Tackling a technical project as a non-technical person can be intimidating. You don’t need to be a software developer to achieve success, but you do need to have some understanding of the technology involved to make sure that the custom software development company you hire fits your needs.
If you hire the wrong software partner, it immediately sets your project up for failure. Working with the wrong team eats into your budget, as well as your timeline for getting the project up and running. It’s also incredibly frustrating to your staff and other stakeholders.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can evaluate a software outsourcing firm, to make sure you’re working with the right team. Sitting down and having an interview in person or over Zoom is a great way to communicate your needs, and evaluate how the software development company responds. By asking pointed questions, you can get a pretty clear sense of how well they understand your needs, and what the process of working with them will look like.
Getting Started with a Software Development Partner Interview Checklist
Coming up with a list of questions to ask your software partner is key to a productive first meeting. If you’re meeting with several companies to hear proposals, make sure to keep the core questions consistent throughout, so you can compare and contrast their answers.
Here are some of the questions we would ask before hiring a custom software development company.
1. Do you have experience with similar projects?
A good indicator of success is whether the team has worked on something similar in the past. If they have, they’ll be able to use the knowledge they gained to the benefit of your project. It isn’t just technical knowledge that’s helpful in this case – if they have experience working with an organization that’s similar to yours, it should also help streamline communication.
Once they’ve told you about their past experience, you can follow up by asking them to tell you about any actions they took to make these past projects so successful.
2. Who will I be working with, and how is the team structured?
To help facilitate the success of the project, you’ll need to work with your development team closely. To do that, it helps to have a clear understanding of the team’s structure. As you walk away from your initial meeting, you should have a good understanding of who you’ll be working with, as well as how many developers will be dedicated to your project.
3. Who is my contact person?
Every development team, no matter how small, should have a point person whose job is to liaise with clients. If you don’t have a single contact person, it’s easy for critical information to get lost, even within a close-knit development team.
The software or product engineering company you’re working with should understand this, and should be able to identify a point of contact for you to work with throughout the project. If they don’t, it’s a sign that they don’t take communication with clients seriously.
4. How will we communicate?
In addition to identifying a contact person, every software development team you interview should give you details about how they communicate. Do they do weekly video meetings, or do they prefer to pick up the phone? Will they use Trello, Asana, or another tool for tracking tasks and staying on schedule?
There’s no one right answer. The most important thing is that the company has a communication plan, and can add you in seamlessly. By clearly showing how they’ll communicate with you, they demonstrate their willingness to be transparent with clients.
You should also address how often you’ll communicate, and what type of issues or questions will trigger a conversation or meeting. Talking about these situations in advance can help avoid miscommunications in the future.
5. What does your development process look like?
Every software development company has a different process that they use to achieve good results. Even if you don’t have a deep technical understanding of software development, you should still ask each company you interview about their software development process, and why they chose it.
You may not understand words like scrum, agile, or waterfall, but by the end, you should have some insight into the different stages your project will go through before completion.
6. Can you estimate a date for completion?
Even if you’re coming in with a rough idea, a good software development company should be able to offer an estimate for how long it will take to deliver a completed project.
There are a lot of factors that influence the final delivery date of any project, including unclear requirements, scope creep, and technical debt. Each company you interview should be able to tell you how they work to limit these common delays.
7. What happens after delivery?
Every software project, no matter how simple, will require some kind of post-delivery technical support. Whether it’s improvements, debugging, or even just adding new features, you should make sure your software partner will be available to provide support after launch day.
8. Why should I choose your company?
Any company you work with should be able to articulate why they’d be a good match for your project. If they’ve listened to you at all during your conversation, their final pitch will be reflective of the points you’ve brought up – not just a recitation of their organizational achievements.
Choose Taazaa as Your Next Custom Software Development Company
Now that you’ve come up with a list of questions to ask before hiring a software development company, you’ll be much more prepared to begin your next development project.
At Taazaa, we believe that communication and collaboration are critical to executing a project that meets both your business goals and your users’ expectations. Get in touch today to learn more about our company, or to find out more about our approach to software development.