Picking a software development shop is a bit like buying a used car. With a used car, you have certain features in mind, but you can’t special-order anything; you have to select from what’s available. Similarly, all software development shops have their strengths and weaknesses, and you usually can’t cherry-pick parts from different shops to assemble a team. You have to see what’s available and evaluate them on what they bring to the table.
If you are new to picking a software development shop, here are five things to consider in your evaluation:
- Do they know what technologies to use, and how to use them? No technology is suitable for solving all problems. When the AndPlus team wrote the mobile app for the Link AKC™ Smart Collar, we applied our extensive experience with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular wireless technologies to give the device maximum connectivity for all potential use cases. You want to see a wide range of technologies in a development shop’s toolbox.
- Do they provide detailed estimates? An experienced software development team will not rely on guesswork to come up with an estimate. They will first ensure they understand your business problem and then use their past experience to come up with a reliable estimate that can be tracked and verified throughout the project life cycle.
- Do they develop the application and user interface in tandem? Some shops build the application logic first and “throw it over the wall” to a user interface designer. Other shops do the opposite. An experienced shop understands that these activities must go hand-in-hand in order for the project to succeed.
- Do you know who is doing the work? Some shops outsource some or all of the development work to low-paid developers halfway around the world. You don’t meet them, you never get to speak with them, and you have no idea whether they’re even remotely qualified. A better choice is a team with which you can interact in real-time.
- Do they care about you? A professional software development shop takes the time required to understand your business and its pain points well — beyond any token knowledge easily accessible via a simple search result. Such an establishment will work shoulder-to-shoulder with you to ensure you get the right solution.
At AndPlus, we pride ourselves in being a real team and encourage our clients to visit with us in our offices to collaborate on solutions. We find that the considerations listed above are what separate the truly full-service professional shops from the “one-trick ponies.” When you are picking a software development shop, we encourage you to keep these things in mind.