5 Software Development Company Must-Haves and Red-Flags

Finding the right software development company can be an overwhelming and daunting task. After all, you just finished deciding that you need customized software – that was hard enough! There are literally thousands of companies out there who promise custom software development. But choosing the wrong one can put you months and substantial dollars behind – or worse, you end up with an inferior product. Let’s look at some general must-haves and not-so-obvious red-flag warning signs so you can make the best choice for your business.

1.   Reputation

What’s the first thing you do when you buy a product on Amazon? Check the reviews. Choosing a software development company is a much bigger buying decision than your next blender so don’t forget this simple step. Take a look at the reviews posted on their own websites but don’t stop there.

On-site reviews will likely be the curated, best of the best, glowing testimonials. Dig into Google Reviews and other third-party sources. Glassdoor is an interesting peek into the employee-employer dynamic at the company and that can give you some behind-the-scenes intel.

As with all reviews, be on the lookout for less-than-sincere reviews. 5 stars with no comments means nothing. Look for a company with some balance. 3 stars with detail is often more valuable, especially if the company responded.

2.   Flexibility

Also known as agility, innovation, and customization. You need to work with a team that can quickly and easily adapt to your business’s specific processes, issues, and methods. A software development company that can react quickly but still produce quality results is a must.

Beware companies that have a set schedule, a tried-and-true method for all situations. A local company has advantages, like being able to physically come in and test, but being able to source talent from all over the world may outweigh the local advantage. You’re looking for a cutting-edge tech company – they should be taking advantage of innovative ways to work.

3.   Company Culture

It’s easy to overlook the mission and vision statements of a tech company. You’re looking for excellent results, efficient timelines, and great bang for your buck. But do you know what gets you there?

Hiring a company that takes care of its employees, has a vision for its own future, and focuses on something more than dollar signs is a must.

When you hire a custom software development company, you need them to be around for the long haul. To maintain, debug, update, and support your sparkling new software. Disgruntled employees or short-sighted management will not stand the test of time in today’s evolving workplace.

4.   Communication

Pay particular attention to the quantity and quality of questions your prospective software development company asks you. Do you start off with a one-page questionnaire? A virtual meeting? Do their questions demonstrate that they know their stuff – and are enthusiastic about your stuff?

Check if it feels like you’re being slotted into their machine or if you are the center of the operation. Ask some questions of your own, like how timelines will be communicated and executed and what platforms will be used for communication.

5.   Experience & Talent Pool

A software development company that is stellar, world-class, and above-and-beyond in a different specialty is not your ideal company. Do you need UX (user experience) and UI (user interface)? Find a company that has experts in both. Ask if their developers have ever tackled a project like yours and how it went. Nothing will ever shake out exactly the same way twice, so don’t be too hard on them if they don’t have an exact match example.

But this is your chance to see how their collective minds work. Can they apply their experience to your project in valuable ways? Do they have the advantage of cooperative teams? Two heads are better than one, and a whole team’s worth is even better.

Bonus Points: Security, Ownership, Quality Assurance, Support & Maintenance

You should also consider a software development company’s security protocols, the process of ownership once the project is finished, how they QA their products, and the long-term support you’ll receive. These details can often be negotiated during project planning so they aren’t as important as the previous 5 points.

The software development company you choose needs to align with your own values. Their reputation, ability to adapt, company culture, communication style, and past experience are all make-or-break characteristics. When you find one that checks all 5 boxes, start getting excited! It’s the start of a beautiful software development partnership and, since you’ve done your due diligence, you’re set up for success.

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