Before searching for potential development partners, it’s necessary to define the requirements accurately. If you’re developing something from scratch, there should be a description of the product, its goals, and the target audience. The more details and materials about the product you have, the better. Understand what problem you want to solve and who can do it.
For instance, you have a final product that lacks a mobile app. Therefore, your team needs advice and consulting. You can decide whether it’s better to hire experts on your team or involve partners to outsource the market research, design, and development.
Criteria to Consider While Selecting a Software Development Partner
Your choice of partner should depend on many factors. First, let’s differentiate between building a product from scratch and bringing on additional help for an existing product.
Let’s start from scratch and work our way to adding to a team.
There are several scenarios to consider. They include:
- You’re looking for a dedicated delivery team who’ll take you from market research to design, development, and maintenance. Still, you already have technical leaders in-house or the advice of technical consultants.
- You’re looking for a dedicated delivery team who’ll take you from market research to design, development, and maintenance. However, you don’t have technical leaders in-house or the advice of technical consultants.
The first scenario simplifies the process as you already have competent team members/advisors who’ll help you pick a competent partner. You’ll start your search in the right places, ask the best questions, and understand how to give technical test tasks.
The second scenario introduces some challenges on your side as you won’t have the opportunity to be as confident when finding and testing partners. You should hire a consultant to help you find the right partner. This will save you money in the long run.
How to Search for Reliable Software Development Partners
The most straightforward approach to finding a reliable software development partner is to reach out to your network and ask who built their solutions, and if they’re satisfied with the work. If they are, ask if they can connect you.
If you’re left to build your list on your own, there are a few places you can start your research.
- Email: Review your email and browse the offers sent to you by IT consulting & development companies.
- Clutch.co: An online platform that gathers client testimonials, case studies, and industry data to help choose the best possible software engineering company for them.
- GoodFirms: A research-based firm that aims to identify and recognize the best and most well-performing software development companies from across the globe.
Such services are convenient because you can choose your preferred partner according to various factors: business direction, pricing, technology, and development time. It’s also possible to outline your objectives and get help from the portals’ consultants to build a list of potential partners within 48 hours. Before making a decision, you can review a wide range of data: customer feedback, market research, portfolio, etc.
Build a list of potential partners with a technical consultant for the best result.
Now that you have your list, you can start the screening process. Pay attention to the quality of communication from the first email, phone call, or text message. Monitor how quickly they get back to you. Consider who joins you on the first/second call. In my experience at Computools, there should be 3 specialists:
- Business Development Representative (BDR);
- Technical Specialist;
- Business Analyst.
Together, they’ll analyze your needs from different points of view and ask questions to understand better what you want to get in the end. Beware of people who promise you something concrete too early. How can they do that so soon? They don’t have enough understanding of what your needs or current processes are.
Follow the introduction and discovery phases carefully. It’s best if the team cooperates with you step by step, presenting the results of their work at the end of each stage. This allows you to understand how well the information is processed, how quickly the team works with it, and how quickly they can show you a quality result.
Beware of candidates ready to give you pricing and a roadmap after one or two calls. In most cases, they’ll take your money and run your project into a wall, eventually draining your budget and time.
The smart decision is to ask how much time and resources the potential partner will need to implement your idea during the first call. Let’s look at 3 cases that could happen following this question:
- The potential partner gives you figures without asking you for additional information. This means that the team will run up hours without reason.
- The potential partner says something like, “To answer this question, we need time to process the materials.” This is an indication that the team has not likely worked with the solution you plan to build. The data processing and analysis stage will take longer here as the team has not yet worked with such a solution, but the company is ready to invest time and resources to give you the most honest and trustworthy product version in the end.
- The potential partner says something like, ” According to our experience, such systems take X hours. But to answer this question fully, we need additional time to process the materials.” This is an indication that the team has experience developing the solution you plan to make. Also, the company is ready to invest time and resources to give you the most honest and trustworthy product version. The data processing and analysis stage will take less time than in the first case as they have relevant experience. As a bonus, the team is likely to be able to ask you better questions and share suggestions based on their experience.
During the screening stage, also pay attention to how the team proposes to move forward with the development. It’ll be better if the company suggests the “discovery phase” (when you don’t have deep documentation, designs, etc.) or the “requirements transition phase” (when you have all the necessary documentation but the development team needs to convert it into a working format).
The development without these steps will be chaotic because it’ll be much harder to build a development plan without adequate documentation. In addition, there might be instances when some parts of your system are misunderstood, and you spend a lot of time and budget to develop that part incorrectly.
Yes, this will require additional financial investment, but it’ll significantly reduce the risks of spending much more in the future due to communication errors or other human factors.
To sum up, the more rushed a potential partner is, the more you have to think about cooperation with them because the better they process your request, the better it’ll be. And quality takes time.
The process is simpler if you consider hiring employees into an existing team. The partner selection process begins similarly to the search for a development team from scratch, but you don’t need to collect paperwork, describe the product, etc. Instead, you and your team need to create a request for the specialist you need. Describe the profile of the ideal candidate. Once the partner provides you with a list of CVs, review them and begin the interview process. Once you’ve selected the needed team and have tested each software engineer, onboard them and begin building your solution.