Choosing a Custom Software Development Company That Delivers: 11 Key Factors To Account For
We discuss 11 key factors to take into account when choosing a custom software development company that delivers, with bonus questions to ask a potential partner.
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Finding the right custom software development company that delivers is a complex challenge. It is like hiring a crew to build your new house. Triple check with whom you will work with over the next few months or years as it has a direct impact on your success or failure. As we know at the heart of every successful organization is a quality custom software solution, therefore we decided to create a guide with key factors on how to choose a custom software development company that delivers.
Key Factors to Take Into Account When Choosing a Custom Software Development Company That Delivers
1. Review Portfolios
Explore the prospective software development company’s previous projects. Picking a company with a proven experience in a specific industry, technology, or type of project can be advantageous as they are familiar with the challenges that can occur during a custom software development life cycle for a specific product or feature. When reviewing portfolios, also consider the size of your project. You’ll notice if any custom software development company prefers working with certain-sized projects.
2. Ask for Recommendations and Check Testimonials
Ask the company for recommendations and look for reviews over the internet, for example in Clutch, Glassdoor, etc. Dig deeper into a local community — ask them about their opinions about the company. Look at LinkedIn and which of your contacts have someone in common with the company — ask them for opinions.
3. Сommunity Engagement
Involvement in both the local and global IT community says a lot about custom software development companies. Here are the signs you’re dealing with a serious player: company’s employees speak at large-scale IT conferences, the company organizes events, workshops, and meet-ups, online webinars, shares open-source tools, writes e-books, guides, blog publications, has certifications and awards.
4. Cultural Fit
Browse through your prospective partners’ websites or a blog and see whether they talk about their company values and mission. Speak with the team asking the “Why” behind the company.
5. Partner Chemistry
Relationship chemistry exists. Once there is chemistry and you are on the same page, this is a clear indication that this company might be a long-term partner.
6. A Partner that Understands the Business
It’s not all about the code and technology behind your product — it’s about the business.
Your development partner should understand that and challenge the new features you develop, help you focus on priorities, advise you from a technical perspective, and connect with you as partners in their network. Do as much as they can to make your business succeed.
7. Employer Brand
The image of a custom software development company on the global and local tech market has a huge influence on how well and fast they can attract tech talent. A business that is looking for a custom software development company wants, first of all, to get rid of the recruitment hassle and split the risk of hiring people.
8. Understand Where the Custom Software Development Company Possesses Expertise
Your development partner needs to be focused. Most software development companies aren’t proficient in every language, you’d rather work with a company that focuses on their expertise than one that hopes of gaining a few extra customers by trying to do what you ask without having a solid experience in it. Search for companies that have a proven knowledge base in your area.
9. Detailed Proposal
Your entire software project should be clearly spelled out in a proposal. It should outline the timeline, the team, the chosen tech stack, the team, etc. You should discuss and cover everything from a statement of work, required materials, and payment terms.
10. The Cheapest Now Can Be the Most Expensive Later
You don’t want to buy the cheapest service, but the most cost-effective. If you focus on spending less money initially, you will normally pay 2-3x times more in the future and in the worst-case scenario — rewrite the app from scratch. It’s like buying products on Ali Express — each time when you buy the cheapest cable, it’s broken after a week or two. The same with buying services. If you choose the cheapest offer, you will ultimately pay more at the end of the project: technological debt, poorly written code, lack of tests, difficulty to work on or maintain, lack of documentation, etc. Also, take into account that sometimes if it seems cheap in the short term, make result expensive in the long term.
11. Transparent Communication
Find a company that puts pressure on transparent communication, constant improvement, and values retrospective meetings. Constantly showing the progress, adding value, and explaining the current status are critical in a healthy long-term relationship.
Cheatsheet: Questions to Ask a Custom Software Development Company
Now, let’s look at the key questions you might ask a customer development company to verify this is a partner you would like to work with because it delivers.
- What is your specialization?
- How do you work? Tell me more about your process/approach?
- How do we communicate during a project to know the PPP (progress, problems)? What collaboration tools do you use during the project?
- What are your values?
- What about the “Why” behind your company?
- Do you do the discovery session?
- What do you expect from us and what should we expect from you during the cooperation?
- How do you try to deliver the product that will match our and our market's expectations?
- Will the developers assigned to my project work on any other project at the same time?
- How do you ensure software quality?
- Do you work on technical documentation?
- Could you provide me profiles of the assigned developers?
- Can I talk to the best-skilled person on your team who would work on our project?
- Tell me how you will solve/build a..? (Tip: Give an example of a tricky part of your app and ask the potential software development partner how they will approach it.)
- Could you share with me your best practices?
- Why are you better than other software houses? What makes you special?
- How easy will it be to scale a team by 1/3/5 developers? How much time do you need?
- What is your pricing model?
- Have you done any project similar to mine, regarding the Industry/Technology/Product Features?
- Could you provide any testimonials/references from your previous clients?
- What do you do for the software development community?
I hope you found this article useful!
Published at DZone with permission of Ekaterina Novoseltseva. See the original article here.
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