5 Questions to Ask When You Look for a Development Partner
2017 is just the right time to outsource.
But finding the right development partner can be tricky, as there are hundreds of comparable companies all over the world. Distinguish between the run-of-the-mill company with one who is committed to your business by asking these key questions:
1) How do they handle communication?
No matter how sophisticated the technology or years of experience, communication is a prime factor in a successful project. We mean communication in two ways: initial dialogue of the project’s vision and goals; and continuous conversation throughout the project cycle.
Clear communication means visibility for all involved in the project, from executives to the technical team. Does your development partner take initiative to help refine the project’s vision and goals? Do you have clear goals, objectives, and KPIs? Does your development partner also build in consistent communication into the project planning?
Your software development partners should prioritize transparent, consistent communication from the beginning.
2) How responsive are they when you have issues?
Issues, bugs, and complications are inevitable. How the company handles them will be a clear indicator in the success of the project.
Do they present solutions instead of making excuses or placing blame? When issues arise, teams can easily call back to miscommunication, lack of purpose, or tight deadlines. But do those teams offer ways to fix the issues? Offer new strategies to combat obstacles? Understanding why issues occur will help the same mistakes from repeating, but outsourcing partners must be solution partners.
Look for the solutions-oriented companies because they will be the most transparent, and often, the quickest problem-solvers.
3) What is their process to ensure quality products?
Developing software and project management is full of compromises. If the project is not constrained by tight deadlines, then it is restricted by budget. The factor that should never be compromised is quality.
It’s easy for development partners to sacrifice quality of the product in order to keep the project on schedule or get the product to market by launch date. But in the end it’s your company and brand that suffers the most. What do your development partners put in place to ensure your products are always of the highest quality they can be? Are they committed to testing and QA?
Scrum, as you know, is one of the most popular agile methodologies of project management. Work is defined in regular (weekly or monthly) sprints. Weekly metrics and regular communication updates enable a successful project. Testing is built right inside the Scrum process.
4) What is their range and expertise?
When looking for a development partner, look for the ones who specialize and excel in their offerings. What are their technology offerings? How long have they been working with a certain technology?
Some good ways to assess their range and expertise is through an assessment of both their senior leadership and their project management team. These are the people who will directly affect the quality control and overall process of your project. Do they have the technical background to handle your project, both with a keen eye for insight and QA assurance?
Find partners who not only have a wide range of technical expertise, but a long vertical depth of knowledge in their specializations.
5) How flexible are they with your commercial needs?
The best development partners should have the flexibility to adjust to your commercial needs. If you are a large enterprise and only need a few additional developers to boost your team, the development partner should be able to offer you the team members with the right skills to complement your existing core people.
If you’re a smaller company and want an entire team to work on your project, the development partner should offer excellent project managers in addition to a strong technical team.
Projects now don’t fit into a one-size-fits all engagement model. Your development partners should be able to customize its offerings to your specific project needs.
With the right development partners, your technology solutions will become your business solutions.