Important Questions To Ask Custom Software Development Company

Avantika Shergil By Avantika Shergil  |  Feb 19, 2024  |  Software Development
Key Questions to Ask Software Development Company

The digital revolution has become an integral part of businesses. As an entrepreneur, you want to leave no stone unturned to build excellent software; you bend over backwards, to ensure everything is arranged, ready to put limitless money, heart, and soul into making the software development dream come true. The chances of success increase when businesses collaborate with reliable, best-in-class software development companies.

The worldwide software developer population will be 28.7 million by 2024, indicating many options for software developers to hire. Hundreds of software development companies employ millions of software developers skilled in different programming languages, tools, or disciplines.

The wide range of software companies’ options confuses businesses. So, how do the businesses start with?

Fortunately, a list of top questions makes the hiring process easier. As a business looking to hire best software development company, consider asking companies these questions to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Important Questions to Ask a Custom Software Development Company

Evaluating the potential software development partner is difficult, making hiring difficult. The checklist of the following questions to ask from the software company ensures the best collaboration. Consider asking them all the questions that are:

Do you assign a project manager?

Project management is vital in making or breaking the software’s success. It’s essential to have a project manager that dedicatedly manages the entire project and the team working on the software. So, business clients should ask upfront about the specialists who will manage and handle the team of developers, designers, QA & testers, and marketers.

In the case of software development outsourcing, knowing the project management tools that the company will use for flawless task allocation and instant checking is important. The involvement of business clients in project management through Project Management tools such as Trello, Kanban board, or others ensures everyone is on the same page. Not to forget, asking about the communication channels using which clients can connect with the team regarding project discussions.

How many developers do you have?

Nowadays, some software development companies showcase regional offices in the USA, UK, or Canada and provide developers at hourly rates reflective of these IT hubs. But in reality, they don’t have a team and outsource the software development project to other outsourcing companies or freelancers from other countries. It causes a major risk to the project because you are unaware of the team working on it.

To avoid such circumstances, it’s better to ask about the team of in-house developers, designers, and testers, along with the seniority level that the company has. Besides, verify the list of team members who will be allocated to your project and prefer to interview them individually, ensuring your project is in safe hands.

Can you provide references?

The portfolio of the company shouts loud about the best projects and development services that the company delivers to businesses. However, the proof is in the pudding, wherein the references of previous clients will help. The genuine development company never hesitates to provide references or case studies.

Ask about references and communicate them directly, which helps you know the satisfaction rate and development experience directly from the existing client. Based on outcomes, you can collaborate with the software development company. Also, professional software development companies know these questions, so they are always prepared with references or projects to share with business clients.

What technologies do you use?

When you have planned for software development, the plan for technologies to leverage must be ready. In addition to your tech stack plan, taking expert advice from the software development team is also good, as they are experts in their field with relevant experience. It helps make the project robust and future-ready.

During a technology-related discussion, you will get an idea of the company’s technology specialists and their experience working with advanced technologies. The technology competency reveals how technically versed the team is and how effectively it uses your project’s technologies.

What QA process do you follow?

Quality assurance ensures that software products are built with precision and provide flawless performance. Ensure the outsourcing company has a team of testing engineers and QA experts who continuously test the software, making sure everything developed behaves as expected. Check out the testing process, test methodologies and third-party tools the QA team leverages to identify and fix bugs proactively.

Some software companies use a combination of automated and manual testing, ensuring software is tested faster, along with qualitative metric evaluation from human testers. When a company fails to explain its QA (Quality Analysis) process or doesn’t have a testing mechanism, you should avoid considering those companies.

What development methodology do you use?

Software development methodology determines the process of building software and the techniques used to manage it. There are various types of software development methodologies, and each of them has its strengths and weaknesses. It would help if you asked for the company’s development methodologies that ensure the software company fits well with your project’s preferences.

For example, agile methodology is a good fit for software projects with dynamic requirements that sometimes change. On the contrary, waterfall methodology is great when your project has requirements set in stone.

What is the estimated timeline for my project development?

Many software companies debuting to build software faster in 2-3 months generally fail to meet deadlines. These are traps to fool businesses; later, they prove costly. Businesses should ask for a realistic project timeline based on software requirements that reveal the time taken for every part.

Additionally, getting a breakdown for every functionality, design, architecture, back-end, testing, and others is good, which lets you know the company has provided a realistic timeline and can complete the project before the deadline.

Do you offer support after the launch?

Once the software development is completed, only half the job of the software development company is over, and the rest half starts with ongoing support and maintenance. In fact, 60% of the development budget is allocated for after-development support services. The team that has dedicatedly invested a lot of time and resources can better take care of the software and deliver the best maintenance services.

