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  • Writer's pictureOshri Cohen

How to hire a Dev Agency

Hiring a development agency can be a daunting task, especially if you're not familiar with the process or the industry. But it doesn't have to be! With the right approach and some guidance, you can find a great dev agency that will help you build the product of your dreams.


In this article, we'll take you through the steps of hiring a dev agency, and how you can work with a Fractional-CTO to ensure that your project is a success.


Step 1: Define your project


The first step in hiring a dev agency is to define your project. What are you trying to build? What are your goals? Who is your target audience? Once you have a clear understanding of your project, you can start looking for a dev agency that specializes in your area of interest.

Your Fractional-CTO is essential at this step of the process as they will inject realism into your your ambitious plans so as to maximize success.


What the FCTO does as this stage?

The FCTO will walk through the requirements with you and provide you with guidance as to what needs to be asked from the dev agency and what does not. The simple fact remains that a dev agency wants to maximize it's billable hours by developing unnecessary code that can be achieved through integration with SaaS services or open source products. Your FCTO is your advocate in this matter.


Step 2: Research dev agencies


Once you have defined your project, it's time to start researching dev agencies. Look for agencies that have experience in your industry, and that have a proven track record of delivering high-quality products. Read reviews and case studies, and ask for referrals from other businesses or colleagues. Your Fractional-CTO will evaluate them beyond their sales pitch and pretty marketing collateral. We take a look at their code and development process and if they don't accept to have the FCTO integrated into the process, they are excluded as a potential service provider.


What the FCTO does as this stage?

The FCTO will interview the dev agencies on their technical approach and architectural designs. Armed with a set of requirements, the FCTO will want to speak with the dev agency's solution architect and evaluate their thought process and coding standards.

I can't overstate the importance of choosing a dev agency that is an expert in software development. The sad reality is that a lot of them if not most of them hold rudimentary knowledge of proper development practices...And you will pay the price for their incompetence.


Step 3: Evaluate dev agencies


The reality is that the dev agency will only give you referrals of clients that had their project succeed, what we want to know is where they didn't succeed. This information is not easy to find and so the evaluation phase is not valuable. Your Fractional-CTO will protect your investment and watch over every aspect of the dev agency work and decisions they make. This is a risk mitigation strategy if you don't have technical leadership in-house.


Step 4: Hire a dev agency


Once your Fractional-CTO has shortlisted capable dev agencies, it's time to hire one. Make sure you have a clear contract that outlines the scope of the project, the timeline, and the pricing. It's important to establish a good working relationship with your dev agency, so make sure you communicate your expectations clearly and regularly. The reality is that your project will pivot and so the contract needs to be flexible. Your Fractional-CTO will watch your back and explain any decisions that the dev agency wants to take as well as interject when the decision does not make sense.


What the FCTO does as this stage?

The FCTO will prepare all aspects required prior to starting the project with the dev agency, assets such as:

  1. Properly formatted requirements with tracking codes in your issue management system

  2. Code repository accounts and code organization

    1. You must own the code repo! This is overlooked by 99.9% of dev agency clients.

  3. Cloud hosting for staging and production

    1. The FCTO will set all this up or interface with a contractor to do exactly that.

  4. Technical designs and guidance

    1. Your FCTO will design how the solution should be built, this ensures that the dev agency doesn't spend time on system components that are not required.


Step 5: Work with a Fractional-CTO


Working with a Fractional-CTO can be a great way to ensure that your project is successful. A Fractional-CTO is a part-time Chief Technology Officer who can help you with technical strategy, architecture, and team management. They can help you ensure that your dev agency is delivering quality work and staying on track.


The Fractional-CTO will work closely with your dev agency to ensure that they are meeting your expectations and delivering quality work. The quality benchmark is set by the FCTO. They will also help you with technical strategy and decision-making, and they can provide guidance on team management and hiring.

In conclusion, hiring a dev agency can be a great way to bring your project to life. By following these steps, you can ensure that you find a reputable dev agency that can deliver quality work. And by working with a Fractional-CTO, you can ensure that your project is successful and stays on track.


Step 6: What happens after the work is done

So the Dev Agency finished developing the project and now it's time to go live. Before this happens we need to host the application somewhere and many dev agencies will offer hosting services, this is a really bad idea as you want to control hosting and provide them with access.


Your Fractional-CTO would have already dealt with that as well as put in place a maintenance plan with the dev agency and/or independent contractors/employees if you don't want to continue paying the premium that comes with dev agencies.


Most companies hiring a dev agency miss this last critical step. They often get a zip file of their code with nothing more than a scribble for deployment instructions. Remember that the dev agency's job is to deliver the code and nothing else...That is unless you hired an FCTO to represent you.

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