Developing a digital product is a complex process.
It requires an experienced team, deep knowledge, and good procedures. In this article, we’d like to explore how effective web development consultants can help any business, by explaining all the elements that go into their work.
These include a proper consulting mindset, technical expertise, and a focus on delivering business value.
Recognising web development consultants
The best way to explain what web development consultants do is by analysing how they can help your business.
Of course, regular web development is a big part of what they do - it’s just that the value they can add to your project doesn’t end there.
- Besides building code according to requirements, consultants actively offer alternative solutions and focus on maximising the business value of your product.
- Consultants in good web development company deliver high-quality code and build solid products. On top of that, they are prepared to remain active participants in the project after launch, providing support and maintenance.
- Consultants put a lot of thought into what tools and approach will serve the project best - they might, for example, suggest using an existing out-of-the-box solution and greatly reduce development time and costs.
- As a general rule, consultants can seem to have high rates, but the added value they deliver more than makes up for it. It might, in fact, help you save money in the long run if you work with a team of consultants from the early stages of your project.
These are only a few characteristics of what it’s like to work with web development consultants. The next step is to establish how they provide added value and what allows them to be such amazing partners for many businesses.
Focusing on business strategy and vision
There’s more to good web development than just writing high quality code and building solid products. If a development team wants the product they’re working on to truly excel, they need to focus on the client’s goals and vision, as well as users’ needs, rather than on fulfilling the tasks they’re given.
You’ll see this from the earliest steps in the project.
A team of consultants will educate themselves on what’s important to your business, what works on your market, and what your users expect.
This will allow them to have meaningful conversations with you about your product’s development and future. They’ll be interested in making sure that your product will continue to deliver value long after launch, that it will remain scalable and easy to maintain, besides providing the right features to users.
This requires an understanding of not just the technical aspects of building your web app, but also your company’s business goals.
Applying deep technical knowledge
As already mentioned, consultants are there to confront a client’s ideas when needed, proposing new solutions and the means to build them.
They don’t simply develop a website to fit the provided “mockups”, preferring to have more say in how the project proceeds, particularly when it comes to its more technical aspects.
If you’ve chosen your partner well, you can trust your development team to have the knowledge and skills needed for your project. A good team of consultants will do proper research before beginning development. It’s a necessary step to providing the best fitting technological solutions.
Choosing the best technology stack
The choice of toolset (or stack) shouldn’t be driven by the team’s composition and specialisation. A good team won’t propose a framework just because they know how to use it and will instead look for solutions that can provide the most value to the client’s business.
They’ll use their experience working with other businesses to enrich yours.
Building the right team for the project
Consulting teams have a vast array of resources at hand for achieving your business goals. Developers, designers, QA experts, business analysts, and other relevant specialists. should be brought in when needed.
The team’s composition should change to suit every stage of your app’s development, helping sharpen focus and limit costs.
Your team should be knowledgeable in all the major areas of website creation, which includes building beautiful UIs and creating amazing user experiences, as well as more general aspects, such as delivering a cohesive brand message.
A consulting team’s main role is to plan and oversee the execution of a digital project, from start to finish. Their deep involvement is part of the value they deliver.
Creating a cohesive product
Because consultants focus on achieving goals and solving problems, they tend to have many helpful suggestions and strategies for their clients. They’re also not afraid to say “no” to a client’s proposed solution, when experience allows them to offer a more beneficial alternative.
One aspect they might be able to positively influence is turning the project’s budget into the maximum amount of value possible by building an application that will delight users for months and years, driving new business opportunities and supporting existing processes.
They achieve this through concentrating on achieving a vision around the client’s web presence, making sure each aspect of it adds to it as a cohesive whole.
Providing business value: education, problem-solving and project management
Working towards achieving the client’s goals and supporting their business has already been mentioned a number of times, but what that entails is not necessarily obvious.
