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How to choose a supplier for software development

How to choose a supplier for software development?

If you are currently looking for a supplier for developing a mobile application, web or internal system custom made, we have a few tips for you about what you should pay attention to, so you won’t end up disappointed later. We have years of experience with custom-built development, We are part of a community of companies with the same points of interest, bigger or smaller, and we encountered lots of projects, which ended up with different outcomes. However, all of those projects had one thing in common, in the beginning, there was a submitter who wanted the most suitable supplier for his project. 

So what is the pattern of success so both sides, the supplier and submitter would be satisfied when the project is done? What are the mistakes that you should avoid and what to watch out for if you want your project completed on time, doing what it’s supposed to do, be well written and wouldn’t cost you a fortune? You will find all the answers in our article.

 

How much is it gonna cost? 

The vast majority of suppliers with no previous experience with software development go with the same approach. They contact the first ten companies they can find and give them a task like: “We want a copy of Facebook (or Uber, Instagram, Spotify). How much is it gonna cost?”. After that, they will choose the cheapest offer. Let’s ignore the fact that it’s practically impossible to estimate a price on a task like that and focus on choosing the supplier. For more information, look at our article how to prepare documentation for the development and price estimation of application.

Choosing a developing agency just by price is wrong from the beginning because it wouldn’t tell us anything about other aspects of what we are getting. We should be considering price just as one of the parameters and give it priority according to our financial possibilities. It definitely shouldn’t be the main aspect of this decision.

From our experience, we don’t recommend to go for the lowest price, which will mostly be offered by individuals and smaller companies. Even if they manage to complete your task on time and meet all the requirements, there might be problems with future support. Individuals and small companies might won’t be willing to manage your system for new browsers and you will end up investing your time and money to transition to a new supplier. If that would be even possible.

On the other side of the spectrum, you can find huge companies that are overpriced and often you are paying them just for the brand. Unless you are looking for a piece of art, for instance, a unique presentation web site with a signature of a specific author or company, it’s not worth it to pay the highest price on the market. Our advice is to go for the best performance/price ratio.

Quality of delivered work

The design and development of software is not a homogenous service that should have the same attributes for all suppliers, therefore it’s not possible to compare prices. For a better image, we attached a list of most common problems which may occur during software development from the supplier’s point of view:

  • High error rate and hidden faults, preventing users from proper usage. Of course, not all mistakes can be revealed immediately but the supplier should be able to fix most of the bugs before the software is released.
  • Bad quality of code mostly caused by inexperienced developers and ignoring best practices during development. Developers often talk about “messed up” codes. That leads to expensive management and further development of code and also no other programmer will be willing to work with that code.
  • Unsolved licenses - as a submitter you definitely don’t want to pay additional fees, that nobody warned you about after you already paid for the completed product.
  • Bad communication. Your supplier should be informing you about the state of your product during the whole process and present his current results to you. If the supplier remains silent during the whole process and shows up when the work is done, you might have to be dealing with some serious misunderstandings.
  • Absence of documentation which is an inseparable part of every project. You should always insist on getting a user and technical documentation.
  • Absence of analysis before the project starts. If the supplier is not trying to find out everything possible about your projects and your demands before he even starts, the results of his work will probably be something you don’t even need.

How to choose a supplier who will be able to develop quality software? Ask around and look for references. Ask about previous implementations of similar projects, find information about specific submitters and if their needs were being met. Ask if cooperation with the supplier is still going on and the supplier got a recommendation from his client. When you find out that a certain company already successfully finished a similar project before, you can trust them that they will be able to do so with the same or higher quality. 

Be interested in who specifically will be working on the project. There is a big difference if the supplier has its own intern people who are working for him for several years or if he just agrees with you on cooperation and then passes the project on other suppliers with his own profit. Cases like that are often followed by misunderstandings and all kinds of problems. We suggest avoiding this kind of collaboration and trying to be as close as possible to developers and other people who will be truly participating in your project. Don’t be afraid to ask about specific people or if they can be represented by somebody else.  

Deadlines are important

One of the last important parameters that we should consider choosing a supplier of programming products is speed or time in general. There is nothing worse than being on a tight deadline but your supplier is not able to get his job done on the promised time. This problem mostly occurs because the supplier lacks the capacity needed for realization on time. For many companies, it’s more profitable to do contracts with more clients than they are able to cover even if it means that some of them won’t be satisfied with their work.

So it happens that companies are busy for more than six months ahead. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but at least for you as a client, it’s not good. Always ask your supplier when he will be able to start working on your project. Want some milestones of the development i.e. finishing of analysis, delivery of graphics for consultation or sending of the beta version of your system for testing.

Conclusion

In the end, we would like to wish you good luck with your choice of supplier of software development. If you will follow our advice I believe you cannot make a wrong decision and you will find a supplier of mobile or web application who will stay with you for a long time and will provide you with quality and fast services for a good price. We are honest with our clients and tell them they can only choose two out of three.

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