Business

7 things to consider before hiring a software development company

In today's world, the demand for software development services is increasing at an incredible speed. More and more innovative startups from different industries decide to outsource their digital products' development to achieve a faster release to the market.

However, finding an adequate vendor that meets your business needs and project requirements can be quite a challenging endeavor. At the same time, choosing the wrong partner can lead you to waste valuable time and resources, and your product's competitive edge.

In this article, we will go over the main aspects you should consider before hiring a Software Development partner for your project, and provide you with some valuable tips to make this journey more easy.

Things to consider before hiring a software development partner

software development agency conducting a product validation and posting post-its on a window wall

1. What kind of project are you carrying out

It may sound like an obvious step, but defining the nature of the product is often the most challenging part of a software development project.

That's why before starting to look for potential partners, you need to answer what exactly you are building. It's a web app, a mobile app, or is it something else? Will it include complex features, or a ready-made solution will suit your project just fine?

When it comes down to software, there are several ways to build the same product. There's a wide array of technologies and frameworks you can choose from and different methodologies and development approaches to apply.

Furthermore, if you need to build your application from scratch, you will have to define the project scope, create a product roadmap, and validate your business idea and the market segment.

For all this, you need a partner with a solid background in Product Discovery, Agile methodologies, and iterative software development.

The better you define your project early on, the easier the hiring of a software development partner will be. A great way to start is by answering basic questions like:

  • What's the purpose of your application?
  • Who's going to use it?
  • How will it help users?
  • What platforms will it run on?

Understanding your product's nature will help you determine what kind of development provider will be able to help you carry out such a project.

2. What type of service fits your project best

There are different types of outsourcing options to choose from when building a digital product. The most popular way to classify software development services is geographically.

  • Onshore
  • Nearshore
  • Offshore

And each one has its pros, cons, and benefits depending on the type of project.

When it comes down to building an innovative, user-focused product, many startups typically choose Nearshore development. This is because it allows companies to create quality products at a lower cost, and the cultural barriers are practically non-existent, so communication and collaboration are more feasible.

If you want more information on the different types of outsourcing, we recently posted the following article talking about this subject more in-depth.

The Types Of Outsourcing: Offshore, Nearshore and Onshore

More and more companies are deciding to outsource their software development. In this article, we take a look at the three main types of outsourcing and the advantages of each one.

3. Price vs. Quality

Budget is usually a defining aspect of any software development project. Although price and quality have a broad spectrum, potential outsourcing providers generally fall within one of two categories:

  • Price-first vendors
  • Quality-first vendors

Price-first vendors often work with a fixed-price model and tend to be more transactionally than focused on a long-term relationship. Their strength lies typically in finding resources and deploying them to accomplish the project milestones quickly.

This type of partnership may be adequate for less relevant projects with a limited scope, but it's rarely the right choice for startups who aim to build a complex, user-centered product.

Quality-first vendors are the logical choice for mission-critical projects, and they are usually more expensive. The reason is that they typically work under a time-and-materials model based on a long-term relationship.

Quality-first vendors usually spend significant effort and resources training their teams and hiring senior personnel to ensure proper delivery and execution.

4. Communication & Transparency

Having constant and clear communication is a vital part of any startup-provider relationship.

In day-to-day collaboration, things like language and time zones are decisive for smooth project development. On top of that, aspects like work transparency, team organization, and good project management also play a critical role.

When searching for an outsourcing service provider, you should pay special attention to how your potential partners manage their development processes. Do they work in sprints? What methodologies do they follow? Do they offer daily and weekly meetings to their clients? What project management and tracking tools do they use?

The best product agencies in the market have experienced, dedicated project managers working side by side with their design and development services. This situation helps keep the tasks organized and comply with the project deadlines.

Regardless of the process and communication tools used, the outsourcing team you hire should be able to define specific milestones and delivery dates and provide you with a list of requirements.

At Bixlabs, we follow intensive project management and team collaboration processes supported by a series of carefully picked tools. If you want to learn more about how we use these tools and resources, read this article 👇

Tools To Improve Project Management & Team Collaboration

These are the tools we use every day at Bixlabs. They help us keep our remote team organized and highly productive when working on demanding software development projects.

5. Verifiable experience

Although a product agency's portfolio may seem impressive, you should focus mainly on what happened behind the scenes of each project. The reason behind this is that even though a project may look great visually, you won't know if the agency delivered the product under budget and on time.

At this point, asking for references can be helpful to lessen the chances of unpleasant surprises later. A reliable software development vendor should be able to provide a list of clients who would be willing to speak with you.

Looking at a company's profile in platforms like Clutch may also help you weigh the agency's strengths and weaknesses from a client's perspective. Here you should pay attention to red flags like bad reviews, complaints, or even lawsuits.

If a particular project captivates your attention, find out whether the same team will also be available to work on your project. Make sure to gather sufficient information about the developers that will be assigned to your project before making a final decision.

6. Contracts & Project ownership

The next big thing to consider before hiring an external team is negotiations and contracts. In most cases, complex endeavors like the development of a digital product involve several agreements between parties, including a Master Service Agreement (MSA), a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), and a Statement Of Work (SOW).

At this point, we recommend you to seek the advice of a specialized lawyer to avoid unpleasant surprises when it comes to arranging the hiring conditions.

Be sure to include a non-compete clause and intellectual property rights clause in the contract and be crystal clear regarding payment terms.

You also want to make sure that, once the product is delivered, your team has full ownership of the project and every element in it.

Things like descriptions of the database structures, access to code repositories, login credentials, design assets, and the app's source code are essential to maintaining the project's full ownership.

Since your product is a living thing, it will always be changing, growing, and adapting to users' demands. That means, if you plan to work on new iterations or even pivot the product down the road, the contract must clearly state the delivery conditions of the source files upon project completion.

A product development team working on a whiteboard, defining product requirements and project specifications

7. Additional information to obtain from your potential partners

Hiring the best software development partner for your project involves gathering a lot of information and asking the right questions.

Trustworthy candidates should be able to walk you through their development process and provide clear insights and references.

To make your job much simpler, we recommend you prepare a series of questions based on three groups

  1. General questions: work processes, methodologies, communication, responsibilities
  2. Technical questions: tools, technologies, tests, documentation, practices
  3. Business questions: rates, management, experience, references

On top of that, there are other details you should pay attention to fine-tune your search:

Company experience: The more experience a software development team has, the better for the project. If you have a complex project in hand, we recommend searching for providers with more than 4-5 years of experience.

Team size: The number of team members a company has is another critical sign to determine whether a software development company is the right fit for you. In this sense, It is usually better to go with bigger teams with a more diverse experience.

Code quality: Be sure to browse through the company website to learn about its previous projects and how they went down. This will give a good idea of the expertise and development skills of the company.

Need a partner to build your product?

At Bixlabs, we specialize in Nearshore outsourcing, providing product development services for startups worldwide. We see our clients as our partners. We strive to build lasting relationships, where we can work hand-in-hand with our clients to create quality, successful products.

Our strongest commitment is to quality. That's why we work with the best talent in Latin America. Leveraging the advantages of remote work, we have been able to put together a robust, high-skilled team, regardless of frontiers.

If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable partner that helps you build your next web or mobile app, give us a call!

7 min read