5 Questions to Ask Your Software Delivery Company

When going through the process of choosing a software development company, asking the right questions can reveal who will deliver the work that best suits your needs. To make sure you pick the team with the ideal skills and approach, we've outlined five questions you should ask every contender.

1. What are your specialties?

If they say they can “do it all,” you may want to take a step back. While they may literally be able to perform across many software languages, they likely cannot do each one of them well. It's similar to seeing a general mechanic versus a shop that focuses solely on Ferraris, for example. When a mechanic has a deep knowledge of your given vehicle type, that expertise will result in a far better overall experience. The same is true with software development companies.

Ask the software firm what their niche is. For example, if they list out 20 languages, that may be a red flag. However, if they say they are specialists in just a few, like Ruby on Rails or C#, it's an indication that they are experts in those languages and will execute at much higher quality.

Listen to what they say they will and U+2013 will not U+2013 do. If there's work they say no to, that shows they are committed to their specialty.

2. What's your process for diving in and getting to know the code?

Results are rooted in process. It's important that the team have a specific methodology for reviewing and fixing the software. An expert team will be able to outline a thorough process for approaching your code, assessing the issue and walking you through their solution.

If the company brushes off the question or can't provide a straight answer, chances are they don't have a well-defined methodology, which can create problems with consistency and keeping your project on track.

3. How will communication work? Is it always through a project manager?

Communication makes all the difference in a smooth, successful project. A project manager is a critical resource that can make processes more efficient. However, if the project manager will be your only point of contact at all times, this could be present a problem.

There is power in being able to talk directly to the developer when needed. The developer will have more intimate knowledge of your project and may be able to communicate issues with more clarity, saving a lot of time and runaround. If the development firm won’t allow you to talk to the people who are actually performing the work, you may want to consider if they are the best fit for you.

4. How, and when, do you measure progress?

Talking goals and success is great, but you want to be sure there is a plan for making them a reality. Ask the firm exactly how and when progress will be measured.

Hesitation or an overly vague response could be cause for concern. You want to work with a firm that will walk through steps that reveal progress and the plan for delivering an estimated timeline.

5. How do you ensure high quality work?

It is not only important that a software development company tracks progress, they also need to show that the work will be first-rate. Listen to how they say they will ensure quality. A firm that’s dedicated to quality will:

  • Provide a unit test coverage report
  • Have and adhere to a code style guide
  • Use static code analysis tools
  • Do manual code reviews
  • Do QA in a staging environment

Remember, asking questions is a two-way street.

It is important that both you and the potential software development company are asking questions. Follow the outline above, and you’ll be on the right track to finding the ideal fit.

Need help optimizing software delivery? HyperIQ can help.

Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how we do it.