Monday, Apr 24, 2023
A Guide for Choosing the Right Software Development Partner
It seems as though we have all been almost engulfed by the enormous technology growth. If you check certain websites like ProductHunt, which can be a great starting point for launching your software product, you can see that new ideas are being developed on a daily basis. Everyone is trying to get their piece of it and find their place in the growing IT world.
Be it to develop a great idea of your own and sell it for profit, or to streamline your business and your processes by allowing your employees to work in the optimal conditions, again, ultimately, for profit, software development seems to be the way to go.
This is precisely where a software development company steps in.
As you embark upon a journey of developing a software solution that will help you one way or the other, you need to find or gather a team that will complete this work and lead you to a successful final product.
With one of the highest growing rates as an industry, software development is also a popular career choice. Currently, there are approximately 26.9 million software developers around the globe, with the US alone having more than 4 million and Europe more than 6 million developers, and this number is only expected to grow.
Even though the exact number of IT companies is hard to determine, the market is projected to reach $650.70 billion in 2023. The sector is dominated by prominent, established enterprises as well as a variety of smaller firms that specialize in producing particular kinds of software.
What does a software development company do?
A software development company analyzes, plans, develops, tests and maintains website, desktop and mobile applications.
A range of services offered by a particular software development company may largely differ. While some companies may decide to work, for example, just on mobile development solutions focusing on a particular technology, some will have a wider range of services they offer and technologies they are fluent in.
Neither means that one is better than the other. Just as offering a wider range of services may help you grow more rapidly since you will be able to satisfy various needs of different clients, it may be an obstacle. Focusing on a single set of technologies can help a company become more specialized and professional in what they do, thus leading them to become recognized around the globe as an expert in the field, one whom everyone wants to collaborate with.
However, what should be avoided are companies that claim to be the experts in everything. While it is not necessary to choose to develop only mobile solutions, it is hardly likely that a single company will be able to offer a good service in all the technologies and languages, or a fairly large number of them. Most companies tend to choose a single language and its framework/s and work their way up the market by growing these.
Additionally, some software companies have their own QA departments, while others require their clients or outside testers to check the quality of the code and the software. It is the same with other related services and roles, like UX/UI specialist, business analysts, or even project managers, which makes for an even larger gap in the differences of services range.
Now that you know what they do, you may wonder which software development company is the best for you.
What is the best software development company?
There is no simple answer to this question.
Today, there are myriads of software development companies in all countries around the world, and new ones are opening every day. A company may be a single person, or a large enterprise with thousands, even tens of thousands of employees.
While some companies may be more successful than others, have more employees and more clients, have greater revenue or their name is simply better known, this in no way means they are the best for you.
Google “the best software development company”, or filter it by country, and you will be able to access different lists with top companies, created based on different criteria. While this list may be your starting point when you are looking for your ideal partner in development, there are still numerous factors that need to be taken into account before making the final decision.
How to choose the best software development company
You have a project in mind and need someone to develop it. You do not have an in-house team of developers, your developers are busy with other projects, or you simply need more manpower. The solution - outsource the work.
If you choose to outsource, you need to find the ideal partner that will help you deliver your software project. This should be a detailed process in which you carefully examine your potential partner company, their prior experience and their ability to lead your product development - analyze everything they can bring to the table, and be careful to have clear expectations and specifications beforehand to be able to analyze if they can fulfill them.
We have already covered the entire process of hiring a software company, here, however, we focus only on one of the steps, i.e. choosing the right company. Finding the perfect fit will include taking into account different aspects of a business, business processes and company structure, culture and practices. If you fail to do it properly, you put your company and your product at potentially major risks.
Number one way in avoiding all the major risks, not only related to outsourcing, but to software projects in general, is making sure to hire the best possible partner.
These are the main criteria you should focus on when picking your future development partner:
- Professional background
- Experience and technologies
- Clients and references
- Company culture
Years of experience
Even though working with a young company that has just been founded is not necessarily a bad thing, it will certainly be easier to decide upon a company that has more years of experience and more projects to showcase their expertise.
The importance of experience should never be overlooked. Experience helps a company learn about the best practices, not just in software development, but also in project management, communication, following the deadlines, approaching certain issues, testing software quality, as well as working with foreign clients, partnering with a remote company and working on outsourced projects. They will also likely have better control, management and success with larger and more comprehensive projects. The benefits are numerous.
However, years of experience as a simple number should not be the leading criteria for picking your partner.
