In the previous episode of Building Digital Products podcast, we discussed where and how to find your "perfect" partner to develop your own digital product. Now, when you know what kind of team you need, let's delve deeper into the process of choosing a software development company. So, check the list of questions you may ask your potential partners before you start working with them on your digital product.
Of course, the thing is not only in asking questions, but also in giving some information about your project. If you just write “Hello, contact me”, the answer will be the same. Be ready to send the file with some project details and materials before the actual meeting, so that the company can evaluate you as a VIC (very important customer).
Such materials can be:
Project idea in details, product type, industry, high-level functionality.
Problems the product solves.
Any concepts, templates, wireframes made.
After your potential partner sees the file, both of you are ready for the first contact. Now it’s time for you to ask your questions, and we hope this list will help you to get the most important information.
1. What is their approach to digital development?
The company should have their philosophy, their focus and their talents (like, the best coders in the world). For LinkUp it is fair to say that we are product oriented, so we focus on the product.
2. How do they work?
That’s what you ask next, to know more about development practices of your potential partner. In this way you will understand how your product will be developed, which stages it will include, and you will make sure if your product will be developed up to your requirements in timelines and within your budget.
There are many development models (Waterfall, Agile and Scrum, Incremental and Iterative, V-Shaped, Spiral, Kanban) and knowing which one of your partners will use or combine with others will help you to predict results after each stage.
3. What changes have they made in their process for the last six months?
The answer to this tricky question will help you to see how the company works on their own updates, as there’s nothing static in digital software development (listen to our podcast to know about ours).
4. How do they invest in the communication skills of their engineers?
English is a must-have today, and you have to be sure that you will understand people whom you’re going to work with as well as they will understand you. Do they have some courses? Do they have an English teacher? And it's not only about English, it’s about communication in general.
5. What collaboration tools do they use?
6. Are they ready to show you their weekly progress?
You have to make sure that during the development process, you are aware of what's happening on your product. Weekly demo calls might be important for the team to hear your feedback and for you to see their work.
7. What do they do if things go wrong?
In the software digital development world, things are not usually going quite well. And your team's supposed to communicate about that. Ask them for a plan. What do they do in emergency situations? What kind of protocol do they have? Who is responsible?
8. When will they start?
Of course, you need to know when your partner can start actual development or design, but don’t expect the answer “now”. Good engineers, designers, BA’s or whoever are never free, so “now” can actually be a suspicious sign.
Be ready to give them at least a week or two for finding the best team for your particular project.
9. Which additional services can they offer?
Your product might not only need frontend, backend, or quality assurance, but it also needs BA, DevOps or designers. And it’s very good and cost-efficient to have all of them in one place. So if a company can provide you different services for all stages of the product development lifecycle, it will be very good.
10. Do they think about your business?
It’s not a question to ask your partner, but rather a recommendation for you. Listening how they respond to all the questions, you’ll find out if they will care about your business, and that’s very important. Check if their answers stick to what they told you about their philosophy.
And, of course, the first contact is not only about answers to your questions, but also about the question your potential partner will ask. It’s also important for them to have an interest in your project.
Check out our new podcast to find more.