When looking for the perfect car, we always put our needs as the priority. Before making the final decision, we compare available models, check out what versions dealers offer, and look for the right value for money. Frequently, we ask trusted specialists for advice. This way, we want to be sure that we will be satisfied with the purchase that will meet our expectations.
Now imagine a similar process for picking a software house. There are thousands of brands on the market you could outsource to, which makes the decision difficult. In this case, thorough research is also the key. You need to find a company that will help you achieve your business goals within an estimated timeline and budget.
Many product owners in search of a contractor ask themselves – which software house is the best? What makes one better than the other? Does the size of the provider’s team matter for my project? What should I pay particular attention to? The chaos of questions can only raise more doubts. In this article, we will answer all of them to help you choose the right IT partner in the most efficient way.
Who needs a software house?
Working with a software house is a great idea if you’re looking for a contractor that will take care of a project idea that is highly specific and the existing market solutions can’t handle it.
Software house for existing businesses
There are IT projects that are dedicated to meeting the needs of an established company that wants to level up their game. The right software development partner will help them choose the most optimal solutions and features based on their experience. Awareness of the costs of this investment is essential here. Well-operating businesses can accurately estimate the budgets they intend to give for a particular purpose. Moreover, they usually have financial liquidity, which is crucial for rapidly evolving software projects that sometimes require additional resources.
If you run an organization that doesn’t want to hire an in-house team, needs flexibility, wants to create a complex, advanced solution, and is looking for operational optimization – outsourcing development to a software house is for you.
Software house for startups
Some people claim that collaboration with software houses is not for startups. However, we don’t agree with that statement. It’s just a matter of several additional factors that have to be considered because the cost of a software solution is just the beginning of the investment. The startup owners have to remember about infrastructure maintenance, promotional activities, and other responsibilities that will definitely occur after release. Building a brand that will attract customers takes time and requires enormous amounts of patience. That’s why the software solution might pay off with delay.
A good business plan is a must. With detailed planning, startups and software houses can build a successful cooperation model. To become the next industry leader, startups have to create unique, robust solutions. With the right IT partner, it’s definitely possible.
Custom-made vs. premade solution
Before we dive deeper into picking the software house that will be your perfect match, we should address one thing. There are alternatives to working with an external partner in the form of ready-made solutions. You can buy an off-the-shelf system which is usually limited and can’t be properly adjusted to your business requirements. There are also low-code and no-code platforms. They allow you to build software products from premade blocks without technical knowledge and coding experience.
Although such solutions are much cheaper than hiring an external team of developers, they present a variety of drawbacks. First of all, they can be time-consuming. You need to onboard yourself within the platform and learn how to prepare a solution that will work and look properly. Second of all, they are only suitable for simple, single-featured software products. They are not capable of building systems with multiple dependencies. Last but not least, they might require some compromises. You probably won’t be able to find all the functionalities you need to make your solution pro.
Do you want to prepare a basic software solution that will have one or two features and a simple design? If yes, you can pick one of the mentioned alternatives. It might be even a good way to test your idea before you invest in a more elaborate product. However, if you want something that will be in tune with your brand, you should bet on a software house and outsource your project to them. Let us explain how to find the company that will meet your expectations.
Your guide to hiring the right software house
Here’s a list of things you should consider while researching IT brands.
1. Do they have experience in creating software solutions with features you plan to incorporate into your project?
This one is quite simple. Ask the brand if they’ve created apps, websites, or other software products similar to what you want to get. Check out their portfolio for case studies that might apply to your project. If you can see that their expertise matches your list of requirements, that’s great news! It will help kickstart the project, eliminate many potential risks, and speed up the process of strategizing the production process.
Remember that you’re working with professionals. Listen to their suggestions and rely on their experience. Sometimes we think that one technology or solution is perfect, but specialists can notice their downsides and propose something much better. Maybe some features you want will need slight changes to make the product work. It’s worth trying if the quality of your software might increase. Be open to any advice your software team wants to share and consider following the ones that resonate with you.
2. What tech stack do they use?
Be curious about the technologies they use and why they chose to offer them. It’s important to always be informed. Tech corresponds with the possibilities that the team has when it comes to software development. This way, you will also be more aware of what’s going on in the project. Understanding each process means the collaboration can be more effective. Remember to ask what benefits proposed technologies carry for your exact project. Do they fit the scope? What’s their role in it? Every choice should be justified and explained to you.
For example, if you have a small, simple project, PHP can be a great choice because there are many specialists that know this language, which makes it relatively cheap. On the other hand, a project that utilizes machine learning will thrive when written in Python. Java could be great for complex, corporate systems that will be developed for years. Do you see it now? The selection of technologies in a software house should match your needs, not the other way around.
3. Which payment model did they incorporate?
There are two main payment models used in software houses – fixed-price and time & materials. Usually, the choice depends on the scale of the project, the required flexibility, and the detail of the specification. The fixed-price model focuses on charging the client for certain functionalities. The time & materials model means the payment for the team’s work time and used resources. Let us elaborate.
Fixed-price is a good choice for small projects with well-described features. The advantage of this payment method is that the price given at the beginning is not supposed to change. You discuss the project scope with the IT partner, the price is estimated, you pay, and wait for the effects. However, any changes in project assumptions are not easy to introduce and require revaluation. In today’s world, where markets and consumer needs evolve rapidly, this approach might not always be the most effective. If your new ideas are too invasive, the team might have to finish the main project before they add new features or change the core of the solution.