First of all, assertiveness and providing alternative approaches to achieving the client’s business goals is an incredibly valuable aspect of consulting. The consultants’ role here isn’t to take over all decision-making for the project.
Instead, they should educate the client on what all of the best options are and help them make an informed decision on the technologies and approaches chosen for the project.
Should you use Agile or Scrum? Is DevOps necessary to support your app, should you consider Site Reliability Engineering? Which front-end framework will allow you to create the best UX?
Your consulting team should help you answer these and similar questions.
They’re also very likely to share a lot of valuable know-how, gathered over years of working on commercial projects. Many people know how to organise a development process in theory.
But how many of them can quickly establish goals and requirements, set deadlines, or adjust to the existing processes crucial to the client’s business?
It’s not a skill one can learn from a book, not in its entirety.
Your consultants are responsible for providing you with that expertise and helping you shape the development process to your needs.
A web consultant’s goal is to solve their client’s problem while keeping the business’s success in mind. Problem-solving is important, as it means building a well-engineered app, but thinking about how it suits the client’s business can be even more crucial.
Many hastily created apps end up attracting too few users or scare off early adopters with features that don’t suit their needs. These are the kinds of wasted investments a good consulting team can help you avoid.
Avoiding unnecessary costs
Waste-free development means following a simple rule: starting development only after business goals are clear.
This is done to avoid writing useless code or spending resources on designs that will end up scrapped. A waste-free approach to development can not only limit costs - it’s also extremely beneficial for keeping up team morale and making stakeholders happy. No one enjoys investing time and effort into something, only to see it wasted.
A good consulting team will instead invest their time into learning as much as they need about the client’s business model. This includes answering questions like what the client is looking to achieve through building the app: new customers, more online views, a bigger fan base?
Or do they want to expand and grow their business, or prepare for a big scale-up?
Without knowing the answers to these questions it would be impossible to propose solutions (either technical or strategic) that can truly benefit the client’s business and support their vision.
Providing post-launch support
Consulting often implies support and maintenance post-launch. It’s easy not to think about this part of developing your product in the early stages, but it is in fact extremely important.
Introducing a new team into a live project can be both stressful and costly, as they need to familiarise themselves with the code and learn about relevant business processes.
By continuing to provide their services, web development consultants can help in dealing with issues or bugs, introducing new features, or dealing with changing user expectations.
Consultants care about the projects they’re involved in and they want to watch them succeed. Staying involved is a great way to do that.
Maintaining good communication and transparency
It’s important not to forget about the soft skills that go into managing a good development process. Consultants often provide designated experts (project managers) to keep things moving smoothly and to keep all stakeholders in the loop. These PMs will set up meetings, push tasks, watch upcoming deadlines, and help solve arising issues.
They will also maintain an open channel of communication, often setting up conference calls at odd hours to accommodate for an international client’s time zone. They will also introduce new processes, ones that the consulting company has been using and improving for years.
Netguru’s clients regularly comment on how well-oiled our processes are, and sometimes take our recipe to improve how things are done at their companies. It’s an often-overlooked hidden value of working with consultants.
Good communication, transparency, and engagement on your technological partner’s side can help you convey your ideas more efficiently, avoid issues arising from miscommunication, and react to changing market conditions more quickly.
It’s extremely important to have access to the members of your consulting team to be able to discuss ideas, proposed solutions, and improvements.
Additionally, being able to see your team as people and having them relate to you in turn can do wonders for morale, engagement, and the overall levels of satisfaction for everyone involved in the project. Consultants know this, and often take a very proactive approach to communication.
High-quality consulting services are relatively easy to recognise.
Simply make sure that your partner takes on a truly consulting mindset, has deep technical knowledge, maintains some flexibility in this regard, and that they make the effort to understand and focus on your business goals.
They should be good communicators on top of that, helping you feel certain of the project’s progress.
Even though their hourly rate might seem daunting at first, remember that web development consultants introduce a lot of hidden value to your project and that they can often help your budget by choosing the most efficient solutions in the development process.