Top tips for choosing a software development company
Considering whether to build your own software or hire an external development company is a tough decision. Find out what is best for your organisation.
Considering whether to build your own software or hire an external development company is a tough decision. Building your own software allows you to keep everything in-house, but going with an external developer can speed the process up and take away a lot of the pain involved in delivering your IT project.
As the industry evolves, so do companies’ considerations. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to using in-house or external developers. It all depends on each companies’ requirements, resources and available time.
Benefits of hiring a software development company
Software development outsourcing has become more prevalent in recent years, as there are many benefits to hiring a software development company. So, why should you hire a software development company? Here are some of the most common benefits:
Cost savings and value for money
Cost is always a crucial component in any business decision. A 2020 survey from Deloitte found that 70% of companies prioritised cost reduction when it came to sourcing a software development company. Who doesn’t want a cheaper service, right?
Hiring in-house employees can be expensive as there’s not only the salary to think about, but the holidays, sickness, benefits and so on. Many companies may only have the budget to hire one single full-time developer, and while this may be fine for a small-scale project, it increases the lead time and places all the companies’ eggs in one basket, so to speak.
With an external software development team, companies get access to a full suite of highly qualified and experienced developers. Although they may look more expensive at first glance, you save on hiring, projects will be completed faster and (likely) to a higher standard, and with the same budget, you have access to an exponentially more expansive set of skills. The final cost may even be similar to your in-house developer, but the value for money received is second to none.
Skill sets & specialisations
Do your in-house personnel have the required skill sets to code your software? With the best will in the world, it’s unlikely they have extensive experience in all aspects of software development, whereas an external software development team can offer you access to global talent with a huge range of skills.
Software agencies have a large pool of experts ranging from developers, project managers, designers and QA experts. Their combined experience and rich expertise equip them to deal with any project – big or small. Without a significant budget, this would be very hard to match in your in-house team.
Every business has only a finite amount of time available to them. Time is always the most precious resource in any project, and hiring an established software development team is the best way to bring your project into reality in the shortest time possible.
External agencies already have experts on hand, negating the need for a long hiring process. They know exactly who and what is needed to get your project off the ground right away, not wasting a moment. We cannot buy time, but we can save time through the use of an efficient, extensive team network.
Working with consistent capacity
In-house teams are highly reliant on their team members. Even with the best intentions, things happen. People get sick, they go on holiday, they have family emergencies and they take better job offers. These unexpected changes in capacity can be devastating for a small team who places lots of responsibility on its members.
This issue doesn’t occur when using an external development team. Agencies have a multitude of employees on their books and are ready to make replacements if needed. This removes any down time and allows the project to continue uninterrupted, consistently delivering high-quality work, on time, all the time.
Evaluating and selecting the best software development company
Considering how to evaluate and select the best software development company for your needs can be tricky. It’s important to learn about their experience, areas of expertise and really get a good overview of what they can offer you in terms of moving forward with your project.
Asking the right questions is key, as this will help you discover all the information you need when choosing the right software development team. If you follow our set of guidelines and tips for selecting an ideal software developer, you’ll fast track the decision-making process and be able to have full confidence in your choices.
How to choose the right software development company for your needs
Understanding the scope of your needs is crucial – don’t overlook the importance of this step. Yes, software development companies may come across as highly professional, experienced and impressive, but does their offer meet your needs?
Define your needs:
- What is the scope of your project?
- What is your budget?
- What is your timeline?
- Do you need full or partial outsourcing?
- Do you have any special requirements?
- Does the external team need to have any niche skills or experience?
- How closely (or not) will you work with them?
- Will you expect revisions and optimisation once the project is finished?
- Will they work on-site or remotely?
Once you have a full, in-depth understanding of what your needs are, you will be able to use this information to find the best software developer who can meet those needs closely. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions. Go into great detail to potential software agencies about who you are, what you need, what your expectations are and what you hope to achieve. The more you cover in the initial stages, the fewer surprises you will encounter later on down the road.
The best tips for choosing a software development company
Following the above advice will stand you in good stead when it comes to sourcing a great external software development team. Don’t be afraid to be detail-oriented when choosing an appropriate partner and watch out for common red flags. Take a look at some common mistakes below and be sure to avoid them:
- Choosing the cheapest option – If quality is important to you, the cheapest offer is rarely the best. As the old adage goes, ‘you get what you pay for’, and this is definitely true when it comes to software development.
- Missing or unreliable references – False reviews and past customers who speak negatively about the agency (if at all) indicate a potential issue. While one or two bad reviews could be put down to a clash of characters, more than that may be a sign to walk away.
- Lack of a solid plan – Any external agent that can only offer very ‘rough estimates’, unclear explanations for how they intend to service your needs, or vague and irrelevant communications should raise red flags when it comes to their ability to deliver.
- No backup plans – Unforeseen issues sometimes happen, so if an agency has no method (or an unwillingness) to deal with them, you can not feel confidence in their ability to adapt and overcome problems when they crop up.
Overall, as long as you define your needs, research potential external partners thoroughly, get full and detailed explanations of what they can do for you and how you would like to proceed, and you watch out for any red flags, you stand in good stead for a long, successful collaboration.