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A step-by-step guide to choosing the right software house

So you have a brilliant idea that could revolutionize the market. The idea might be an app, software, website, or ingenious automation tool for the business you already own. And it would be a dream-come-true and millions in your pocket if not a tiny detail…

You don’t have the resources to implement it. You might be a great thinker, but you’re not a software developer. However, you won’t allow this fact to stop you – you decide to look for a good software house that will change your concept into reality. Well, there is plenty of fish in the sea. Finding a decent software developer can be a long and nerve-wracking process. Luckily, with these tips, it’s more than doable to fish the one that fits your needs best.

Define your goals

Before you go out there to find a software house that meets all your requirements, it’s vital to define those requirements first. You should take some time and answer a few questions:

  • What competencies does your project require? – specify, if you need any state-of-the-art technological and programming solutions, determine, if security matters are of the essence, etc.
  • How big is my project? – this question involves some thinking about the number of people in a team and their scope of competencies.
  • How much am I willing to spend on that project? – answer, whether this project has a fixed budget or will it change over time, depending on the current needs? In any case, what’s the biggest amount of money you’re willing to spend?
  • When do I want this project to be ready? – prepare an initial timeline of the project and mark some milestones and deadlines you’d like to meet, especially if the project is financed by stakeholders demanding visible results.

Don’t worry about the location of the outsourcing software company

Nowadays, the location and different time zones can only favor your project. Software development outsourcing to Eastern Europe may be actually a perfect option for you. If your company is from America or Western Europe then you should definitely read about the benefits of such a collaboration. 

The fact that your outsourcing partner works in different time zone is even better. It’s a huge advantage that lets your business deliver services 24/7. The outsourcing software company takes over your work and finishes it while you sleep. In the morning you get the results ready for review. 

You can find the best outsourcing companies outside of your continent and the quality of the results can really surprise you – in a positive way 😉 

Do thorough research of technologies used…

Once you’ve specified your needs, you may start the search. The first thing you should look into is the experience and portfolio of the software provider.

Before rushing in blindly for the one with the widest experience and most technologies used, you should remind yourself that if someone is good at everything, he isn’t actually good at anything, just like you can’t be an expert in 10 languages. Go for companies working solely or almost solely with technologies you need for your project.

  •  … and their reputation.

Once you’ve selected a few software houses worth collaborating with, check their past. Visit websites or applications they are responsible for, maybe you could talk to people they’ve worked with. Do they recommend this company? How was the cooperation going not only in technical terms? If contacting past clients is impossible, try social media. Nowadays almost every software house has a Facebook page with opinions of their clients. Try also, it’s full of reviews and useful info about software houses. A deep-eyed background check allows you to verify all the colorful logos of the implemented projects on a website of a particular software house.

Software Engineers - development team

Look for complementary services

While doing the research try to establish whether a company has all the necessary members on board. It’s better when the designers work along with the developers. So if your product needs a good UX/UI, make sure the same company can handle both aspects. This way the product will be more consistent as the functionalities will logically flow with the design steps. Also, you don’t have to worry about finding, screening, and hiring a separate team of designers. 

Among the necessary members, there are also software testers. Sometimes clients don’t want to hire a QA team (usually because of their budget) but it’s a common mistake that works like a domino fall. First, there is no testing procedure, then the functionalities don’t work like they should which causes mixed feelings among the users. Eventually, the bugs inside the system may cause high abandon rates of your product and then it only leads one way. So what do you need? Always hire a software tester who ensures the safety and proper product functioning.

Choose an outsourcing partner that understands you

I’ve already mentioned that software companies work rather in a narrow scope of technologies. Out of myriad possibilities, select the one that’s tailor-made for you, also in terms of its size and people employed. Do you want an app? Choose a software house specializing in apps. Do you want an intricate and comprehensive system that covers all the paperwork in various departments of your company?

Choose the company that does such systems. For a quick fix go to an expert that works fast, for a complicated and extensive life project you’re ready to devote a few months or years to – go to a know-it-all software professionals. It helps to ensure mutual understanding so that your vision and programming team’s execution falls into the same picture.

Establish the manner of communication

Technical expertise is surely a must but the chance to clearly speak about your needs, communicating what’s good or wrong, and simply “clicking” with the team is also of the essence. How does this company work? What tools do they use to facilitate communication, to reach a consensus over a project?

These days, about 80% of IT teams work in SCRUM, therefore daily standups, sprints and a similar understanding of done is a must. Your team of developers should be also responsive and not treat email/chat/video calls as a distractor from programming but as an inseparable part of their job. Ideally, you should feel like they are working just behind the wall – communicate with each other daily on Slack and address any arising issues, so that you avoid time-wasting and ineffective meetings.

Find someone who’s not too cheap

As you see, budget is not the most important and the first step towards finding the right software house. Why? Paying the highest price doesn’t guarantee you the highest quality of service.

Also, unexpectedly low prices often are too good to be true. Seek a cost-effective solution that ensures good services for an appropriate price. Remember to pay attention to hidden charges as some agencies may charge extra for such things as document management.

Take a Test Drive

All of the above steps you should make in order to choose the right software house do not guarantee a 100% match success, although they contribute significantly to it. The pre-last thing you can do to make the best choice possible is to ask for a free consultation or an app sample. You can see for yourself if an offered solution suits your needs and meets all the criteria or lacks some things that you’d like to have. Thanks to such a demo you can also practice your communication and check if your outsourcing partner is able to execute your vision, not his.

Prepare the contract

Speaking of hidden details. The contract with the outsourcing software company should include a few important aspects. One thing is the number of corrections a client can report. That means how many times a client can add changes to the project that are still included in the overall price of it. The second thing is the guarantee a company offers after the project is launched. 

Apart from that, make sure to include details regarding the exit procedure. It’s when you want to change the outsourcing partner during the work on a project. The important thing is access to the source code that you need to be able to modify it in the future. You don’t want to end up leasing the code from developers just to work on it with another outsourcing company. 

There’s also a security issue: while working together with your software house, you entrust them with your business data, which can be sensitive and containing intellectual property. Make sure the software provider obeys your privacy rights policy and has a reliable system to secure your data from leakage.

Wave each other goodbye.

A good outsourcing partner takes care not only of developing a given software but also of maintaining it. Even the best, state-of-the-art solution with time becomes obsolete and needs a watchful eye to do necessary updates or fix a bug. Make sure you can count on such assistance once you wave each other goodbye.

Now whatever you need, you know how to outsource it

As you see, although the market is saturated with software houses, it’s not an easy job to pick the right one. Fortunately, there are ways to find out who’s best for you and who can make that big and revolutionary dream of yours come true. Good luck!

cto - Chris Gibas

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