Selecting a development partner to support your business is an important decision for every business, even more so if your software is at the core of your business.
When choosing a partner there are 2 stages each with their own checklists.
Stage 1 - know thy self.
An important and often overlooked step is understanding you and your businesses needs, this is key when picking the business that best fits you and will mean that your chances of having a successful relationship are greatly increased.
Internal talent - understanding your current resource will ensure that you are looking for the partner that can support you i.e do you need support from inception through to maintenance? What level of maintenance support do you need?
Questions to ask yourself;
Existing Infrastructure - understanding what your business currently has in place and how all the systems work together.
What technologies deliver those solutions and how that lines up with your internal talent pool.
This step will mean that when you reach out to an agency you are selecting the right team to build upon your existing solution or you are ensuring that a new system can be supported by your existing infrastructure and talent.
Questions to ask yourself-
What do we need - the detail to which you can answer this question will vary from business to business, but having a strong understanding of the solution you are looking for will mean that when selecting an agency you will understand the level of experience and technical ability they will require.
Stage 2 - know thy agency
With a clear understanding of what your needs are you can then start to assess who are the right agency for you
Quality - Price has to often been the most important factor for a business when determining which software development agency to partner with, an overlooked factor which is equally if not more important is the quality of the software solution the agency provides. If the solution you are looking for is core to the success of your business than picking the right partner for your business is essential.
“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Red Adair
Software development quality can vary greatly, so when evaluating quality, you want to look at things like whether the software is free of bugs, how user-friendly software is, the layout quality, the user interface, and the quality of the graphics. High price does not always translate into high-quality, that's why there are several other factors you must consider when selecting your development partner.
Consider the future - Before you make any commitments you should ask yourself if you can see a future working with that particular company? A good development partner should feel like an extension of your existing team and if you can’t see a future with them, maybe they’re not right for you. It’s also important at this stage to think about your team and make sure they’re also happy with the pending partnership, after all, your existing team of people are what makes your business.
Experience - This is straight forward, how much experience does the agency have in completing projects similar to your needs? The more experience they have the chances are that they will able to understand your needs and provide a more accurate quote. They will use past experiences to understand what your business needs from asking the right questions and ultimately building a better solution.
Selecting a development partner is an important decision and will shape the future of your business, it is important to view this decision as a partnership and not as a customer and supplier relationship. Working in partnership towards an outcome is more likely to deliver the required results and ensure they can help steer the full development process in the right direction for your business.