25 June 2016
4 Things To Know When Hiring A Custom Software Development Company
If you’re considering hiring a custom software development company for your application concept, it can seem daunting. You’re approaching a very complicated process that requires considerable investment in time and money. You’re probably asking these questions:
How will this fit in my budget?
What about my interests, are they being protected?
How do I know the company I’m hiring is the most capable?
It can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Arm yourself with these 4 pointers and you’ll be well on your way to a successful project.
1) Understanding YOUR INDUSTRY
Each industry presents unique challenges. They each have their own audience and that audience has it’s own needs. If the software development company is exploring this space for the first time, they’ll require extra time for research and learning. It may seem trivial, but if this step is skipped then assumptions may be made that lead down the wrong path – that means wasted investment.
A team who understands the target market or business can better create solutions to address the problems that audience faces. Users will often complain “this is confusing”, but not explain (or even understand) why that item is “confusing”. The reason why something is confusing can be vastly different depending on what that user was expecting to have happen. This expectation is informed by their job role, which is then informed by their industry.
These things can be learned, but if the software development team is unwilling or unable to put in the necessary time for research, then that could lead to inefficiencies.
2) EXPERIENCE WITH THIS KIND OF SCOPE
Not every company can launch a nationwide mobile application and handle the scale of thousands of users signing on within minutes. Not every company can develop a hyper-focused application that will only service a handful of people. Large or small, all projects present their challenges:
Do they have the bandwidth to handle this project?
Are there tools and processes in place for managing a code structure this size?
Was there a documented planning and research phases in the beginning?
Is their development process robust or lean enough to fit within your budget and timeline?
Have they done a beta test and launch at this scale?
Can they support this software after it’s live when it’s being used by all of your prospective users?
These may seem like daunting questions to ask, but they’re just as true for the smallest project to the largest.
3) “INDUSTRY STANDARD” IS STANDARD FOR A REASON
When I was in college we had a phrase in my aerospace engineering class: Building a rocket is easy. Building all of the things you need to build the rocket – that’s the hard part.
When building your application you need to make sure they’re using the proper tools.
Do they use version control on their code?
Do they have a Q/A process you’re a part of?
How do you create an issue for the team to look into?
Another reason for doing this is to see how they communicate this information to you. Software development is highly specialized and technical. By having the team explain their process to you, it’ll show if they can explain complex issues in a manner that you’ll understand and relate to. Do they make you feel at ease? Do they talk down to you or brush off the question?
4) COMMUNICATION IS MORE THAN A KEY, IT’S THE FUEL
The way we work at Stickboy®, after we’re contracted with a client the first task is always to schedule the Weekly Update Meeting. This is a standing meeting between us and our client to ensure that proper communication is flowing back and forth. It’s easy for a meeting to get pushed a few days here and there – and before you know it, it’s almost become routine.
Having the meeting each week ensures not only proper communication, but also accountability for both us and the client. Making sure milestones are met is much easier when you have a standing appointment each week to check on progress. Clients know that if we need something by the next meeting, they’ll need to make sure it happens or it could be delayed. Plus clients like the peace of mind knowing that they’ll be getting weekly updates on progress to ensure the project is going in a good direction.
On top of this is the communication outside these meetings:
Do you have immediate and ready access to someone who can answer technical questions?
How quick is the turnaround on a response?
How satisfactory is that response?
With any questions or issues that may arise with the application, you want to ensure that your concerns are addressed as close to the dev team as possible. It may not seem like a big deal in the age of text, email, Snapchat, Facebook, etc – but effective communication is always an issue.
Custom software is a partnership. You’re counting on your development team to have the technical background, solid processes, experience, and good communication skills to see the project through. If you’re planning to start up with your software development project, let us know your major concerns and get free expert advice.