In case you do want to take your chances with a newly-founded company, you should make sure that they provide you with sample projects and proof of their previous work, which is far more relevant and useful. Additionally, you may send them a test project to work on, or give them a test feature to develop - this will undoubtedly be the best way for you to analyze the way they work. It is all about finding the perfect fit for you.
When checking a company’s professional background, you may wish to learn more about their founders and the c-level executives. This can give you a better understanding of the company’s values, goals, and leadership style. Researching the founders and c-level executives can also provide insight into their previous work experience and whether they have a track record of success in their industry.
What you may find as a major plus with your potential partner is industry experience. A company that has spent years working for and developing a project for a particular industry will possess important insights into how the industry works, what the target audience and the target market desire and how they function, all of which can come in handy when fulfilling your project objectives.
While all the factors are important in order to make an informed decision, the most important one and one that will impact your project in the most significant way is the technical experience and expertise of the company you are researching.
If you wish for your project to be a success, for your requirements to be fulfilled, you need to find someone who can get the job done. This is why you need to carefully evaluate the technical experience of the software development company you are considering.
Start by examining the company’s technical expertise and proficiency with various technologies, programming languages, and tools. Look for a company that has experience working with the technologies and tools that your project requires. This will help ensure that the team has the necessary skills to deliver your project successfully.
In addition to technical expertise, it’s also important to consider the team’s project management and development processes. The software development process is complex, and a well-defined process can help ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the desired quality standards.
Therefore, you should inquire about the company’s development methodologies and processes, such as Agile or Waterfall, and ask how they manage projects, track progress, and communicate with clients. Additionally, you may want to understand how the company handles change requests and how they ensure the quality of the code they develop.
Finally, when evaluating the technical experience of a software development company, you should also consider the team’s ability to provide ongoing support and maintenance. A software project is not complete when the code is deployed. Ongoing support and maintenance are critical to ensure that the software continues to perform as expected and to fix any issues that may arise.
Every reputable software development company should be able to provide their potential partners with a portfolio of their previous work, showcasing their technical expertise and experience with specific technologies and industries.
While browsing a company’s website, you’ll likely find their project or product portfolio. However, if it’s not available, you can always reach out to the company and request sample projects. It’s crucial to invest time in reviewing their past work and asking any relevant questions to gain a clear understanding of their approach and capabilities in software development. A portfolio is a great proof of technical experience, which puts it right next to it with regards to importance.
To make an informed decision, a simple list of projects won’t suffice. Instead, you should look for detailed case studies that portray the entire development process, including the obstacles faced and how the team resolved them, everything you previously discussed with regards to their technical knowledge. Analyzing how the company fulfilled project requirements will also help you assess their technical expertise.
A comprehensive case study should highlight the technologies used and their proficiency in utilizing them to achieve the desired outcome. This will demonstrate their knowledge and experience in working with various software tools and technologies.
Clients and references
Client testimonials are a frequent sight on official websites of many software development companies, along with the list of the companies they had previously partnered up with and whose projects they developed. While this, again, is a good starting point, if you wish to make sure that the company indeed has satisfied clients who would gladly recommend them, or that they have indeed worked with some prominent name in the past, you need to conduct additional thorough research. If there are no client testimonials on the website, the company should be able to provide you with the list of at least some of the clients they had cooperated with.
Either way, once you know who they have worked with, what you might consider doing is contacting these clients personally to discuss the partnership and whether they would give their honest recommendation.
An easier approach is checking impartial websites like Clutch, which allows clients to leave objective feedback. Company profiles on Clutch are in no way controlled or affected by the company itself, which gives all the information, with emphasis on rating and client reviews, extra credibility.
Client reviews on Clutch are checked and sometimes additionally controlled by their agents who contact the reviewers to make sure they are a credible source of information.
All the previous criteria were generally related to the technical aspect of your cooperation with another company - that without which the project cannot even start. However, if you wish to increase your chances of a successful cooperation, and, ultimately, a successful project, you need to look beyond the technical.
Once you have established that the company can utilize the necessary technologies and tools to produce a software product, you need to learn more about how the company functions. The way a company works will be a sign and a guide for your future cooperation. While they may have, say, 10 years of experience working with Python, Java or C#, or any other language, their approach to work, to the people that work for them, the way they communicate, and their overall corporate culture will impact how well your project will turn out more than you imagine.
