These days, software development companies that will take all the different elements of your technology stack and turn them into a successful piece of software are a dime a dozen. There is an overwhelming amount of companies and freelancers who claim that they can successfully complete any software development project at meager rates. When in reality, many cannot, and they just hope to figure it out as they go. This prevalence in the industry makes it a hassle to find that perfect software development partner for your business.
It can be difficult knowing what it is that you should even be looking for while you collect proposals and consider your options. The search can be even more difficult when you are considering using an international outfit. At this point, you probably think that there has to be a way to make this complicated process faster and more effective.
Thankfully, there is, and we are here to help. In this article, we will give you several tips you need to choose the software development firm that is going to provide you with the best value. If you’re ready to make your life a whole lot easier, keep on reading.
Ten Tips For Choosing The Right Software Development Partner
1. Investigate Their Work History
Thankfully with the internet at our fingertips, it is easy to go online and investigate the previous work that each company you collect proposals from has completed in the past. The information you can gather online can give you significant insights into the quality of their work.
The company you choose must have delivered similar projects to the one you’re looking to complete. Doing some research on their past projects can help you determine if your project will be delivered quickly, efficiently, and on-budget. Also, the experience with similar projects allows the software development firm to provide you with high-level suggestions that will make your project run smoother.
You should also see what their portfolio says about what they are proud to highlight. Which projects are they focusing on? Do they include performance metrics? A software development company that doesn’t include performance metrics post-launch may not have the same dedication and attention to detail as one that does, so this is worth looking into.
Finally, you should also be looking into the testimonials of their former clients. Do they include them? Are there reviews on other websites about their work? If previous clients weren’t happy, you probably aren’t going to be satisfied either. It is worthwhile to call some of their past clients to get a first-hand account of their experience working with the team members of the software development firm.
If you think you like a company, but you still have some reservations, it is okay to ask for references. If they refuse or don’t get back to you, then it likely is not an establishment you’re going to want to do business with.
2. Look Into Nearshoring and Offshoring
When you are based in an expensive city, hiring developers in your area is going to come with the same price tag that you yourself would charge. If your project is going to require a lot of hours, this may not be the most budget-friendly option for you.
However, there are plenty of professional software development companies around the globe, and they will be able to provide you with a far less expensive alternative.
However, you will have to be aware that coding styles can vary across cultures and education. If your project is slated for continuous in-house development after launch, this may be more trouble than it is worth. Make sure that you weigh your options and do a cost-benefit analysis.
It is also worth mentioning that data security and privacy practices are not as tight in other countries, and you won’t have many legal outlets if your IP (Intellectual Property) is compromised. If your IP protection is a concern, you are likely better-off developing your software with a company in your country.
3. Compare Value - Not Prices
While your first reaction when looking at your various proposals might be to go with the cheapest option, that isn’t always the best idea. Ensure you look at the value of what each service is offering in conjunction with the price.
When you do this, it does not mean that the most expensive option is the best option. Sometimes, extra services or expertise offered that increase the price is not going to matter to your project in the long run and thereby isn’t worth the money.
On the flip side, going with the cheapest company could cost you much more time and money over the length of the engagement if they don’t do the level of work that you were expecting.
It is also worth remembering that you should look into experience. For instance, an experienced developer who charges more per hour to do the same work as an inexperienced developer isn’t more expensive. How? Well, the veteran developer is going to do it in less time - billing you fewer hours throughout the project and thereby saving you money. You also can assume that the software will have fewer bugs that take time & money to resolve.
Choosing the right value is a fine line, but remember always to keep it top-of-mind and not always go with the cheapest option on paper, as it may not be the most economical option six months from now.
4. Make Sure The Best Developers Are Available
Once you have a specific company in mind, you need to make sure that the developers that are most familiar with the type of project you have are available before you sign on the paperwork. A lot of times, the developers who you want to work on your project aren’t the ones who will be assigned to it. So, make sure you ask to meet with the team that will be responsible for your project beforehand so that you can vet them properly as well.
5. Make Sure You Consider The Whole Team
While we are at it, it is also going to be vital that you meet with the project manager and even the director in charge of your project as well. If the company you want to hire has top-tier developers, but an inexperienced project manager or ego-centric director it can completely derail your plan.
You can also ask questions to get a sense of culture and how likely this team is to succeed. For instance, you can ask about (or look into) turnover rate and employee satisfaction. When using a firm or an agency, you want to make sure that the team stays as consistent as possible during the duration of your project.
Your project manager is also going to be the person that you communicate with the most, so be sure that they are someone you look forward to working with. Nothing is worse than having a project manager who grates on your nerves or isn’t responsive to your questions.
6. Ensure Open Communication Is The Standard
To have a successful working relationship with the company you have chosen to develop your software, you are going to want to make sure that open communication is the standard that they use when working with clients. Clarity on the communication standard will help ensure that you get an end product that meets your criteria.
As we mentioned, you need to have a good working relationship with your PM, but you also want to make sure that they have the tools to keep outstanding items top-of-mind and to manage you as a client as well as their team.
Make sure to ask what project management software and ideologies they are using, as well as what is going to be expected of you communication-wise. If you are emailing them all day and not using a ticketing system, they might not have the levels of project organization in their company that ensures a well-oiled process.
7. Ask Them About Their Project Process
It’s a good idea to ask them about how they start a project and what types of milestones they typically set. If they struggle to answer, it means that they don’t have a process in place. Different methods work for different teams, so this question is more to determine if they have a standardized process at all rather than to evaluate if their process works or not.
8. Question The Scope
Make sure that if your company needs a large piece of software for many end-users, that the company you are choosing has the capacity to create something on that scale, and to create it in such a way that it is easily scalable in the future.
9. Consider The Future
If you have a large project that is going to need updates and maintenance in the future, you are going to want a company that is open to continuing to work with you using the same team.
10. Make Sure That They Test
Last but not least, you are going to want to hire a company that is going to test the software that they are creating for you and deliver something as bug-free as possible. Make sure that you ask about their testing process and what kind of metrics they will be able to provide to you based on those tests.
Hiring a software development partner that can give you the software you need can be a daunting task. However, if you follow these 10 steps and make sure to ask all the right questions, you won’t have a problem finding the one that’s right for you.