a beautiful, clickable prototype that not only acts as a model for the final development, but can be used as a tool to garner funding from investors. Read more about Discovery & Design, as well as the entire development process below.

2. What is the process to getting my app developed? 

It’s important to be prepared before entering into your software development journey. You should have a good idea of the resources you will need to provide the dev team. The amount of time you’ll need to commit to meetings, calls, and other types of communication should also be discussed before signing a contract. Speaking of time, having a timeline for deliverables is crucial to aligning expectations.  

At Sunflower Lab, we kick off the process with an initial call. One of our team members reaches out to gather more information about the project. After that, we’ll either conduct one more project review, or we will create and submit a proposal for you and your team to review. The proposal will include the discovery and design at a fixed cost as well as an estimate on the entire project. Once we get confirmation on the proposal and signatures on the Statement of Work and the Master Service Agreement, we schedule the initial Discovery session.  

Talk To An Expert

Discovery

The discovery session is around 4-8 hours, and can be done virtually. In it, you will be discussing the features and layout goals with the solution architects. Also, if you have any budget and/or time constraints, let them know; they’ll help to create a product roadmap. The product roadmap is the main deliverable of the discovery phase.  The roadmap lists each feature with a value/risk analysis of each feature, with a resource estimate. From the criteria, we denote each feature as being a part of the initial build, or backlogging them for subsequent builds. At the end of the two-week discovery phase following the discovery session, we’ll review the product roadmap, and narrow the estimate given in the initial proposal.

Design

The next phase is design, where we will create the user interface of the application based on the product roadmap, and load these screens into a software call invisionapp. The software allows you to download a prototype of the application, without any functionality, and click through the application as though the app was live. We typically pause after this is delivered to get feedback and make sure were ready to get into development. This phase typically takes 4-6 weeks, and after complete, we will give you a fixed cost price for the rest of development. 

Develop

The development phase is going to be the most time-consuming phase. This is where we start coding the functionality of the application. This is done through a process known as agile development, in which we work on a predefined number of “points” of work during two week periods known as “sprints.”  You’ll be continually updated by your project manager during this phase, and will get demos and sprint updates every two weeks.   

Deploy

After each feature has been created and integrated into the app, the app is deployed on the App/Google Play Store, or wherever you need it. After the launch, you get three free weeks of support and maintenance to ensure that the application is stable. After that, we can get you signed onto a support and maintenance contract. Which leads us into the next question…

3. Will you support me beyond the deployment phase? 

The software development journey doesn’t end when the product is deployed. It’s important to ask a software development company if they support their clients beyond the deployment phase. This is to ensure regular updates and maintenance are taken care of by the professionals. And if you’re planning on scaling your business up or down in the future, you’ll want to know if they are able to facilitate the process. At Sunflower Lab, we employ a strong, diverse engineering team that can be leveraged long-term.

Sunflower Lab Support and Maintenance Plan

In a Support & Maintenance plan, you pay for a predetermined number of hours of support and maintenance per month at a fixed cost. The number of hours starts at 8 or 12, and increases by 4 hour increments. We do not provide service plans less than 8 hours/month. This program provide allocated team bandwidth for a defined time. In using the program, the client get the benefits of a stand-by support team. The Support and Maintenance plan covers any bugs or issues that might arise after launching your application. Problems due to operating system or browser updates will also be remedied with the Support and Maintenance plan. Like other types of warranties, the Sunflower Lab Support & Maintenance Program offers peace-of-mind when it comes to protecting your application from defects and issues. ​

Choosing the Right Software Development Company

Asking questions and educating yourself on the software development process is the best way to set yourself up for success. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the right fit. Just be sure to pose these three questions to each software development company you’re considering:

  1. How much will my application cost to build?
  2. What is the process of getting my app developed?
  3. Will you support me beyond the deployment phase?

From all of us at Sunflower Lab, we wish you the very best as you embark on this new professional journey!

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