How to choose the best Software Development Company?

Posted on 20/05/2021

Finding the best software development company is not always an easy task. When investing your time and money, you will want to get an excellent product that fully meets your requirements. Therefore, the product development team should consist of experienced professionals who will complete the project within the agreed time and budget.

Many customers do not have adequate experience to make the right choice. It’s very easy to get lost in the stream of proposals or to make mistakes from quick decisions.

Let’s look at what to pay attention to when you are choosing a software developer to build your mobile application:

Why choose a software development company, and not a freelance developer?

Some customers search for freelance developers because of the perception of a lower cost. Sometimes this is confirmed, but in most cases, the services of a freelancer will cost the same as the services of an outsourced software development company. But the risks in case of hiring freelancers is much higher.

We advise partnering with a fully-fledged software development company. You will benefit from a well-versed team, established processes, and the presence of a project manager. This person co-ordinates the team, encourage and motivates the staff, as well as ensuring target dates are met. The overall quality of work increases significantly.

How to choose a good Software Development Company

Software is at the heart of every outstanding organisation – be it a start-up or a multinational company. Businesses can’t survive anymore without proper solutions that help to fast respond to market changes and deliver great quality. If you have been appraising off-the-shelf software solutions and still can’t find what you need, the best way is to contract the services of a custom software development agency.

Such development companies have teams of technical experts on staff who can help you achieve your business goals. There are many companies that offer custom software solutions.

How can you ensure a company you are evaluating is trustworthy and will deliver the product you need

Finding reliable software development partners is essential when developing custom solutions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a founder with a great business idea or an IT team leader who doesn’t have sufficient experts on board. It’s in your interest to collaborate with a tech partner you can trust and rely on.

Consider the following when confirming the credibility of a software development company:

1. Research their website

The software development company’s website must contain a description of their services provided and a portfolio of projects completed. See if there is a blog, which demonstrates that a real tech team is working and has enough experience to share their expertise with others.

Do not consider excuses such as “we do not have time to add a project portfolio, but we have delivered 300 websites”, or “the site is still in maintenance”. Like most businesses, a software development company needs to make time for self-promotion.

Carefully study the website of each company you are considering and ensure that the company has an authorised business office and contact details.

Check their Track Record

You can use third-party services to measure the performance of a software development agency and what its clients think about it. Websites like Clutch are a useful source of information on a potential tech partner. If the software company you’re considering is listed on Clutch, it means the company has a number of verified reviews from former clients.

If there’s little information available, ask the software company to provide references. Consider downloading infographics from their website for a more thorough insight into their offer.

Take extra care to search the case study section. This part of the company’s website will help you understand many things, for example:

Technologies the development company has worked with and their degree of expertise.


The software development company’s experience with technologies you want to implement.


Whether the software company has experience in developing software solutions for your industry.

Now, that’s a lot of information, but there are three important points you should focus on when searching a software company’s previous work:

Does the company have expertise in the technologies you need for your project?

A Software Development Company never hides their skill sets. Their company website should be full of information about all the technologies they specialise in. Leverage this information to discover whether the software development company has knowledge of technologies that your software project requires. Some software development companies also present information about industry standards they follow in developing software – for example, the agile development methodology. The case study section on a website is the most informative part. When searching for projects, check whether they use technologies that are relevant to you. While doing that, note down all the information that could be relevant to your project.

Does the software company have experience in creating software for your industry?

Note that each industry comes with various technological models. That’s why hiring a custom software development company by industry section is important to the success of your software project. Software developers who have domain knowledge can take advantage of their previous experiences for your job, implement the right software solutions, and ensure that the final product meets the required regulatory standards.

Have they implemented similar software solutions before?

It’s a good idea to hire a software development company which can serve a wide range of technologies. That way you ensure that your software project is matched with a development team that has the right expertise – for example, mobile app development. Pick a software development company that has already implemented similar software solutions in a sector close to yours – you’ll reduce the risk that comes with unforeseen problems that come from lack of domain knowledge of industry standards.

2. Consider Nearshoring or Offshoring

While many software projects can be delivered successfully regardless of where the software development company is headquartered, sometimes the location of your tech partner matters - usually when there are specific business needs or project requirements involved.

If hiring your own in-house software developers it will generally carry a much higher price tag than outsourcing the job to a team, say, in Eastern Europe, or will be impossible due to the shortage of skilled software specialists. That’s why nearshoring has grown so common in recent years.

With offshoring, the time difference might be a problem if you’re in need of real-time communication or quick fixes. However, offshoring software development companies can usually provide good quality work at a relatively low cost. Also, the type and scope of your software project might not call for real-time feedback. With nearshoring, communication isn’t an issue, which is important in large-scale applications that require constant maintenance.

