3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Software Engineering Firm

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Did you know that roughly 30 percent of IT projects fail?

This is one reason that the traditional model of software development – wherein an organization prescribes the solution, and then hires a development provider to execute it – is on its way out. In fact, poor delivery and the sheer pace of technological advancement are bringing about the rise of a new, much more collaborative software development model.

Today’s organizations are better served by hiring an expert development partner – not merely a development outsourcer – that can:

  • Collaborate with their client to understand unique needs and opportunities
  • Provide strategic advice and solution expertise
  • Dream up an innovative approach to bring the client’s vision to life

But how can you determine if the firm you’re interviewing is a traditional outsourcer or strategic development partner? It can be hard to know how a development team really operates before you hire them. We’ve put together these three questions to help you prod a little deeper and determine if your potential engineering provider will make a good partner:

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1.    How do you use design thinking to develop solutions?
Providers who leverage design thinking to plan and develop solutions are inherently better partners than those who don’t. Design thinking requires that the developer empathize with the end user. This means they’re not building based on a list of pre-determined specs and theoretical needs. Rather, their solutions are truly adapted to the experience of the end user and, as a result, often more successful.

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2.    Can you provide expertise across multimodal technologies?
A good partner is able to grow with your organization over time. For example, consider an organization that’s just beginning to develop its SaaS solution. As that software is deployed and becomes more successful, the company might want to expand its footprint by offering a mobile app. Or, the organization might need to migrate its solution to the cloud to better manage its IT resources. As the organization continues to mature, it might even consider developing its own smart device to accompany its service.

What began as a SaaS project could easily transform into something much more complex as an organization grows and expands. That’s why it is important to identify from the outset whether or not a potential provider can partner with your organization across a wide spectrum of future needs and technologies.

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3.    Can I speak to your references? 
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s such an important question to ask that we couldn’t leave it off our list. We’ve found that when you delight your clients, they’re eager to tell others about their experience. As you speak to a provider’s references, ask them:

  • Did the delivery team immerse themselves in the project, deeply understanding your needs and priorities?
  • What process did you undertake to develop the final solution?
  • What ideas or new thinking did the potential provider bring to the table?

These are just a few of the questions that we recommend asking a potential software development provider to make sure that they can act as a partner to your organization, rather than just an outsourced skill set. For more information about how we partner with clients like Nortek, the Dallas Cowboys, or Collective Goods, check out our case studies.


 
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Jamie Murphy

Guest blogger for DVmobile, busy mama, & strategy wiz.

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