The most important quality to look for in a developer

There are a lot of posts lately about how to develop meaningful, long-lasting relationships with your clients. I definitely applaud the discussion, and I certainly try very hard to do so with my own clients. But there’s an aspect of this relationship which is not often part of the discussion: chemistry.

When we looked around for a good kennel for our dog, one came highly recommended by everyone, including our neighbor next door. We visited said establishment and we could see it was a nice place, run by nice enough folks. But something was missing, not quite right.

We found another one nearby, and we fell in love with it. And so did our dog. It just clicked.

Did that make the first kennel a bad one? Or the second one a better one? Of course not. At least not in an absolute sense. Relatively, though, the second one was better for us. In the end, it was a chemistry thing.


When you are looking to hire a developer for a project, remember this. Meet and talk with each developer. Be wary of those who just want to send you a quote: you’ll clearly be just another project to them. And they too, should be looking for a good match, if they are serious about offering you the best service possible.

The thing is, an app project is something medium to long term. Even if developing your particular app is relatively quick, there will be maintenance, and upgrades. An app is never done – you just stop developing it.

What’s more, a custom app is likely going to be some sort of ambassador for your brand. It’ll likely be a tool to help you do your job better. To help you make your clients happier. Or it will be to help your clients interact with you and your business.

It’s pretty important then, that the person you pick “gets it”. You want someone who understands who you are, how you work and what your business is about. Pick someone who makes you comfortable. Someone you feel you can have frank discussions with. About anything. (Except Star Trek or Star Wars. Highly divisive topics. Rarely ends well.)

There’s also no better app than one designed by people who use it. Since we can’t all be coders, the next best thing is an app built for someone who uses it, by an empathetic developer. You become your developer’s eyes and ears outside of the code. That’s an extremely important role. Good communication here is very important, as it is everywhere else in your life.

You have many experts to chose from these days. Don’t discount the personal bond. Look for the kindred spirit. A relationship that is not purely financial or transactional starts on a much, much stronger footing.

photo credit: Matteo Bagnoli pentax_es_neopan400-2014-9 via photopin (license)