Like any other business, not all software development houses are created equal and there are a number of questions you should be asking of your solution provider to ensure you are partnering with the right company.
What to ask
We believe that successful companies select successful solution providers and therefore one of your first questions to ask is for a list of existing customers and an overview of the type of projects completed. In a perfect world, we would recommend contacting one or two of the customers for a reference but this is not always possible.
Question the company vision or mission statement and take note of the company’s values to ensure that they fit in with your company’s values and business drivers.
Establish not only how long the company has been in business, but how many years’ experience they have using the technology platform that they have selected to implement your project. Also do your own research on the platform recommended so that you are aware of the strengths and weaknesses.
Establish the preferred method of communication. Discuss at the outset how you plan to keep up with the project’s status on an ongoing basis. Is it necessary to meet in person – and if so, how often? If working remotely, what is the preferred technology for on-line meetings?
Identify which online collaboration tools will be used to ensure an audit trail of tasks is maintained and adhered to? These days Slack has become a trending favourite amongst developers. For more information on tools for virtual teams, check out this great article published by Cloudwards.
Discuss the Intellectual Property (IP) and be sure you have a clear understanding of who will ultimately own the IP.
Information you should provide
Once you have asked the relevant questions there is certain information that you will need to provide to the developers:
- Explain your company’s mission statement and business objectives. This helps the developer to continually ensure that the work being done is aligned to the overall business goals.
- Discuss your expectations in terms of the overall project deadline so that the developers can build milestone deadlines into the overall project plan
- Discuss the testing phase of the project and establish which members of your team will be required to help out with testing.
We know this article covers the tip of the iceberg so we’re asking you to help us complete this list. Please add questions you would ask to the comments below.