14 years ago, Deloitte Consulting experts predicted that businesses would trust IT projects to third-party developers and custom software development services to reduce costs. That’s what happened – according to GSA today 70% of companies plan to outsource software development. If you have an idea for a mobile or web application, you need a corporate portal or website – outsourcing will be a good solution. The main question: how to choose a reliable developer and not to waste money, time and nerves.
Define the geography
Local developers suggest discussing the project in face-to-face meetings. Better understand the mentality of the target audience – it is important for usability. In theory, they can pass the project faster – there is no difference in time zones, which means a pause in communications. IT-outsourcers, as a rule, are more profitable than local developers with similar competences. They will choose convenient variants how to discuss the project: to call in Skype, Hangouts, to communicate in Slack chat and in trackers. You will not have to deal with micromanagement and go into all the tasks of the project.
Explore company reviews in ratings
Start with the reviews on Clutch.co – an international rating of development companies. Clutch experts have come up with their own method for evaluating IT companies. They contact customers directly, request feedback, and publish it to the company profile. The more feedback from a developer, the higher the rating. How do I select a company at Clutch? Go to the section you are interested in: take the Mobile Developer Top for example. The number of companies here is over 12,000. Don’t panic! At Clutch you can filter outsourcers by different criteria: company size and projects, development cost, focus industry and location.
Request a portfolio by similar cases
It’s a big plus if the developer has experience in the product you need. So he understands the project, the timing and the budget. Go to the “Portfolio” section on the company’s website and see the level of work. If the cases list websites, click on the links and evaluate the quality. If mobile apps are listed, check out the App Store and Google Play to see which apps are rated. You can even download them to your smartphone and test them. Find out what part of the work the company has done: Sometimes the developer has only been assigned the design, but he claims to have developed the entire product.
Make sure the developer has experience in your niche
Any IT company works in different niches. And if it is already long enough in the market, it means it has managed to accumulate knowledge and experience in different areas.
Check out the technology stack
Ask the developer what kind of stack he uses: experienced companies follow new technologies and constantly improve the skills. It’s good if the developer explains in detail why it’s worth using specific languages and frameworks.
Find out the prices
Do not make a decision based on the project price only: you need a quality product, not a cheap one. If you don’t have enough budget to start the project right now, wait. Do not ruin a good idea with a bad implementation. Find out what pricing model will be on the project. The most popular options are Time & Material (used for non-standard and complex software) and Fixed Price (suitable for standard projects with clear and detailed requirements that are fixed in the terms of reference).
Find out the post-release support conditions
Ask the developer what post-release support is available. Be sure to find out what warranty period the developer provides. Usually it’s 3 months, but some companies support the product for 1 year after launch and even fix the bugs for free.