These tips were submitted by KindGeek - the full-stack software development agency that works with startup founders across the globe.
Looking for a software development company to entrust it with your idea?
It can be a very frustrating task to choose that special one that will be responsible for your product as there are thousands of software development companies all over the world, and each has something interesting to offer. We will make this task slightly easier for you by providing a list of things to demand and expect from a software company if you want your future product to be relevant, lasting, scalable, appealing, and reliable in all regards.
If a company claims that your demands are unjustifiable, consider it a warning sign.
1. Software Development Process
There are approaches and processes that can grant your increased efficiency, flexibility, and smooth workflow during the process of software development.
Most often, software companies use Scrum methodology while developing digital solutions. It helps achieve desired agility and keep under control a whole process. If so, you as a customer should be able to participate in Scrum sprints planning sessions (sprints are relatively small time spans during which a certain part of a program is being developed) so you can contribute to the process with your vision. Finally, you should expect to review a demo of the product at the end of each sprint so you can ensure that the work is being done and your idea is starting to manifest itself into real life the proper way.
For the purposes of planning and monitoring, a company can use Jira or Open Project software that helps to ensure agile project management and full transparency in terms of bug reports, documentation, how much time a developer spent on a piece of a program, and other insightful things.
If a company uses another methodology, you still should be able to participate in planning sessions and monitor the progress in any other relevant way. Otherwise, you would be detached from a project. If a company does not have any planning sessions than we suggest you to further proceed with your search for a software development company.
2. Discovery Phase
Discovery phase is the process of gathering and analyzing as much information on industry, competitors, and clients as possible in order to create the most relevant prototype of a project.
The modern digital market is so dense that it is borderline impossible to create a competitive product without digging deep into details to understand the weaknesses and strengths of a project and make adjustments where they are required. In other words, the discovery phase is about analyzing how ideas similar to yours manifest themselves in the digital world. Throwing all forces on developing a fully-functional project without conducting a discovery phase is comparable to jumping into water from a cliff without knowing how the seabed looks like. You may succeed, but if not it would be a quite painful experience.
After the discovery phase is done, a company can develop a prototype, visual and architectural concepts of the project considering all the insights that were obtained in the process.
Note that not every company will perform discovery phase as it requires business analysis expertise along with software one. However, the presence of a discovery phase is certainly a big advantage.
3. Scalable architecture
If your product is successful it will grow bigger, sooner or later. Therefore, the architecture of the project should be developed considering the possibility that your business may scale and attract thousands of new users, which will increase the load that the project would have to handle significantly. Otherwise, the project would simply crush and create an impression that you would not like it to create in the first days of rapid growth.
Therefore, even the slightest possibility of scaling in the future should make you expect the scalable architecture.
4. QA (Quality Assurance)
Fresh and bugless programs just do not exist. They need to be tested on all stages of development, and then, tested again. Otherwise, there would be some functionality among all the bugs inside a program. Therefore, a reliable software company should have a Quality Assurance specialists the task of which is to find as many bugs and issues as possible while developers are busy developing. It is quite possible that a developer can also test a code that he or she has written, but it is not only highly inefficient but also highly unlikely that a person could be a good developer and a good QA simultaneously as developing and testing require dramatically different skill sets.
5. Project management
Most often, there are two primary options regarding Project Management in IT sphere. A company is either works in accordance to Dedicated Team business model, due to which you receive a team of professionals who work on your project and you can manage them yourself, or a company can provide you with their PM who acts as a link between you and a company, keeping you updated and communicating your vision and ideas to a team and team’s concerns to you.
If a company does not provide you with a local PM or does not allow you managing the team itself, it is a very vocal sign that something is not as transparent or as professional as it should be.
Appearance matters. Especially in the digital world, where it very much determines whether an audience will enjoy observing and using your product. The Intuitive and attractive design is the crucial part of the first impression your product will create.
Just surf the portfolio of a company you are considering to work with and decide whether you enjoy what you see or not.
The truth is that great functionality with the mediocre design would not great you far. There are exceptions to this rule, but it is better not to take unnecessary risks.
7. Security Expertise
It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of digital security. Just remember all the scandals about leaked data that have happened recently. People become more sensitive and concerned about their digital security, and you should be concerned about the security of your project as well. Security should be one of the main focuses of your project regardless of whether you want to create a complex fintech application or a small educational platform. In any case, strengthening the security of your product is a far-reaching decision.
In modern realities, neglecting security is an unaffordable luxury.
Finally, if you still cannot choose a company to partner with, you can always look or ask for feedback from previous clients. A transparent and experienced company will always be willing to share this information with you.