How to Choose the Right Software Development Company and Succeed

Updated 29 Jan 2024

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How to choose a software development company? This is a question you've probably asked yourself when planning to build a digital solution for your business or modernize legacy software. Choosing a software development company is a critical step for the success of your project, so it is important to pay enough attention to it. In this article, we will tell you how to find a development partner and give you valuable tips on selecting the best one.

13 Steps to Choose a Software Development Company

How to choose a software development company? This process is quite complicated and responsible, as the success of your project depends on your choice. In this section, we will present you with 13 consecutive steps that will help you choose a software development company for your business.

1. Define project goals and deadlines

Before you start choosing a software company, you must articulate what you want to achieve with your project. It could be creating a new product, optimizing business processes, or implementing new technologies. Set specific and measurable goals and provide strict timelines and deadlines to effectively plan and utilize time resources.

2. Search for a software development company

Consider various collaboration options, from working with local companies to outsourcing. Determine which format of work best suits your needs. Local companies may be more accessible to organize cooperation due to the similarity of mentality and the same time zone, but their services are typically much more expensive.

Consider the benefits of outsourcing, such as cost savings, access to global expertise, and faster project launch. Outsourcing services are differentiated by various parameters (e.g., location, relationships, project-based). We’ll look through one of such classifications of types of outsourcing models by location for you to gain insight and choose the cooperation model that suits you the best:

  • Onshore software development — your vendor is in the same region as yours (e.g., you and your vendor are both from US)
  • Nearshore software development — provider’s location is in the adjacent country (e.g., you from Estonia apply to an UK provider)
  • Offshore software development — the vendor is situated far away from you (e.g., your US company contacts the vendor from Central/Eastern Europe)

3. Make a list of potential IT partners

Analyze the market and create a list of potential vendors to choose a software development company among them. Consider factors such as industry expertise, project scope, and specific technology requirements. Identify companies that align with your business domain, ensuring they have experience in your field. This process allows you to have a broad overview of available vendors and facilitates a more informed decision-making process. The list will serve as a foundation for evaluating and selecting a software development company that best suits your needs and objectives.

4. Check the experience in your business domain

Make sure that you are choosing software development company who has experience in your industry. This will provide a deeper understanding of your business, which is critical to a successful project. Moreover, if your business domain requires a deeper understanding of the legal framework, such as Healthcare or FinTech, choosing a software company without experience in these areas can bring additional regulatory challenges.

5. Check the portfolio

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 example, if the company can successfully build a fitness app, they know how to implement a GPS tracker into the platform. So you should carefully overview each portfolio, compare them and evaluate companies’ experience.

Check out our portfolio to see our successful projects and find ideas to develop your business software!

6. Examine technical skills

Look closely at the technology stack, tools, and programming languages the vendor's team uses. Make sure you are choosing a software company whose technical competencies match the requirements of your project. 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 experienced areas the project explores (e.g., blockchain, AR/VR, ArtificiaI Intelligence, Machine Learning, etc.).

7. Check customer reviews

You understood how to choose the right software development company and selected several suitable options. Now it would be a brilliant idea to overview their previous experience. 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 genuine reviews written by their clients?

You may reach out to some of the current or previous customers and ask them to share their experience of cooperation with the firm. Most wouldn't mind sharing, but there also is another, simpler way. Find a company profile on outsourcing platforms like Clutch, GoodFirms or Upwork for reviews from verified customers to choose software development company with the best client testimonials. Today, every respectable IT company has a profile on at least one of these platforms.

Explore our Clutch profile to see how we helped solve business challenges for clients and read their feedback on their partnership with us!

8. Ask for security methods and tools

Ensuring data security is a critical aspect. Choosing the right software development company includes clarifying what specific security measures the vendor has in place to protect your sensitive information. This may consist of using encryption, security practices in the application, and data processes. There's never too much security, especially when working with sensitive details like users' payment or personal data. A reliable IT vendor sets an official security policy to monitor all the operations.

