Partnering with a software development company is often a necessity when you need to develop and deliver a new piece of software to your business users.

To ensure your project has the greatest chance of succeeding, you need to make an informed decision when it comes to whom you will partner with.

Cost is always an immediate consideration, but what else should you find out before you hire a software developer?

Here are 10 things to ask your software developer before hiring:

1. Tell me about your company, your team and why we should hire you?

Most software development companies will have a pre-prepared pitch. Its content and style will tell you a lot about them and (hopefully) give you an immediate feel for if they are a company you could see yourself partnering with on a project.

Ask how long the company has been in business, what they do to meet unique development needs, how many developers they have (and their experience), and why you should ultimately hire them.

2. Have you completed any projects that are similar to ours?

If it has been in business for a while, the software development company should be willing and able to show you a bunch of its past successes. Where it specifically has worked with companies in your marketplace and what was achieved.

What you should be particularly interested in are projects like the one you are looking to complete and any examples where the company has worked with organizations similar to your own in terms of business model and sector focus.

3. Do you currently have the capacity to take on our project and give it your full attention?

The fact that representatives from the company are sitting down with you to discuss your project suggests they have the capacity to take on new projects and give them their full attention.

However, there may still be an associated lead time before the software development company can begin work, and you need to understand this to better manage the expectations of all your stakeholders.

4. How will you ensure you understand all of our requirements?

Unfortunately, there are times when what you have in mind and what the software developer delivers are two very different things. That’s why it is imperative that the software developer fully understands all your requirements from the offset.

This will allow them to deliver a finished solution that is both fit for purpose and incorporates all your needs/wants. They will almost certainly have defined methods for gathering information, writing up and delivering on a spec. What are they?

5. How much input will you need from us throughout the development process?

As with most projects, you are going to need to make a significant time investment at the start. That’s a given. But what about throughout?

The software development company should be able to explain how similar projects have worked in the past and give you an idea of what you can expect going forward.

While you don’t want to be called upon constantly for trivial issues, you do want the project to run smoothly to its natural conclusion (and obviously be a success), and that requires regular dialog/input from both parties, even if it’s just feedback on progress.

6. What is your software design and development process?

While the exact design and development process the developer uses does have some significance, it’s imperative that they be able to demonstrate that they do indeed follow a reliable, repeatable one that is aligned with your organizational style as well as industry best practices.

7. How will you keep us updated on progress?

Open communication and transparency throughout any project are essential. Any software development company worth its salt should be able to explain when and how updates will be delivered, including the relevant primary points of contact (on both sides).

The software developer may ask if you have any preferences when it comes to being updated. It is obviously a bonus if they are willing to accommodate any specific communication needs you may have.

8. Have you ever had a project that was a failure?

While it is a rather negative thing to ask, such curve ball questions give you an opportunity to see how the developer has handled previous projects that were not ultimately successful.

Did they ensure the requirements were delivered eventually or did they take a different route? It’s always good to know how your potential partner handles adversity.

9. Can you provide references?

Even if you have a good feeling about the company and believe they will be a valuable asset for your software development project, it would be remiss of you to not still ask for references.

Even if it just solidifies what you already know and feel, a positive recommendation goes a long way to affording extra peace of mind.

10. What happens post-implementation?

No matter how good the finished product is, every software development project requires some level of post-implementation support. Will the software developer provide it? If so, for how long and what will be included?

Maybe they will provide training so you can support the product in-house. What will that include and will you be able to call on them if needed?

Finally, who will own the intellectual property (IP)? The right answer is you! But there are some companies that will look to charge ongoing fees instead. If that’s the case, ask yourself: does this software developer really have our best interests in mind?

Your Next Move?

Efficient and effective software boosts the productivity of your business users and helps your organization grow. If you are using software systems that aren’t as efficient, user-friendly, and mobile-ready as they could be, maybe it’s time for a software upgrade.

A business software checkup will help determine if it’s time for you to modernize the solutions you are currently using, or implement a new system that better meets your needs.