Businesses and people are more reliant on software solutions than ever before, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. With stay-at-home restrictions and worldwide lockdowns, businesses have turned to software solutions for the majority of their everyday operations that used to take place in-person previously. This digital transformation has fundamentally changed businesses across different industries. Business owners have recognized the importance of digitally-driven business solutions because of their ability to efficiently streamline manual operations and increase productivity.
Many businesses have decided to embrace the digital transformation by investing in the development of custom software solutions for their business operation. As a result, the software industry has experienced a boom in the demand for bespoke software development services.
The majority of the businesses that are a part of this digital transformation have relied on outsourcing the development of their custom software solution to a bespoke software development company that is experienced in developing business applications from scratch.
We have prepared this expert guide for business owners who are planning to outsource to a software development company. It covers everything you need to know about outsourcing and what you can expect out of your partnership with your software provider. It also touches on how you can manage your interaction with the development team to get the most out of this collaboration. So, let’s dive in!
Table of contents
- Six Important Questions to Ask a Software Development Company in 2021
- 1. How much experience do they have working with clients and projects like yours?
- 2. What will be the expected cost of development?
- 3. How will your project be managed?
- 4. What will be the timeline of deliverables for your project?
- 5. What team of talents will be assigned for your project?
- 6. What are their post-launch support and maintenance policies?
Six Important Questions to Ask a Software Development Company in 2021
For successful outsourcing, you need to find the right bespoke software development company to partner with. For this, you need to weigh your options and assess the skills and experience of different software providers before you make your choice. Here are some important questions you need to ask software companies to judge their expertise and suitability.
1. How much experience do they have working with clients and projects like yours?
Every software development project is different and to evaluate if a bespoke software development company is the right fit for you, you need to know about their project portfolio. A portfolio of past projects will help you gauge the software provider’s level of familiarity with your industry and their expertise in developing software systems that are similar to your software idea. If your software is niche-specific and has complex requirements, such as a telehealth application or a loan management system, then it is advised to opt for a software company that has domain knowledge and familiarity with developing similar software systems.
2. What will be the expected cost of development?
This is an important question to ask a bespoke software development company because the prices of different providers can vary greatly. Software development costs can lie anywhere between $5,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the project requirements, technologies, complexity, size of the software, and other specifications. It also varies depending on other factors such as the location of the services provider. For instance, a software development company in the UK will charge a lot more than a company that’s located in India because of the obvious difference in the cost of labour in both regions. Consulting multiple companies and requesting a quote for your project will help you define a realistic budget for yourself.
3. How will your project be managed?
Different methods of project management are practised by software companies. You must discuss this with your software provider upfront so you know how the project will unfold and what role you will be expected to play throughout the project lifecycle.
Usually, there are the six stages of a software development lifecycle:
- Requirement gathering
- UI/UX design
- Quality assurance
- Post-launch maintenance
Depending on the software company’s development methodology they can go through these steps differently. Most software developers either follow the Agile development model or the Waterfall method. Some even follow a mix of two. It is important for you to discuss this with your software provider beforehand because this will define your role and input during the process. For instance, if the software company follows the Agile methodology, it means that the development process will be iterative; it will be broken down into multiple sprints or small deliverables. This means that you will be actively involved with the software developers during each sprint and you can give feedback in between that can be incorporated into future sprints.
However, it might not always be possible for you to be greatly involved in the process due to certain reasons. For example, if you are located in China and your software development company is in London, then language barriers and time zone differences may hinder your high level of engagement with the development team. In such a case you need to discuss with your provider and work out a management option that is feasible for both of you.
4. What will be the timeline of deliverables for your project?
Project timeline is crucially important because it determines the cost of development. The longer a project takes the higher it will cost. When you discuss your project requirements with the software development providers, they should be able to define the scope of the project and a tentative timeline for when it can be completed. The company should be able to guide you about the length of time that each stage of the development process will take and the number of development phases that will be required.
5. What team of talents will be assigned for your project?
A software company is only as good as their quality of development, and the quality of development depends on the technical expertise and talents of their resources. When engaging with a software company, you should pay special attention to the resources they have on their team and their skills and experience. It is advised that you discuss the composition of the team that will be responsible for developing your software. You also ask the company to provide you with the resumes of software developers that will be in your team so you can vet them yourself and get to know them before your project is initiated.
6. What are their post-launch support and maintenance policies?
The job of a software development company does not end once the software application is deployed. Post-launch support and maintenance are also considered a part of the software development lifecycle because a lot of things can go wrong when the software is deployed to end-users. Issues, bugs, and sometimes serious errors can occur during the user acceptance testing after launch and it is the responsibility of the software company to provide support to resolve these issues. Many companies offer a limited warranty period after project completion where you can avail their support and maintenance services free of charge. Whereas some companies offer standalone maintenance services that you can separately pay for.
This concludes our software outsourcing guide, and we hope it helps you in finding the right software company for your project. Our last advice to you is to take your time during the search process and ask the aforementioned questions so you can make an informed decision.