Unless you have experience with developing software, you probably aren’t too confident in vetting either the companies or their proposed solutions and services. How can you ensure the dollars and time you invest will return real value? What is the right approach to shopping for such a highly technical service?
We created a bank of non-technical questions you should ask every custom software development company you are considering. These questions will help you determine if the providers you are considering have the right experience, philosophy, and approach to deliver real success for your project. Today’s question is:
How Does the Process Lower Risk and Maximize Success?
Why is This Important? Developing custom software always requires a strong partnership between the client and their chosen firm. Getting timely, accurate, and reliable information is key to staying in control and making good decisions. Historically, custom software development was considered highly risky, with as much as 75% documented project failure rates. Fortunately, modern iterative development methodologies dramatically reduce risk. Your firm should have a proven process for delivering incremental results. That process should demonstrate how you and your team will be in the middle of the decision-making process along the way.
What to Listen For: First, the expectations they are setting should align with reality. There should be no wondering or guessing what will be done, when it will be done, or where they are in getting it done. Next, Even with great consulting, elicitation, collaboration, documentation, and planning, unexpected things will happen. How does the firm account for unexpected situations in their process? Do they bank on the best-case scenario in their estimate and/or deadlines? Or are they demonstrating their experience by accounting for some unknowns? Finally, you need to hear how they handle things when problems and challenges arise. How and when do they communicate deviations from the plan whether they are in their control or not? It’s okay to have high expectations for your software development team in planning the execution and delivery of your project. However the plan, estimates, considerations, and their risk mitigation and handling should all be well thought out, discussed, and agreed upon before any fingers hit the keyboard.
For more, check out our other posts in this series with the tag “10Questions”