How to choose the right software development company and smoothly run the project
You know that you have a great idea for your startup or company’s next product but you aren’t sure if you want and can build your digital product in-house, or outsource development to the software company. This is an important decision to make and if you decide that choosing a software development company as a partner is the best solution, then expand your knowledge on how to be well prepared and as a result, enter the best quality partnership.
Good software begins with client engagement
Choosing the right technology partner is not an easy task to complete, especially if you haven’t cooperated with any outsourcing company before. The good news is that your engagement is one of the most important factors influencing the cooperation which is aimed to deliver the best possible product. Surely, the development team would give the best from them, but you are the person who knows your vision and company best. The more you feel like a full-fledged team member, the better!
What can you and your software house do to design and deliver a tailored product as easily as possible? Read this article and implement the below-listed tips, which we have written based upon our experience in the development industry, and – we assure you! – your next cooperation with a development company would work like a well-oiled machine.
Understand business needs
Before starting to look for a software company, try to understand and define your business needs and based on this, determine your product vision. The more you know about your goal, the better. Think not only about what you want to produce but also for who and why? Pay attention to who is your product’s user. What problems do they deal with? How can your services help them? Defining potential clients and their problem is a crucial starting aspect you have to think of.
Furthermore, writing those ideas on a piece of paper or maybe even a well-structured document would make your product more thought-out.
Knowing your audience helps you define the business value of the product and keep it in my mind through the whole product development process. This is also very important when you think of the budget to spend. You will need to have money for the key features that will be the core of your digital solution and bring value to the user. Therefore, before you start to choose a software development company, it’s very helpful to define:
- Your financial resources,
- What elements of the product are must-haves and bring the business value.
How to choose the right software development company for your needs
If you know your goal and business value to create, the only thing you need to do is to choose a software development partner. It is one task but very challenging and time-consuming. However, it is definitely worth all the effort to put into it.
Begin your exploration with the online search
Software development companies should have a strong online presence and your task is to conduct good research. Don’t be overwhelmed with how wide and technical the market is and take your time to analyze the offers, price, and technical aspects. How can you start?
- Check out Clutch.co or other platforms for B2B purchasing. You will find there the most ranked (client’s feedback) software development companies.
- Go through the company’s website, you should find reviews, case studies and learn more about the clients, technologies, and development methodology. You should have an impression that the way software development company works, fits your goals and product.
- Make a shortlist with pre-selected candidates.
- Make an appointment with potential companies and talk a little about your product and see if they catch your idea.
- Evaluate the service cost estimations you get.
- Speak with the best and go through the process steps, technology but also the way of working methodology.
- Make a decision.
What to take into account to decide best?
The steps to take to choose a good software development company are clear and easy to follow, especially when evaluating reviews or comparing the company’s previous projects to the one you want to run. The situation becomes complicated when other factors have to be taken into account, such as the chemistry between partners, the way of communication, or even the pricing model, which is also not the easiest to choose. These are more subjective qualities, however, equally important to finding a company to cooperate with.
Find a development company with a right culture fit
When you decide on cooperation with a software development company, not only code, technological solutions, and years of experience are important but also the right cultural adjustment. You will spend a few months with a new team so trying to make the best culture fit is not less important than their hard skills or even reviews. Pay attention to easy and high-quality dialog between you and your potential software development company. Try to feel the level of their engagement and willingness to contact, but also consider the questions they ask. Does your new project partner ask about potential problems or do you already have any suggestions for the project? In this type of market research all details matter.
Choose the right pricing model for the project
When deciding on what terms you will settle with the software development company, it is worth asking a question: are you experienced in creating similar digital products? If you are not, the fixed price model is not the best fit. Why? If your project scope is not well defined, and you don’t have built user journey maps or stories, prepared UX specifications and mockups for the project, that means the project’s scope is not determined and can change in time. For that reason, the software development company will secure themself with additional costs, added to the price, due to unknown exact project’s scope. The time & material model, in turn, will allow you to pay less and is better to use for most projects.
