Top 5 mistakes when working with software development agencies

Selecting the right software development partner requires a lot of effort and attention from your side. However, even when it seems that the choice was made, a project can still turn into a failure and result in huge monetary losses. The good news is that you can prevent these negative consequences. Just pay attention to certain important aspects when choosing a service provider.

In this post we will outline the top five mistakes that product founders make when working with software development agencies. We will also provide our recommendations on how to avoid making these mistakes.

Let’s get into it.

1. Failing to conduct thorough research

To find the right software development partner for your project, conducting proper research is a must.

It’s not a good practice to base your decision just on one factor - such as low cost or a recommendation from your acquaintance. Neglecting other important aspects (such as a company’s expertise or reviews on independent resources), you can face serious problems when creating your future product. For example, it may turn out that the contractor you have chosen does not have enough competence to implement such a project.

To make an informed decision about choosing the right provider, you need to assess your potential candidates from the following perspectives:

  • Credibility; 
  • Expertise;
  • Technology stack

The most company online review platform for development services is Clutch, which is like the G2Crowd for services businesses.

2. Choosing the lowest price

While cost-efficiency is definitely one of your main priorities, a low price shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when choosing the right software development partner. How to prevent the unwanted situation when a provider sacrifices the quality of work to attract you with cheap service?

First of all, be sure to clarify what kind of value you will get for that price. Compare that to the value offered by other candidates to see if you will really save with a low price contractor. 

In addition, be sure to assess the potential candidates from other perspectives - expertise and experience in your industry, workflow organization, clients’ reviews on independent resources, and more.

3. Not paying attention to communication

Without proper project management and effective communication, the whole project can become a disaster. Therefore, a good idea is to clarify with a potential provider how the work is organized beforehand.

Ensure the following:

  • An agency is going to appoint a project manager who will coordinate the work of the whole team;
  • You will get access to all the tools to monitor the progress;
  • Project related communication is held regularly.

If this is something that a potential software development partner is willing to provide, you can rest assured that you and your contractor will be on the same page, and your desired product will be delivered on time.

4. Failing to provide clear acceptance criteria

Acceptance criteria is a specific and definite list of requirements that must be met to mark a certain task as completed, and the results of the work are accepted by you as a client. 

Well-defined acceptance criteria can help you promote alignment and mutual understanding between you and your software development partner.

What makes effective acceptance criteria? Here are the main characteristics:

  • They are easy to test and leave no room for alternative interpretation;
  • They are simple and straightforward;
  • They are clear and easy to understand for all the development team;
  • They should be written from a user’s perspective.

Failure to provide the acceptance criteria may result in misunderstanding between you and your software development provider and, even worse, getting the deliverables that don’t actually meet your expectations.

5. Neglecting IP issues

Failure to protect intellectual property rights is one more common mistake made by newcomers to software development. You need to make sure you own all the code and infrastructure.

One of the most important things to ensure here is that you will reserve the exclusive source code ownership rights once your product is delivered. This condition should be stated in the software development agreement. Absence of such a point can result in extremely unwanted consequences - the source code owner can use it and modify it as he wishes. This is definitely not something you’ll be happy about.

Beside the source code ownership rights, there are some more aspects to check:

  • Make sure you will own all the project documentation and project related assets;
  • Check that the images, sound pieces and other assets used in the project don’t infringe anyone’s intellectual property rights;
  • If your project involves parsing information from the third-party sources, ensure that you are using these resources in accordance with their rules.

Final notes

Choosing the right software development agency to build your product is a tricky task. If the collaboration doesn’t work out, you as a client may suffer multiple losses: monetary expenses, loss of time and opportunity.

We hope that we've managed to shed some light on the most common mistakes when choosing the right software development partner, and our recommendations will allow you to avoid these mistakes.


Interested in learning how we could help your development goals?