Karol Oponowicz
Feb. 22, 2019, 6:23 p.m. | Product Design

How to choose the best custom software development company?

Finding qualified software engineers and digital product designers is a great challenge. That's why startups and corporations often choose partnerships with tech companies, that specialize in building remote dev teams. In this post, I'll explain how to choose the right custom software agency. The right decision can determine the future success of your project - be it web or mobile app development, digital design or advanced backend solution.

If you are founding a tech business it's almost certain your Steve Wozniak is not there to work with you. Good software engineers are already well paid by great companies, so they don’t actually have any desire of joining a startup unless it’s their own one or they share feelings for the idea. The problem is similar to hiring people in larger organizations. The quality tech specialists not only have to be paid well, but also need to believe in the company's culture, tech, and business processes, and the product they are working on.

That is why most of the startups and established companies choose to work with remote software development teams. Building quality software takes time, is expensive, and requires flexibility. That's why hiring a software development agency is a difficult process with many uncertainties. Mistakes are costly but the risk pays off if you hire the right remote dev team.

There are so many variables that determine good custom software development services - levels of expertise, cultural aspects, cost, the technology used, quality assurance - all of these could turn a seemingly simple task of choosing the right partner into a complicated decision-making process.

How to find a reliable tech partner? Taking the following into account might give you a brief insight into the kind of company you will be partnering up with.

Welcome to the world of remote teams

Although a remote development team has a physical office, it’s pretty sure not all team members are located there, as they can be spread out globally as well. The question arises - will that bother you? For one, it’s easier to plan meetups, daily reports, and bonding activities when everyone is in the same place.

Whether it’s the same time zone or the same air they’re breathing, it is believed that in-house teams have an easier time creating a strong culture. Though underrated, remote teams interactions contribute much more to company culture, team bonding, and can easily improve mood and productivity.

Remote does not mean unreachable. What really matters is that remote teams have already overcome culture or communication problems and now it’s time to build upon their experience.

You need to ensure that your partner is well-qualified, understands the concept and is passionate about the idea. Be sure the company has the means to make your idea a real thing. Don’t waste your time recruiting a mixed squad of individual freelancers that may or may not get along with your vision, or even with each other.

Look for doers who take responsibility for their work

If you are looking for a remote development team, look for “doers” who take responsibility for their job. Find a cloud-based and self-organized team, which can help you achieve your business goal. Look into their references, ask for technology consulting. When getting in touch with a team that shares common values, make sure both parties are eager to use specific communication tools for daily communication. Insist on full transparency and high-quality teleconference technology.

Ask them questions you know the answer to. It's a good idea to talk with them about your industry. How good are they with the current trends in the tech world? That technology they use? What is their opinion about the newest trends in software development? What do they think about remote working?

Teams who already have industry-specific experience are more likely to be familiar with concepts and solutions to make strategic decisions. They’ll be aware of useful tools, they’ll have an idea of the competitive companies and the competitors. To become a new market player from scratch, an industry well-known team can save you time, money, and headache.

Go ahead with existing and experienced teams and take their customers references and testimonials into account. Once you choose wrong, you could pour all your money down the drain. With stakes that high, it’s crucial to get it right. One says, that the right partner for a living will let you grow, and the right tech partner will let your business grow as well. The better you know your partner company, the greater the outcome. The more you work together, the chances for the project to outgrow your expectations are raising. It’s crucial to find a tech partner that will be sincere with you whether strongly engaged or not. With all previously mentioned obstacles in your way, when you feel you have chosen good, hold on to it.

Quality team worth their weight in gold

Development teams tend to specialize in certain spheres of technology and it’s natural. The first decision is which new domain type are you making – mobile app, design development, web platform, internal software, database, cloud solutions? Imagine, you have to decide which coding language do you need? Which framework? What sort of database? Good tech partner should provide you with answers. The more specific the technological needs, the more specialized your partner better be.

Request for references and case studies! This is an easy way to filter the winners from the noise. Good partners are not afraid to talk about their previous successes - they share numerous case studies, testimonials, and client references. Why won’t go further and speak to their happy customer? Ask future technology partner about a list of clients you can contact.

Last, but not least, make sure both you and your tech partner are compatible in culture and workstyle for easy collaboration, also remotely. When it comes to tech team culture, ask what communication tools does the team use? What culture of collaboration do they prefer? Does the team participate in group activities? Answers to these questions can reveal whether the software development agency encourages employee engagement and growth. And both engagement and growth are needed.

