It’s not just what you build that matters, it is how you do it and who you choose to partner with. There are a number of things to consider when choosing a software development company. We’ve chosen the top 5 that we think can help you make the right choice.

Things to consider when choosing a software development company

1. We can’t afford to buy cheap shoes

This is an old phrase my grandmother used to say. Software projects are often working on limited budgets, particularly when getting a new idea to market where it will later generate revenue. Sometimes it is better to pay more for a pair of shoes that will last a decade than choose cheap ones that you will replace in ten weeks.

This is especially true in software development. We are not saying you should pay for services that you simply can’t afford. Rather, most failed projects and drained budgets come from an initial decision to go with the cheapest software house from those that pitch for the business. You’ll often find that you abandon all hope after a few months and then spend years paying to get out of the hole.

2. Check the portfolio

Check the portfolio but check your sources too! Dig deeper because a 5-star online rating doesn’t always mean you’ll get 5-star service.

Recommendations and case studies are some of the main things to consider when choosing a software development company. Check the company’s case study section on their own website and read about the projects they have been involved in, as well as about their own initiatives. On our site, for example, you can read our own Bookado and Movello solutions.

But don’t take a prospective partner’s word for it that they are good. Download their applications and check out the websites of the companies they have worked with. See the quality for yourself. If you can, write a friendly message on LinkedIn to the CTO of a company they have built an application for and ask how he or she felt about the cooperation at the time and how they feel now. This is important! Many companies will agree to a case study straight after a project is completed but do they still feel the same a year later? Is the after-care as good as the project delivery?

3. Distance does matter

We live in a global village. What’s more, most of us in the IT industry have been forced to go remote and are now staying that way by choice. It is easy to convince yourself that a project team from anywhere in the world will answer your needs.

However, you need to consider the difference between a sub-contractor and a true partnership. A sub-contractor will tick off tasks from a list, whereas a partner will add value to your project and perhaps even integrate fully with your team.

The two main issues when choosing a team that is too far away are time differences and cultural differences. They are significant things to consider when choosing a software development company for your project. Choose a partner who will be available to you for at least half of your 8-hour working day. Innovation requires discussion and brainstorming. It takes face-to-face time and collaboration. That’s why it is also preferable if you can jump on call during working hours or even jump on a plane in the morning and sit down with your partner that same day.

4. Do you speak the same language?

Speaking to IT experts can be intimidating for many people who are not from a software development background. Developers use short-cuts, acronyms or technical terms and, rather than saying they don’t understand, many non-technical people nod along to not lose face.

If you need to do this, the partnership is doomed from the beginning. Be straight about what you understand and what you expect to be explained to you in simplified terms. And if the software development team can’t make you understand their work in the beginning, you can be sure that you won’t be able to cooperate with them in the long term.

Yes, that is perhaps unfair to hard-working and talented developers if you have to get rid of them because they can’t dumb it down enough for you to understand. However, you are cutting the checks and you need to make informed decisions to make the right choices for the business. You need software teams who understand your business well enough to translate their activities into your language.

5. Don’t tell them what you want to build

One surefire way to check out a software development company is to not give them the whole blueprint for your application or software solution up front. In the first meeting, start by giving a little background about your business challenges and the results you want to achieve.

You can tell them your whole idea later on but, first of all, just provide them with a brief overview and see what they come back with. How quickly do they understand your domain? Did they listen carefully to the problems and come up with some interesting solutions? Were their loose concepts even better than your own? Did they show you something you had missed?

This is incredibly important because there is only one guarantee with any software project: it will never go exactly the way you planned it! There will always be challenges, pivots, fresh ideas, and changes along the way. The worst kind of software company is usually the one that delivers a carbon copy of what you laid out in the original blueprint. You rather need a partner that can understand your business needs and adapt and change, as well as bringing you their own ideas and perspectives during the build.

The right approach to innovation

These are our top 5 things to consider when choosing a software development company. Of course, the technology they use, as well as the price of services, will always be major factors. However, if you have a number of companies to choose from, cultural fit, availability and openness to innovation are crucial factors for success.

If you like our thoughts on the subject, you can read more about us and our services on our website. What’s more, if you are looking for new digital solutions or products for your company, and you do not know how to approach these issues from a technological perspective, we offer free-of-charge innovation workshops. We’re currently open to new innovation partners and would love to hear about your project.