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Working with a web developer – top tips for success

The secret to successful collaboration with a web developer for a startup or small business often lies in making sure you focus on a few key points: being able to draw on both technical and business skills, good communication channels, and a development specification which satisfies your business and budgetary needs.

Sounds easy on paper, but how do you put that formula together? Discussing these ideas with your developer and even agreeing them formally can ensure that both sides of the partnership know what is expected of them. It's time and effort which is well worth investing, especially given that effective web development lies at the heart of so many entrepreneurial ventures.

Demand business skills and focused experience

An awful lot of web development is undertaken to solve a specific business problem, and if the development of your web app or service is going to work out as you require, then you need your developer to clearly understand the business challenge you have. Equally, many web developers will be able to throw a huge range of technical experience at you in a sales meeting, but can they demonstrate specific experience in your market?

A web developer who understands the ins and outs of your industry, or the specific needs of the target audience of your development project has a head start over more generic alternatives. So, test your developer to make sure they can apply a holistic understanding of your technical and business needs – they are both extremely important in ensuring a smooth development process.

Communication channels must be open

Make sure your communication is clear from the very first meeting with any web developer. Is the person who is selling their technical and development skills to you in the first place going to be involved if and when the project begins for real? If not, who is going to be your main point of contact, and are you sure you can effectively work with that person?

By their nature web development projects can require a lot of back and forth communication between client and developer, so establishing that you're going to have effective lines of communication is a must. If you are new to the world of web development or not technically experienced, it's essential that your developer is aware of the fact and can communicate with you on the right level. Can they de-mystify the technical issues which you need to make important decisions about? Yes, you are paying for technical expertise but it’s also vital that you can make informed decisions – so don’t be reluctant to ask your developer to explain things at a level which is right for you.

If you are considering outsourcing development projects abroad, carefully consider whether your supplier can deliver the level of communication you need, both in terms of clear and effective communication and general availability.

Precisely agree the timetable and price

A late project can cost your business money, so spend time agreeing with your chosen developer the specific timetable you have in mind and whether they can deliver. There are a range of important questions to consider, not least does the developer actually have the capacity to handle your project within the timescale you need? Are you building in contingency time to cover unexpected delays? Have you agreed important development milestones so you can assess how well the project is progressing? What happens if the developer is responsible for a delay? If you want to ensure these factors are formally agreed, consider a service agreement which identifies your respective responsibilities and that all important agreed timetable.

Pricing presents a similar challenge, especially if you are working to a small or inflexible budget. It's vital that you avoid any nasty surprises when it comes to cost, so agree very specifically what is included in the price you agree and what isn't. To what extent are you allowed to amend the project specification without incurring additional cost, for instance? Have you established a process whereby the developer can alert you if you are going down a path which risks additional charges?

Coping with change

As your site, service or app develops and you begin to review its capabilities, look and feel, it's possible that you'll identify features and functions that you will want to change. Something which may have looked perfect on paper may just not work in practice, but a client who constantly chops and changes risks delaying a project or placing strain on the relationship. What happens under these circumstances and to what extent does the pricing and timetable you've agreed allow you to change your mind as you progress?

Support & service

Some degree of teething trouble in the early days of a new web development project is almost inevitable, as some challenges are very difficult to foresee in advance. In the case of more complex development projects, what happens if there is a technical problem post launch? How quickly will it be assessed and fixed? Make sure you cover these points to ensure that your brand new web app or site doesn't disappear offline for prolonged periods just as you're getting started.

Working with these considerations in place can ensure that you spend time with your developer to make the project a real success, and that they can build what you need on time and on budget.


  • Computers, computer technology, software


  • 27stars
  • karl doody
  • web app
  • web developer
  • start up
  • client


  • London

27stars design and build bespoke web, mobile, and tablet applications. We bring ideas to life. To find out more, visit us at, or join us on Facebook and Twitter.


Rachel Bierley

Press contact Marketing/Design Assistant Social Media, Marketing, PR, Desin 01938 558017

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