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Choosing the right custom software development company

14 min read

The world we live in today is driven forward by technology. The news are delivered to us each second via social media and any information we seek is easily found online. What’s more, our schedule, work and personal lives are intertwined in an array of useful apps.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why running a successful company today requires up-to-the-minute response on any technological matter. Whether to deliver a proper customer experience or to optimize the workflow, agile software development solutions are a crucial part of proper business flow.

At often times hiring a third-party company is the best way to ensure the smooth and seamless company operations.

However, with an overflow of creative ideas and increase in the demand of outsourced software development services, new startups are popping up everywhere. This makes the process of choosing the right custom software development company ever harder.

In case you are considering hiring the services of a third-party software developer, you are just at the right place. We’ve created a simple to follow guide to help with the tough process of choosing the best company for you.

Define your Business Goals, Timeframe and Resources

Before starting your search for a software development team, you should define your business goals. Exploring the existing problems you want to solve and going over the potential risks you want to address will allow you to have a clear vision for how your upcoming project will come to flourish.

The best way to prepare is to make a list of the top three main goals you want to achieve with clear and concise statement of how you believe the software development solutions should be executed.

Also, don’t forget to properly allocate your resources for your upcoming project. Having a realistic timeframe and knowing how much you are willing to spend can further help you when choosing a custom software development company. Make sure to keep in mind that the integration of a remote development team does require a lot of effort.

The Importance of Location and Where the Custom Software Development Company is Located

The basic notion of hiring a custom software development company is for you to have quick access to your development team. While online tools and apps allow us to be easily connected, physical presence is often necessary to implement the proper solutions.

With this in mind, make sure to search for companies that are no more than three to four business hours away from your current location. By doing so, you will ensure that your development team will be able to respond quicker and that they will also have a better timeframe for the successful completion of your project.

Once you have boiled down your choices to a few custom development companies, you can do further research on the location convenience. Checking flight availability and convenience of flight connections will give you certainty in the proper execution of your project.

While once everything is setup, the software development team will be able to work remotely, in the beginning face-to-face interaction is crucial. When starting a project, your team and the software development team should spend time together on a regular basis for consultation, planning and more.

Don’t forget to further research whether or not there are any restrictions for hiring outside work in your own country. Depending on your location, either your team or the software development team might need special permits or visas to travel and be on site. Make sure to also put this on your checklist, when searching for the right company.

Experience vs. Lack of Such

When on the lookout for the right custom software development company, you will come across anything from established professionals to newly founded startups. While in other cases the difference between choosing one of the two might be negligible, for software development having business expertise goes a long way.

First and foremost, a software development team with relevant business experience means that the process of setting up your project will go as smoothly as possible. What’s more, with in-depth business domain knowledge, the team will be able to offer further advice on the proper implementation of software solutions. This comes on top of the certainty in the exceptional technical skillset a team with experience is bound to possess.

When considering a company, you can take additional steps to properly evaluate whether or not they are the right choice. While trust is key, there’s nothing wrong with validating the existing customers or asking for reference from recent clients of the company of your choice.

Most established software development teams also offer demos at which they can provide you with references and show off their portfolio. Make sure to contact the representative of the company you are considering to hire for such demo availability.

Development Methodology and Approach

Agile software development is one of the most popular current development methodology used for effective collaboration solutions between cross-functional teams. When hiring a custom software development company, consider whether or not the company has an established process for working with Agile methods and processes.

Furthermore, the subset of Agile, SCRUM, is the best lightweight process framework and the most widely used one for such software development solutions. With this in mind, check whether or not the team of your choice has in-depth knowledge or experience using this methodology. In case you want to learn more about how the Agile (SCRUM) approach compares to fixed-price, fixed-scope engagement model, you can check our recent blog post.

A great way to distinguish a proper software development company is to check whether or not they are invested in the constant adaptation of new development processes. With technologies developing faster than ever before, the custom software development team should be constantly changing and improving. This lets them be able to continuously future-proof the automation of testing and delivery processes, by using different continuous integration and DevOps tools (Jenkins).

You should also note whether or not the company of your choice has experience with Test-Driven development methodologies. If they do, they will be able to make the project be more seamless.

A pilot task can never hurt! No matter how explicit the team is in showing off their experience and expertise, you can’t be one hundred percent certain about whether or not they will properly implement the software solutions you need. With that in mind, consider having a pilot task or a project for the company of your choice. The best way to ensure that the custom software development team is on the right track is to test them by having them estimate a solution you already have implemented and compare their estimation. Nevertheless, you can also hire them on a test project for them to work on a small solution so that you can see whether or not the process is running smoothly.

Consider the Size of the Team! What’s more, in the beginning of a new project, you would be better off to start with a small team and add new team members as the process progresses. This will allow you to take more time in the screening and performance interview of each team member. You should also make sure to work towards better cohesion of your team and be aware that each new team member can affect the overall team performance significantly.

The Custom Software Development Technology Behind the Project

As an innovative software development company we strive towards constant improvement and use the cutting-edge technologies and modern development practices. That’s why we believe in an Open Source of software development technologies. Having in-depth knowledge in the matter, we use AngularJS, React, PHP, Java and Python among others and we highly recommend them to our new and existing customers.

Among the numerous benefits that come with the open source nature of the aforementioned stack, including greater flexibility, the technologies we work with allow for better Test-Driven Development, massively parallel development and a better design development workflow. What’s more, they allow us to have better developer control over the software solutions we develop.

Depending on your expertise on the matter, you might want to search for a software development company that specializes in either a certain subset or a specific technology. For example, if you need PHP development, look for companies with PHP expertise. Similarly, if you want to implement specific Angular JS solutions, check for a company specializing in Angular JS development.

Either you or your team can also go the further mile and check in with the software development company of your choice about whether or not they use the latest proven and most stable version of those technologies. Also, make sure to ask for specific examples of how and why they’ve successfully implemented such technologies in previous projects.

Take the time for extra consideration when you work with legacy systems. When you have an established legacy system, you have to ensure that the company you choose is able to provide you with a clear roadmap of how they are able to integrate new technologies. What’s more, keep in mind that the right team will be able to give you detailed information about what will be refactored and why.

The right company will work with the latest Modern Software Development Practices. Check whether or not the company of your choice does the following:

  • Provide modular service-oriented architecture for your project
  • Follow Domain Driven Design Concept
  • Have Cloud Solutions (AWS, Azure) Integration and Setup Experience
  • Have Experience with the Setup and Integration of Cloud Solutions (AWS, Azure)

Don’t Forget that Communication is Always The Key!

One of the most vital components of a successful long-term project is proper communication. Instead of meeting only with the company representative, make sure to get to know the members of the team or at least the account manager you will be working with.

Ask any questions you deem necessary. The right company will always be happy to answer each and every question you might have. What’s more, by doing so you will ensure that you can properly evaluate how much the team is aware of your goals and your business.

The right custom software development company will be able to use proven team collaboration and PM tools, such as Stack, Basecamp and Jira. Even if you or your team is unfamiliar with such tools, communicating via them with the software development company will make the process even more seamless.

Also, don’t forget that a company that disagrees with you is sometimes the better choice. Value a company that says ‘No’ and that presents you with new and unique solutions. The right custom software development company will be able to provide you with advice, but you should also make sure to value both the advice and the company, even if you disagree. This is true, as discussing the matters in-depth in such a way, shows that the company cares for the successful implementation of the custom software development solutions you and your business needs.

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