In a market where off-the-shelf software systems can be found for any imaginable niche, do you still need to hire specialised software development companies to create bespoke software?
The fact is, one-size-fits-all software packages mean one thing – compromise. In other words, you will get some features you don’t need, some features won’t work exactly how you need them to, and there will be features you need which the software doesn’t have.
Therefore, the best approach is often to hire a software development company to create a bespoke, scalable software solution that will fit all your needs, both now and in the future.
Once you reach this conclusion, the next step is to find a reliable software development company to work on your project.
Here are some tips to ensure you make the right choice.
#1: Shortlist the Best Candidates
To narrow down the list of software development companies, consider these criteria:
- Geographic location – do you want a local team or are you comfortable working with a remote team? Before deciding on a remote team, consider time zone and cultural differences. This is particularly important for effective communication. After all, it’s very different working with US or European developers than it is working with Australian or New Zealand developers simply because of the time differences involved.
- Level of experience – experience is crucial in software development. After all, you don’t want the developers to be learning on the job, i.e. learning at your expense.
- Technology stack – not all development platforms, approaches, or languages are a good fit for a project. Knowing what you want and the best way to achieve this will help you narrow down your options to software development companies that have the right skills.
- Check out reviews and testimonials – this is not the stage for a thorough background check, but you should read reviews, testimonials, case studies, and any other information you can get on past projects or clients.
#2: Meet the Developers
Once you have your shortlist, it’s time to get in contact with each of them. This is the only way you can determine if your future business partner has the capabilities you need.
Ideally, you should meet the people who will be actually working on your project, rather than simply the sales and marketing people. This will help you get an understanding of their technical capabilities, their experience, and whether they understand your business.
Plus, it’s also important you like them, as you will have to work with them closely.
In practical terms, a good software development team will be able to outline the proposed functionality and flow of the software, based on your initial idea. They should also be able to provide advice and recommendations on how the software can be improved – or how it can be developed within your budget.
Finally, it also helps if they have certifications from any of the big names in the tech industry such as Google or Microsoft.
#3: Choose a Company that Follows the Agile Methodology
It’s important to understand that a development project rarely remains the same from start to finish. As you move on with the features, you may have new demands, or the team may recommend a different approach. Regardless, the final product will be different than what you initially had in mind – this is more common than you think.
Therefore, the software development team you choose should be capable of integrating your business’s future growth into the project without getting into a negotiation for every new change.
This is why we recommend selecting a company that follows the Agile methodology. It is also important to get a company who bases their work on open cooperation. According to the Agile methodology, a project can easily evolve through the collaborative effort of several teams. It is also a methodology that offers the project owner more control over the management of the project.
Put plainly, this is the only way to make sure the resulting software product delivers according to your requirements.
#4: Set a Budget
In an ideal world, budgets should not influence your decision. However, in the real world, you must be aware of your financial limitations. Setting a budget will let you know who you can afford, what you can afford, and where to make compromises.
One important point, however, is you should never go with the cheapest company. Skimping on quality usually means the final product will cost more than it would have with a more expensive developer. In other words, going for the cheapest option is a false economy.
#5: Test for Transparency and Communication
A professional software development company is a lot more than a team of programmers ready to start coding. The company should also have project managers who know how to communicate openly and transparently. This ensures you are always kept in the loop, so you know what is going on.
Furthermore, a project manager should establish priorities, monitor the quality of work produced, set deadlines, and control the entire process. He/she will also often be the intermediary between you and the development team, so they must have a thorough understanding of your requirements.
If you select a remote software development company, make sure they have suitable means of communication (phone, email, VoIP tools, and more). Ideally, though, we’d recommend choosing a team in the same location as you, so you can have meetings and brainstorming sessions without sacrificing your free time.
Of course, there are many other features to consider in your search for the best software development company. Regardless, the ones mentioned above are crucial and will give you a good foundation for a successful search.
If you can tick all these checkboxes, you can be sure the company will go above and beyond to create the best bespoke software solution for your needs. They will also do their best to create a product that improves your business processes to make it easier for you to grow.