How To Find The Right Custom Software Developer In 5 Easy Steps
So, you’ve decided to invest in some custom software. That alone is a fantastic move. Custom software is one of the best ways to raise productivity and get the most from tools for your business.
It’s a wonderful thing to be able to dictate the form and function of a piece of software. To know that what you have at your fingertips is entirely unique and geared towards the intricacies of your business is peace of mind like no other (as is retaining the intellectual property [IP] to said software!).
Unfortunately, the hard work starts now, because you’re going to have to find the right custom software developer to take your idea from scrap of paper to gleaming app. And, with the myriad of companies, freelancers and friends who enjoy a spot of programming ‘on the side’ to choose from, where do you start?
Here is our no-nonsense, 5 step guide to finding the right custom software developer:
Step 1: Avoid The One-Man-Band
There is absolutely nothing wrong with freelancer developers. They have their place, but if you’re looking for a custom application for your business, you need to hunt down a more sizeable operation.
Try and find a company that has at least six in-house developers. And don’t forget – software development is about far more than coding; for your project to be successful, it’ll need to be properly managed, which is why any software development company you hire should have at least two or three project managers at its disposal.
The development of custom software extends far beyond the initial implementation. You’ll need a partner who has enough resource to support it going forward and provide updates and feature additions as and when you require them.
Step 2: Look For A Good Cultural Fit
The software development company you bring on board will be an extension of your in-house team and will therefore need to slot seamlessly into your organisation’s culture. This point is often overlooked.
The key here is to find people who are great at what they do but who are also on the same wavelength as the people within your business. You should be able to suss this out within minutes of meeting with them. Do they hold the same values? Are any personalities on either side likely to clash?
Invite them to your office. Does it feel right? If not, continue your search. Surround yourself with brilliant people.
Step 3: Ask Which Languages They Specialise In
A common mistake made by businesses looking for external software development assistance is to neglect a language check. There are a huge range of programming languages now available, and if the developer you choose happens to use an archaic one, your app will suffer as a result.
If they mention Delphi, Foxpro or Borland C++, move on. Look for developers who quote industry-standard software technology such as C#.NET, Microsoft SQL and ASP.NET – you’ll be in good hands.
Step 4: Ask To See Examples
Just as you wouldn’t hire a copywriter for your marketing campaign without requesting a portfolio, nor should you hire a software developer without first viewing their code in action.
Custom software developers should have live examples aplenty. Before making a decision, request a hands-on demo.
Step 5: Check The Small Print And Seek Transparent Pricing
We’ll assume that, by this stage, you’ve picked at least one potential candidate, but before you sign on the dotted line, check the small print. As noted at the top of this post, businesses that invest in custom software should retain the rights to that software once it is delivered.
The software developer you choose should make this abundantly clear within their terms and conditions. If there’s any hint that IP may reside with them post-project or if their answers under question on the subject are woolly, your search isn’t complete – keep looking.
Keeping things within budget will no doubt be at the top of your shopping list, too, and it is therefore important to ensure that any software developer you choose to work with offers transparent pricing. Expect to pay either a day rate or fixed cost for the project. The latter is far more desirable from a budgeting perspective, so seek companies who can put a final figure on the job from the outset.
The right software developer is out there, and if you use our 5 step process above, you’ll find a partner that will build your custom software both cost-effectively and with tools that make the most of modern technology.