If you have never previously outsourced software development how can you be sure that a developer will be able to deliver a software product that meets all your business needs?
In this short guide, we will highlight the technical due diligence that you need to undertake to choose the right software development company to increase the chance of your software solution being of success.
Even if a software company excels in programming, it does not mean that it has the strong sense of business needed to understand the needs of your firm.
For you, as a business, it is vital to engage a software company that can develop custom software which integrates into your business, allowing your firm to reach its proposed business goals.
Furthermore, if you can select a software developer with solid business skills and experience in developing solutions in a similar sector to your own it already minimises the risk of engaging a company poorly qualified to meet your needs.
Undertake investigative work on a software development company and see if they have experience building the type of software solution or app that you require. If they have a portfolio of projects on their website, you should spend time browsing through them focusing on the following areas:
If there is not much information available or you would like to learn more, there are two further avenues for you:
You can ask the software developer for references. Good developers will be pleased to provide direct access to past clients so that you can confirm with them the developer’s ability and their satisfaction with the development process and the finished product.
By undertaking background research will help ensure that the developer you choose will have the skills to deliver your project successfully.
If you can see one on the developer’s website, consider downloading an info-pack. Or if not available as a download, ask for them to send you it to you. It will provide a more comprehensive overview of their offering.
When looking for a software development company, the cheapest quote is highly unlikely to be the best. Carefully consider these four points:
As part of your ongoing technical due diligence when looking for a software development company, rather than focusing on cost, it is better to consider trust and integrity. These are essential attributes for a software developer and will minimise having rough edges to deal with once a product is complete.
Do not consider a fixed pricing model unless you have previous experience working with software developers on projects. Software companies will often add on at least 25% to cover the risk of taking on a project, especially if they are unsure of the exact scope of the project.
A time and material-based pricing model is better. It means that you can continuously adapt to changing business needs. You do not need to renegotiate a contract if a feature was not included in the scope. The scope adjusts on the T + M pricing model.
The priorities are also aligned with the client as the development team wants to deliver the highest quality product. Under the fixed-price model, the software company will tend to maximise its margin, building the software solution at the lowest cost.
It is essential to select a developer that uses the Agile development methodology. The agile model is a framework which provides a consistent flow of work from the developer to the client throughout the project.
The best companies employ Agile methodology, knowing that only through full client co-operation is it possible to deliver a software solution that will fully meet the expectations and needs of the client.
The regular product workflow is in the form of a series of sprints throughout the project, which typically lasts two weeks. It allows the client to provide ongoing feedback leading to informed decisions about the end-user.
Sprints also speed up the development process as developers are under pressure to deliver results every two weeks to meet the targets laid out at the beginning of the sprint.
Communication is vital when working with a software developer, and you should experience high-level communication right from the start. Interaction with a robust software company should feel like an extension of your firm; they will be accessible daily for all your needs and through a shared communication channel like Slack you have access to the entirety of the project-related communication.
A proficient developer should always be looking to set up review meetings to continually enhance the development process and make sure they understand your ongoing expectations throughout the project.
A good software development company should have a dedicated project manager who serves as a link between the client and the development team. As the vital point of contact, they will be handling any problems that you may have. Larger development companies will also have a business analyst as part of the development team whose job is to dedicate time to the project scope to ensure that the software will deliver on your business goals.
Finally, make sure that the developer is using planning and progress monitoring tools such as Trello. Such tools make sure everyone is kept up to date on developments throughout every stage of project development.
Even a software development company working at the highest level will struggle to build entirely bug-free software. Robust testing is a crucial part of the development process before a product deploys.
Testing allows a developer to identify errors quickly and make changes to the code to eliminate them. By testing throughout development not only ensures that your software is finished on schedule but reduces the risk of bugs appearing following deployment.
You should also ask if your chosen software company employs Quality Assurance. The QA team not only catches and describes bugs but also makes sure all new features and stories are told in an easily understandable way. They help the project move forward smoothly, keeping both the development team and client confident with progress.
One of the key elements of software development is security, not only during the development phase of your project but also once your software has deployed.
A proficient Developer will be able to tell you:
Once a product has been deployed, you need to make sure that the developer behind the software will provide post-deployment maintenance. As the developers of your software, they are likely to know your product inside out; rather than employing the services of another developer to maintain and support the software.
The success of your application or software relates directly to the company that is developing it. Choosing the right software development company at the outset is crucial to achieving business goals and ensuring your end users get a glitch-free, highly usable piece of technology. Furthermore, when you are looking to engage a software development company, you should consider the relationship not only as part of your current but also your future needs.