How do I Compare Software Development Companies?

There are several important considerations to follow when searching for a software development companies;  1). Find a software development company you can build a business relationship with,  2). Search for a company with years of experience,  3). Find a company that has built a portfolio of clients and has successfully completed projects, and  4). Find a software development company that is willing to work within your budget.

 

Develop a Business Relationship with your Software Development Company

Most people compare software development companies by searching Google. In choosing the right software development company, keep in mind you should choose one that you can develop a relationship with. The endeavor is artistic and the relationship should be treated with mutual respect from both the client and the developer. Find a means of connection, an effective way to communicate the direction you want your project to go.  

 

Consider the Softer Side of Software Development

Find a way to be in harmony with the software developer. It’s easier to work face-to-face with a company when you can establish a real business relationship. Software development projects are very fluid, and the path of the project can change dynamically from the time it begins to the time the project is complete. It can be an iterative [repetitive] cycle of learning and decision making. Serious consideration should be given as to the personality and individual character of each team member you will be working with. If team members of a software development company are pleasant and amiable, you should be confident they will treat you with respect.

 

Set Goals with your Developer 

One way to be on the same page as your software developer is to set quantifiable goals and then find a way to reach them, together. Understand the flow of data management through application systems and know how the end users process the information. If your opinion differs from the developer on either the problem or the approach to solving it, then the project is bound to fail. The only way a project is going to be successful with the software development company you choose is for both parties to set a direction, together.

 

Location, Location, Location

With a successful project in mind, try to find a developer you can understand and engage with in conversation.  The likelihood of that happening is better if you can talk to your development team face to face.  With technology such as Facetime and video conferencing, it is easier to develop relationships with people around the globe.  Carefully make your decision based on the location of the development company as it coincides with the location of your company. These steps can be vital to the success of a project.

 

Research more than a Software Development Company’s Portfolio

It is important to review a company’s portfolio, but you should also take the time to thoroughly research the success of their previous projects. Many software development companies can show you a portfolio of work they’ve done, but it is also important to verify that their projects have been completed in a timely and accurate manner. Often portfolios can be just a series of pictures. And although the pictures may reflect an impressive image, they may or may not reflect the success of a project.

 

Verify the Authenticity of Your Developer

Do your research.  Verifying the developer’s work should be treated as more than just a simple formality. Authenticating the accuracy of specific projects from a client is no different than an employer verifying a reference from a potential hire to their company. Your project could be a life-long dream of yours so you should do all you can to make sure that dream comes true.  To ensure you find the right business partner, verify their credentials from more than one source. Be confident that the software development company you choose is the right company to develop your project. A software development company that has built a portfolio of clients is highly recommended.

 

Speak with Former Clients of your Software Development Company

Much of the information you desire can be confirmed by a client that has worked with a software development company.  A client can help confirm that the team you choose understands the total concept of software development.  A reference from a client could significantly alter your decision. The client can verify that the developer will take the proper steps to get from point A to point B; they can confirm the software development company is reliable. If a client informs you that members of a software development company are open and honest regarding all aspects of your project, then you know you can rely on the company to be fair to you.

 

Building your Project 

Development is more than writing code, it’s like architecture. It must be created in such a way that the outcome is easy to maintain, and built so the delivery of the application can be integrated with other systems. Compare it to building an office building or even a home.  If a building is constructed without windows, doors, or proper ventilation, it wouldn’t be very useful. If a building is constructed on an unbalanced landscape, the building would not be stable and may very well collapse. It would be important to acquire a reliable builder to create your structure. You wouldn’t just pick a building contractor from an ad, you would do your research before hiring them. The same holds true for the software development company you hire to build your project.

 

Look for a Software Development Company that has Efficient Code Organization

The road leading to a successful project can sometimes include challenges. Specific examples in development could be problems in maintaining source code.  Developers could run into complications with complex solutions that may require further source-code organization.  Any developer can promise a successful project, but if they begin a project that is too complex, without the proper code organization in place, the project will be too difficult to build and it will render the project unusable. A specific challenge in the final stages of a project could be  deploying multiple versions of the software when it goes into production. Code must be written in a way that’s easy to maintain. If it isn’t, time and money could be wasted in trying to fix the problem.

 

Choose an Experienced Software Development Company to Launch your Project

A software development company must have proficient knowledge of how to successfully complete a project. This includes the experience of solving unexpected problems. A specific challenge in the final stages of a project could be deploying multiple versions of the software when it goes into production. A software development company must have the know-how and capability to overcome these  complications, and setbacks if they occur in development. They must also have the knowledge and skills it takes to successfully launch the product.  Experience is a key factor from beginning to end.

 

A High-Quality Software Development Team

After your research is complete, also take into consideration outsourcing, and the team members of software development companies. Companies that use cheap labor have been known to develop problems with building and launching a project. Compare it to an exotic vacation you’d like to take. If you were touring a foreign city and needed a tour guide, you wouldn’t want an inexperienced guide that only had a “general” knowledge of the city or terrain. You would expect a professional that was highly knowledgeable with the layout of the city, one who knew all the nooks and crannies, so to speak. You want to reach your destination safely, and enjoy the experience without any complications, that is the end goal.

That being said, ask yourself this question: What is a happy and memorable vacation worth? The same could be asked about a successful software development experience. How much are you willing to invest to ensure your project is completed by a team of professionals that will make your experience worth your time and money? To quote Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (1963) “In this world, you get what you pay for.”

 

Research Equity Options and Reviews

There are options out there for software development companies, and for entrepreneur’s that need them. Consideration should be given in respect to the licensing of the software that is produced. In addition, it is possible to give equity in exchange for some or all of the cost of development.  Larger corporations and startups alike fall within these guidelines.  Do your homework, whatever internet search engine you choose for your research, whether it be Google, Bing, or Yahoo, make sure you look for the reviews, including the number of reviews and the quality of those reviews.

 

Choose a Software Development Company that can work with Your Budget

Finally, you need to find a software development company that is willing to work with your budget.  One of the first things you need to do when talking to a company is establish financial boundaries. A lot of time can be wasted when companies are looking for software development, specifically, in talking with companies that are incapable of getting the project done or who are far more expensive then the company can afford.

 

Be Wise in your Investment

One last guideline to consider when it comes to your software development budget is the rate at which the software is built and the rate it is charged.  Finding someone that gives you a fixed-priced bid for software is sometimes a good idea, but often it will cause the company to quote a price under the bid just to ensure the contract. Sometimes it will be feasible, sometimes not. But in doing so, it could mean the quality of work or the time it takes to complete it will suffer.  Finding a developer that will work at a decent per-hour rate is more suitable because you can work with the developer in harmony.

Move toward the end goal.  Get there quickly or take as long as you want. The important thing is to familiarize yourself with the software development company. It is important to choose wisely because the choice you make could affect the outcome of your project. The ultimate goal should be the quality of the product you receive, and the financing it takes to complete the project.

I wish you the best of luck in your search.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.  My name is Dan Prince and I am the principal partner at illumisoft. You can reach me via email at: dan.prince@illumisoft.com or my cell phone at 816.653.0500.