How to make sure you choose the right React agency?
We all know testimonials, Clutch reviews, rate stars, and other ways to increase our image and look more trustworthy on the internet.
But today, marketing is more overwhelming and easier to apply than ever. You can just go on the internet, and make a nice logo for free, another free tool will make you an outstanding proposal, and another will help you send emails to potential customers. All this makes you look professional with almost no effort at all.
The bad news is that every junior now could be looking like a mid-senior on his pumped CV. In many cases, marketing skills are able to cover the lack of development skills and help anyone look more trustworthy and professional.
This is why it’s easier than ever to find an agency, but at the same time, harder than ever to build and maintain relationships and trust.
How to make sure you talk to the right people, and not the amateurs? These are just a few (our favorite) questions you can ask your agency on a qualification call.
What’s your bench?
The bench will tell you how long you have to wait for your project to start.
A good agency should always have someone on the bench, ready to jump into new projects.
At Pagepro, developers “on the bench” are mostly focused on open-source activities and internal projects. Whenever a new project comes in, they are always ready to pick it up and start.
What’s your longest deal you worked on so far?
The obvious part of this question is how well the agency is able to build and handle a lasting relationship.
But more than that, based on our experience, agencies with long and quality relationships were able to develop the best practices, and they know the real value of following them, especially in big, or complicated projects.
They know how to invest time and their resources, and they will stay away from any tempting “promises”, which many use just to get the project signed. They’ve been there, and they know there is no shortcut to long term victory.
Can you do me a code audit?
If you think your project demands a senior developer, but you hesitate if you can trust them and don’t have time for a 1-hour long technical interview, send them a few files and ask for a code review.
Good agencies are asked for code audits often. If they never did that before, there is a chance they have no seniors on the team.
Do you do any open-source and community activities?
Passionate and ambitious people are always willing to do the extra mile for the community.
Are there any developers with an open-source commitment? Is it a part of the company culture to work on open-source projects? Ask for some GitHub links.
Did they ever do any workshops? Do they teach, or speak up on events?
Do they have any technical blog articles, or share their IT knowledge in any other way?
Any act of help counts. It means they are not only focused on making money but more on making the market and themselves better.
Did you use Continuous Integration?
Continuous Integration (CI) is a form of quality assurance, well known to experienced teams.
Whenever a developer wants to push his changes to the repository, CI will first run an automatic test.
Automated testing is one of the best quality checkups and every mature React team should be familiar with it.
Can you send me developer profiles or blind CVs?
Good agencies should have profiles or CVs of their mid & senior developers.
In a well-made profile, you will find information like technical qualifications, professional experience, portfolio and other things like his attribution to the community and extra activities.
Can I call some of your previous clients?
Do not hesitate to ask for a direct phone call to his previous clients.
You can ask them the following questions:
- Why did you choose to work with this agency?
- What is the quality of the code, quality assurance, and code documentation?
- What is the quality of project management and execution?
- What’s their level of English?
- What were the weaker points?
- How do they deal with tight deadlines and operating under pressure?
Most of the time when the company is happy about the delivery, they don’t mind getting a call and provide a reference.
What did you work with before React?
And most of all – why did they make a switch?
Was that because it’s just another fancy name on the market? Or “everyone is working in React now.”?
If the team doesn’t have a strong feeling and doesn’t really believe in the difference it makes and values it brings to their development process, it means it’s just a temporary love, and soon will be replaced by something else, more hyped.
Instead, search for people that truly like to talk about React with excitement and are actually passionate about the improvement it can make.
They exist. Believe me, I know many.
What are the rates?
Mind that, this is not about the price.
It’s about different rates for a different level of experience.
Do they have separate rates for junior, mid and senior? Or it’s just one stable rate no matter what?
Beware. If there is only one price for any kind of development, it probably means they have no idea who is going to join your project, and you may end up with a group of juniors.
If you want a senior in your team, be precise and demanding about that. Ask for different rates and choose the one you really want. If it’s not possible, this should ring a bell.
Verify what they say
One of the best ways to verify your vendor is to check the official information about their revenues. But it’s not always easy, or sometimes even impossible.
But if the sales representative told you they have 50 developers on-site, go to LinkedIn and check the number of employees and where the developers are truly located and how long they actually have been working together.
Sometimes people add work positions to their profile, just because they did something small remotely and half time. It’s easy and legal to do so, and this is why you may want to double-check and verify all the information they’ve provided.
If you have no experience in React, it may be hard for you to ask technical questions.
However, many interesting questions with the answers can be found on the internet and it’s totally ok to use them.
If you have the knowledge, but you still search for a trusted questionnaire, we made one ourselves. Feel free to use it.
We also have some serious bullshit breakers.
If you smell there is something wrong, ask these and follow the advice next to them:
- Does your React team can also maintain Angular application at the same time?
If yes, run. Look for a specialized agency.
- Have you used JSX with React at least once
If no, run. It’s one of the code parts of React.
- Are you using React for more than 10 years?
If yes, run. React was initially released on May 2013.
What’s your favorite question?
What would you ask an agency about?
Do you have any favorite questions for an interview or qualification call?
Leave them in the comment, I’m happy to know them all.