What about the technology stack?
Talk about the technology event you don’t understand its technicalities. Ask questions about the business value and how the specific technology can make it happen. The experienced software developers will be able to explain what the technology stack can be used for and clarify your doubts. Choosing the right technology is the software development company’s obligation and there is no doubt about it. However, you as a business owner should understand the reasons behind the choice, and make sure your product will be delivered using the best-suited technology.
At Software Things, we are a true advocates of JAMstack technology. We have developed many successful websites that presents great design and possibility scale up. If you are interested in learning more about the Jamstack technology, check out the article we wrote about it.
The methodology that supports business value
The methodologies vary, and thankfully you don’t have to know them all, but it is good to be up to date with the one which is defined as the best one to bring the value. Why? Your product’s success is about bringing value to your audience. The Agile methodology should be a standard for software development companies because it supports delivering high-quality valuable products.
Agile is about delivering products in iterations with continuous customer feedback and the possibility to make adjustments due to changing requirements. You don’t have to worry if you are not experienced with Agile, the software company you will work with will surely help you start your journey with Agile methodology.
However, there is no rule that Agile is a must to deliver a successful product. Projects vary, the requirements and context also, so the experienced development company easily advises you what way of working is best for your product. The flexibility of your software partner in terms of project management methodology is a must.
You know your business – participate in a process
Let’s assume that you have chosen the right software development partner. From now on to the end of the project you are no anymore the purchaser and the contractor. You and your tech partner form the team with a common, future goal.
Make sure that the product manager or product owner (hired in your software development company) takes care that everyone knows what their role and responsibilities are. The tech team should understand the product’s vision and how your company works. Knowing this helps to see the bigger picture which is important in delivering digital products.
Here again, Agile and its principles come to the rescue. While working in Agile, the client has a chance to stay in contact with the team and share what is the most important. If the development team understands the value the work has to bring, it’s easier to identify with it and that makes people more engaged in the project.
Being engaged in the development, is also a possibility to have full insight into the process and its current state, which is critical for thoughtful decisions making. Moreover, as a person who knows your customers and your product best, you are the source of great knowledge which your software development company needs.
A success story is about good communication skills
One of the most important parts of successful cooperation is to take care of smooth and regular communication. Open dialog helps to avoid misunderstandings and delays, so the whole process of product development can move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Ask your outsourcing partner about the communication management tools they use and stay in touch with them. The integration of your needs and their way of working and technologies will be the key to success. The only way these factors can meet is through open and honest communication.
Determine together when and how often you will meet and what you require to be regularly informed about. Remember that the rules to work well and fulfill their functions must be understandable but also possible to implement by both parties.
Again, the Agile methodology helps in the communication aspect as well. The methodology takes care of continuous communication and feedback, so the whole project is easier to run.
List what must be defined
Last, but not least. Your project should be well structured. You need to know the phases of the product delivery so you will be aware of how complex the process is and how to manage it. Knowing the steps in the process allows you to prepare for them.
Let’s inspire each other
Running a successful product might be the same as owning a football team. You might hire top players, best coaches, and advisers but you can also inspire them to make outstanding results. Don’t be afraid to do so, and become a client who is “spiritus movens” of successful project development.
Choosing the right software company is not an easy task to perform. It takes time to conduct good research, and later to talk with people, ask questions. Deciding on cooperating with a software house is an important decision to make, and good preparation can only help to choose wisely.
At Software Things we understand the clients’ need of asking questions, having a discussion regarding our way of working. We understand this because a good partnership creates good products.
For us having a satisfying business relationship with a client is also an important aspect. Therefore, we like to talk with our future clients to learn about their needs and prove with our expertise that we can meet them. It’s easy to contact us, so if you look for the right software development company, we are here.
Check also our company portfolio on Clutch
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