5 questions you need to ask before choosing a software house

software house
Marcin Różański

If you are here, it probably means that you are currently looking for a firm to help you develop a software. What questions is it important to ask your future business partner before making that binding decision?

In today’s post, we are going to give you a couple of interesting tips. Let’s see how many of the following 5 questions you already know the answers to.

1. Who recommends them?

Endorsements and public recommendations matter not only for politicians. This way of confirming the skills is also very popular in the business world. It is understandable that before signing an agreement, you are going to look for information about your future co-operant. Searching the software house on the World Wide Web will usually do the trick. Many people turn to LinkedIn and other online platforms when they want to express opinions on certain organizations. If you are interested in someone’s work ethics or capability to handle particular tasks, you should also look up the company’s website and hit the Portfolio tab. A reputable software house will most likely post logos of their former clients along with a couple of words of explanation. Apart from just that, a still very common method of experience confirmation is a signed recommendation letter.

Make sure you do your homework and see if the software house you are considering has some experience in creating similar solutions for others within the branch. Such knowledge will most likely enrich the system through wider understanding of unique business processes typical for your industry.

2. How big is my project?

Apart from looking at your business partner’s experience, it is also important to analyze your own organization. Look at the processes that the software should cover and try to estimate the amount of work that needs to be done.

An experienced business partner should be able to assist you and offer to moderate a workshop called Product Discovery. Thanks to such meeting, you will be able to visualize the product and organize the future development project in a way, so it is easier for everyone to understand your case. Also, the decision regarding the software house will then be much simpler. The size of project matters because some IT companies focus only on small projects and do not have the resources needed to carry out larger deployments. Understandingly, some software houses focus on mobile apps and some are exclusively web development oriented. Having all that in mind, the extent of your needs will play a significant role in the decision-making, and you should be aware of it from the start.

3. What is my budget?

You probably think this should be the number one question. The deal with IT systems tough is that they can be developed in stages, and you do not need to estimate the exact cost of something that is still very theoretical. The agile methodology of software development allows to choose most essential features and have them prepared before any others “nice-to-have” elements. Your software can grow together with your company and the extension of your requirements. It means that you can stop the development at any given point and still be able to use the Minimum Viable Product if at any point you run out the budget. Asking yourself about the initial price that you are able to pay is of course going to matter. You do not want to start off with a project and then almost immediately suspend it because of some miscalculation. Ask your software house for an estimation of costs for the project that you came up with during Product Discovery, and see what your book-keeper is going to say.  If going for an agile approach to software development, remember that  it should not be considered a fixed price and that you are going to pay for the time and the materials used on your project only.

4. Do I plan to extend and/or integrate the software with other solutions?

If you think about extending the software or creating a bigger platform, you should make sure the software house you are going to choose offers post-implementation support that you might need after the job is finished. If you would like to pick up the project in the future, it will be more convenient to continue working with the same business partner. They will already know your organization and the system itself. If you think about it today, it will pay off in the future when your company will grow and evolve.

5. How are they going to ensure the safety of information?

The business software operates processing a great amount of information every day. If you are going to choose a company to prepare such a solution, you should make sure they take data safety very seriously. You should look for evidence, that the software house has experience making their products secure. A good sign is if the company is willing to place the software on its servers and take responsibility for the stability of the solution. You may also consider getting an insurance plan in case of any security breach, or ask for a guarantee from the developer to be added to the agreement.

Remember that the decision who to trust with the IT project is equally important as a good idea for the application itself. You should pay attention to the way a company communicates with you and who the team members are. Make sure you sign an agreement that works for both parties and find a co-operant who is trustworthy, and you have no doubt is going to do the job.

Marcin Różański
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