Onshoring - hiring a software company within the same country


Offshoring - outsourcing operations to a software company located in another country, usually overseas


Nearshoring - moving IT operations to a software company based in a nearby country (usually one you share a border with).



3. Compare Offers

During your search for the best software development company, you might find yourself looking at rates. When you see lower rates, you might be attracted to give something cheaper a go - which is normal. And indeed, sometimes you may find brilliant, quality software development for cheap. However, there’s a twist to consider.

We all know there’s no such thing as cheap, good, and fast at the same time. And if you go for just “cheap” you might end up spending more money than you initially planned for.

When someone doesn’t know how to do something, they’ll need more time to complete a given task, and you will spend more time fixing the resulting bugs.

Sample developer rates:

Software Company A hourly rate: 40$ Hours needed to finish the task: 5h


Software Company B hourly rate: 50$ Hours needed to finish the task: 4h


5 hours x $40 = $200

4 hours x $50 = $200

Let’s do the math:

The first option appears cheaper - hey, it's $10 less per hour. But developers from software Company B can do the same task 20% faster, for the same cost. Multiply that by the time needed for the whole project to finish and you can see you will lose time with the cheaper option.

Beware of outsourcing software companies whose services are temptingly cheap or whose street cred is below industry standards. Instead, aim for a good balance of quality and price.

4. Turn to social media

Another important type of online presence that is useful for anyone looking for a software development company is social media. First, go to the most popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to check whether the software development company has a presence.

Facebook allows organisations to feature reviews on their pages. Does the software development company you are looking at have that feature enabled? And if not, why not? If you see many positive reviews, it’s a sign that the software development company is reliable.

Company culture

Ensure to scroll through the information featured and newsfeed on company pages too. What kind of content does the software development company share? Does it run a blog? Does it publish information about industry events? What kind of language does it use to communicate and share with social media users? Social media activity gives a clear picture of the software company’s culture.

5. Search for the company’s activity in the software developer community

One way to know whether a software development company hires experienced software developers with outstanding skill sets is by checking their overall engagement with the software developer community.

Well-established software development companies usually have CTOs and senior developers who are leading figures in local developer circles. They organise and discuss at conferences or business meets. They also plan and conduct fund awards and sponsor events.

A software development company that is serious about giving back to the software developer community will generally attract the most talented professionals on the market. That’s why it’s important to check whether the software development company you are looking at has an active presence in the developer community.

Does the software development company name appear at industry events? Does the software company sponsor events? Asking these questions will lead you to find out where the software company is located in the software development industry. It will give you a clear picture of the level of technical expertise its employees offer.

6. Consider the Company location

When making the requirements list for your software project, consider whether the physical presence of software developers will be necessary for implementing your software solution. With that criterion in mind, you should be searching for software development companies that are located in specific places. Always consider the need for software developers to be available on-site before signing the project contract.

By teaming up with a software development company located nearby and in a similar time zone, you will make sure that your software development team can respond quickly. As a result, you’ll get a better time frame for the successful completion of your software project.

If you have been researching software companies and have narrowed it down to a few choices, have a look at where they are located to see which ones are most suitable. Consider flight availability and pricing and time zones. At the beginning of your software project, it’s important that your organisation’s team and the software development team spend time together on a regular basis for planning and consultation.

7. Ask about the shape of the Development Team

Inquire after the composition of the software development team that is or will be responsible for your software project. Does it have project managers, QA (Quality Assurance) specialists, account managers? It’s important to find out how much supervision you will have to do for your project and whether the software development team will be able to work on their own.

Usually, Project Managers serve as a link between you and the rest of the software development team. They hold the team together, and ensure the project work is progressing in the right direction and stipulated time.

While having a committed Project Manager on board is standard, good software development companies go a step further, offering their clients a committed customer service manager. Account Managers will be your key point of contact and will handle any problems that may arise.

This is important as a well-formed team where every team member has clearly defined roles and responsibilities is a sign that work on your project will be organised, focused, and efficient.

It’s also essential to know whether the software development company uses tools that facilitate project planning and progress monitoring. Apps such as Trello, Redmine, or Jira keep the team members involved in the software project in the loop and up-to-date. They also ensure transparency so there are no hazy spots when it comes to invoicing.

Some software development companies provide business analysts for an additional project discovery phase, where you can gauge the viability of your software idea against similar software already existing in the market.

A Business Analyst will invest in your product, as they spend more time and personnel to dig deeper into the project scope and to understand your business goals. It’s very important to have your tech partner understand what you want to achieve business-wise.

Not all software development companies offer a project discovery phase, so once you come across an agency that follows this practice - keep it close.

8. Learn About Communication Practices

Communication is an important key to a good working relationship and a satisfactory end product. You should experience flawless, high-level communication from the very beginning of your journey with a software development company.