  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be signed per your demand to protect the uniqueness of your app concept, and your company confidential data
  • Access to data for developers handling your project. They don't need access to the entire database; if you like, you may merely share an anonymized copy of it.
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates can be used to verify the identity of your contracted developers.

Cleveroad has successfully obtained ISO 27001:2013 certification, ensuring the secure management of information in our projects.

9. Learn about communication policy

How to choose a custom software development company that successfully convey the requirements and tasks to the team? You should have qualitative and productive communication. Consequently, for a better understanding, your potential potential software development partner should essentially know English. You should also pay attention to the following factors:

  • Excellent Internet and infrastructure networks. Choose a software development company that is facilitated with advanced, up-to-date networks and stable, secure internet connection, which allow developers to communicate with customers worldwide freely.
  • Transparent project management and workflow control. Choose software development company with software developers who use all the communication tools (Jira, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) and implement brand-new project management technologies, so customers always understand how their project development is going.
  • Lack of language barrier. It is better choosing a software development company whose teams speak English perfectly. In case you need a consultation, each team member can efficiently clarify the required info concerning all the arising issues in English.
  • Physical availability. Choose software development company that is physically available due to being Visa-free. Ensure that the developed transport infrastructure and air traffic make the visits convenient.
  • Well-developed soft skills. Choose a software development company with passionate workers who are engaged in your project’s success. They will willingly give you recommendations to choose the best possible solution.

10. Explore the software development process

Understanding the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) of a company is crucial for effective collaboration. Familiarize yourself with the vendor's approach to SDLC, encompassing planning, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance stages. This insight ensures alignment with your project expectations and facilitates smoother communication and coordination throughout the software development process.

Choosing a software development team by SDLC

The example of Agile SDLC used in Cleveroad

11. Learn about cooperation models

Tenured vendors typically provide several co-op models. When choosing a software development company, make sure that you will be able to cooperate according to a model that suits you. For example, we at Cleveroad offer such cooperation models:

  • Staff Augmentation: Technical staff augmentation servicesinvolve temporarily provisioning specialists to augment your existing team to perform specific tasks. This model is also perfect for when you don't need a full team and allows for easy scalability depending on your needs. The vendor provides the necessary skills, while oversight and management remain in your hands.
  • Dedicated Team: Dedicated development team services imply assembling separate team to work exclusively on your project in this model. This provides more flexibility and control over the process from your side.
  • Project-Based (Fixed and Time & Material): The model is based on executing a specific project with a fixed budget (fixed) or paying for actual time spent (time & material). The former involves setting the price for the project, and the latter consists of paying for each hour of work.

12. Ask about Discovery Phase services

It is important to clarify whether the team provides Discovery Phase services, as not all IT companies offer it. Why is it so critical? The Discovery Phase is a preliminary phase where the team defines the requirements and objectives of the project. A team providing Discovery Phase services helps you get a clearer picture of the project, strategize, and avoid potential problems in the future. Completing this phase will allow you to speed up development and reduce costs, so consider choosing software development company that provides such services.

13. Clarify how the project is estimated

Project estimation involves the vendor's methods and criteria to determine the budget and timeline. It may include a detailed analysis of requirements, task complexity, scope of work, and technologies used. Clarity in software project estimation helps avoid misunderstandings and provides transparency in financial matters. Making up a brief helps you to describe your request and task to the developers clearly. It’s desirable to receive a cost estimate in return even before the cooperation agreement, which will clarify your expenditures. Thus, such a reply evidences two positive things:

  • A company is eager for cooperation and ready to provide you with all the essential data even before working together
  • The team actually took your project into consideration and calculated the cost of the requested task so that the price may be precise Rough cost estimation prevents overpaying and naming a random price, so you can see what in particular you pay for.

Looking for a reliable IT partner?

