custom software development

How to Get the Most from Your Custom Software Development Firm

Dallin Nelson

June 7, 2021 · 4 minutes

Hiring a firm for custom software development is a big investment. It only makes sense that you’d want to get the most out of your collaboration.

Knowing what the development process is like can help you get the most out of your partnership with a firm.

We’ll look at three main things that will help you maximize your partnership: 

  • What to know before development
  • Picking the very best firm
  • What to do during development

Keeping these tips in mind will help you get the most out of your financial investment, save valuable time during the process, and ultimately end up with the best product.

Let’s dive in.

Know What You Need in Custom Software Development

custom software development

Before you start trying to decide on a firm, it’s important that you have a clear idea of what you want and need. Time is money during the software development process. While firms often charge flat rates to develop a product, that won’t include limitless revisions.

Knowing what you clearly want from your software will allow a firm to deliver your product in a timely manner, which lets you utilize it ASAP. Start with the basics when figuring out what you want.

Clarify exactly who will use the software, which important features you want, and any other important details that you’re looking for.

The great thing about custom software is that a firm can create exactly what you need. Make sure to look through lots of examples of similar software to figure out exactly what you do and do not want for your product. Specifics are a dream for a development team, so don’t worry about being too particular with examples of what you want.

A clear breakdown of what you’re looking for should follow a format like this: 

  • Type of software you want (mobile app, desktop app, web based software, or maybe a combination)
  • Who will be using this software (employees, customers, etc.)
  • What you need your software to do for those people
  • Functions you don’t want from your software (bad examples from other software can be a great resource)

A great software development team can help you plan out the development. They can even brainstorm solutions for your software that you may not have even considered. Still, having the basics in mind makes it easier to find a firm that understands your needs. It also helps them stick to a budget and timeline.

Have a Clear Timeline & Budget

Unless you’re a billionaire, there’s only so much you can spend on custom software development. You probably also have a timeframe that needs to be followed. Sticking to a timeline helps your business stay on track, letting you focus on your company without micromanaging a development firm.

Having a clear budget and timeline helps you choose the right firm. Once you’ve decided on a team, it will help them stay busy throughout the development process. If you have absolute maximum amounts of time or money to invest in the process, be very clear with that upfront.

Also, understand how time and budget will impact the development process. If you want a feature-rich mobile app for millions of users within 3 months but only $5,000 to spend, it’s probably time to reevaluate your plans.

More features, higher quality design, and smaller development windows are all things that drive up development costs. So if you don’t have limitless time and money to invest, knowing the limits of what you can let go is crucial.

Start With the Right Firm

Picking the right firm is crucial in getting the most out of the custom software development process. Knowing all of the previous information before hiring a firm will help you make the best selection in the first place.

So what else should you look for when searching for a firm?

Make sure the development company has a good track record. They should have clear examples of excellent work that they’ve done for other companies. Software development is by no means cheap, so you want to find a firm that you can really trust with such a massive investment.

Check all the features you want from your software against the firm’s previous work. If you really value the visual design for your software, make sure their products have a similar standard for aesthetics.

Your firm should also have a clear process. You should know how they approach developing software and see if it fits your needs. Projects can last anywhere from a few months to over a year, so make sure this is a company you feel comfortable working with.

During the Development Process 

custom software development

Once you’ve found the right firm who understands your new product, take a breather and relax a bit during the rest of the process. With a firm you really trust, you won’t need to worry about checking in for round-the-clock updates.

Schedule regular check-ins with the firm, maybe once every two weeks or so depending on what part of the development stage you find yourself. Micromanaging the firm will just eat up more energy for the development team and for you. The reason for hiring a development firm is so that experts can build solutions while business owners focus on running a business.

If you find things to be different than you’d hoped for during the process, make sure to communicate those issues. However, try to not make changes late in development. The further along the software is, the more challenging it can be to alter even small details. Communicating with your developers will give you insight on how impactful changes will be at any stage.

It’s Your Investment

While a firm is doing most of the leg work to develop your software, your approach will still change the outcome of things. Make sure you know what you want and that you entrust the work to the right people.

If you do all that, the custom software development process will be a lot less scary. Plus you’re much more likely to get the best product out of the experience.

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About Dallin Nelson

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