You should ask if the software development team facilitates support services to fix the bugs if they appear and update functionalities based on user feedback and bug reports. Also, downtimes are quite low.

Why should I choose you?

When you pour your valuable time, money, and effort into the software development project, you expect the company to be unique. But, from a psychological perspective, asking- what distinguishes your business from the competition will help you know the values that the software company can add to the project.

Sometimes, the answers from the custom software development companies are out of the box, which unleashes things hidden in plain sight and may benefit your organization in some form or another. It would be best if you ask the company this question.

Which pricing models do you offer?

The software development cost estimation largely depends on the pricing model selection. Mainly, there are two pricing models- the time & material-based and fixed-price models. Each model is unique and fits well with specific project requirements, or else they increase costs unnecessarily.

In the fixed-price model, the software development requirements are set in stone, and the business agrees to pay a specific amount as defined in the agreement. On the contrary, the time & material-based model enables businesses to pay the software development company based on the resources required and time incurred for software development. In this model, changes are welcomed in the middle of development and time, and cost increases proportionately.

How will you start my software product development?

The first step towards software development lays the foundation of the complete project. The stronger the foundation, the better the software’s future. You should ask about the first step of the software development life cycle process that the company takes once the project is rolled out on the development floor. Generally, the company responds to a consulting process where software project details are discussed with key business stakeholders.

This discovery workshop let the company know better about the project, its requirements, the client’s expectations, and how it can be improved. Clarifying business goals and vision with software development helps the team invest their efforts and time accordingly.

What is the Requirement Analysis Phase of SDLC? Detail Guide

How do you handle intellectual property and its issues?

If you aim to have a customized software development project, clarifying intellectual rights or property is important. Whether the proprietorship is exclusive or restrictive is important because most custom software development outsourcing companies have permits to use the product they build.

You should ask the company if I own the source code so that the company cannot sell or modify existing software projects at a later stage. Moreover, signing an IP agreement saves businesses from legal headaches and ensures the software cannot be hampered by the team that created it.

What are your areas of technical expertise?

While you may not face many issues if your project is based on old or traditional technology platforms such as Android, iOS, PHP, Java, C, C++, and the like, if you are aiming to develop a project that is on a unique niche you must ask the question of the area of expertise. For instance, a software development project based on Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, AR, VR, or Metaverse may require special expertise.

Which is better – a project-based or dedicated team model for my software development?

If you are technically sound, you may take the decision yourself. Nevertheless, if you have no clue which hiring or engagement model is for you, you may need to ask for the experts at a custom software development company. It is important to decide upon the right hiring model so that your project falls within a specified budget and yet you don’t get a substandard product. The model depends on business requirements, software documentation, standard methodology, and many more factors.

Have you developed solutions for our industry before?

Industry experience makes a big difference especially when the project is enterprise-level. Many custom software development companies master a particular niche or industry and they excel in projects based on it. Entrepreneurs who are concerned about their big-budget projects should ask the service provider whether they have any solutions developed for the same industry in the past. The experience from the past helps the company to quickly get on to your industry-specific project as they understand your business objectives pretty well. Even further, they can also assist or suggest to you what has worked best in the market from their expertise in the industry.

What to do if I’m not satisfied with the end product or service?

As it is seen in most cases worldwide, all industries benefit from software development. Asking the software development partner about what to do if you are not satisfied with the product or service makes it a crucial question to avoid hard times. Both of you should agree at the times and hence need to prepare beforehand regarding the situation.

Things to Consider when Switching Software Development Team

What to do after a product is launched?

Though you have a perfect software development life cycle in place, the real challenge occurs once the product is launched and out on the market. Asking for post-sales and post-deployment of software to your tech partner shall help you reach and fulfill your business objectives. Some remote software development agencies offer marketing and training to keep your product running smoothly inside and outside your organization.

What is your software maintenance plan?

As mentioned earlier, the biggest challenge is after the product is launched or deployed. No software is useful if it malfunctions even once in a blue moon. Any enterprise needs to make sure that their software product or tool is up and running 24/7. Hence, asking for the software maintenance plan from the software development company that you are thinking of hiring makes a lot of sense. Businesses, be it start-ups, SMEs, or Enterprises, must avail the annual maintenance plan through a contract with their IT partners.

How do you develop project KPIs?

The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) deliver project-critical information so that you can analyze the software system development life cycle and ensure that the final product will be aligned with your business objectives. Asking the outsourcing software development company about how they develop project KPIs shows you their sincerity and project development methodology. It is because KPIs involve starting with building a foolproof strategy, defining questions and answers, identifying data requirements, and ultimately determining the right measurement process and frequency of every project component.