Our team of IT experts with 12+ years of experience in creating software solutions for various domains is ready to provide you with custom software development services

Proven Tips for Choosing a Software Development Company

When you plan your own software development project, you want it to be successful and profitable. How to accomplish the best results with it? You can look for an IT vendor that is experienced in creating apps, has a solid portfolio, and offers qualitative results to boost your business profitability, performance, and workflow efficiency.

We’ll give you some valuable tips to choose a software development company:

There are many resources you can search for a software development vendor. Clutch is one of the most trustworthy platforms for finding verified IT companies. The service provides a wide range of possibilities for anyone looking for a software development firm, starting with a category of interest. For instance, there are more than 27,000 businesses from all over the world listed under the category of bespoke software development organizations.

Clutch provides information about the company's services, hourly rates, required project budget, location, personnel count, and contact details.

Other popular professional platforms are the following to look through:

  • ITFirms
  • GoodFirms
  • Glassdoor

In addition to professional platforms, leverage Google search to broaden your options and gather more information about potential software development vendors. Use relevant keywords, explore company websites, and assess online presence to make informed decisions.

Check vendor’s website

Examine the vendor's website to gain insights into their services, expertise, and portfolio. Look for a clear presentation of their offerings, key technologies they work with, and examples of past projects. Check for client testimonials or case studies to understand their track record. Ensure that the website provides reliable contact information, including an email address or a contact form. Evaluate any blog or resources section to gauge their industry knowledge and commitment to sharing insights. A well-structured and informative website is often indicative of a professional software vendor.

Look for referrals

How to choose the best software development company to work on your project? You can always request referrals. There's a good chance that someone in your professional network can recommend a reputable individual. However, this approach needs a huge network of business contacts. Your chances of finding and contacting a trusted vendor increase the more individuals in the business you know.

Red flags

There are some moments, which can tell, that the company isn't decent for partnership at this stage:

Lack of Rough Estimate. Reliable software development companies, such as Cleveroad, calculate the rough estimate free of charge and are ready to provide clients with the transparent price.

Lack of reliable references. Some organizations falsify their reviews and do not have valid references. Every trustworthy company presents itself on the Internet and shares lots of information on credible open resources to prove their expertise.

Look through social media accounts

A regularly updated blog or publications on social media can tell that the firm is proficient enough to provide the users with additional info. Moreover, social media accounts allow you to evaluate the proficiency and experience of the company. 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.

Check the company’s GitHub and Dribbble

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, and so on.

Check out the company's profile on Dribbble, an interactive designer platform. Here, they showcase their creative projects, which will help you evaluate their design skills and work style. High-quality designs and activity on Dribbble indicate the company's experience and creativity. This tool will help you make a more informed decision when choosing a software development company.

Know more about their development methodology

Agile model in SDLC is a point of reference. It's based on customizable planning, fast delivery, development flow updates, and communication instruments. This means you'll keep up with each stage of project building if choosing a software company with such a development methodology. But even if the company works in agile, ask what’s your role in it. Every organization implies agile methods in its own way, so clarify everything beforehand. This basic information will help you to conduct the primary assessment of the software development company’s level.

7-Point Checklist for Choosing the Best Software Development Company

Let's summarize everything we discussed and find an explicit algorithm for choosing a software development company for your project. Use this checklist to succeed:

Choosing software development team: step-by-step guide

Choosing software development team: checklist

1. Search for a potential software development company

First, gather a list of potential partners from which you can choose a software development company. To do this, check out professional platforms such as Clutch, ITFirms, GoodFirms, and Glassdoor. Also, use Google search to expand your ability to find the right software development agency. You can also ask for referrals to find a verified company.

2. Check the experience in your business domain

Choose software development company that has experience in your industry, since it is the critical part of success. Understanding the business domain will ensure better communication and successful project development. Explore the company's website to understand what industries they work in and what business domains they have experience with.

3. Check the technical expertise

Thoroughly research the software development vendor's technology stack, tools, and programming languages. Choose a software development company whose technical skills match the requirements of your project. For example, if you plan to build mobile application, ensure that selected vendor provides mobile app development services.