Both you and your project manager should be able to communicate clearly and efficiently. Being overwhelmed with language that is too technical might leave you struggling to grasp what’s happening. That’s why clear and easily understandable language is essential to good communication. Your Project Manager should inform you without delay about any difficulty in development or other issues that may influence the progress of your project.

Your software development partner should keep you in the loop at all times, so it’s very important to check they remain transparent. Do they have a Slack channel or other communication channel open for you, with access to the whole of their project-related communication, or do you only get to see snippets of conversations via email?

Check out Approaches to Project Creation

We advise you to ask whether a software development agency you are thinking about working with employs any of the popular and effective software development methodologies such as SCRUM or other Agile approaches.

As a client, you are also a member of the team according to the SCRUM methodology. At ISH Technologies, the client is considered to be a team member and always takes part in timely calls.

SCRUM has a number of benefits:

Budget management - you can see what you are paying for


Communication - you actively take part in the build of your project, so you can share your thoughts about the project and ask for changes, if necessary



9. Ask about Software Development Practices

Unless you’re creating a small app for a limited number of users, make sure that the software development agency of your choice is capable of creating applications that can easily be scaled in the future. There are advanced technologies and software programming languages that make it easy to serve a growing number of users and traffic, without spending extra money, on scaling the architecture (whether horizontally or vertically).

Take a closer look at the software development process and the workflow. A good software development company will most likely start the software cost estimation with the first ballpark. Such an estimated cost will usually be based on basic information including your business requirements, target users, timeline, and budget.

You can expect a full cost estimate after you sit down with the software development company to discuss the details. The purpose of the discovery phase is to learn more about your specific needs, draft a detailed software project scope breakdown, and agree on the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

During these workshops, you will work together with your tech partner to determine the project roadmap, milestones, and agree on the timeframe and a budget. Don’t be daunted if they don’t agree with whatever you request, no questions asked, and rather challenge you, or suggest new thoughts and solutions. You’re paying for their technical experience, so they should be able to suggest a service-level agreement based on what they’ve done with similar projects in the past.

10. Attitude towards signing an NDA

It’s always better to start a project with a software development company based on the signed contract, and signed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). This will guarantee your interests are protected and preserve the intellectual rights of the software product. Even if this is an additional cost, the security is worth it.

11. Consider future Maintenance and Support

This is something to consider, particularly in the case of large-scale software development projects, which require constant maintenance to run bug-free and have to be able to work at peak performance capacity during peaks in traffic. Since the software developers you chose to work with know your software project - they developed it, after all - they’ll be the best selection for post-deployment maintenance. Be sure to ask whether they offer it.

12. Ask about Testing

No matter how skilled and careful a software development company is, creating entirely bug-free software is impossible. Testing during development is an essential part of the whole process as it lets software developers catch bugs fast and modify the code to eliminate them. This way, your software application is not only finished in a timely manner, but the risk of bugs arising following deployment is kept to a minimum. Ask how your chosen software development company d manages quality assurance.

13. Check Security Measures

We’ll conclude with one of the most essential parts of software development - security.

Security is crucial while your software project is still in development and after it is deployed.

Ask how your intellectual property (IP) will be maintained and secured, and what type of security measures will be used during communication and development.

Contact the software development agency

Now that you’ve researched the software development company and believe that it might be the right choice, it’s time to get in touch with the company. You will get a lot of additional information about the software company at the first point of contact.

Check whether they’re responsive when contacted through various channels like telephone, email, or social media. Is the company ready to pick up your lead or does it take them a while to process your inquiry? The time taken by a software development company to get back to you with a custom proposal for your software project shows the experience of the company in the field and the company’s internal organisation strength.

When contacting a custom or bespoke software Development Company, call or send a message. Be sure to ask for tentative cost estimation of the project, code samples, and any other information that you consider to be important.

Ask the potential vendor to connect you with their previous clients. If they did an excellent job, they should be more than ready to share this information with you as references will help them close the deal.

If you’re considering partnering with a software agency located overseas, that primary point of contact will tell you a lot about how you will be communicating once your project begins. If you’re planning to choose global resources, communication is usually one of the common challenges.

Does the software development company have processes and tools in place to overcome communication barriers? Ask whether they have established guidelines and standards that help to reduce miscommunication.

Conclusion

Choosing the right software development company for your project is a challenging task. Follow the criteria outlined in this article to choose the right software development company for your software project. You need to team up with a software development agency that asks about your business needs and understands the value the software should deliver to customers. Project managers, designers, and software developers should be interested in both what needs to be done and also why it needs to be done.

When we know what kind of results the client is expecting, we can recommend a cheaper or faster approach.

Look for reliable tech partners

ISH Technologies fully meets all the above criteria and offers full-cycle software development of web and mobile applications, combining proven experience with innovative approaches in the implementation of projects.

You can always use our experience and knowledge to build exclusive, high-quality software applications. Just contact us, and our development team will help you in all aspects of product development and market entry.