06 Apr 5 Critical Factors to Consider Outsourcing the Development of Custom Software
We get quite a few inquiries from clients who have had terrible experiences with software developers in the past—and we listen carefully to every one of these complaints. In fact, these complaints have paved the foundation of much of our development process and our guarantees.
In hopes to help others avoid the expensive headache of software development gone wrong, we felt compelled to compile a list of 5 critical things to look for and evaluate before signing a contract for the development of custom software:
#1: Will your software be built by a team or by just one individual?
Building most kinds of software, especially complex software, is a lot like building a house—it requires the knowledge of individuals with multiple areas of expertise. If you’re contracting a single person to build your software, make sure that they have trusted people to consult with and contract for any portions that aren’t in their area of expertise.
#2: Did you get a guaranteed price quote?
It’s not uncommon to hear stories of software developers who got halfway through the project and then decided that the project required more time or resources than originally anticipated and then ask for more money. A company with a systematic planning and development process will have a fairly accurate idea of the cost of the project and be able to quote you a firm rate and will accept any oversights as their own error. Ask about the company’s process for determining price and their policy for holding true to the original quote.
#3: What do past clients think of their experience?
Before signing on the dotted line, get the contact information for 3 to 5 past clients. Contact the person who worked with the software development firm and ask candid questions about how the software compared with their expectations and how smooth the development process was.
#4: Does the company offer support and maintenance of the software?
When a company builds a piece of custom software, they are ideally the best suited for handling support and maintenance of the software. A freelancer hired from Craigslist or a project post may not have the capability to handle ongoing support requests. Find out if the company will handle support and if this is included in the price or if the cost of support is an added monthly or yearly fee.
#5: Will you retain all intellectual property rights?
You might be surprised at how many freelancers or companies will accept payment for creation of a piece of customized software and then attempt to sell it to your competitors at a lower price once it’s complete. This is completely inappropriate and you must be absolutely certain that you will retain all intellectual rights to the software upon completion. Absolutely get a guarantee of this in writing.