How to Сhoose a Software Development Company For Outsourcing?
Software development rushes towards outsourcing. Now, there are more than 27,000+ agencies on Clutch – one of the biggest IT outsourcing platforms. And the number is only growing.
But with the range this wide, choosing a software development company becomes a real challenge. Especially when you’re putting lots of money, time and effort into the project and want a qualified team to take care of it.
That’s why we’ve made a guide explaining how to choose a software vendor. Good enough to fulfill your tech and non-tech requirements.
Stage One: Basic Research
Let’s imagine you’re picking an IT firm among a few candidates. One appears to have great expertise, another worked on projects in a similar domain. And there's the one your friend recommends.
The best option here is not picking blindly. Instead, spend a few hours on proper and careful research – from a company’s website to reviews on outsourcing platforms like Clutch or GoodFirms.
We’ve divided the process into three stages:
- Basic research.
- Tech research.
- Face-to-face meeting.
Let’s review them one by one, starting with the basic information.
When choosing a software development company, the very first thing to do is dig into their previous projects. That’s how you check their knowledge of specific technologies, experience with various domains, countries, and so on.
Besides, there's always a good chance of finding a case similar to your project. For instance, if the company developed an on-demand app like UberEats, they do know how to deal with Core Location framework or synchronization via API.
Portfolio example by Cleveroad
Companies love putting reviews from satisfied customers on the main page. Which is quite a good idea – that’s how newcomers can quickly check what people say about their services.
But how to choose a software development company that has real reviews written by their clients?
You may reach out to some of these people and ask them to share their experience of cooperation with the firm. Most wouldn't mind sharing, but there also is another, simpler way.
Check outsourcing platforms like Clutch, GoodFirms or Upwork for reviews from verified customers. Today, every respectable IT company has a profile on at least one of these platforms.
Never dealt with an outsourcing company? Check our comparison of 'In-House vs. Outsourced Development' and learn why the latter works.
There you’ll find a ton of useful information like mentions of the issues clients faced while working with the team. All reviews get approval from the platform’s administration, so there’s no chance the firm’s employees wrote them.
Choosing a software development company? Check Clutch for first-hand reviews!
Involvement in both local and global IT community says a lot about the company.
Here are the signs you're dealing with a serious player:
- Company’s employees speak at large-scale IT conferences
- Firm organizes workshops and meet-ups, online webinars, shares open-source tools
- Writes e-books, guides, blog publications
- Has certifications and awards
Awards and clients' feedback on the services
Blog and Social Media
A regularly updated blog or publications on social media prove the firm has something to share with a broader audience. For you, it’s a good way to check how in-depth is their knowledge in different fields.
But it’s not necessary to check their every blog post thoroughly, just look through the titles and topics. And pay attention to the publication date – new content should appear regularly.
As for social networks, the most popular platform for B2B companies is LinkedIn. If you're choosing a software development company, you’d want to gather as much info as you can. And their LinkedIn page helps you find the firm's description, location, number of employees, and lots of other details.
IT vendor should have a blog that's frequently updated
Agile software development is today’s gold standard. It's based on adaptive planning, early delivery, project updates, and communication tools.
This means you'll be aware of what's happening at any stage of project development.
But even if the company works in agile, ask what’s your role in it. Every company understands agile methods a bit differently, so clarify everything beforehand.
Building an e-commerce solution? We have a list of 15 best software development companies for you, check it out!
That’s it. This basic information is quite enough to figure out how experienced the company is, what domains they've worked at, what are the results, and what their clients think.
Stage Two: Tech Research
Lots of companies know how to make a great first impression. But how to choose a software vendor with solid tech skills?
If you’re tech-savvy or have a reliable consultant nearby (or a developer you can use as on), that won’t take much time. Here comes a small checklist we’ve prepared.
First, pay attention to technologies the company works with and consult whether they can be tailored to the needs of your project.
Different projects require different solutions, and sometimes the best-fitting company may not have experience areas the project explores (e.g., blockchain, AR/VR, AI).