Time & materials model
Time & materials is a payment method often used in Agile and Scrum. Unlike the fixed-price model, it provides a lot of flexibility. You can decide in which direction the project will go and modify its scope during the production phase. The ability to work on an evolving software solution and adjust it to the current situation is the biggest advantage here. On the other hand, it’s difficult to estimate the total budget. If you’re carefree about introducing new features and changes, you might easily overspend. Especially, if you want to expand the project when it’s in its final phase. Code editing, additional testing, and other activities can consume a huge chunk of your software investment.
Which one to pick?
The decision should be made based on your company’s needs, the size of the project, and the level of flexibility you desire. Regardless of the chosen model, remember to set up clear payment rules. When working with a professional software house, it’s usually indicated which specific functionalities will be delivered before the next tranche has to be paid. After receiving money for the last implementation, the next stage begins. This is a safe approach for both sides.
Beware of companies that require advance payments, especially if they don’t provide detailed specifications. It could be risky for your organization and cause delays in the project.
4. Do they offer a software warranty?
Ask your IT partner for a warranty on the software you ordered. Do they offer it, and what are the terms? For example, at G-Group.dev, we give each of our customers a 12-month warranty on the products we create for them. We believe it’s enough time to familiarize yourself and your team with the received system, as well as test it for a long period. Some errors or malfunctions can only be detected when the software is used by real customers. Thanks to the warranty, you can be sure every problem will be fixed.
5. What is their production process?
Remember that the right potential software partner will present their work process transparently. What does it mean exactly? They will help you understand what each stage of implementation is about. You will know what you can expect, feel more secure about the collaboration, and know when is the best time to propose changes. Having a specific plan with phases, tasks, and to-dos on the list means you will see the progress on a regular basis and will be able to detect potential mistakes earlier.
Working with a software house that doesn’t talk about their process is a recipe for a disaster. Don’t trust a company that claims they can just take care of everything without your knowledge. They might assure you that you will be satisfied when the product is finished, but it’s doubtful.
At G-Group.dev, we present our process matrix to the customers during the bidding stage. Here’s an example of how it can look like – depending on the type of software and other factors:
6. Do they offer workshops?
We work with various customers with completely different needs and ideas. Some of them have detailed visions in their mind. Others have a ten pages document with all the specifications. In both cases, the client often feels like they know best what should be done to turn the project into reality. They created the idea and are certain they thought of all possible aspects regarding it. However, the reality often provides additional challenges and doesn’t always correspond with the customer’s concept. That’s when the expert analysis comes in handy – usually, in the form of workshops.
Good specialists know exactly what to pay attention to when outlining a project. They focus on its strong and weak points and strategize the implementation process during the initial phase of planning. Also, they ask the customer about industry trends, the ideal client profile, and other factors that might be helpful. Workshops are a perfect occasion to discuss expectations and doubts. The result is usually quite a long document with all the required information, data flow graphics, mock-ups, and example designs. The bigger the project, the more materials will be produced during workshops.
Both the product owner and the IT partner take advantage of the workshops. That’s why we always propose them to all of our prospects. The idea often expands every time it’s discussed, so it’s helpful to sort everything out before the production begins.
7. Can they build an MVP?
When the workshops are over, it’s possible to determine a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It’s the basic version of a software solution with the only features that are necessary to achieve the main business goal. Does your IT partner offer to prepare an MVP? If yes, it’s perfect. You will be able to test your idea early on and shape the scope of the project accordingly to collected feedback.
Preparing an MVP is not obligatory, but we often propose it as the first development stage. It’s a great option for fresh businesses or the ones that enter a new field. They receive fully functional software and additional features can be added later on. It’s a financial relief, but also it raises the efficiency of the development process. While the MVP is up and running, we can once more analyze the market conditions, customer expectations, and the client’s vision. MVP creation is also a great way to shorten time-to-market.
At G-Group.dev, we focus on building long-term relationships and trust. We want your project to succeed, so we propose an MVP implementation every time we believe it could be sufficient to achieve your business goals.
Don’t know which software house to pick? Compare the offers!
We wouldn’t recommend picking the first software house you will stumble upon. Take at least several ones that seem interesting and compare their offers. Reach out to them and ask what they can propose. Remember to compare “apples to apples” not “apples to oranges”. For the best possible results of your analysis, the proposals should include the same elements and the non-price conditions should also be very similar. Then you can verify which company offers the best value for money ratio, as well as if they are even able to meet your expectations.
During your talks with potential providers, you can also determine what is their communication style, work patterns, and approach to cooperation. Technologies, methodologies, and hard skills are essential, but you should also feel a positive vibe when talking to project managers or developers. Without connection, it will be hard to maintain the relationship and always be on the same page.
Also, check out their website, social media, and portfolio to find out about recent clients, case studies, and other materials that prove the brand’s expertise.
Begin the software development journey today
If you found an IT partner that is transparent about their process, has great communication skills, and offers a tech stack that can be used to build your project – it’s the best situation you could be in. Such professionals don’t hide any costs, honestly discuss potential risks, and are able to propose resolutions to conquer them.
Still not sure how to pick a software house you want to work with? Ask the company about the values that guide their everyday work. Here’s what we believe in:
- Exceed the set expectations.
- Take responsibility for the things you do.
- Try and test new solutions.
- Grow and help others grow.
- Always communicate honestly and openly with your team and clients.
Sounds good? Maybe you don’t have to look anymore. G-Group.dev can be your go-to partner to outsource your software development needs. Let’s set up a non-binding meeting where we will discuss your ideas. Contact us, and we will answer all of your questions. Pick a trustworthy partner to take care of your next software project.