The process of creation of digital products depends on the choice of the right software provider. Therefore, defining your own preferences, good research and setting your requirements against the services provided should be an inseparable part of the decision-making process. There are a lot of software houses on the market that can boast various achievements. It doesn’t mean, however, that they will be the right partners for developing your product. While making the decision, it is important to specify your own requirements and create a checklist which will help you check the companies’ credibility and fit to your needs.
What to consider before choosing a software house?
The candidates’ achievements are only one of the factors that you should analyze. Most importantly, you need to answer the questions about your project:
- the project’s specifics – do you know what competencies your project requires? Do you need consulting, outsourcing or comprehensively realized project? Does your project call for specific technological and programming solutions? Is a special approach to security matters required, e.g. authorization of mobile payments, user data safety?
- the size of the project – how big is your project, does it require involvement of a bigger team, or a smaller degree of support will do? What fields of competencies will be covered?
- planned budget – how will you finance the project? Will the budget change over time, or is it fixed? Is it financed externally or internally? What’s the upper limit?
- planned timeline – is there a definite deadline? Is the project evaluated by the stakeholders who may stop financing? Are there any events that may condition the product’s launch?
The answers to the questions above will let you determine the desired direction and cross out the first companies that don’t meet our requirements. Setting the needs with the specification of companies that have carried out similar projects or used similar technologies will form a tentative list of candidates who can be further analyzed.
10 crucial aspects of choosing software house
Next, you should focus on the crucial aspects, such as:
- The ways of communicating – developing digital products requires rapid communication: specifying specialist lingo, working together on the best solutions, solving conflicts and eliminating vagueness. Most importantly, you need to be as clear as possible about your expectations: to what degree does the company engage in building the vision of the project? Are the solutions also reviewed from the business perspective? Do you want just a software provider, or a partner who will be able to help you? What are the conversations like: is the company able to clearly explain the tech aspects? Is there mutual understanding, are there any obstacles in communication, and is the culture of organization is appropriate? Does the company use project management tools which it shares with clients (e.g. Trello, Jira)? Does that comply with the way you work?
- Experience and portfolio – has the company done similar projects? What brands do they have in their portfolio? Does the company specialize in creating services for one, or different sectors? What kind of projects in their portfolio are included – UI/UX design, system architecture, applied tech solutions? Does the company post open source code fragments on GitHub?
- Achievements and referrals – can you find positive opinions from clients about the software development company? Check out whether you can find referrals, rankings and rates, and whether the company has awards, certificates and reviews in industry magazines.
- The manner of working and tools in project management– does the company, like most software houses, works with Agile methodology in project management? Or does it use e.g. Waterfall, which is based on performing basic tasks as separate project phases coming after one another? Which methodology suits your project best?
- Understanding of the system architecture, code quality, needed safety measures – does the company pay attention to the aspects connected with system efficiency, usability, quality of applied tech solutions and safety procedures?
- Technologies used and competencies – which languages do the programmers specialize in, does the company work on front-end and back-end as well? Does it produce web and mobile apps, or does it specialize in IoT, CMS? Do you need additional services, e.g. marketing consulting (e.g. in ASO consulting), or are you only about the tech competencies?
- Transparency and thoroughness – you might also want to assess if the pricing document proposed is detailed and accurately specifies the scope work; can the company explain the costs, does the proposal include information about the costs of SLA and making functional changes? It is important information and it needs to be specified at the project’s start.
- People running the project – before the final decision, it is good to know who will be responsible for the project. The first contact between company/software house is the project manager, so it’s worth knowing that person.
- Location – is the company near your location? How will you communicate and which currency will be used? Here you can read our article about why outsource software development to Poland.
- Verification of the cooperation will your project require some pilot cooperation? Can you start such cooperation with the company?
The complexity and scope of questions depend on your requirements. Defining your expected result and the way of achieving it is the departure point of your search. Setting your initial research against your needs you’ll eliminate companies that don’t match your project’s specifics and the requirements related to the process of implementing it. The choice determines the quality of cooperation and its effect, so it’s worth taking good care of this stage and minimize the risk connected with a mismatch.