Suppose someone you know is looking for a babysitter for their kids, but they don’t know who to choose. They don’t want to hand their kids over to just anybody; they want it to be someone they can put their full trust in. But how can they be sure?
Perhaps they could ask the caregivers they are considering questions, such as:
What hours are they available? Do they have the capacity to add more children? What meals and activities do they provide? What rate do they charge? Maybe they even reach out to current and/or previous families that have trusted their kid(s) under the supervision of the caregiver. What kind of experience did they have?
They ask the caregiver these questions to make sure their expectations, budget, and other variables will be met before making a final decision. Choosing a custom software development company is similar to this experience. You want to be sure you’re making a smart investment by trusting the right team to build your project. But before you start asking questions to determine if the team you’re considering is a good fit, there are three crucial steps to take.
Step 1. Understanding what it takes to build custom software
It’s important to start off by taking a step back and understand what it takes to build custom software so that you know what to expect out of your chosen software development company. Building custom software is not a short nor simple process. The process involves numerous steps that are crucial to the overall success of the end product, often including the following:
Defining how a project will be completed, including how often the project owners will be updated and who is responsible for what tasks.
Building a roadmap outlining key milestones, defining project requirements, and creating a mutual understanding of project goals.
Crafting the user’s overall visual experience including how information is organized, how users will navigate, and how the needs of users will be addressed.
Building the visual and nonvisual elements that make your software functionable through front-end and back-end development.
Making your digital product available to the public through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Achieving all project goals within the given constraints—scope, time, and budget.
Ensuring all software development processes, methods, activities, and work items are monitored to confirm proper quality.
Support & Maintenance
Fixing broken software or “bugs” as they appear after the initial scope of the project is complete.
Step 2. Understanding where a project can go wrong
In order to avoid project failure, you must first understand where a software development project can go wrong. Since developing custom software is a large investment, you want to make sure your project is positioned for success before it even starts. Here are five common reasons for failure to avoid when building your custom software.
1. Unclear Business Goals and Project Requirements
Defining clear business goals and project requirements from the start allows the product team to get it right the first time around.
2. Insufficient Planning and Unrealistic Deadlines
Sufficient planning results in realistic deadlines and no additional work, keeping everyone on the same page and allowing the software to provide the benefits it’s supposed to.
3. Poor Communication Between Teams
Maintaining open communication between teams makes a huge difference. This allows goal changes, revisions, and more to be made while staying on track with the project scope.
4. Lack of Project Management
With effective project management, your project is bound to be completed the way it’s supposed to–on budget and on time.
5. No User/Customer Research
Conducting user/customer research prepares you with a better understanding of your users’ behaviors, needs, motivations, and more.
The good news is that these 5 common reasons for failure are easily avoidable, but you need to make taking the steps to prevent them a priority. One step you can take is by asking each software development team what they do to steer clear from failures like these.
For example, at WynHouse Software, we have a discovery phase that aims to position your project for success by building a strategy around your company and its goals. We have found that software development projects are 45% more likely to succeed if they go through this discovery phase.
Step 3. Knowing what to ask a software development team
To determine if a software development team is a good fit for your project, it’s essential that you ask them the right questions. We’ll make this step easy for you–here’s a list of what you need to ask.
- Ask for references and reach out to their previous clients about their work
- Ask what technology they typically use and how familiar they are with any technology they will have to interface with
- Ask about their project planning process
- Ask them if they understand your goals
- Ask about their workflow and project management process
- Ask them how they will communicate with you and your team
- Discuss their team’s current bandwidth
- Discuss your budget and timeline goals
Getting answers to these questions should position you to make a confident decision on whether or not the company is a match for you and your project. If you’re not 100% set on the team, then don’t settle.
You should be looking for a team who:
- Understands not only your goals, but also the needs of your intended users
- Executes effective project workflow, management, and planning processes
- Holds enough available time and resources to complete your project
- Receives strong recommendations from current and previous clients
- Makes a good technological fit for the desired features of the project
Consult an expert
Looking for further direction? Find an expert who can help you determine the right questions to ask and guide your decision making. Choosing a software development company that’s right for you is a big decision, and you need to be sure you’re making the right one.