When tech partnership is a key

A solid understanding of the market, business stakeholders, targets, goals, and competitors will make it much easier to identify which teams have the most experience developing on similar execution strategies. Tech partnership underlies some global brands too. Let’s take a closer look at some of the famous key technology partnerships.

1.Pivotal and Ford

With the help of Pivotal Labs, Ford has designed a brand new customer experience named FordPass. FordPass is a mobile application that lets users interact with their vehicle and perform various tasks. FordPass consists of four main components: FordPass Marketplace, FordPass Perks, FordGuides, and FordHubs. Marketplace allows members to buy, sell, and share mobility solutions. Guides on the other hand offer concierge support and roadside assistance. There is also a built-loyalty program and roadside assistance - the app offers smart parking, maintenance scheduling, unlocking, starting, fuel check, and much more.

Users, who don’t need to even necessarily own a Ford vehicle, can also reserve parking spaces and find and compare gas prices in the area, and we have to admit it, that’s something.

Pivotal Labs works side-by-side with Ford developers, helping them learn agile foundations and other processes like continuous integration and delivery. With an up-to-date approach to software development and the help of Pivotal, Ford brought FordPass to market in record time. The strategic partnership of Pivotal and Ford results in constant testing new ideas and eliciting user feedback.

2. Geeks and Harley Street Connect

Harley Street Connect, a team of passionate physicians dreaming of being a part of the evolution in personalized care, wanted to create an application that puts the private medical sector at patients’ fingertips and greatly improves the patient/doctor relationship. The system would manage and archive patient data to increase promising experience for both parties.

Geeks - a London software agency - understands, that for centuries patients have struggled to communicate with their personal doctor beyond scheduled appointments. What's more patients have been also given limited access to their medical data and the possibilities to analyze it.

Both Harley Street Connect and Geeks wanted to resolve these issues and understand that due to the sensitive nature of the information patients needed to know that their data was safe. That's how MyOwnDoc has been delivered to the world.

MyOwnDoc - custom software delivered by Geeks - includes a website, web and mobile app. It allows patients to connect to some of the world’s best private health care professionals via a secure messaging system. They can instantly view their medical data and even request a second opinion from another doctor.

3. Order Group and AP-TECH

The AP-TECH company came out with a bold vision of breaking the monopoly on the market of navigation systems for pilots. That is how Clear AirSpace app was born. We’ve been responsible for creating a reliable multiplatform application that aggregates and displays navigational, weather and topographic data on a map with a diverse structure from many sources - simultaneously. Eventually, we have managed to create a tool that can compete with the products of the aviation market leaders.

Air navigation applications are currently the domain of large and well-known international companies of the aviation industry, such as Boeing or Airbus. However, the solutions they provide do not take into account the individual needs of smaller institutions using air transport, such as emergency medical services, transport companies, or private carriers. When there is a room for a reliable and multiplatform application that aggregates and displays navigational, weather and topographic data on the map with diverse structure from many sources, therefore why shouldn't we make it real? In Order Group we were sure our app should integrate and display data from international air traffic management institutions, operate in difficult conditions, on different systems (iOS, Windows) and devices (tablet, desktop), also offline.

Close cooperation with the client who became almost a member of our team has been of high importance during the implementation of this project. Clear AirSpace has created thanks to the commitment, knowledge, and experience of the client in the field of aviation and the skills of a dedicated programming team that has not changed since the start of work.

Summary

For better or worse, choosing the right technology partner typically involves building a relationship - when you choose your partners with care and communicate early, things tend to work out more often. But choose the wrong one, and you can potentially lose faith in the vendor process. Fortunately, the odds of heartbreak will be substantially reduced by understanding a few key factors that can make or break the partner relationship:

  • Do your research earlier
  • Is price a good measure of quality?
  • Testimonials and references are critical
  • Transparency is a must!
  • Consider speed and deadlines
  • Ask for a guarantee or warranty

Regardless of who you choose, you must take simply EVERYTHING into account. Perhaps the most important (and neglected) factor when selecting a technology partner is the most simple - do you like them? You are going to spend a lot of time working with this partner, so ensuring they fit on a personal level is perhaps just as important as the fine brief.

Finding a tech partner to develop a product can be a daunting task whether it’s the first time or the tenth. Still, that choice can have major implications when it comes to time, money, and success. Order Group helps innovators make these choices on a regular basis.

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