Tips for Choosing a Custom Software Development Company
Custom software is a powerful tool for solving problems and powering growth. It is no wonder that companies are investing in custom solutions to drive a business to success! However, finding a Software developer and getting your project started can be a complicated process. We created this post to help you gain insight into the development process and feel confident in your search and initiation of your software solution.
First, you need a developer that can understand the needs of your company and project. Things like deadlines, functionality requirements, and desired user experience are essential pieces of information to share with potential developers so they can assess their ability to take on the task at hand.
Secondly, look for a partner who is transparent about how they work. Again, communication is key to a successful engagement! For example, developers need to be clear about the timeframes and resources to complete a project.
Finally, seek out a developer with an extensive track record of experience with custom software projects like yours. Custom software can solve problems efficiently, but it takes knowledge and expertise on both sides of the table.
Finding the Right Developer:
The company you choose should follow the Agile process because this ensures the efficiencies mentioned above - but how do you know if they are?
What does Agile mean?
Agile development is an iterative approach to the software development process in which the "requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams."* It encourages adaptive planning, the evolution of designs, and improvisation. In addition, it provides a framework that software developers can use to manage their workloads across multiple projects at any given time.
But how do you know if they if the company you select follows these principles? First, let's dive into some essential qualities that any good software development firm should meet.
- The company should be regularly delivering new features.
- They should test their product with real users to make sure they are meeting the needs of consumers.
- If a feature is too complicated, it may need to be broken down into smaller parts so that developers can tackle them one at a time.
- Developers work in two-week sprints.
- The company should be using the latest technologies and techniques to deliver a quality product, whether in programming languages or design processes.
- Development teams are cross-functional with both UX/UI designers as well as developers.
- The project coordinator or Scrum masters — maintain productivity by shortening long meetings while allowing ample time for discussion.
- The company should have a diverse team of developers with varying skill sets to handle any task you throw at them.
Looking through reviews, the company's website, and a thorough interview process can help you identify these traits. When you can tick off these boxes, you will know they are Agile, ensuring efficiency and quality in product delivery.
You have hired your team. Are you ready?
The project starts with an analysis phase where you, the stakeholders, determine who will use the product and what problems are related.
You should be able to answer these questions:
- What type of product are you looking for, and why do you want to release it?
- Whom will the end-user be, and how will you profit from it?
- What does your business look like with this new tool implemented?
- How will marketing and sales work?
Communicating this to your development team will create the most effective solution for your business. A skilled software development team should be on hand to help your company hit all of those marks or possibly guide you toward better solutions.
Your team gets to work documenting the deliverable requirements and reviewing them with the Project Manager and the Development team. What is the best solution, how can you get there, and how will the budget be met?
Then, they generate prototypes that real users interact with, giving developers feedback sooner on which features they need to focus on first, instead of guessing or moving one Feature blindly through the development phases. This system or series of "sprints" are set periods in which specific tasks are accomplished and presented as a mini-product release.
Your experienced team should develop comprehensive solutions that include test strategies, test cases, and defect management. Your development team needs to use manual and automated testing solutions such as TFS, Jira, Selenium, Cypress, and jMeter, with working experience in performance, cross-browser, and mobile testing.
It is essential to confirm that you will own your deliverable and make the final decisions on that product. Your new development team will put people and communication before routine and technology. Support should be available to your transition team as you begin.
There are many benefits to custom software. It's an incredible tool for solving problems and powering growth, but it can only do so much if the people who make it don't have Agile practices in place!
To recap Agile practices:
- Agile ensures efficiency because it's a dynamic, ongoing process.
- Agile starts with an analysis phase where stakeholders determine who will use the product and what problems are related. These insights give developers feedback sooner on which features they need to focus on first.
- Agile for Software Development firms should be more than just words - you want your developer team to have these qualities so that your product can reach its full potential.
An agile development team provides the advantages of transparency, adapts to changing priorities, and offers rapid continuous delivery and communication between team members.
We hope this sheds some light on steps you can take to find a fantastic team. Doing a little advanced research and truly understanding what your developers want from you should guide your custom software investment to success!
* Biswas, Pablo, and Scott Schultz. "Development of a Project Tracking Information System Using Agile Methodology." IIE Annual Conference. Proceedings, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), Jan. 2019, p. 1030.