7 Steps to Start a Successful Software Development Partnership

Why are companies looking for a Software Partner?

  • Gain access to domain knowledge. Of all the things software development companies can offer your business, one of the most valuable is domain knowledge, i.e., an in-depth understanding of business, process and industry. Domain knowledge can accelerate development and reduce project cost, especially for complex projects.
  • High-quality software development team Having a proven team, software development partner will make the development process much more efficient.
  • Flexible team capacity and scalability IT projects often require diversified talent that is hard to gather, especially for a relatively short-term project. With a trusted software development company you get a diverse software development team with all sorts of skill sets. Those niche experts that can help you to understand the market from both technical and domain perspective.
  • Work with a managed team Building the outsourced development team starts with a high-performing leader — Project Manager, who brings in technical capabilities and chooses necessary technology talent to accomplish the work. The leader of the development team will be your main point of contact throughout the whole process. Sure, you might want to talk to individual software developers and QA engineers from time to time, too. But having one team member to talk to also means that there is a single team member who is the go-to person when you have any questions to ask or issues to raise. Project manager co-ordinates the team’s effort and reduces the risk of you having to micromanage individual team members yourself.

Key questions to answer before starting to look for a partner

What is your project scope, budget, and timeline?

  • In a startup environment with phased funding. The startup will need to know that their runway of funding provides sufficient support to achieve the MVP or next phase of the delivery.
  • In a complex project that is responding to external deadlines, i.e. regulatory governmental requirements that have a fixed date. Failure to deliver before these external deadlines could result in excessive fines for the organization.

What software development services do you need?

  • Scope of the software project and how the scope can be logically split into either module, journeys, user stories, features, or other splits
  • Expected pace of software development and project delivery phases
  • Required project team members (Designers/Front End/Back End/QA/Platform Engineers, Project Managers, etc)
  • Critical path of delivery for project’s success
  • Dependencies along the software development project progress

Software Development Partnership Steps-by-Step

1. How to find software development partners

  • The easiest way to find companies is the Google Search results. Both paid and organic results can be helpful. From their web pages you can get information on software development services, various industries they worked with, their previous clients and how the software house collaborates with their clients.
  • Browse software development companies listings. One of the most popular of them is Clutch. You can range the search results regarding location, minimal project size, average hourly rate, industry focus, and so on.

2. Check the software development partner references

  • It allows you to see if they have done something similar to what you require.
  • It gauges the level of experience the company has.
  • It lets you understand the scale of jobs the company has done and if they are able to handle your task.
  • Choosing a software development firm that keep up with the latest technological advancements in the tech stack used. New ideas and innovations are a must. The perfect software development company you select should have a strong desire to be in front of any new updates and changes to their technology stack and technical expertise.
  • Pay attention to their software developers expertise. If you need your solution built on Node.js, then review companies that focus on Node.js. Find a company that specializes in what you need. This also means avoiding companies that have a multitude of specializations because no one is an expert in everything.

4. Evaluate the company’s software development process

5. Schedule meeting and interview development partner

  1. Could you present a project similar to mine in terms of technology, functionality and/or business domain?
  2. Can you provide good references from previous projects?
  3. What kinds of companies do you typically work with? / Who is your ideal client?
  4. Who will manage my project?
  5. What does your typical process look like?
  6. How do you ensure quality on your software development projects?
  7. What reporting practices and collaboration tools do you use?
  8. Can you present the people who will deliver services to me? What is their experience level?
  9. Tell me about your hiring process. Where do you find your candidates and what do you look for when hiring new developers?
  10. How many developers do you have working with the same technology?
  11. Will the developers assigned to my project work on any other project at the same time?
  12. How often do you people change projects?
  13. Why should I choose you rather than your competitors?
  14. What are your rates and payment terms?
  15. Can you estimate the length of my project?

6. Evaluate an outsourced development team

  • Trading up skills — IT specialists need to hit the ground running. Make sure the team has a proven track record with technology. It takes time to learn it and you should not be the one to pay for them to acquire the skills..
  • Non-achievements — look for achievements that demonstrate tangible contributions to projects ​​business goals. ‘I built something’ and ‘I learned X, Y and Z’ are not really achievements you are looking after. It’s better to hire people who focus on your needs rather than their own.
  • Frequent, short contracts — developers that are often moved between projects should spark your attention. Their lack of staying power tells you how they were valued by their previous client.

7. Pick the right partner: balance quality and price

  • Treat estimates with a grain of salt. The longer a project runs, the more likelihood there is for future estimates to be inaccurate. Due to the human nature of optimistic biases, projects are rarely overestimated or under budget, so building in between 10–25% (or even more) of contingency is always a wise approach. Move to a primarily agile delivery approach, where more emphasis is put on discovery, experimentation, and iteration than on deadlines, you might wonder if project plans still matter.
  • Look for a mature software development process and technical leadership. Little things matter a lot. When you combine all of these factors, you get a project that works well with the least amount of time and effort. Very good coding and management practices ensure smooth software solution development.
  • Look for the right size of vendor. A good rule of thumb is to development partner with software companies where your contribution to their revenue is between 15–25%. This is why you will be important for them and you will be able to gravitate towards your project with the top talent they have. At the same time you need to balance the risk of a software partner losing a key resource — they need to be big enough to provide replacement on time.

Conclusion

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