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4 Things to Look for in a Custom Software Company

With any project, large or small, it is vital to have a team that works together well with excellent communication. As a socially-minded business or non-profit organisation, choosing a software development company that is genuinely connected to your goal is a necessity. The earlier you can involve your developer in your plan, the stronger your team will be.

As your chosen software developer is working to design a program that fits your needs, there are certain red flags you should watch for during the process. However, it's best to avoid hitting those road blocks in the first place.

Here, we'll list 4 things to look for when you're hiring a software company.

1. You want your developer to be genuinely connected to your goal.

It's important to ensure that your developer understands and is working toward your goal. For a successful project, you need mutual trust and open communication. As with any project, there is always the possibility of some conflict with an external consultant or specialist.

Like you, they have lots of other things to think about. First, they need to be focused on their own success (which might include their business and other clients) as well as their interests (perhaps a new technique they have been reading about). Finally they have their own challenges, such as solving technical problems they may have not encountered before.

If your developers genuinely understand and are committed to your goal, it will much easier to build mutual trust and complete a successful project. When your developer is driven by your goals and less by their own, the relationship and project will flourish.

2. Consider how comfortable you feel with your developer in conversation and during initial planning meetings.

Communication is key with any new software project. If you have in-house experience and technical knowledge, you can give more direction on your project because you are simply managing outsources. However, when you have ideas in mind but are unsure of how to implement them, it's important to have an open flow of communication with your developer.

Working with someone who genuinely cares about your project and listens to your ideas and concerns is vital.

3. You should be confident about their expertise and technical competence.

As you consider different firms to complete your project, you should look for experts who have the skills to design and build your software. It's important to have no hint of doubts in their abilities.

One of the most useful ways to build this kind of trust is to work with the firm on a smaller project before committing to a larger one. If you are comfortable with the communication and process of a smaller project, you can generally expect that they will treat the larger project with the same care. This allows both parties to learn about working together.

4. Make an effort to pay the firm your work with; be careful accepting pro bono offers.

Though you may find some offers to receive pro bono work, be extra cautious before accepting. In some cases, firms offering free services may be less committed to your project than those of their other paying clients. Though this is certainly not always the case, it's something you should take into serious consideration.

The best plan is to be prepared to pay a fair rate for the consultants, contractors and specialists that work on your projects. This removes potential concerns and possible conflicts, and ensures your project stays at the centre of everyone's attention.

If you do use pro bono or reduced price suppliers, make sure that you have a clear, mutually understood statement of what everyone is committing to. Be sure to check in regularly to guarantee both parties are still happy with the agreement.

Choosing a software development firm can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. By knowing what things to look for and be aware of, you can be confident in the group you choose.

At HappyPorch, we strive to work with our clients toward their goals and listen to their concerns and ideas. Our mission is to implement what is important to our clients. We would love to talk with you and discuss if we are the right fit for your non-profit or socially-minded business. Contact us today for a commitment-free consultation.

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About the author

Barry O'Kane

Barry is the founder of HappyPorch. With 20 years in the web development industry as a programmer and agency owner, he has a preternatural ability to decipher the systems and processes code that holds many teams back from achieving their goals. Partners say Barry gets to the root of issues quickly and makes it downright easy to deliver good work.    

While he's unbelievably grounded, it's not uncommon to find him sailing through the trees as he paraglides his way round the world.