How to Choose the Right Software Development Partner

There is an old adage claiming that if you want a job done right, you should do it yourself. However, when it comes to developing software for your business, you might have neither the time nor the expertise to make that happen. In many cases, it is preferable to outsource this task to the perfect company, but just how to go about doing that can be a challenge.

DEFINE YOUR GOALS

First, figure out the extent and nature of the help you need, keeping in mind that cheaper is not always better. Do you require comprehensive help that covers back- and front-end developers, project managers, designers, testers and business analysts, or are your needs focused more on one task such as back-end development? Be honest and realistic as you go through this initial discovery process, and don’t be afraid to get the opinions of other stakeholders.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

After you have a better idea of what you want, it’s time to find some candidates. Ask people you trust in your industry for recommendations. Also, use the internet to find objective reviews of various vendors such as praxent.com. Then take some time to compare your top choices to come up with three or four that look promising.

LOOK FOR EXPERIENCE

Companies can say virtually anything, but the proof is in what they have actually done. Regarding your top picks, ask who they have worked with in your industry, how many projects they have completed and how many professionals they have on staff. What are their credentials, and have they worked with the technologies you want to use such as Java or PHP?

TAKE INTERNATIONAL DIFFERENCES INTO CONSIDERATION

It is vital that the partner you pick is on the same page when it comes to your company culture. Together, you will be dealing with deadlines and work flow, and you need a company whose style gels with yours. If you have hitched your wagon to the star of a vendor who is in a different time zone, it is still possible to succeed. Just be sure that you have at least four hours each day when both of you are available to collaborate.

BALANCE COST AGAINST COMPETENCE

Needless to say, you want the best software development at the lowest price. That requires a certain amount of juggling. These days, Eastern Europe seems to be one of the best sources for competitively priced products, but don’t expect to pay anything under $25 per hour. If you do, the end result will probably not be satisfactory.

INTERVIEW

Only when you have personal interactions with representatives from your top choices will you truly get an idea of whether you can work with them. That’s because the vendor you ultimately choose will need to have more than just technical skills. They should also integrate seamlessly with you and your company and your priorities. Carefully review the CVs of all representatives, and conduct as many virtual or face-to-face conversations as necessary in order for you and your staff to feel comfortable. Visiting the company’s headquarters can be a great way to directly experience that vendor’s ethos. Remember, you will be entrusting these people with the future of your business.

BE CONSERVATIVE AT FIRST

Once you have made your choice, start small. Embark on a pilot project before engaging a full team. After a few months, you can gradually increase the size and scope of your project.

These days, many companies opt to outsource software development tasks. With time and care, you can make this relationship with an outside vendor work for your business.