Questions to Ask Developers

The top questions you should be asking a bespoke software development company

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10 Questions to Ask a Bespoke Software Development Company

Investing in a piece of bespoke software is a big deal for any company. Finding the right bespoke software development team to build your software can be a complex process in itself. Here we share the top questions we think companies should ask to find out all they need to know about the software developers they are talking to so they can make the best possible decision. 

What is your technical expertise?

First things first, you need to know if the software developers you're talking to have the skill set required for your project. There are thousands of software developers out there but finding the right one for the job is a different story. 

Full stack software developers are pretty brilliant and can set their amazing minds to code in a multitude of languages. However, sometimes you may need a programmer who has experience using a particular framework, platform or technology. Matching the skills to your project requirements is super important. 

What experience do you have with similar projects?

Bespoke software developers have many transferable skills and specialise in getting to know customers and how they work to provide the very best solution. Our team have worked across a variety of business sectors and industries. However, it always helps if a software company can demonstrate experience with similar projects.

For example, if you are looking to develop a custom project management system, then being able to see evidence of a working system which is similar will help instil confidence that the development team have what it takes to take care of your project too. Case studies and product demonstrations to talk you through the project and how it was developed will help to build up a clear picture of the process and the capabilities involved.

How many software developers do you have and where do they work?

Another discovery to make early on is about the amount of software developers the company has. Building a picture of the team you will be working with now and in the future is important to ensure there is the right support available. Size isn't everything but knowing that you have a good-sized team who can share project knowledge is a big deal. Being aware of where the team work is crucial too so you know if you're working with a developer who is only available at certain times of the day. Teams like ours who are all based in the same development studio work collaboratively and closely across all projects. 

It's also worth asking about the design services available, as UX designers bring a wealth of knowledge to bespoke software and are instrumental in those early stages of creating streamlined workflows targeted at making the lives of the software users easier. 

Are all your developers employed directly or are they subcontractors?

When making a decision on which software development company to work with, stability is an important consideration. Knowing that the software developers working on your project are more likely to be there for the long-term to support and scale your software can make all the difference. You will also want confidence that the development team work cohesively to share their knowledge of your software systems. 

How will the project be managed?

The process of creating a new software system can vary between companies. However, what you really want to be on the lookout for is examples of transparent project management and agile development methods. Effective project management is key to the delivery and implementation of a clever software system. You need to know the development company’s approach to project management, the communication and reporting tools that they use for updates as well as how often milestones will be delivered.

Having a project manager who is in the detail, with technical knowledge and excellent organisational and communication skills, who can articulate progress in non -tech speak, is a top consideration. 

How often will we be updated and see working software?

To create a piece of software which ticks all the boxes that your company needs, it works better if you're able to see the software at regular stages throughout the design and build. If you were building a house from scratch, you would want to make regular site visits to check on progress - the same goes for software development. A combination of face-to-face meetings and virtual catch ups to present and feedback on progress is ideal. 

Agile software developers like us work in an iterative cycle, whereby working software is produced to test at critical milestones throughout development, rather than just at the end. This method enables the software to be frequently reviewed and any changes acted upon quickly. It's also really useful for the software users to be involved so that they can make contributions and get excited about the amazing new software they'll soon have at their fingertips. 

How will you support our software long-term?

Bespoke software projects rarely end at deployment. Protecting your investment will provide peace of mind to ensure if anything goes wrong with the system at any time, you have someone with the right knowledge to come to the rescue. Levels of support can vary depending on your project and business need but it's important that support is available.

At Clever Software Group we build long-term software partnerships so that we can help scale and develop your software in line with your business growth. Developing a software partnership with the right company will also allow you to make your software better over time in line with technology advancements and any new features your business may need.

How will you manage the data migration to the new system?

Handling data securely and knowing where it will be hosted is paramount. You will need to know how your current data will be transferred to the new system without causing business disruption, as well as where it will be stored for optimal security. Part of the solution you are presented with should highlight a data migration strategy which is carefully thought out from the get go. 

Our clever database developers regularly process large data sets and are well trained in sourcing the most secure hosting for your data. Cloud-hosted databases provide a scalable, cost effective solution to monitor your infrastructure with tailored backup and disaster recovery services in place. 

Who owns the source code? 

Assigning the intellectual property rights is absolutely a conversation that needs to take place before any development work begins. Now, this is an interesting one that can widely vary and a decision is usually made on an individual basis. It will very much depend on your need as a business and what your project entails.

At CSG, we typically have a conversation with clients about what their project objective is and if there are plans for the final product to be marketed and sold. For instance, if we are using code that we have already written we would need to own the IP. In this instance this would result in a development cost saving. Protection around project ideas can be achieved with the issuing of a non-disclosure agreement and/or a statement of work contract. 

What happens if the spec changes once the project has started?

Realistically speaking, software projects are subject to change. Even those with the most detailed specification. New requirements are often identified once user research is carried out and almost certainly when working software is presented for testing.

Any scope creep can affect the final price so it is worth noting how much change is built into the cost you have been quoted. While it's important to be aware and happy with the development company's day rates, it's wise to be mindful of fixed price contracts as you may not be getting the best value or the best end product.

Ask Us Anything

These are some of the most pressing questions to be asked at the beginning of your software development journey. However, here at Clever Software Group, we're a flexible and friendly bunch. We're ready and willing to answer any queries you may have about how we can best work together.

Click this way for more insights in the questions we will initially ask you. If we can help with anything, even if it is just some quickfire questions, please do get in touch.  



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