Choosing a software developer can be tricky. There are many factors to consider, and the right choice for one project may not work for another. Thankfully, we’ve been around the block a few times so we’ve got a good handle on this.  Here’s our guide to making your decision a little easier.

Yep, we’re a software development company. So you may be asking ‘can I trust these guys to help me make the right choice?’ – the answer is yes. Because, honestly, we may not want to work with you anyway. You heard right. We’re all about creating the perfect match, for your business and your project, even if that means sending you elsewhere. We want to form long-lasting, trusting relationships with our clients. We’re selective about who we work with and the projects we work on. And we only recommend solutions that we truly believe in.

So, no ‘hard sell’ here – just our informed opinion on the questions you should ask before choosing a developer for your custom software or mobile app project…

What are my specific software needs?

The best place to start is with you. What are you trying to achieve? What are your requirements? Who is this software for? What must it do? What is your delivery deadline? How will you measure success?  Lots of simple, fundamental questions. You must have clarity on these points before you even think about shopping for help. 

Where can I find software developers?

Now you know what you want, you can start thinking about who can deliver it. But where to look? Google is a natural starting point, but a word of warning – search engines may not yield the best results. Big budget developers dominate search rankings but may not be the best match for you or your project. You should at least verify your findings and ideally interrogate a number of other sources. You can use sites like Bark, who will present your request to matching vendors. You should also leverage your business network, ask for recommendations, and find out who your competitors use. For starters.

Has this developer done similar work?

Relevant experience is key. During your shortlisting process, you should look for case studies, testimonials and mentions of matching specialisms. If you engage in conversation with prospective developers, ask them straight – ‘have you worked in my industry/for similar companies/on similar projects?’. You can even go a step further – ask how the project played out and (especially if you’re unsure) request references.

Do they have technical expertise?

For starters, look for the development stack. If it isn’t mentioned, request details – what are the languages, frameworks, environments and tools they work with? If it means nothing to you, do some research or phone a ‘techie’ friend. If you see signs that this company are working with outdated technology, or are rigid in their development approach, start the car.

Are they within my budget?

Be careful with this one. Most software developers like to shout about the great brands they work with. And why wouldn’t they? Naturally, they want to highlight big projects they’ve completed for global companies. But (while impressive) household names and familiar logos can scare people off. Maybe you’re thinking ‘this must be way beyond my budget’ – again, just be straight with them. If developers don’t mention figures (and most don’t) ask for a ballpark cost and give them a rough idea of your budget. It’ll save everyone’s time and you might just be pleasantly surprised.

Are they talking my language?

Communication is key. Chances are, if communication is poor from the outset, it won’t get any better. Are your calls and emails answered promptly? Do you have confidence that your questions are understood and adequately answered? Do you feel that you’re in safe hands? Are you on the same page? You should ask who will be managing your project and speak to them directly, if possible, to get a sense of how they work. If you’re uneasy about who you’re dealing with or how they deal with you, move on.

Is my software  idea protected?

Most software development companies (including Salpo) will offer-up an NDA (non disclosure agreement) before engaging in deep discussion. If you have a unique idea or are divulging sensitive information, insist on signing an NDA. It protects both parties, and can save plenty of hassle down the line. If your request is denied or meets with quizzical looks, then look elsewhere.

Are there any other red flags?

Once you get a sense that a company can deliver, it’s easy to overlook seemingly minor details. You want things to go smoothly. You want your life to be easy. You just want to get started. It’s human nature. But wait – are there any signs that all may not be quite as expected? Do you really trust all the claims? What happens if things go wrong? Now is the time to triple check, rather than regret later. So look at the contract, ask all the awkward questions, and put your mind at rest.

And that just about covers it. There are of course more questions you could ask, but these should put you on the path to choosing the right software development company. If you have any questions or wish to discuss your project, please get in touch.

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