The art of evaluating software development partner

Sep 09, 2021

Analyzing proposals is not an easy task, there are many things that should be taken into account. Let's talk about the main mistakes that people make at this stage of cooperation and find out how to do things right.

As it happens in case of searching for a partner, here you need to have some criteria to define the value of the proposal. And sorry if it sounds banal or too obvious, but the first thing you should take into account is actually what the company has to offer you.

Is it full cycle development or not?

Do they include quality assurance?

Do they offer design?

Is there some kind of support and guarantee afterwards?

And, of course, some important details like what kind of the business model they use, how many people should be involved, what kind of expertise they have and how much time they will spend on completing the project, what their processes and emergency policy are like, and how you are going to communicate.

Each project is quite unique, so you might want to include some other things into the proposal like project technology stack, proposed architecture of the future system, a letter of recommendation from the client with a similar case etc.

Certainly, the proposal should include money. If it doesn’t include money, it’s not a proposal, it’s just an advertising booklet. Of course, it’s almost impossible to calculate the full price from the very beginning to the very end, but still, there are supposed to be some numbers. But our main piece of advice here is next: when you open the proposal, don’t scroll down directly to see the price. It is important, yes, but you should never make your decision based on the price exclusively.

Let’s say you have 7 proposals, and you’re about to pick the company that fits your budget. Without reading what they actually propose, it’s almost like choosing randomly, as there can be some important things they haven’t included. You might still want to choose this company and then try to force people to finish everything with your super cruel contract.

But hey, do you want to become the best lawyer who knows how to sue a development partner or do you want to build a digital product? Reading the proposal thoroughly will not only save you money in the future, but it will also save you plenty of time.

To better understand how exactly to choose the best software development company, here are some of the most important questions you should always ask before diving in a new project:

General questions

  • Can you tell me more about your work process?
  • What type of business model is this?
  • What are the payment terms for this job?
  • Have you ever worked on a project like this before?
  • How does your pricing work?

Questions about the team

  • Can you tell me more about the expected team for the project?
  • How many people are going to be involved on the team?
  • What are their levels of experience?
  • How long are they expected to work on this project?
  • What kind of expertise each one of them have?

Process description

  • What kind of approach are we going to use? Is it going to be Agile or Waterfall?
  • What communication system are we going to use? Is it going to be Slack, Whatsapp or email?
  • What is the emergency policy of your projects?
  • How do you ensure the quality of the product you’re creating?

Questions about property rights

  • How will the property rights work in this project?
  • At what point will the property rights be transferred to the product owner?

So now, when you’re not looking for the cheapest proposal or the most expensive one (because none of them can promise you 100 % quality), let’s think about cost efficiency.

In the software development industry, there is such a term as technical debt, which is a concept that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy or poor solution instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

Technical debt may be a result of poorly written code or lack of documentation, lack of tests or lack of user experience etc.

To escape it, let the company explain their proposal. It will actually help you to understand their price. Ask them about their processes: it’s way more efficient than asking them to send you a snippet of code (of course, they will send you the best one).

The thing is, during this stage you don’t have to think about how to sue anybody or how to spend as minimum as possible (as usually it leads to spending a lot in the end). Your main goal here is to understand if the product you want to build can be built with these processes.

Find more on our new podcast.


Listen to Podcast

Get email notifications about the latest episodes