Choosing your Development Partner

Sept. 10, 2020 |  Categories:  blog  

The process of selecting a software development company to help in a project is one that shouldn't be rushed; it takes patience and is a decision that can have negative ramifications if the wrong decision is made. There are lots of things to consider when choosing a software development partner and this article will give you some food for thought that will help in your decision.
Partner with the company that understands you
The client - vendor partnership is the most crucial part to get right in any project. There are many talented development companies out there who could make your dreams reality but you need to select a partner who understands your business and will be a good fit. Communication and an understanding of each other is vital. Transparent communication helps both sides work in sync. You need a partner that fully understands the project and while you may want to outsource the software development project to a "yes-man," avoid doing that at all costs. An ideal development partner is the one who knows when to say no; they should help you prioritise requirements, make you understand the issues from a technical perspective and connect with you as time passes by.
There are a lot of development companies who are very tech heavy and lack the customer success element that is vital in maintaining communication channels which will make or break your project. Project management on the vendor side is a key element in ensuring that the project is delivered on time and budget.
Also, it is important that the development partner understands the challenges that come as a project progresses. They should help you prioritise requirements, make you understand the issues from a technical perspective and connect with you as time passes by.
What is their experience?
It is very important to research your potential development partners previous experience prior to engaging with them. This is because they will (hopefully) have working knowledge of the problem they're going to solve for you which will speed things up and ultimately mean that the end result is a good one. Look for a partner that is willing to provide references from previous clients - its a sign that they are willing to stand by their work and let someone else do the talking for them, if your potential partner is reluctant to offer details of previous projects and contact details for those involved from the client side, alarm bells should ring. It's better to thoroughly research who you’re working with than be surprised later!
Every agency today has a skill set they’ve honed in. You'd rather work with a company that owns their shortcomings and focuses on their expertise than one that's bending the truth in hopes of gaining a few extra customers.
Identify the technology that can be used to develop your software, and seek developers with a proven knowledge base in that area.
Know what you want
Without stating the obvious too much, its important to know what you are hoping to achieve from the project. You are the basic key to your project’s success. Knowing what you want is an essential factor in not only selecting the right software developer, but also helping your business succeed. Identify your business needs, prepare an outline, discuss it with your internal stakeholders, evaluate the issues and form solutions. This crucial aspect plays a major role in your software development life cycle. If you want the best, know what you need. Having a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve will definitely help you select the right partner as you will be able to get specific and ask the right questions when you conduct your beauty parade of potential vendors.
How much can the developer handle?
Not every agency undertakes projects of all sizes. Aim for an agency suitable to your needs. Look for small-sized to medium-scaled agencies if your project isn’t at a huge scale, similarly if your project is big, it would make sense to choose a partner who can handle it. Things like the number of developers and testers should be taken into account when making your decision - a small team doesn't have much room to scale up as the deadline approaches.
Its very important to factor in the financial positioning of your potential partner when making your decision; imagine this situation, you’ve signed a contract with a vendor and the project seems to be going well, but right in the middle of the ongoing project the vendor goes bankrupt. You're back to square one, looking for a developer with the ability to turn your project into a reality.
The consequences of the situation described above can be massive. It will not only cause a huge hit to your business's finances but also the growth of your organisation. Hence, it is always advisable to check the financial stability of the agency you’re going to work with.
How much can you spend on the developer?
Your budget will have a bearing on who you can partner with; this is yet another aspect that allows you to trim your list of suitable software development agencies. It is important that the expected ROI of the project is at par or higher than the investment you’re willing to make.
While vendors who quote outside of your budget will rule themselves out of contention, if they tick all of your other boxes I would recommend approaching them and trying to negotiate a better cost - it may not be possible but certainly worth a go!
It has been said that a cheap price comes a cheap product and while this is often the case and some wisdom might suggest discarding the cheapest quotes, I would recommend looking into all proposals and bidding vendors - sometimes a low cost can indicate that the quoting company is looking to get their value from the contract via other means such as a testimonial for a job well done. Examining proposals for hidden costs is also highly critical. Some agencies charge extra for maintenance, document management and so on.
Understand their software development model
Search for an agency that strives for retrospective meetings. Sitting down and discussing how the software developer has previously worked on projects leads to positive results.
Roughly 80 percent of the IT industry works in SCRUM; this agile method ensures daily stand-ups and sprints over project development. Agile development models are highly collaborative and provide quicker results which means agencies with the agile model are flexible enough to adapt to rapid changes in the project.
The maintenance of your software is as important as developing it. Even the smallest software programs require regular maintenance and patches to keep it updated. You will need assistance in the long run. Ensure that your vendor provides after-sales support and helps you maintain your software.
Its important to weigh up all of the above points when deciding on a partner for your development project. At Tuware, we undertake software development projects and have experience working with FTSE100 enterprises including Travis Perkins, Keyline, LaFarge and BSS. Get in touch today to discuss your next project.

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