Product Development Advice from Screaming Box

by | May 1, 2020

What if you could stick your head in a box and scream out all your problems, and once you pulled your head out, all your problems were gone? Based on that ideal, ScreamingBox was founded.

Outsourced development companies often use middle- or junior-level developers. They’re affordable, but they’re not as good at advanced problem solving and development architecture as senior-level developers. When we started ScreamingBox seven years ago, we decided that we were going to focus on having senior-level developers who are great problem-solvers with lots of experience. This focus on top-quality developers who provide high-end solutions differentiates us from other development companies and keeps our developers satisfied with interesting projects.

We have over 150 developers in our pool, of which, between 60 and 70 are busy at any given point in time. We handle the full spectrum of digital development, including hardware, firmware and software. Our deep pool of developers allows us to work on all tech stacks and applications including UX/UI, web, mobile, QA, data science, AI and digital marketing. We’ve even had some clients who found our development contributions so significant that they included our developers on patents of their products.

Since we focus on advanced development projects, potential clients may not be a good fit for us if they’re working on a relatively simple or straightforward project. On the other hand, companies that need innovative and technically-leading development see our $60 to $80/hr development rate as a great value for a senior/architect level developer with ten or fifteen years of experience. Companies give their problems to us, and we find solutions. That’s the root of our business.

One of our clients, a large company in a service industry, was struggling with the first version of their app. They came to us for bandwidth, architecture and problem solving. Our first developer was able to solve problems that their in-house team had been struggling with for months. They realized that we supply solutions, not just balance.

We now have 14+ people on that project, and act as their main development team, integrating directly with their internal marketing, sales, management and operations. We’re their tech backbone—CTO, project management, and development. For our clients, we are their ScreamingBox.

From our experience working with developers, I’ve compiled tactical advice, both for developers and the companies looking to hire them:

Advice for developers

Having placed hundreds of developers with companies, we’ve learned two key pieces of advice:
  1. Every company needs product development help (even those that say they don’t)
  2. Be upfront with your limitations

1. Every company needs product development help
Several years ago, many first-tier auto manufacturers announced that they were setting-up development offices in Silicon Valley and would mostly hire on-site employees in-house. Since then, they’ve actually grown their number of contractors. They couldn’t find enough senior people willing to fill all the development positions. Even though they are some of the world’s oldest and biggest big brands, they’re not as appealing to many developers as Silicon Valley tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook.

Today, Mercedes-Benz uses ScreamingBox (we are a MB-approved vendor) for UX development as well as other projects. It’s hard to find senior-level UX developers, and even tougher to bring them in-house, so when a company realizes we have top-quality senior developers, they want access. This UX work is completely different from our previous iOS and Android projects for auto manufactures, but our senior UX team was able to learn the auto requirements very quickly due to their experience level. This relationship works, however, because they see us as problem solvers, not developers.

2. Be upfront with your limitations
Top quality developers can have idiosyncrasies. To set clear expectations, we tell our clients the limitations of each developer up-front.

One of our top developers keeps an odd schedule. He lives in Europe and works/lives on USA West Coast time. He also has physical issues that prevent him from going out of his house. That said, he does great work, and that’s all that matters. He’s happy with the work and we’re happy to have him.

If you do high-quality work, companies will work around your requirements, but they’d rather know sooner than be disappointed later.

Advice for companies that hire outsourced developers

After working with so many companies, we’ve pieced together three bits of advice for those looking to outsource product development:
  1. Know your level of technical expertise (and act accordingly)
  2. Recognize the importance of a product developer’s lifestyle
  3. Balance your team’s personalities

1. Know your level of technical expertise (and act accordingly)
ScreamingBox has worked with clients at all levels of technical knowledge. The level of technical expertise doesn’t matter, but self-awareness of their position does.

If a client has technical expertise, workflow is the most important element. Who does the developer report to, and how are they being managed? Once that’s figured out, it’s much easier to communicate expectations and work requirements.

On the other hand, if a client has no technical expertise, they should have the developer dissect and describe the code that the company already has. Is it clean? Can the developer figure out what’s already been done? How can the developer improve on it? Non-technical clients often don’t understand their reality, so this sort of code review aligns everybody on what’s needed for the task. It also helps the client understand their position in the product development lifecycle.

2. Recognize the importance of a product developer’s lifestyle
Top-quality developers know they can earn enough money. What matters to them, instead, is lifestyle.

One of our top UX developers is constantly moving around the world from resort to resort. His girlfriend is a top-level yoga instructor, so he sits by the pool and works while she’s teaching. He doesn’t want to work 40 hours a week, but he’s happy doing 20 or 30 high-quality hours to enable his work-life balance.

There’s a business benefit to providing developers with work-life balance, and there’s also the human side. On the human side, happy people do great work. On the business side, great work is profitable. Giving our developers the lifestyle that makes them happy is more than offset by the profit we make from clients who are happy with their work.

3. Balance your personalities
There are two aspects to a good fit between a person and a company: personality and culture.

We use the ScreamingBox Predictive Behavior Assessment (SBPBA) for all our developers and clients during team selection. SBPBA includes our own personality and cultural analysis through interviews, Q&As and personality testing. It analyzes how our developers and clients communicate, their work style, how they like to present and receive work, and their introvert/extrovert tendencies. From this detailed personality profile, we can organize the teams to avoid conflicts from different work, personality or communication styles.

A detail-oriented client may want highly creative developers. Highly creative developers, however, are typically not detail-oriented. When building that team, we would make sure that the main person interfacing with the client has a personality in the middle, so they can communicate with both groups.

On the culture side, we have developers from all over the world. We’ve found that each country’s developers have their own common traits due to the local education systems and culture.

For example:
  • Our Ukrainian developers have a very high technical level, but they tend to need more detailed instructions and development guidelines.
  • Our Hungarian and Polish developers are typically great problem solvers that thrive off of challenges, are very creative and like a lot of flexibility.
  • Our Romanian and Macedonian developers have a very high level of communication skills and technical understanding.
  • Our Maltese developers are very professional and want something fulfilling, so they’re a good fit for startups and SMB companies.
  • Our South American developers line up their time zone with the U.S., so we use them with West Coast clients.
By recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of different cultures, we can form multinational teams that complement each other and the client, creating a strong team that produces the highest quality development in the shortest possible time.


Many companies prioritize bringing on developers in-house. When you can hire top-quality, experienced senior level developers for reasonable rates, however, we don’t see the point.

Instead, customers come to us and release all their digital product development problems. We solve them. That’s the ideal ScreamingBox.

Do you have product development problems to scream about? Contact ScreamingBox.

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