What to Look For When Hiring A Software Development Company

You’ve decided that you’re ready to take your business to the next level with a digital boost. Either you’re looking for a strategy transformation or a process and customer experience turnaround but where do you start? Embracing new technologies might seem overwhelming, especially with so many companies to choose from. So, how exactly do you hire a custom software development company?

Hiring always involves people whether you’re dealing with individuals or a company. As we know, it’s not always easy to understand people and how we’re going to work with them. However, there are some criteria that you can put together as a checklist to help your decision. Hiring can be made easier if treated like a proper process with definitions and structure. Let’s have a look at how this would work by going through the following key criteria:

  • Experience and Specialization
  • Methodology and Communication Style
  • Security and Ownership
  • Post-Project Support and Follow Up
  • Size, Location and Market

Experience and Specialization

  • How many years experience and what type of business challenges?
  • What technologies and specialities do their teams focus on?

The first step is to define your challenges and what support you feel you need. Of course the custom software development company you choose will be able to guide you to finalize your specifications. However, having a starting point when you interview the different companies helps you compare their answers accurately. 

There are many technologies and programming languages out there. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to know or understand them but simply asking what the custom software development company uses and why will give you some insight into their approach and style. In addition, you can ask about years of experience as well as examples of companies they’ve worked with and what kind of challenges these companies faced. This helps you understand if they’ll be able to get stuck into your issues and potential solutions easily or not.

Methodology and Communication Style

  • What project management models do they use?
  • What communication style do they follow and what does collaboration mean to them?

Ask any project manager what model they use, and they’ll tell you why theirs is the best. It almost doesn’t matter if the custom software development company you choose uses waterfall or agile or lean methodologies as long as they have a structure. Of course, we could go through the pros and cons of each approach but ask your teams and let them tell you what they feel they can work with. At the end of the day, those doing the heavy lifting need to feel comfortable and confident about the custom software development company you choose.

A very important part of any hiring decision is communication style. How will the custom software  development company update you? How do they plan to collaborate with your teams? When dealing with people, it’s critical to have a way to be transparent and clear. Things often go wrong during projects and lack of communication can lead to stress, delays and cost. 

Security and Ownership

  • Do you or the custom software development company own the technology and solution?
  • How do they manage cybersecurity risk?

Depending on what’s important to you, you might want to understand the legality behind the software solutions being proposed. Who will own the technology at the end of the project? Will your competitors have access to your solutions or not? Another important piece is to find out how the custom software development company manages security risk. All of these points can be included in the final commercial contract but it’s good to understand the details upfront.

Post-Project Support and Follow Up

  • What does maintenance mean to them?
  • What different levels of support do they offer?

Most engineers in whatever field they’re in seem to have a different view of maintenance. Do they prefer ad hoc or a preventative approach? Do they offer a full-level service or a pay-as-you-go model? These questions will be linked to how confident you feel about managing your software once everything is in place. Either way though, these questions give you further insight into what you can expect from the custom software development company you decide to work with.

Size, Location and Market

  • How big are their teams and what markets do they operate in?
  • Who’s their typical customer?

This theme is probably more personal in terms of what you think works for your needs and the level of support you want to have. Working with a local custom software development company makes it easier to have face-to-face time. However, an international company might offer a wider choice of technologies and perhaps even larger teams with more expertise. Then again, larger companies can sometimes feel less personal whereas smaller teams often go the extra mile. 

Asking them to explain why they feel their size and location gives them an edge can help you decide. Finally, it’s good to understand what markets and industries they operate in. This helps you understand if your type of company will be something they’re familiar with. You’ll also get a sense of whether they’ve worked with your competitors or not. 

Final Recommendations for Hiring a Custom Software Development Company

Like any process, make sure you know your hiring approach. Put together your needs and any specific requirements that you want to have within the themes mentioned above. Where you’re not sure about something then simply put together some questions for the custom software development company you’re interviewing.

Overall, as long as you ask the same questions to the companies you’re interviewing then you’ll be able to compare them accurately. Let’s not forget that you also need to feel that you can work with them so involve your teams and get their feedback also. The more open, transparent and communicative you make the process then the more likely you’ll find the perfect partner for you who can easily fit into your culture and focus on shared success. 

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