Choosing a Software Development Partner
Whether a company is looking to implement a new solution for their specific business requirement, or is undergoing a major transformation itself, the importance of choosing the right software development partner cannot be stressed upon enough. It is imperative for such companies to spend enough time and effort in making this decision, as a misinformed step at this stage has the possibility of completely ruining the vision that the company had in mind.
Even though the door to developing the software in-house is always open, very few companies decide to go down that road in the present scenario as it takes away from their other key functions. Therefore, it may seem like a decision between two options, both of which seem risky - awarding the task to an external software development partner or developing in-house. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be a daunting task but we have created a checklist that may help such companies take the right decision.
* Associated Cost - One of the most important factors to consider while choosing a software development partner is the total cost associated with it. While it may seem lucrative to choose the one that provides low-cost services, historically it has not gone well most of the times. As many companies wake up to a rude shock, they understand that it is basically ‘you get what you pay for’. Hence, cost may be an important factor but it would not be wise to depend only on that.
* Previous experience - It is important for the software development partner to have some experience in the same domain and in similar projects in the past. Companies must always look at their work portfolio and then decide whether they will be able to successfully complete their project.
* After-sales maintenance and support - Even after a project is complete, it does not mean that the task is over. There always remains the possibility of bugs affecting the smooth functioning of the software. Hence, how is the software development partner at providing support or maintenance services after the project is over is equally important.
* Business ethos - Choosing a partner for long term is beneficial for both the stakeholders involved. It helps form a sense of partnership based on mutual understanding and respect rather than it being just a vendor-client relationship. Therefore, it is crucial to select a partner with the set of values and beliefs that are compatible with the company’s own. This makes it easier and smoother to work with each other and the final product will be the best it could be.
* Handling unpredictable situations - One must always be ready for unplanned changes or events that are quite common in software development process. There are times when the work doesn’t move exactly as planned and hence, the company must be diligent in asking the prospective partner whether they have handled unpredictable or unprecedented situations in the past and how did that turn out.
* Stability of the partner - Companies must also check how stable is the prospective software development partner, how are they handling their daily operations, their economical, technological and managerial stability, and so on. This will help decide if they are good for the project, and later, for a great long term relationship.
* Size of the project - Not all companies accept all types of software development projects. Some of them undertake only long-term projects while others welcome projects of any size and difficulty level. Depending upon the project size and complexity being offered, prospective partners can be shortlisted.
* Technological capabilities - Not all technologies can provide the performance that a company desires. What works for one type of project may not work efficiently for another. Therefore, it would be wise to find out if the prospective software development partner has the technological capabilities required. This will help avoid poorly-written code and other shocks later.
* Questioning - Questions like “How are you better than other software developers?” and “How do you ensure software quality standards?” can provide critical insights into the functioning and ideology of the prospective partner, which can lead to proper understanding and better decision-making.
* Security and protection - Interviewing the prospective software development partner about one specific area can be crucial, and that is, how do they handle sensitive and protected data. Companies might want to consider other candidates if their values and thoughts on data privacy/security are lacklustre. This step can ensure that the confidential information/documentation remain safe and secure.
* Response to RFPs - Companies must put in time and effort to draft the perfect Request for Proposal (RFP) document so that only the best-fit prospective partners apply for the opportunity, making it easier for the companies to finalize one of them.
Although choosing the right software development partner can be confusing and difficult because of the risks involved, proper planning and taking calculated, well-informed steps can simplify the process to a great extent. The aforementioned checklist covers all the pointers that can help companies ensure smooth functioning project and desired results.
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