10 Questions To Ask A Potential Software Development Partner

Gimena Aguerreberry
September 2, 2021

When you’re ready to engage a development partner to help take your business to the next level, take some time to make sure you find the right partner for your needs.

Choosing the best development partner for your business has far-reaching ramifications. The relationship often lasts years and the decisions made affect the security and maintainability of your applications.

Here are 10 questions you should ask your prospective development partners before choosing the best fit for you:

1. Do they understand your business model, target audience, and goals?

Understanding your business goals and your target audience is the only way to tailor the development to your future customers’ needs. If a software development company doesn’t understand it, it won’t create a successful mobile app that speaks to your audience.

2. Do They Have Experience With Similar Projects?

When you reach out to a software company it is important to inquire about their past experience with projects that have similar requirements to yours. Ask the company to provide case studies and portfolios of previous projects so you can have a better idea of the work they have done in the past.

  1. What’s their project management style?

All custom software development companies have different project management styles. Whether it’s agile or waterfall, it’s important that this matches your company’s working style. Project managers tend to prefer agile since it allows the client to give feedback throughout the project – and keeps the costs down.

  1. Will there be a specific contact person?

Good communication is key to custom software development. Without open discussion, projects can’t progress as needed – but too much communication from too many people confuses the entire process. The best practice is to have a specific contact person assigned. They can then answer all your questions, and keep you up to date on the project’s progress.

  1. What Does Their Timeline Look Like?

A software development company should provide you with a realistic timeline of the project outlining the total duration of the project and the time for each phase, along with a tentative plan of deliverables throughout the timeline. This will help you set clear expectations and plan your budget accordingly. A thorough discussion about the timeline helps you and your software development partner stay on the same page about milestones and possible time of project completion.

  1. What technologies are they specialized in and how skilled are their developers?

If you don’t know yet what technology to choose, ask your prospective partner. A good outsourcing partner should propose a solution for you and present an argument for it. Above all, find out how experienced the company’s developers are. They should be able to tell you how they would implement any feature or functionality, present a list of skills, show portfolios of work history and past projects with details.

  1. Can They Provide References From Previous Clients?

You should always ask for at least a couple of clients’ references, clients who can speak well about their experience with the software development company. You should also consider verified business review websites such as Clutch, which will provide you with insights about both the quality and scope of their services.

  1. How will they communicate with you during the project?

Communication is crucial for your software development project to be successful. It has to be honest and open. Above all, your outsourcing development company should keep you up-to-date with each stage of the development process. What is more, you should be able to communicate any change needed. It’s also good to have direct contact with the development team in order to avoid any disruptions and confusion.

  1. What is the potential for updates?

As your business grows, the software solution should be able to grow with you. It’s far more cost-effective to look at the longer-term picture from the beginning of a project, as it prevents you from having to create entirely new software later.

  1. What happens if things change?

No matter how much thought you put into scoping and defining your project upfront, it’s highly likely that over the development timeframe of a number of months (or even years), your requirements will evolve or even change drastically. So, it’s important to know if the company has a flexible engagement model.

"10 Questions To Ask A Potential Software Development Partner" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Aaron Burden

Categorized under software development.

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