5 Key Questions When Vetting Development Partners

Narrowing down viable web development shops

Tom Hudson
Apr 25 · 4 min read

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to hire a team for building a web application, but you don’t have the proper knowledge or expertise to ask the right questions when vetting potential vendors? At thirteen23 we understand what it takes to write scalable, maintainable code, and what practices should always be in place to ensure successful delivery of a web application.

Here are 5 questions for your next (or current) web development vendor that will quickly identify if they are following industry best practices or just winging it. (Hopefully the former!)

01. What service/tool do you use to store and manage the code you write?

Incorrect answers

We store it on our computers and sometimes on the server under Jim’s desk.

Our engineers store the code on their laptops in folders called “v1,” “v2,” etc.

We outsource development overseas, so I need to get back to you on that.

Correct answers

We use Github to store and manage our code.

We use Bitbucket to store and manage our code.

We use <insert product name here> to store and manage our code.

02. How do you manage feature development and issue tracking?

Incorrect answers

We track it through email or chat.

We use a spreadsheet for everything. Excel FTW!

We typically don’t need to because our developers track it.

Correct answers

We use Github Issues for tracking features and issues during development.

We use Jira for sprint by sprint tracking of features and issues.

We use <insert product name here> for tracking features and issues.

03. What is your Quality Assurance (QA) process?

Incorrect answers

Whenever one of us has free time, we do QA by tapping around and making sure things aren’t broken.

QA is only handled by the developer on their own code.

We don’t see the need for any formal QA process. Our customers are our QA!

Correct answers

We do both manual and automated QA testing on all code written.

We do automated testing using <insert tool name here>.

We use <insert tool name here> for javascript unit testing.*

*NOTE: This last answer is specific to javascript. If you know the language and it isn’t javascript, you can look up the top testing tools by Googling “Popular Unit Testing Tools for <code language>.” But watch out! Avoid blog articles listing popular tools written by one of the companies on the list, as in this bug tracking tools example.

04. How do you handle Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)?

Unclear what this is? Read about it here.

Incorrect answers

Well, we integrate as we write and deploy code to a website when we’re ready. Is that what you mean?

Our developers use FTP when deploying. (Note: Never ever use FTP)

What’s CI/CD?

Correct answers

We use Jenkins to build the code, run the tests, and deploy.

We use CircleCI to build the code, run the tests, and deploy.

We use <insert product name here> to build the code, run the tests, and deploy.

05. How do you ensure quality, readable, functional code written by your dev team?

Incorrect answers

I am told every developer on our team writes quality code.

We run the application, and if it works, ship it!

We use a WYSIWYG code generator tool to produce most of our code.

Correct answers

We run a linter on our code and have it reviewed by a peer.

We pair program during feature development.

We perform regular code reviews, unit testing, and functional testing.

Do you agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment on this article below!

Find us on Facebook Twitter, and Instagram or get in touch at thirteen23.com.

The Garage

Thoughts and experiments from the team at thirteen23, a digital product studio in Austin, Texas.

Tom Hudson

Written by

Tech Director at @thirteen23. I write about new and emerging platforms and other tech-related stuff.

The Garage

Thoughts and experiments from the team at thirteen23, a digital product studio in Austin, Texas.

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