How to find the right software development agency?

There are hundreds of companies on the market that provide software development services. Once you have decided to proceed with your project development, you need a team that will help you create a high-quality product. At the same time, you want to find a cost-effective solution. 

So, finding the right software development partner is a challenge. In this article we will outline the main things to consider when choosing the right software development agency.  Following these tips will definitely help you find a reliable partner to assist you with your business goals achievement.

Define your objectives

The first thing to do before starting your search for a software development partner is to answer a question: why are you looking for a provider

You may want a software development agency to handle the full cycle of a project development - from requirements gathering and formalization to the actual programming, launch and support. Alternatively, you may need a provider to handle just front-end or back-end development. You may also want to strengthen the capabilities of your in-house team with additional expertise.

Answering these questions will help you get a picture of what kind of an agency you should be looking for.

Search for the potential candidates 

The first (and actually the most obvious) way to find software development companies that probably comes to your mind is to use Google search. However, this is not the only source of info. 

Be sure to check Upwork - a global platform connecting businesses of all sizes to independent freelancers and agencies offering a variety of services. Here you can see the top service providers and check customer reviews about working with them.

Next, use the power of the LinkedIn social network. Your trusted connections may know software development providers to recommend.

Try using Quora - a great online resource to find facts and honest opinions about literally everything. You’ll certainly find information about software development providers here as well.

Your main objective at this stage is to draw up a list of potential candidates. A thorough research will be conducted in the next steps.

Check credibility

Next, you need to check what clients say about the potential candidates. Some outsourcing companies publish reviews on their websites, but, as a rule, all of them are mostly positive (which, however, is not surprising). Fortunately, there are a number of independent platforms - Goodfirms, Clutch, ITFirms and many others - that analyze the B2B market, rank IT companies and publish detailed, objective interviews with the clients of the listed companies.

Such platforms constantly take care of the reliability of their ratings and reviews. At Clutch, for example, all users who create company profiles or leave reviews must verify their identity through their LinkedIn account. If a project was worth more than $25,000, a Clutch analyst will reach out to the client and conduct a telephone interview. So, these are the verified reviews that you can truly trust.

Explore case studies

To assess the experience of potential candidates, look through the case studies they have shared. This will give you an idea of which challenging tasks they have already encountered, and how they approached them. 

If you see from the case studies that a company invested special effort to meet the specific requirements of a client, that’s a good sign! This characterizes the company as customer-focused.

Check the technology stack

Pay attention to the technologies that companies specialize in. And here we are talking not only about the programming languages, frameworks and databases, but also about technologies such as blockchain, neural networks (artificial intelligence), virtual and augmented reality.

Contact the shortlisted companies

Once you have chosen several agencies that seem to be a good fit, contact them to determine who will be the best partner for developing your software product.

Evaluate the communications

For fruitful collaboration, effective communication is extremely important. Without that, you cannot be 100% sure that you and your software development provider are on the same page.

You can assess the level of communication right at the initial negotiations stage. You will see if a company’s representatives make an effort to clearly understand your inquiries. If the team is interested in your project, this is a good sign. 

The speed of response to customer inquiries is one more factor to consider when looking for a software development agency. 

Interview the developers

When you reach out to the shortlisted candidates, a good idea is to talk not only to a sales person, but also to the development team. Why is that? 

While sales reps will definitely provide you with a great presentation and tell you about the developer’s experience, they won’t give you as much details as the actual developers can do. Developers, on the other hand, can give specific answers to questions about whether they have ever worked on certain tasks, and how they would approach them.

Compare offers

Finally, you have received several quotes from potential candidates. While price is an important factor when choosing a cost-effective solution, it definitely shouldn’t be the deciding one. Therefore, we strongly recommend you not to be tempted to go with the cheapest option.

If you see significantly lower prices from some candidate, it is better to clarify which works exactly are included into the quote. Chances are they are sacrificing quality for that price. Therefore, do not hesitate to clarify what kind of value you will get for this or that price.

Summary

As you can see, choosing the right software development agency for your project is not an easy task. The success of your future product will actually depend on your decision, so make sure this decision is deliberate, balanced and well thought out. 

Carry out the search and screening of potential candidates wisely. Check their credibility, expertise and technology stack. Reach out to the selected candidates, and try to communicate not only with sales representatives, but also with software developers. Don't just go after the lowest price - assess the value you get for this or that price.

Follow the tips covered above, and you will definitely find a reliable software development partner for your project.

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