Are you concerned about spending time and money walking down a path with the wrong software development company? There are millions of custom software developers worldwide who are vying for your business, and their credentials and work ethic vary dramatically.
Choosing the right provider to complete your project can be a challenge, but it also is essential. By taking a few preliminary steps before outsourcing your software development project, you can proceed confidently.
4 Steps to Take Before Hiring a Software Development Company
1. Define Your Needs
Before you can select the right software development company, you must define your specific needs. The areas of expertise and technological experience vary greatly among companies and their employees. As a first step in your selection process, create a list of specifications for your project. These may include:
- Type of device such as a tablet, smartphone, or desktop
- Interaction capabilities with other systems
- Specialized features
- Specific goals that you need the software to achieve
Many software development companies have a lengthy professional bio that emphasizes the firm’s overall experience and long history. The bio may offer cumulative stats, such as the employees combined years of experience. However, you need to know about the qualifications and experience level of the individual developers who will be working on your project.
During the vetting process, ask about the company's overall standards during the hiring process. Ensure that the individuals who are selected to work on your project have suitable qualifications to complete your project efficiently and to your specifications. Consider inquiring about similar projects that individuals have completed rather than only looking at projects the company as a whole has worked on.
2. Set a Reasonable Budget
The specific rates charged by a software development company are directly related to their expertise level and to the complexity of the projects they work on. However, there is also variation in rates based on geographic area, the company's workload at the time, and other factors. Because of this, cost is not always a function of quality.
The budget that you establish for the project should be aligned with your expectations and needs. When selecting the right software development provider, you may need to request several quotes to determine a realistic budget to set.
Once you understand what your project may cost, determine if you are able to move forward with the project using available funds. If not, do you need to wait until those funds are on-hand before moving forward? Can you raise money by taking out a loan or using other methods? Ensure that you have all capital required to complete the project in its entirety, even if the provider will collect funds incrementally as milestones are reached.
3. Request Multiple Quotes
Connecting with multiple development companies can be time-consuming, but this step is essential when choosing the right provider for your project.
It is best to devote adequate time and energy to select the right developer upfront than to deal with stressful and potentially expensive ramifications down the road.
Identify reputable development companies through extensive online research as well as by requesting referrals from trusted sources. Before requesting a quote, inquire about experience and skills to ensure the company can realistically meet your needs. Pay attention to how responsive, friendly, and forthright the company’s employees are throughout all interactions. And determine if a language barrier exists that could be problematic.
When connecting with multiple providers, it may be easy to confuse the fine details about each experience that you have with various individuals as well as the provider's qualifications, rates, and other relevant factors. Take notes about each provider throughout your vetting process. Ideally, you will connect with and request quotes from at least five reputable providers who have desired qualifications. It is acceptable to connect with providers with rates that are slightly above and below your allocated budget.
4. Narrow Your Options
Through your efforts thus far, you have assembled a detailed list of providers that may be suitable candidates. You also have quotes in-hand from each of them. Now, you must determine which custom software development company is your top pick. To finalize your selection, spend time researching each provider in greater detail. Read online reviews to determine the reputation of the company and its ability to follow through. Ask the provider for a list of references, and reach out directly to the provider’s previous clients to obtain more detailed information when possible.
Take this opportunity to expand on the details that you have already assembled for each provider on your short list. Elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of the company and its specific developers. While cost is understandably a hot button when choosing the right provider, it is equally critical to select a provider that can get the job done to your specifications and in a timely manner.
After taking these four essential steps, you can more easily and thoroughly assess providers on your short list. While choosing the right provider to hire can be challenging and time-consuming, the end result from your efforts will be worthwhile.
Prem Khatri joined Chetu, Inc. in 2008 as Technical Project Manager, becoming Vice President of Operations in 2016. His primary responsibilities are to lead, track, and manage technical teams that create custom software solutions. His background includes software development using C++, Java, and Microsoft technologies. He obtained his MBA with a major in Systems & Marketing from Pune University in India. Prem is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Find him on Twitter @ChetuDevelopers.