Finally, the team must keep up with the latest technologies. Programming languages, frameworks, and tools change all the time, and it’s crucial to keep the eyes open.
How to choose a proper software vendor? Tech stack will speak for them.
Github is a collaborative code hosting platform and a company's portfolio of code. Developers use it to show their coding skills, create code repositories, and manage their work.
On Github, you'll see whether the team delivers reusable, laconic and easy-readable code, how often it's updated, who contributed, and so on.
How a company's GitHub page looks like
Project Management Tools
Project management tools help teams to complete client's requirements, manage time and scope constraints. A reliable vendor contributes to transparency and may provide access to some of their project management tools.
The most popular are:
- Jira, bug, and issue tracking software that fills the gap between project managers and developers. Key features: issues types and attributes, screens, workflows, fields.
- Slack, an internal messaging tool that helps to monitor progress updates, code updates, system alerts, and so on. Key features: task list management, audio and video calls, integration with other tools (Trello, Jira, Google Drive, etc).
- Github, a code management platform where all code is maintained and documented. Key features: code review, documentation, integrations, pull requests, issues tracking.
- CircleCI, a continuous integration and delivery platform. Key features: monitoring, APIs, troubleshooting, workflows, resource class.
- Confluence, a content collaboration tool that helps teams share knowledge efficiently. Key features: rich text editor, feedback loop, organized workspaces, page and file versioning, templates
Project management tools most IT companies use
Stage Three: The Meeting
Let’s start with a small task for you. Before arranging a meeting with the selected vendor, collect as much information about your project as you can.
The must-haves are:
- Project idea in details
- Problems the product solves
- Questions and suggestions
- Any concepts, templates, wireframes made
Make sure to send the file with these details before the actual meeting, so that the company has enough time for checking.
Done? Time for meeting the team face-to-face!
Europe is the most cost-effective outsourcing destination. Check our 'European IT Services Market: Cost by Region' to find out why.
Still, a video call may be quite enough to understand:
- Company’s business logic
- Security procedures
- Communication ways and tools
Now, about each in detail.
If you’ve sent the full description of your project to the company, listen to what they say about it. And ask about their business logic. If the developers checked the data you sent, they would make their answer fit your project.
Discuss possible risks, ways to omit them, and hear what solutions they’ll offer. If there are no issues/questions at all, maybe they didn't find time to check your materials.
There's never too much security, especially when working with sensitive details like users' payment or personal data. A trustworthy IT vendor has an established security policy and full control over the process.
Besides, there's a globally recognized information security standard – ISO/IEC 27001 developed by International Organization for Standardization. It defines how to organize information security and helps companies evaluate security risks.
So in case you’re choosing a software development company and making a bet on security, consider only those IT companies that are compliant with ISO standards.
When you’re dealing with an offshore team, communication is everything. So I suggest a few points to pay attention to.
Ask how you will overview the workflow: what's the schedule of calls, what tracking tools they use, and who will you be meeting with – a Project Manager or a Team Leader?
How to choose a software development company with good problem-solving skills? Think of a random issue (e.g., the application won’t run on a certain OS) and ask how the team is going to tackle it down. A solid plan of action and eagerness to solve the issue are the keystones of a good development team.
Make sure the people you're going to work with share your values and work ethic. The best way is asking a question about any tech aspect of your product and see how they're responding. If they are calm, polite, and make sure you get straight to the point – it’s a good match.
Software development doesn’t end up with writing code. Imagine you're building a web app from scratch: you'll need more than front and back-end development.
Find out whether the software development company provides additional services like designing, testing, or mobile app development. After all, having one teamwork on the entire project saves you time, and time is money.
Why Outsource to Cleveroad
Cleveroad provides high-end software development services for reasonable prices and focuses on long-term cooperation.
Why choose us as your software development company? We have 5+ years of experience in delivering projects of different complexity in domains like Entertainment, Finance, Sports, Healthcare, Education, and others.