Choosing our iPhone development team

Saunders-45X64.JPGPosted by Alec Saunders
Yesterday’s Developing an iPhone Application – tips, tricks and traps detailed how we decided to build a mobile version of Calliflower conferencing, and our decision to base it on the iPhone platform first.
Our next task was to assemble a team to do this. Since we had decided to outsource the development work, we had to find a group that was qualified to help us. Before we began we enumerated four key criteria that we would use in evaluating a team. The criteria were:
1. Experience on the iPhone platform. Given the aggressive schedule we were working toward, we didn’t have the luxury of bringing a team up to speed on a new platform. Although other mobile experience might be valuable, we felt it key that our development team be already familiar with iPhone (or at least MacOS).
2. Experience with web applications. Given that our application was going to be a hybrid web and iPhone application, we felt it important that the developer be familiar with web development. A bonus would be if the developer was familiar with Ruby on Rails, the platform we based Calliflower upon.
3. Relationship and proximity. Ideally, we would find an experienced developer right here in Ottawa. Integrating our teams would be much easier in that circumstance. However, failing that if we could work with someone we had a prior relationship with, that might also work. The worst case would be to be building a new relationship with a new developer while building for a new platform against a tight deadline.
4. Agile development knowledge. We use agile development methodologies. Our model is a hybrid Scrum / Extreme Programming methodology, and we didn’t want to get locked into a traditional waterfall development cycle.
In August 2008, iPhone development teams were in short supply – very short supply. We eventually narrowed our choices down to three groups – a team in Ottawa, another in California, and a third in Ireland. Each had pro’s and con’s.
* The Ottawa team had no prior iPhone experience, but did have experience with MacOS. They were close by, and had built some web applications.
* The California team were people we had known previously. They were also experienced iPhone developers, but in the games realm – not web based applications like ours.
* The Irish team were experienced Rails developers, and iPhone developers, but far away. We had no prior relationship with them. Click here to read more of Alec's post.

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