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Top 10 Concerns When Choosing a Software Developer

Peter Tylee · 24 Nov 2023

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One of the biggest decisions your business will make is who to choose as your software developer. Choosing the right development partner can be the difference between a failed project and a successful one that kicks all your goals and exceeds your expectations. But how do you know who to choose and what things should you be looking out for before committing? Here are the top ten concerns and considerations when choosing a software developer.

1. Cost

One of the most obvious factors to consider when choosing a software developer is how much they’ll charge you. Like most things in life, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you should choose the most expensive option, but keep in mind that cheap software development usually means poorly written code, insufficient documentation and a lack of testing. You’ll be left with a poor-quality product and may end up spending a lot more money fixing it or starting over.

The cost of your project will come down to several factors including its scope and the methodology you employ to build it. One of the most effective ways to ensure your project stays on budget is to clearly define your goals from the outset.

Other things to keep in mind when it comes to costing are pricing models, as well as payment terms and compensation structures. Software developers may give you the option of:

  • a fixed-price contract,
  • time and materials payment structure, or
  • milestone-based payments.

Which option is right for you will depend on the requirements of your project as well as your budget considerations. For example, if price certainty is essential for your business, a fixed-price contract may be your preference.
Be prepared to negotiate pricing conditions that best suit your business and are mutually beneficial. Also check for hidden costs and fees and be sure to ascertain the process on charging for additional work and change requests.

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2. Timeline

Another key factor worth considering is how long your project is going to take, and whether your development partner can commit to it. Before partnering with a software developer, make sure they have the availability to work on your project, and find out how many developers and hours will be dedicated to you each week. You can also ask whether there are any known interruptions up ahead that are going to slow things down, and if the timeline factors in time for testing, unforeseen complications and adding in any new features. If you have a set launch date in mind, make this clear and be sure to determine whether the time-frame you’re working within is realistic and achievable.

3. Quality

To ensure the quality of your project, it’s crucial to partner with a developer who undertakes robust quality assurance processes. This includes implementing various testing methods using both automated and manual processes to make sure your software functions properly and is free from bugs and errors. Software developers who use the agile methodology will be testing continuously which allows them to identify and rectify issues as soon as they arise, which will reduce the risk of larger problems down the line.

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4. Communication

The quality of the communication between you and your development team can also make or break your project. A good software developer will prioritise open, clear and collaborative communication and offer regular check-ins, updates and feedback. Without this, you may find yourself faced with misunderstandings that cause delays, missing or incorrect elements, and, in worst cases, project failure.

Be sure to choose a partner who values your input and is responsive, transparent and open to feedback. Working and collaborating closely with a partner will mean that they can adapt to your needs and deliver a product that aligns with your vision.

You also want to make sure that your software development team offers thorough and effective document management. This will enable you to keep track of how the project is going and will make it easier to make changes and updates to your software down the line.

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5. Security

Security should be a number one priority of any project. If your software developer doesn’t incorporate adequate security features or protocols into their development process, you’ll be left with software that is susceptible to data breaches which will result in lost trust and possibly even legal action.

A reputable software developer will:

  • Meet all security standards as well as legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Implement secure coding practices as well as security protocols at all stages of your project.
  • Be up to date on security awareness and current common threats and know how to build your software to avoid them.
  • Undertake regular testing and code reviews to identify potential threats and fix vulnerabilities.
  • Make sure that any code changes haven’t introduced any new vulnerabilities.

Other steps a developer should take to ensure the most secure product includes using static code analysis tools, using popular and well-maintained libraries or frameworks to write software, encrypting all data and running penetration testings.

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6. Support

Another important consideration before choosing a software developer is the level of support they’ll be providing you. A good software developer will offer ongoing support throughout your project but also once your software has been delivered. Ask your potential partner what kind of ongoing maintenance and support they provide, how they charge for it and whether they offer round the clock availability. You should also determine how long you can expect a response to take and whether you’ll receive it via email, phone or a ticketing system.

7. Ownership

The ownership of a software development project is often complex without a one-size-fits-all answer. New software is protected by copyright, and whilst the owner is usually the person who created the software – i.e. the developer, these rights can be licenced or assigned to you as part of your software development agreement. It’s important to note, however, that 100% ownership of your software may not be a cost-effective or practical option based on how the software is made. For example, if your developer bases the software on pre-existing code, they may not be able to grant you ownership to that code.

Legal advice and a comprehensive written agreement can help you get around any issues and avoid any conflicts arising in the future.

8. Risk

All software development projects are susceptible to risk. With the right skills, experience and knowledge, a good software developer will be able to foresee many uncertainties and mishaps and help mitigate these risks as much as possible. For example, with clear communication and thorough planning processes, a software developer will be able to avoid procedural risks, as well as the risk of budget and schedule overrun. Additionally, an experienced software developer will have the skills to reduce your technical risks and avoid problems such as poor coding, performance issues, bugs, integration issues and unstable environments.

Risk strategy should be a core part of your project planning with risks being identified and evaluated early on and often. Additionally, your risk management plan should be constantly reviewed and revised as your project evolves and faces new or changing risks.

9. Vendor Lock-In

Vendor lock-in occurs when it is too difficult, expensive, time-consuming or disruptive to move to a new supplier. Essentially, you may find yourself stuck with a vendor who is no longer meeting your needs, is delivering sub-par levels of service or is unable to scale with your business. You may find yourself facing price hikes that you have no choice but to pay. In worst case scenarios, you may even find yourself with a provider who goes out of business, leaving you with a service that no longer exists or is not being updated and maintained.

To avoid vendor lock-in, your software developer should take an approach that doesn’t put all your eggs in one basket. For example, they should leverage open-source tools to build agile applications and look for infrastructure alternatives including multi-cloud and hybrid cloud solutions.

10. Compliance

Compliance is another key factor that could see you in serious hot water if your software development partner isn’t across it. Make sure your developer is aware of both software compliance regulations as well as any industry specific compliance requirements to ensure you’re not going to be in breach of any laws or regulations or falling short on standards.

At the end of the day, the best thing your business can do is to choose a reputable, dependable and experienced software development who understands your needs and is genuinely invested in helping your project succeed.

At GistLens, we offer a high level of service that prioritises security, quality and bringing your vision to life. Our experienced team maintains open and clear communication at every stage of your project to deliver a solution that exceeds not only your expectations but the expectations of your end users.

To find out more about our services and how we can help you, get in touch today.