When you choose a custom software development company for your project, you’re not simply entering a business arrangement. If you’ve worked with one in the past, then you know it’s more like a partnership. For it to be a good fit for both, you have to communicate clearly, understand each other, know each other’s goals, and tackle challenges well together. And, similar to partnerships, sometimes it’s easy to be enamored at first sight and choose the wrong developer.
What exactly should a company look for in a custom software development company? Obviously, the developers’ skills and experience must be in line with your needs. Certainly, the development team must be agile and able to work with your assets and internal team. A portfolio of past successful and similar projects is non-negotiable.
Beyond the surface, the right custom software development company:
Should Fully Understand and Accept Your Budget
This should be one of the first orders of business when you’re choosing a custom software development company. Make sure their team can carry out your vision for the project within the budget you have set. Budget for everything, add a cushion to that, discuss all expenses with the development company, and get a contract.
Should Realize the Scope of the Project
Do you plan your project to take half a year to develop? A year? Two years? Different software development companies specialize in different project sizes. For example, some only concentrate on large projects such as multi-enterprise solutions, which wouldn’t be a good fit for a smaller company or a startup. Determine your project size and find a company that specializes in projects of the size you need.
Should be Available and Helpful
A good custom software development company should be available when you need them and should be more than happy to speak or meet with you as needed. When it comes to a good custom software developer, time zones shouldn’t stand in the way of meetings or progress. Communications, expertise, and constant support are vital to developing, implementing and using the software to grow your business — and when you choose a custom software development company instead of an “off the shelf” software, one of the biggest perks is the close support.
Should be Able to Stretch and Grow with Your Company
Custom software should be able to be continually enhanced to meet your changing and expanding needs, but without doing it so abruptly that its users are forced to suddenly change what they’ve grown used to. As you catch rough edges of your program that need to be refined, the software developer should be able to accommodate you. They should also be able to handle growth and user demand. There are plenty of reasons why the requirements of your project could change once the development is already underway, and your custom software developer should be able to handle those changes in a flexible and responsive way.
Should Work with Your Deadlines
Right up front, solid deadlines should be determined and agreed upon. Not only deadlines but check-ins and progress reports. This goes hand-in-hand with agile software development and is a critical component of keeping everyone on the same page. Unfortunately, 37% of IT projects are at risk of failure each year due to the inability to meet the delivery schedule. Making sure that everyone agrees to a realistic deadline is very important when bringing a custom software development company on board your project.
Should Adhere to Agile Software Development
Agile software development is vital to building and sustaining business growth. It includes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. The custom software development company you choose should be in line with this philosophy.
Should Provide Post-Development Assistance
It’s likely that, over time, the custom software may have glitches or bugs. A good custom software developer will provide support for these issues even after your project is completed.
If you’ve decided that “off the shelf” software development won’t do for your project and the right direction is a custom software development company, don’t waste time, money, and energy on just any developer. Give careful consideration to choosing a company that will best match your specific project.