Read this Before Hiring a Custom Software Development Company

Are you planning to hire a custom software development company? Do you know where to look for what you need, and more importantly – what to look for?

This guide will help you through some of the major considerations that you should observe while hiring a software development partner.

Read through the entire guide carefully and you will be much better prepared for what lies ahead.

Coding is Important, Communication Even More So!

When you’re looking for a prodigious custom software development company, you should focus on two fundamental aspects: their technical proficiency in programming and their customer service reputation.

What you should consider is whether they will be able to fully match your specifications as well as your company’s real business needs – some of which may not be apparent to the inexperienced eye.

For those organisations deficient in a resource that encompasses a deep, immersive technical inclination who can comprehensively relay the development process in plain English – you may need to look to a software development company that can adeptly help bridge that communication gap.

A proficient custom software development firm will excel at identifying and delivering software solutions most suitable to solve your business problems.

Superstar Programmers – Promising the Earth?

The media often feeds us glorified ideas of what superstar programmers are like: typically characterised as being harshly dogmatic, lacking empathy but exceptionally talented.

You might court the idea of hiring such a resource and benefiting from extraordinary results, however the consensus in the industry is that they are invariably obtrusive to your business goals.

The truth is that for the intended scope, outstanding custom software development companies will likely portray attributes to the contrary; proving to be inquisitive and a keen enforcer of best practices and coding standards, all whilst remaining empathetic to your business needs and challenges.

A truly great software company won’t make ambiguous promises and they will have an established track record of success in delivering products to budget for similar businesses.

Scalability and Stability

Armed with the knowledge you have accrued so far; your next step should be to identify and narrow down your search criteria and begin to shortlist a few promising candidates.

So, what is the best method to quickly identify the right companies?

A great place to start is by favouring mid-sized software firms to maintain project stability. If you choose to consider a smaller firm, you may incur unexpected delays at best due to limited resources amongst many other disadvantages.

At worse, the firm could close if they are not generating enough business leaving you in a vulnerable situation.

At the opposite end of the scale working with a large corporate you might quickly find that their rates are high, the service is not as personalised or their efforts not as extensively dedicated.

By pursuing this middle ground approach, you can drastically reduce the number of candidates with a proven track record in completing projects similar to your own, on time and on budget.

Technical Skills and Exemplary Expertise

Technology is changing at an ever-increasing pace, so most software companies have had exposure to new technological challenges which has enabled them to build new skills as a result.

However, it is advisable to seek a technology agnostic software partner from the outset as they would be best placed to deliver a solution that can truly meet your business objectives without confining you to a technology stack that they feel most comfortable working with.

Each business is unique, and a custom software development company can build on that uniqueness by integrating custom components best fitting the needs of the solution.

The tools development teams would typically have at their disposal consist of NodeJS, PHP, Ruby and Java, across platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Bespoke software development firms must be able to advise you on design and architecture approaches such as; modular service-oriented architecture, domain driven design concepts, and setup integration of cloud solutions such as AWS and Azure.

Typical services that software companies offer range from a multitude of technology platforms and applications, such as web and rostering apps, embedded apps, cloud applications and bespoke database management solutions to name but a few.

Project Management Methodologies, Tools and Accreditations

The software development partner should be well versed in harnessing and utilising industry standard project management methodologies and tools such as Agile and SCRUM. They are amazingly adaptable process frameworks for building software development solutions.

A credible software development company are likely to list partner, quality and compliance certificates across their digital assets. This could include; ISO certifications for compliance and partner status certifications such as Microsoft Gold Partner.

This signifies that their technicians and developers are industry compliant and extensively trained in delivering the solutions you require.

Easy Ways to Assess the Trustworthiness of a Software Company

Once you have narrowed down your search and increased your interest in a few firms, there are some preliminary checks you can conduct to effectively measure their credibility.

It is common practice for software companies to list case studies and testimonials from previous clients across their digital assets.

This is a great place to start the discovery process in your pursuit of hiring a software development partner. Leverage content insights to help inform your opinion and document any points that you want clarified further.

Understanding Your Technological Requirements and Mapping to a Suitable Company

Before you approach a software development company, you need to take some time to delineate what your requirements are as you will need to concisely and clearly express those requirements across.

It will also be useful to have a general idea of the technologies typically used to provide the solutions you’re looking for.

It’s a good idea to be familiar with software standards, processes and best practices as this will help to ensure that negotiations between you and the software development firm are much easier and discussions involving technicalities become less ambiguous to you.

Why You Must Be Specific in Detailing Your Requirements

Whilst it is advantageous for you to acquire knowledge of the different technologies and methodologies that will be required to build your solution. It is vital that you are specific in detailing your company’s requirements.

This will enable the software development company to provide a solution that meets your exact specifications and it will help streamline the entire process. A great software company will also provide valuable guidance in making sure your specifications are accurate.

Draw Up a Bid Proposal (RFP)

The standard procedure for sourcing software development is to send out written bids for a project, also known as a request for proposals (RFPs). This outlines in general terms what role the software development company plays in the project.

Vendors then respond with proposals that provide a plan of how they would fulfil the software needs detailed in the RFP. A thorough RFP will make it easier for prospective vendors to put together a proposal that precisely addresses the development requirements of the customer.

Preparing a RFP can be a time consuming and complicated process. A good way to get a complete RFP is by consulting your internal IT team or use an independent software consultant who specialises in delineating the system requirements.

Budget Considerations:

Your internal IT team or independent software consultant can work alongside you to extrapolate a realistic time frame for completing the project and help you to set a maximum budget for the job which will factor in contingency allowances for instances such as overrunning costs.

They will also equip you with knowledge of what resources should be utilised which will help you greatly in your pursuit of hiring a custom software development company.

Smart Questions to Ask Your Preferred Custom Software Development Company

As you advance forward you will need to be armed with some smart questions which you should post to each supplier you have shortlisted as part of the RFP process.

This will demonstrate to them that you are knowledgeable and understand to varying degrees the nature of the work involved. Doing so may help influence their bid for the project.

Below are some preliminary questions you could pose:
– What are your development capabilities relevant to this project?
– How big are your teams?
– How do you evaluable my company’s current tools and frameworks?
– Will I own the source code?

Asking these kinds of questions can help you evaluate how good a firm is in dealing with customers like you. It will also provide you with some insights into their technical proficiency.

The Importance of a Properly Structured Contract / SLA

The formalised contract and (service-level-agreement) are critical components of the provisioning process. It provides both customer and vendor legal protection whilst ensuring the expectations are clearly delineated.

You should allocate sufficient time towards reviewing the contract, ensuring it covers all your requirements and expectations. The contract must include project scope, cost and any on-going support.

Its ultimate purpose is to instil a congenial relationship between you and the 3rd party company which serves everyone’s best interests.

Hopefully, this guide has provided a useful overview of what lies ahead as you proceed to hire a firm to develop the custom software your company needs.

Keep this advice in mind and you will find the entire process will be much more efficient and streamlined.