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Choosing the Right Software Consulting Firm

Which developer is right for your project?

When faced with a wide variety of development teams both big and small, choosing the right company to fit your needs can be challenging. Once you’ve compiled a list of candidates, you need to sort through to find the best team for you. Here is a guide on what to look for when selecting a development firm.

Programming Chops

When entering the world of software development, you need to be confident that the team you choose has the right stuff for the project you’re pursuing. Unless your selected team has the skills and expertise necessary, you might find yourself mired in a frustrating ‘development limbo.’

When researching firms, find out what education or certificates the team has. What types of software do they work with, and do they specialize in a single programming language? Finding out whether or not a team has the particular expertise necessary for your needs is key. Ask yourself:

  1. How long have they been in business?
  2. Do they have the experience necessary to tackle your designs?
  3. How is their reputation?
  4. Are their previous clients more or less like you?

Pay attention to all of these questions before even asking for a quote.

Past Projects

Sometimes the best way to discover whether a development team has the right skills is to look at what types of projects they’ve completed in the past. Look through their case studies, ask for references and testimonials, and test out their previous projects to get a sense of what the team is capable of.

Even if a firm has a ton of past work, make sure that it’s applicable to what you are planning on doing. Do they have experience building apps or programs like yours? Also look to see if projects were completed on time, and (if they’re still live) that they function and perform to your standards.

Communication

A software consulting firm with good communication should be able to outline exactly what your project will need, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. It’s important to nail down the details before development starts, so that no costly surprises pop up halfway through.

During the programming stage, an effective consultant should be also able to regularly give status updates and inform you of development milestones. Any setbacks or problems? They should be letting you know about those too. Anything that affects the end product (and your bottom line) should be communicated ASAP.

You may also like: So you have an app idea, what now?

Pricing

Before you engage, find out what their pricing structure looks like. While top firms may charge the most, they typically have the knowledge and experience to build a great product. That doesn’t mean you should write off smaller, less expensive firms. What matters most is that their team shares your vision for the project.

The price of any software project can vary based on the complexity and difficulty of what you’re asking for, but every firm is different. Some bill by the hour. Some charge by the week. Others may charge you based on development milestones and deadlines. Some even charge a lump sum once a project is complete.

Be wary of consultants asking for equity in your company. A firm’s revenue should come from the services they offer, not your own success.

Support

When your project is complete, is your development team going to have your back? Understand what level of support or maintenance they offer, and at what price. You never want to be in a situation where you need vital software fixes or technical support only to find your software firm unresponsive to your requests.

It is also much easier to have the firm who wrote the original code come back and fix it than it is to have a new firm come in and clean up. Make sure your consultant outlines exactly what their support structure is, so that you and your software don’t get left behind when v.1 programming is complete.

Beyond just programming, consider looking for a team willing to consult with you long term, who will not only develop your product, but help you market it, find investors, and eventually, monetize. With a dedicated software consulting firm by your side, your product can soar.

Need help finding your ideal developer? Contact us.

Related: How much should an app cost to build?

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