It’s important to assess their communication skills, both in terms of how they communicate with you and how they communicate with their own team. Are they responsive and prompt in their replies? Do they take the time to explain things clearly and concisely? Do they listen actively to your concerns and questions? All of these factors can impact how smoothly the project progresses.
Next, it’s important to consider their corporate culture. Do they value transparency and honesty? Do they have a collaborative work environment? Do they value feedback and continuous improvement? A company with a positive corporate culture can lead to a more productive and fulfilling working relationship.
While the best way to analyze this is by openly communicating it during the interview, you may wish to do some research beforehand as well. Today, most software development companies are aware of the importance of sharing information about their company culture, which is why you’ll be able to find this in their blog posts, articles and via their social media profiles. What cannot be learned from this can then further be communicated when and if you get to the interview stage with them.
Conducting an interview
Think of this stage as an interview with a candidate applying for a position within your company. The difference is that you are hiring more than one individual and need to ask far more questions to make sure the partnership will work out.
Here is a list of questions you should ask during the interview phase with the potential partner company to learn as much as possible about their technical expertise and their general approach to work.
- Have you already partnered with someone as an outsourcing company?
- Have you already worked on a similar project? Do you have experience developing projects for this industry? Could you showcase your other successful projects?
- What gives you an advantage over other software development companies? Why should we choose you? What sets you apart?
- Have you already worked with clients outside of your country, speaking a different language? How do you handle time zone differences?
- What pricing models do you offer? What is your approximate hourly rate?
- When would you be able to start with the project? What does your typical onboarding process look like for a new project?
Contact and availability:
- How will we communicate throughout the development process? Will there be a person of contact?
- What communication platforms and management tools do you use?
- Who will be in charge of project management? Do you have project managers within your organization? Are they able to communicate in a shared language?
- How will we be informed about the project development? Are we going to have access to project management tools and the hours spent on tasks?
- What are your working hours? When are you available for contact?
Developers and technologies:
- How do you choose the developers that will work for your company?
- What level of experience do people that would be assigned to this project have?
- Will the developers assigned to my project work on any other project at the same time?
- What approach to project management and software development do you have?
- Do you regularly conduct quality assurance of the code? How do you ensure top software quality? Do you have a QA department within your organization?
When considering a partnership with a company for your project, it’s important to go beyond interviewing just the sales or c-level executives. It’s also crucial to assess the technical knowledge of the developers who will be working on your project, particularly if only a few of them will be assigned to your team. This will help ensure that their expertise matches your project’s needs and that they can deliver the quality of work you expect.
For larger projects that require a team of more than 10 people, it’s a good idea to interview the team lead or the most senior developer. This will give you a better understanding of the team’s capabilities and allow you to make a more informed decision about whether to proceed with the partnership.
After conducting thorough research and carrying out interviews, selecting the perfect company can still be a difficult task. While you may be confident in your selection based on the information you have gathered, it’s important to remember that there is always a degree of uncertainty when entering into a new business relationship.
It is essential to acknowledge that the company you choose may not turn out to be the ideal fit for your business. However, it is important to note that this does not necessarily indicate that the selected company is incompetent or lacks experience. It may simply be due to the fact that your respective businesses do not align well with each other. Therefore, it is vital to remain open-minded and flexible throughout the selection process, and to continually assess the working relationship to ensure that it remains a good fit for both parties.
Furthermore, it’s important to recognize that the success of the partnership is not solely dependent on the capabilities and experience of the chosen company. The chemistry between two companies plays a critical role in determining whether the collaboration will be fruitful, which is why we emphasize this step in deciding on your future partner. Factors such as communication style, work ethic, and corporate culture can all impact the relationship, regardless of the level of expertise each party brings to the table.
In the end, choosing the right partner is not an exact science, and even the most thorough due diligence cannot guarantee a perfect outcome.
However, by taking the time to evaluate potential partners carefully and building strong relationships based on clear communication and mutual respect, you can increase the likelihood of a successful partnership that benefits both your company and your clients.
Find your next partner in Mono
Choosing the right software development company is crucial to the success of your project, and at Mono, we understand the weight of this decision. We prioritize hiring skilled developers with a wealth of experience. Our team leads and senior developers have the expertise to guide and support our junior developers, ensuring that your project is delivered to your specifications and expectations. However, we also understand the importance of effective communication and project management, which is why we prioritize regular communication and project updates with our clients. When you partner with Mono, you can be confident that you’re working with a professional and capable team dedicated to your success.
Let’s talk and see if we would be a good fit!