What is your project management approach?

Project management is the backbone of any successful digital product. Even though your documentation in software development outsourcing is all perfect, if there is a failure or flaw in managing the project, the entire cycle is at a greater risk. You need to ask this question to ensure that there is someone who is taking care of all development by supervising the entire software product development. Generally, software development companies adapt various development models such as agile, waterfall, scrum, and the like. They also deploy a project manager for the smooth execution of the project.

What are your go-to tools for project management?

Software project management is a complex task and it is not possible without proper management tools. Asking the software development firm about what tools they use to manage the software development life cycle is essential because these tools help them keep a keen check on the progress of the project. Also, such tools possess useful features that assist software programmers and managers in achieving milestones and tackling flaws, if any.

How do you communicate with clients?

When you hire a dedicated software development team from a bespoke software company, it is important that the communication is regular and flawless. Miscommunication often leads to misunderstanding and ultimately escalations in projects. Miscommunication including no regular updates can lead to a big failure irrespective of the service provider’s reputation. Hence, you must ask the software development firm, which tools they use for communication and how often do they communicate regarding project development updates.

How much does software development cost?

One of the biggest misunderstandings is that clients think that small changes they ask for in their product would go smoothly on the software development companies. Nevertheless, that is not always the case. Even small changes pile up as a big task and then the software company doesn’t hesitate to charge them with extra money. It is always important to clarify the budget or the total expense of the software development project.

There are various engagement models your IT partner may offer so that you can decide on the one that suits your wallet. On the other hand, you can also ask the expert software development consultant itself to suggest to you the model that is worth going for that help you choose the best resources and further help r.

Apart from these questions, you can also ask about the technology stacks for software development they intend to use for your project.

Asking these general questions to a custom software development company can assure you that the company you choose to hire will be the right one for you and the final product you get is up to the mark and it is worth every penny spent.

A Glance at Questions to Ask a software company and their Usability

Questions Why is it Important to Ask? What is Ideal?
What are your areas of technical expertise? Many companies boast but they don’t have that expertise. The company should have the technical expertise specific to your project.
Which is better? A project-based or dedicated team? Choosing the wrong model will cost you a lot. Dedicated model for a bigger and defined project.
Have you developed solutions for our industry before? To grab a project, firms fake their expertise. Portfolio with a similar project in the same field/niche.
How do you handle intellectual property and its issues? Ownership problems and copyright issues. IP rights should be all yours and clear.
What to do if I’m not satisfied with the product or service? Half-developed project is difficult to get done even with the other agency. Clarify all the terms and conditions on receiving an inferior quality product or service.
What to do after a product is launched? There are marketing and technical aspects post-launch. A complete package of deployment, training, and marketing is helpful.
What is your software maintenance plan? Most agencies fail in post-sales services. It is better to have a contract so that your product runs smoothly.
How do you develop project KPIs? Poor KPIs will lead to project failure. It assures you that the software company is serious and experienced.
What is your project management approach? Many companies just grab projects and leave you high and dry. A robust methodology should be in place to ensure the successful completion of the project.
What are your go-to tools for project management? Even great talents fail to manage projects without proper tools. Authentic and licensed tools should be in place to ensure smooth management.
How do you communicate with clients? Miscommunication leads to misunderstanding and that results in escalations. An assurance of flawless communication and regular updates is important.
How much does software development cost? The gloomy estimation will shake your budget. A proper engagement model and budget estimation should be conveyed.

How to choose the best software development company?

On the internet, a simple search for ‘best software development company’ in any country would render you hundreds of results, but which one to contact? How to shortlist among the top software development companies? Well, hiring remote developers at an offshore IT company is easy but tricky. You need to check the genuineness of the firm before you sign the deal.

One way to ensure that you don’t fall into the trap is to prepare frequently asked questions about software development and shoot them to the shortlisted software company. Also, before hiring anyone, you should also know about software development myths so that you don’t believe anything that comes negatively about outsourcing software development projects.

Want to make the right choice?

Outsourcing a project to a software development company is time-consuming and involves multiple steps. These steps are well-covered in the checklist of questions that provide business clients with everything required to make the right decision for hiring the software company. More questions are added to the list and asked while hiring, which, in turn, eliminates the possibility of misunderstanding that harms development in the future. The questions will make businesses vigilant and seal the deal with the right partner. Let’s ask!

Avantika Shergil Avantika Shergil   |  Feb 19, 2024

An enthusiastic Operations Manager at TopDevelopers.co, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. She is an adventure lover, passionate traveler, an admirer of nature, who believes that a cup of coffee is the prime source to feel rejuvenated. Researching and writing about technology keeps her boosted and enhances her professional journeying.

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