This post is part of our Custom Software Development series
Now it’s time to find a software development company. You probably get solicitations all the time from offshore programmers offering to build whatever you need for almost nothing. If only it were that simple! Most custom software is not something that can be delegated so easily. You need to consider:
- Trustworthiness – Do you trust them with network access?
- Legal recourse – What happens if they never deliver?
- Support – Will they be around to fix things?
On the other side of the coin, you can hire a big management consulting firm. They will likely do a great job, but at a significant price tag. If you’re a normal small-to-midsize business, how do you find a “right sized” software development firm? Read on to find out.
5 Factors for choosing the right software development company
1. Personality fit
Personality fit goes at the top of the list because it is the most overlooked factor, and I’d argue one of the most important considerations in looking for a software developer. This doesn’t mean that you and your development team have to be best friends, it means that you have a similar communication style.
- Do you have trust and rapport?
- Do you understand what the other person is saying?
- Do you feel comfortable asking clarifying questions?
2. Project size and structure fit
When you select a software development team, you want your project to be “right sized.” A big software developer is going to have multiple people working at once – project management, business analysts, programmers, quality assurance and testing – and your invoices will reflect this level of effort. Other considerations are:
- When and how often will you be invoiced?
- Are you in agreement about how changes are approved? Can changes be approved over the phone or do you require written, signed documents?
- What is the cadence of the project? Are your expectations of the time commitments and deliverables aligned?
3. Solution fit
You’ll want your custom software to fit into your tech stack. However, that doesn’t always mean that you need .NET or the Power Platform just because you’re a Microsoft-centric organization. We regularly use open source solutions like Django and Wagtail to replace Microsoft Access databases.
- Is the tech stack (database, programming language, etc.) well supported?
- Will this solution fit into the rest of my IT environment?
- How cost effective is this solution compared to alternatives?
4. Skills fit
The only way to really assess the skills of a software development team is to see what else they’ve done. And because they may be bound by non-disclosure agreements, these projects may not be listed on their website. Ask the software developers for references and examples of past projects.
- Are the projects similar in size and scope?
- Has this team tackled projects with similar goals?
- Is the interface of the finished product aligned with your expectations?
5. Support fit
Once the software has been delivered, it still needs to be supported and enhanced either in-house or by the software development team.
- What type of ongoing maintenance and support is offered after delivery?
- How is support billed?
- Do we require round-the-clock or non-English language support?
How our software development works
With Eclipse, we give you the flexibility to run your business your way. We often get feedback that clients choose us because we’re “right sized” – neither a solopreneur nor a large firm. Please get in touch with us to learn how we can help you:
- Understand your options
- Acquire, setup, and adjust technology to your preferences
- Integrate programs into your software
- Customize your software
- Build exactly what you need
As a technology advisor for growing businesses, our goal is to get you the outcomes you want. That may mean recommending an off-the-shelf / SaaS business application, a low code app, or custom software development. We can help you consider all your options to make the best decision for YOUR business. If you’d like our help evaluating your options, please reach out.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes for a good software development company?
A good software development company is going to vary from business to business. You want to find a reputable company with the experience you need that can communicate with you well.
What should I look for in a software development company?
To make the correct choice for a software development partner, you’re going to want to look at personality fit, project size and structure fit, solution fit, skills fit and ongoing support fit
What are qualities of successful software development teams?
You want to look for an IT partner with effective communication, strong culture, reliability, trustworthiness, and options for support.