Beneath you can find five crucial things to consider when you are looking for a software house to develop or maintain your IT project. In my opinion, those are key elements you cannot pass indifferently.
The inspiration of this list were queries, sent by companies, which would like to stay our clients. Please choose from my list only these elements that suit you best and are the most important for you. Let them be a guidepost to choose the right software house for developing your product. Hope to be helpful!
#1 Communication as the basis of cooperation with a software house
If a software house communication skills fall to your liking, there is a great chance you will cooperate. In this situation, business is very like a real life. There can be a bond between your company and software house or not. It’s very significant because developing an IT product requires often intense communication, clarifying specification, resolveing conflicts and dispel ambiguities.
During your first call software house will send you many signals confirming or rejecting your choice. It is similarly in the case of an e-mail contact.
The way consultant adjusts his communication to you is very important. Did his statements were clear enough to understand him? Did you see his engagement in your query (or lack of it)?
By phone, you can feel it without greater difficulties. By e-mail, it is slightly harder. In this case scenario it is crucial how quickly the consultant responds to your questions and does he pursuit to direct call. If he wants to get to know you better (and your project), not only reads the brief, than you can sense their engagement to the project.
Everything goes around the style of communication from the very start, to the offer and finally your feedback. Communication doesn’t end on e-mails or calls. It’s all about timing and quick responses to questions about development the project by the software house. If the software house fails on this stage (always late, answering wrong questions or avoiding answers, etc.), you have the best proof to not working with them. Such cooperation may end badly for you and your project.
#2 Let’s meet
There’s always a good chance to meet. It’s one of the best ways to clarify requirements and expectations about the project. During a face to face meeting, you can see how software house treats you like a possible client.
Without difficulties, you’ll sense if they are prepared, or do they treat you like an anonymous client (nobody likes it).
For sure you should appreciate software house when they prepare to the meeting. Do they make a presentation and tell you how they think or how they develop software? Maybe they will tell you about specific solutions concerning your product.
Nuances will decide whether cooperation between you and software house will be succesful. Meeting agenda and follow up e-mail are one of them. Notice if, during the talk, software house keeps the initiative. If so, they will ask open questions and pursuit to the deepest depths of your project to understand its nature and your expectations.
These are small things but often crucial. Their presentation will show how the software house thinks about the project, how they are organised and do they have necessary competencies to manage the challenge of developing your IT product.
#3 Who will be responsible for project
A client who is aware of the project and business requirements would like to know, who will be responsible for his project. As a stakeholder, it is worth to know what responsibilities will be allocated to the people in your project. You should be interested in the project team, what experience do they have and how long they are working together.
Put your bets only on these software houses that will prove you no accidentally team matchmaking. That is why you should ask them about examples of case studies which they develop together.
#4 How they work
Get familiar with the workflow and procedures used by the software house you intend to work with. It’s a very good strategy and can help to protect you from making a mistake. Maybe this IT company uses some tools or methods you won’t use because of business processes by your side of the fence. From this point of view such statement sounds trivial, but trust me...the devil is in the details.
Once I've heard the client complain about one of the software house he used to work in the past.
It was about their workflow and client's project. Tech leader and project manager didn't use mobile phones. The only way to reach them was by mail or by a landline phone. And this didn't work well because of in the software house (every software house) was plenty of things to get done, so TL and PM weren't reachable. The client was calling and nobody was answering the landline phone. His irritation was getting stronger. The project was delayed.
IT world is a very complex and incomprehensible place. And I am not surprised because of variety processes and functions in it. The same applies to your project.
When you are analyzing your project with a software house team, they should convince you to one thing. That one thing is that they can present complicated issues in the simplest way possible. Then there is a high probability of good communication after signing the contract with that software house. Especially when nuances will require efficient work and simplicity.
It's worth to check out how the software house works on the early stage of negotiations. Visit their office and meet in person the development teams of course, if the distance and schedule allow it. Ask them, if you could receive some documents or presentations describing their workflow. Such documents would be a great help in a decision-making process.
Ask them about tools and applications supporting their daily work. This information will tell you a lot about the software house. Do not limit yourself only to the names. Probably you aren't a tech person, right? They should tell you in details about benefits and usefulness and how it works for you and your product. If you understand their arguments and they seems legit, the software house just scores more points. The chances of cooperation grow.
Your task is to get to know the methodology of project managing in the software house. Why? First of all, it is a crucial element of your decision-making process. Secondly, it will be easier to understand why paid rate is so high (or low - depending on the software house).
#5 Manage business risk
At the end, manage business risk before you make a decision to cooperate with the software house. You can use tools and services allowing you to check financial condition of the software house.
Some clients treat their IT projects like "children". So, you have to pick the right IT company, which will be stable and well organised to treat your "child" with adequate care. Such software house must be resistant to throwing out of balance. Their internal issues couldn't affect your project. I hope you understand how important risk management is for you and your project. The software house must maintain a stable element of the puzzle. You will need to depend on them: their competence, experience and team project itself. If the software house has some issues with cashflow, it cannot concern you or your product.
Unfortunately not every company you can audit. It depends on their form of conducted business type. For example, you can't "x-ray" freelancers and small companies. It is a risk you have to face deciding to cooperate with them. Sure, it will be cheaper but remember about the other side of the coin - the uncertainty and instability of your project if something goes wrong. For sure the software house is a more stable and resistant option, but also more expensive. Usually with higher price comes bigger guarantee of success.
Whenever we received a query, one of our first steps is to check financial condition of the client. We outsource competences of our development teams, that is why we want to work only with reliable partners. I encourage you to do the same.
There are plenty of software houses in the market. All of them declare the best code quality. In practice it’s just a promise without cover. The matter doesn’t make simpler when we analyse the specific of IT industry. The process of software development is often complicated and incomprehensible to the client. Luckily there are ways to strengthen chances to succeed before choosing a software house to cooperate with. Hope my list help you get through this issue and pick the right software house to develop your ideal IT product.