Whether you are new to your role, or a hardened veteran of software development, there comes a time when you need to wade out into the endless sea of software agencies to find the one that can deliver your product or give you the temporary boost of design and developer talent you need to meet an aggressive deadline.
How to find a software development agency that fits your business needs
How do you know what to look for when hiring a software development company? What questions should you be asking about the software company's services? How do you properly evaluate a software company to ensure you've found the right "one" that will deliver on its promise and make the process easier?
First, you will need a way to distinguish between the companies that deliver and those that keep disappointing in the market. Thankfully, if your company does not already have one, numerous scorecard templates are available online that can serve as a baseline for your decision. These will include basic questions about the firm's legal structure or how long they've been in business. However, these templated questions will only give you a surface-level understanding of a software agency's inner workings.
9 points to consider when hiring a software development company
To make your lives easier, we’ve compiled a 9-point list of deeper-level characteristics and questions for you to consider when vetting a software development company for your project.
This list is based on our professional experience working with past clients looking to expand their services or products into the market. We encourage you to pick and choose those that resonate.
Transparency is crucial in business and is even more critical when choosing a software development company for your project. If an agency struggles to explain how they hire, how they deliver projects, or how they estimate your project, you should consider that a red flag.
Transparency doesn’t stop after your first meeting. You should expect an explanation from the agency on how they will continue to maintain transparency and good communication throughout the project.
Offshoring is a tricky element to consider when looking to hire a software company. On the one hand, it can be an attractive option to reduce costs and speed up delivery times. On the other hand, if it is mismanaged, it introduces new risks that can delay or dis-organize your projects, such as time-zone challenges or localization of the project. Consider the Canadian government needed new software for the upcoming elections, it would naturally make sense for the selected software development company to be Canadian. If offshoring to developers in India or Mexico, there would most likely be a disconnect in contextual knowledge.
Regardless of your opinion on offshoring (good or bad), your software agency of interest must be upfront and honest about whether your project will be done in-house or by an offshore team. We've repeatedly seen vendors offshore their work without telling the client, which can lead to a nasty headache.
Does the software development agency consistently deliver results? Consistency in deliverables and experience demonstrates a firm’s credibility. While vetting, extensively research your potential agency, their past clients, their portfolio, and client testimonials. One good source for researching your potential partners is Clutch. Clutch is like TripAdvisor for the software development industry and will only accept verified reviews after a lengthy interview.
The experience and credentials of a software company's leadership team can make a big difference in the success of your project and is a crucial indicator to consider when looking for a technology partner. Look for a leadership team that is directly engaged with the company's day-to-day operations, actively steering the company's strategic direction, and pushing the boundaries of technology to drive client business impacts.
5. Relationship building
Is the software agency you’re interested in working with looking for a long-term relationship with potential clients or do they look at each project simply as a transaction?
It might be difficult to tell how an agency views your business in a first meeting, so ask for examples of existing accounts, how long they’ve worked with current clients, and how they see themselves fitting in with your vision for the future. You’re about to spend a lot of time and money with this software agency, so look for answers and an attitude that endears a sense of trust.
6. Aligned values
Pause for a moment and read through the company's core values. Do the software agency's mission and vision align with yours? Going beyond just reading something online, we recommend you ask the software vendor in the first meeting to share examples of how they are living up to this vision. It may sound a bit touchy-feely, but analyzing these responses ensures that both teams mesh well and can work collaboratively.
Knowing at the beginning of your journey that the software agency operates in the same way as you do and have the same ethics and values will make your working relationship much easier and more fun.
Birds of a feather flock together, and the company you keep reflects a lot about you. Similarly, a software vendor’s partners reflect the strategic direction and the ambitious goals that the company can achieve for you and themselves. Some essential questions to ask the agency during the first meeting:
- Are they associating themselves with strong and recognizable brands?
- Can they share the story of how the partnership started?
- Are they a reseller for the partner, and if so, are they certified?
- Do they make a commission for recommending the service?
In the tech industry, things are constantly changing. An agency needs to be technically well-equipped and able to solve your problems with valuable and elegant solutions. An agency’s partners reflect their talents, passion, hunger for continuous learning, and willingness to expand their horizons.
8. Company culture
Company culture may seem challenging to infer after the first meeting with a software agency; however, a little digging can go a long way to discovering how an agency manages its people. Beyond reviewing the agency’s website, look for social media activity, especially on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, to get a sense of the working culture.
Glassdoor is another important tool that can shed light on what it is like to work for a company. Are they sensitive to employee needs? Is there a high turnover rate or boom-bust hiring cycles?
A strong reputation and word of mouth can provide in-depth insights about the software agency you are considering because it takes time to build and maintain that status. It would help if you were looking for a company that has a good standing within the community and is aware of the future of the technology. Ask the agency for references and ask around your industry or network for their opinion on the firm.
At TTT Studios, we believe that the highest quality work can only be achieved by overseeing your project ourselves and letting our in-house design and engineering experts create the magic while keeping you informed every step of the way with our dedicated team of consultants and project managers. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.