4. Consider vendor's security measures

When choosing a software development company, finding out what security measures the vendor can offer to protect your data is critical. Ask if they use industry-standard data encryption, secure practices in the application, and adhere to data handling processes.

5. Check customer reviews

Research customer reviews on Clutch, GoodFirms, and other platforms. This will give you an idea of the company's previous projects' satisfaction level and success rate. Choose a software development company with the most positive reviews.

Check Cleveroad’s Clutch profile to review our clients reviews about their collabiration with our team.

6. Learn about the communication strategy

Evaluate how information sharing and communication are organized during the project. Clear communication plays a vital role in a successful collaboration. Choose a software development company that can communicate effectively with your team.

7. Assess the team's engagement and proactivity

Take a closer look at the team's approach to work. Analyze their involvement in the upcoming project and their level of proactivity. These factors are essential to ensure effective collaboration and successful project development and implementation.

Why Choose Cleveroad As Your Trustworthy IT Partner

Cleveroad is a software development company with R&D centers in Estonia, Poland, and Ukraine and representative offices in the US and Norway. Since 2011, we've been helping startups and small, medium, and large-scale businesses automate processes, increase client engagement, and improve efficiency with robust software solutions.

Our team has experience in software development for various industries, including Healthcare, FinTech, Logistics, Education, Retail, Travel, etc. The Cleveroad team has expertise with modern and emerging technologies, such as cloud development, blockchain, smart contracts, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), etc.

We have 280+ in-house software engineers on board, 64% of whom are senior and middle level experts. Since 2023, Cleveroad team has been completed certifications for two international standards: ISO 9001:2015 (quality management) and ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (information security management). Additionally, we have achieved the status of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Select Tier Partner within the AWS Partner Network (APN).

We guarantee our clients transparency in projects and effective communication, ensuring openness and understanding of each stage of development. For this purpose, we stay in constant contact with the client, respond promptly to changes in the project, and hold scheduled meetings with the client to discuss the project's progress. For the convenience of our clients, we offer flexible cooperation models depending on your needs:

  • Staff Augmentation
  • Dedicated Team
  • Time & Material
  • Fixed Workscope

Our experts are passionate about every project, getting involved, and working hard for a successful release. If you are looking for a software development company that can fulfill your business needs - Cleveroad is an excellent choice, so don’t hesitate to contact us to talk about your software idea!

Hire a reliable software development company

Cleveroad’s experts are ready to provide you with high-quality software development and modernization services according to your business needs

Frequently Asked Questions
How to choose a software development company?

Define specific project objectives, clear timelines and a budget. Then conduct a market analysis, taking into account experience in your industry, and consider different models of cooperation.

How to choose the right software development company?

When selecting a company, pay attention to their reputation and business experience, and examine their technical skills. Discuss communication models and check how they ensure transparency in the development process.

How to choose a custom software development company?

Apart from traditional parameters such as experience and technical expertise, look at their flexibility and willingness to innovate. Investigate how they respond to changing project requirements and how they integrate new technologies. Also make sure the company can provide you with transparent and reliable communication, provides rough estimates and is willing to implement modern security measures.

How to choose the best software development company?

The best company will have not only technical skills but also experience in your industry. Research their portfolio, check customer reviews and discuss safety measures to ensure a successful collaboration.

What are tips for choosing a software development company?

To choose a software development company for your project, you should pay attention to this steps:

  • Use professional platforms such as Clutch, ITFirms and GoodFirms, and conduct a Google search.
  • Explore the websites of potential vendors by evaluating their services, portfolios, and client testimonials.
  • Ask for references from your professional circle.
  • Look out for red flags, such as lack of project cost estimates and misleading reviews.
  • Examine the company's social media accounts, especially on LinkedIn.
  • Check out the code repository on GitHub and projects on Dribbble.
  • Clarify the development methodology. These tips will help you make an initial assessment of the company's level of software development.
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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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