Custom software can help your business in many ways. It can improve efficiency, make customer service more responsive and personalized, and increase sales revenues. The first key to a successful custom software project is picking the right team of developers, like the experts at BairesDev.
While there isn’t necessarily one best custom software company out there, there is definitely one that’s best for your business needs. But so many software development companies are on the market that trying to choose one can be overwhelming.
You want to find not just a service provider but a true business partner. Ideally, the software development team you hire will become an extension of your business and help you solve problems long-term with the right custom software and support. The suggestions presented here can help you find that partner.
Know What You’re Looking For
Start your search for the right custom software developers by getting very clear on your specific needs, as it’s the project requirements that will guide your choice. Have a thorough understanding of what you want to create and be able to communicate it clearly before you begin researching software developers.
Next, make a list of the problems you want to solve and the outcome you want to achieve. Identify challenges facing your business and what you’d like to be able to do that you can’t do now. You may find it useful to think about where you want your business to be in the next 5 years and how custom software can help you get there.
Give some thought to the characteristics you want in a developer, including must-haves (such as fluency in your language) and nice-to-haves (such as being in the same time zone to facilitate real-time collaboration). The custom software developers you pick should contribute to your business success beyond software development.
Ask for Referrals
If you know companies like yours who’ve used custom software developers, ask them for recommendations including what they like and dislike about the firm they worked with. These personal referrals are a great source of honest feedback from people you know and trust and can help you narrow down your selection. When obtaining referrals, be sure to ask:
- Did the company deliver projects consistently and on time?
- Do you trust the company to do more work for your business in the future?
- Did the software products help you meet your business needs?
- Did the developers understand your goals and were they able to convert them into applications?
Customer testimonials and client reviews are an additional source of referrals. You can find them on company websites or centralized review sites such as Clutch and Glassdoor, or ask for them from potential vendors when you reach the interview stage.
Do Your Research
Start your search by checking out the websites of various custom software developers, keeping in mind the must-haves and nice-to-haves you identified earlier. From this source, determine basic information, including the number of years in business, company size, and financial stability. Also, check out company blog posts that share technical and business knowledge. You should also research the following aspects to help identify your top candidates:
Portfolios and case studies
Learn about the type of software applications companies have created by looking through portfolios that describe previous products and the specific technologies used to create them. Many companies that have an extensive portfolio have developed a reliable methodology to achieve success, including strategies to address typical challenges that can arise during development.
Check out the deliverables from past projects to determine if they meet your standards. You can also identify which companies have created projects for your industry.
Project management methodologies
The vendor’s project management approach should fit well with the way your business works. The following video describes several ways to manage projects, including Waterfall, Agile, Adaptive project framework, Scrum, Lean, and Kanban, to help you identify the most appropriate ones for your software projects:
Investigate the ethical practices of companies you’re considering. Make sure they’ll take steps to protect your interests and intellectual property. Check feedback review sites to find out whether they offer continuous training programs to keep their developers current on the latest skills and technologies. Look at customer reviews to ensure potential vendors take accountability for the quality of their work.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, through referrals and research, it’s time to schedule phone calls with your shortlist. These conversations are your chance to ask detailed questions, assess communication skills, and determine whether teams seem to understand your project goals. Some companies offer a free consultation, or even a trial job, to allow you to assess developers in action. Consider including the following interview questions:
- What projects have you completed that are similar to mine?
- Do you have the specific skills and expertise needed to complete this project?
- What security measures do you use to protect sensitive data, proprietary information, and intellectual property?
- What timeline do you propose, and have you included sufficient time for debugging and employee training?
- What is your track record with on-time delivery?
- What opportunities will we have to ask questions and give feedback as the team develops the software?
- Can we have references from previous clients?
Clarify the Fine Print
Once you’ve made your choice, the final step is to agree on a contract. Before you sign any deal, negotiate pricing and payment terms and conditions, as you don’t want to end up with unexpected charges once the project is underway. Make sure the contract covers details like:
- Specific services the developer will provide.
- Timelines and deadlines.
- How and when progress updates will occur.
- Length of collaboration.
- Termination terms.
- An ownership clause giving you full rights to the custom software products.
Make sure you understand the ongoing support the vendor will provide for the products they create. Get a written commitment of the terms of after-development support, as software typically needs updates, bug fixes, and other improvements over time. Determine what training they offer on how to use the new software and incorporate it into your business functions.
Choose the Right Custom Software Developer for You
Custom software can help propel your business forward but, to ensure success, you should choose the best software developers for your specific needs. If you plan sufficiently first, identify project requirements, carefully research potential developers, and clarify contract details, you’re likely to find valuable partners who become long-term assets in the growth and development of your business.