Outsourcing Web Development: 5 Questions to Ask a New Dev Partner

Posted by Graham Lambertson

At Seventh Scout, we’ve been on both sides of Dev partnerships. We’ve seamlessly augmented the Dev workforce of larger agencies and clients to help them achieve their goals without making a permanent hire. We’ve also needed Dev partners to help with some of our overflow periodically. With that, we’re very familiar with the vetting process that can help align a potential Dev partnership.

Below are a small handful of questions to ask potential Dev candidates or partners:

“Can you share some recent work, what the goals were, and how the work achieved those goals?”

The objective of this question measures whether or not your Dev candidate builds with purpose and what their value proposition is.

When we pose this question to candidates, we get a strong sense for their level of craftsmanship and where their priorities are when they build things on the internet. Devs are passionate about what they do and will be ready to present their portfolio. Be prepared to reign in the conversation as they dive into all the little details. We love that stuff too, but it’s important that the primary question get answered.

“What technologies are you currently working with?”

The objective of this question is to see how well-aligned you are with your candidate in terms of technology. For example, if your Dev candidate is overly committed to .NET and homegrown solutions, that might not align with your LAMP stack and ethos of using existing technologies that are maintained by expert teams.

It’s also a very broad question, and it’s meant to be. The response to this question will help you understand what is front-of-mind for your candidate when they think about technology and tools of the trade. You might also get exposure to some technologies you’re not familiar with and that’s a good opportunity for you to ask more about them. When asked that question, Seventh Scout is careful to respond with an answer that not only speaks to our technical stack but speaks to cloud services we rely on. And “bonus points” if your candidate is able to provide an example of a creative way they solved a problem with technology.

“Can you tell me what initial and ongoing engagement might look like when working with you?”

The objective of this question is to understand your Dev candidate’s level of customer service. Really important!

Through answering this question, your Dev candidate should be touching on details around their internal processes, whether or not they do all the work in-house, what their turnaround times can look like, and how much of their time they can dedicate to you. You might also get a strong sense of how experienced they are with Dev partnerships. On one end, they might be making it up on the spot. On the other end, they might be smoothly rolling through an informal script they’ve said many times.

“What does your delivery process typically look like?”

The objective of this question is to gain insight on how your Dev candidate thinks about and supports the work they deliver.

If your Dev candidate is challenged by this question, it might indicate they don’t have a formal delivery process. When answered, you should be hearing about their Q/A process, client training and hand-off, documentation, ongoing support, etc. At Seventh Scout, we stand behind our work and we demonstrate that through thorough hand-offs to our clients, while continuing to make ourselves available if and as needed. We know this is important to our partners, so it is important to us.

“Can you tell me a little bit about the professional background of your team?”

The objective of this question is to learn more about the candidate’s professional diversity and experience.

By asking this question you often get beyond the canned speak and often get insight into a Dev partner’s team culture and possibly even ethos – why they do what they do. You may be looking for a Dev partner with a very broad set of skills and, conversely, you might be looking for a very specialized Dev partner with a singular focus.

Your Ideal Dev Partner

Yep. That’s right – us. At Seventh Scout we work with businesses on Dev engagements and also partner with other agencies to explore Dev opportunities. Web development, design, hosting, and maintenance—we do it all. Contact us for your next Dev project.

Topics: Website Design and Development