7 Things to Look For in a Custom Software Development Company

When you choose a custom software development company for your IT project, you’re entering more than just a business arrangement. If you’ve worked with one in the past, then you know it’s more like a business partnership. For the partnership to be a good fit, both parties have to communicate clearly, understand each other, support each other’s goals, and effectively tackle challenges together. 

Similar to romantic partnerships, sometimes it’s easy to be enamored by a company at first sight. They tell you everything you want to hear and they make plans to fulfill your needs, only for you to realize later on that your partner wasn’t the right choice.

So how does a business make the right development outsourcing decision for their IT services? 

Obviously, the developers’ skills and experience must be in line with your business needs and customer demand. The development team must be agile and able to work with your assets and your internal team. An impressive portfolio of similar successful projects completed by their team in the past is non-negotiable.

Beyond basic capabilities, the right custom software development company for your business should meet the following criteria:

Accepts Your Budget

Before signing on a group of developers, both sets of teams should share their visions, insights, and suggestions for the project’s unique requirements and specific financial considerations. Discuss the components of your budget with your developers, ask for their honest feedback, and confirm a mutual agreement between both parties so that an official contract can be created and signed. 

After discussing your initial ideas for a project budget internally, clearly communicate your company’s expected IT expenses and initial expectations to the prospective development team. Research the financial implications of hiring a custom software development company, and ask the potential developers to provide you with a quote specific to your company development project. 

During this stage, open and honest conversations between your team and the potential developers will allow for insight on each side and confidence in reaching agreements.  

It’s important to avoid finalizing your budget before receiving feedback from your development team. They may have important information and considerations that your team hasn’t yet taken into account during the initial budget planning stage.

You should feel encouraged to confidently communicate your budget with the company you hire. Some development teams will strategically avoid discussing concrete budget details, whereas others simply want to be transparent with your team and offer honest feedback about the price range of your expectations before both parties sign the contract.

If you feel that a prospective IT company is making excuses and artfully dodging decisions about expenses and budget in the proposal stage, the chances are slim that they will magically begin caring about your financial resources once both parties legally enter into a business deal. Ensure that your developers are enthusiastically willing and able to successfully carry out the terms of the goals and the budget you have set before contractually agreeing.

Understands the Project Scope

Do you expect your project to take half a year to develop? A year? Two years?

Different software development companies specialize in different project sizes. Some development companies only agree to complete multi-year affairs for large enterprises and corporations, which wouldn’t be a good fit for a small business or a startup. 

Work with your prospective IT companies to estimate the time span of your project, and ask each company to tell you about the projects they’ve done that are similar in scope to your own.

Available and Helpful

Just like any business-to-business organization, the ideal custom software development company is highly available to each of its clientele. Each development team member should be more than happy to promptly schedule a meeting with their client to answer questions, address concerns, or to simply touch-base about the project.

man dealing with a financial adviser at the bank

When it comes to client-oriented software developers, unconventional work schedules and varying time zones shouldn’t stand in the way of progress. Available developers will be on-call and prepared to help mitigate a digital maelstrom, no matter what time of day (or night) it may strike. 

The best developers understand that their job extends beyond their desk – quick response time and helpful customer service are crucial requirements of their role.

Along with high availability, IT experts must provide effective communication, showcase expertise, and offer unwavering support to your team. These characteristics are vital to successful development and software implementation. 

When you choose a custom software development company instead of an off-the-shelf software application, one of the most note-worthy perks is the unparalleled support from software professionals who understand the ins and outs of your company’s project.

Stretches and Grows with Your Company

Company software should be continually upgraded to meet your business’ changing and expanding needs – without doing it so abruptly that your users are forced to change the software services with which they’re already familiar with using. 

As you catch rough edges of your program that need to be refined, the software developers should accommodate your requests to make the software meet your standards. Your team needs to be able to effectively handle growth and user demand. 

There are thousands of reasons why the requirements of your project could change once the development stage is underway – your custom software developers ought to be able to move right alongside these changes in a flexible and responsive fashion.

Works with Your Deadlines

Right up front, solid deadlines have to be determined and agreed upon by both parties. Check-ins and progress reports should be provided by the development team to keep your team up-to-date on the project’s status, and to allow stakeholders to give feedback. 

Frequent communication is a foundational element of Agile software development and serves as a critical component in keeping everybody on the same page throughout the whole process.
According to PMI’s 2017 Global Project Management Survey, 37% of executive leaders who experienced a project failure reported that the reason was because of a lack of achievable and/or clearly defined methods to measure progress.


PMI’s 2017 Global Project Management Survey, Figure 7: Factors for Strategic Initiative Failure 

Adheres to The Agile Methodology

The Agile methodology is one of the most profitable methods in terms of building and sustaining business growth. Agile software development is founded upon adaptive planning, evolutionary development, and continuous improvement.

As the project owner, you will always have your ideas heard and your vision executed by the development team. Agile software teams should regularly communicate their understanding of your vision and ideas, and subsequently demonstrate their understanding through concrete, exceptional work.

Agile fosters an environment of rapid growth, flexible change, and constant improvement. The custom software development company you choose should be in line with this style of project management.

Provides Post-Development Assistance

In a world of ever-changing laws and regulations, maturing cyber threats, and legal responsibility to protect customer data, it’s an unfortunate likelihood that business software may develop glitches or bugs. 

To prevent costly data breaches and cyber attacks, responsible custom software developers will continue to provide support for these issues even after the project is completed. 

Discuss and plan for this necessity as part of your project estimation.

Be prepared to sign support agreements with your custom software developers to ensure your software will remain healthy while in use – regardless of how drastically technology may advance. 

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Businesses should never have to compromise their time, expenses, or energy on IT services that don’t meet the bare-minimum requirements. Choose a digital enterprise that boldly empowers your team and guides you directly to each of your business goals. Choose a custom software development company that is dedicated to providing exceptional IT services.

About Digital Maelstrom

Digital Maelstrom is a professional IT advisory firm dedicated to helping our clients achieve top-line growth, improve digital experiences, and meet customer demand in a data-driven enterprise.

Unlike other IT support and software companies, Digital Maelstrom doesn’t specialize in one niche industry. By working with businesses of various backgrounds, we have valuable insights and a broad set of experiences. With these, we create the best customizable software for companies of all shapes, sizes, and trades. Digital Maelstrom customizes solutions to help you meet your needs and goals in an ever-changing economy with as little disruption to your operations as humanly or technologically possible.

Located in Kansas City, Missouri, we have worked with leading companies in financial services, government organizations, healthcare providers, insurance providers, and a variety of intelligent enterprises and smaller businesses alike to provide custom development solutions built specifically to fit your company’s technology needs. Our core values are deeply rooted in our commitment to empathize with our clients and create positive social impact in our community.


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