When we think of hiring external services for the company, we often think of the basic questions: “how much will it cost?”, and “how long will it take?”. Although such questions are very important, they are only the starting point. If you really want an in-depth knowledge of the software partner you are looking at, here are some ideas of what you should ask them before making a final decision.
1. What does the process of software development look like in your company?
Every software development company has its own style and its own procedures, and you should become familiar with them before you start working. Will the company assign someone in particular to work with you? How do they decide who is the right person to work with your team? How do they measure progress? What steps do they consider vital in the software development process? All these questions will give you a better understanding of the company you are planning to partner with.
2. How will we communicate during the project?
A free flow of communication is vital so that both client and partner are on the same page.
Some companies offer not just taking your project, but adding people to your already existing team. These developers will be a part of all your meetings and work side by side with your existing employees, thus making sure that communication is constant and clear. This may be a very good option that will certainly reduce communication problems.
3. How many developers do you have in your staff and what is their seniority level?
Although only a small fraction of the total staff will likely be working on your project, it is important to have a bigger picture of the company structure, also, as a way of making sure they will not be overstretched for your project. If they do not have enough staff to cover all projects, delays and mistakes are far more likely to happen.
4. What skills do you look for in the people you hire?
A company is, above all, its people. It may be interesting to know what skills does the software development company look for in the people they choose to add to its staff, considering that those people are the ones who will be working with you. What soft skills do they look for? Do they focus on their academic qualifications? What about their work experience? Knowing the profile of the employees the company chooses will give you a better idea of its culture and work environment.
5. How many similar projects have you finished before? Can you show me your success stories?
Any successful company will likely have a portfolio of their “success stories” over the years. Do not hesitate to ask for references and even the contact of previous clients whom you can talk to. Looking at past jobs and talking to former clients will definitely give you an idea of how the final results look like, and see if they match your expectations.
The ultimate question you should ask yourself is: is this company the right for me? Hopefully, by asking the right questions and paying attention to the answers, you will be able to find that out quite easily. Choosing a software partner is not a minor issue, so, the more you know about them, is definitely the better.