Software product development is no small project! In order to be successful, the business needs more than an idea. Execution of that concept and the technical, quality, leadership and support skills and experience of a prospective IT partner are paramount. Any prospective IT consulting partner must have experience in developing a software product for market. In this article, we discuss five critical areas of consideration when selecting a software product development partner.
“Software product development project are complex and the business must carefully select an IT consulting partner with proven references, skills and experience in software product development, maintenance and support.”
While some consultants may have decades of experience in software application development, the need for specific skills related to software product release, testing, upgrade and support is very real. Without those additional skills, the business is likely to miss critical issues that will negatively impact its reputation and may, in fact, expose it to legal liability and risk if privacy, security and access issues are not addressed.
Here are 5 crucial areas of focus a business should include in its software product development partner selection criteria:
Resources – A software product development project takes time and resources. The partner you select must have the necessary resources available at every stage of the project lifecycle to be sure that the project phases are completed in a timely fashion. Waiting for appropriate resources to complete another project or become available is not efficient for the business timeline. The right resources at the right time MUST be dedicated and guaranteed. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) must reflect these dedicated resources.
Access – Whether your software product development partner is working offshore, onsite or combining delivery models, principal team members must be available to the business client team to answer questions and communicate when there are questions or issues. Clear, concise reporting must be part of the plan and partner team members must be committed to providing summary and detail information as required by the project and agreed to in advance. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) must reflect communication and reporting frequency and methods and assurances for support across time zones.
Skills and Training – Software product development project are complex and the business must carefully select an IT consulting partner with proven references, skills and experience in software product development, maintenance and support, including feasibility studies, proof of concept methodologies, implementation, integration, testing, patches, bug fixes, upgrade, migration, user interface design, product infrastructure management and support, software product re-engineering and, if appropriate, mobile app development knowledge and skills. The partner environment must support and ensure up-to-date training to provide the latest, cutting-edge skills needed to create and support the software product and must embed privacy and security protections to ensure strict compliance with copyright, non-disclosure and legal regulations and guidelines and the strictest privacy and security procedures, to protect intellectual property.
Return on Investment – Any prospective software product development partner must have proven skills and references in project management and a history of meeting or exceeding schedules, timelines and budgets. Pricing must be clear and have controls in place to ensure that there are no overruns. Software product development should be affordable but, if the prospective partner provides pricing and a timeline that seem unreasonably short, the business must push back on that to understand how the budget and schedule were put together and review foundational issues in the project lifecycle. Is everything included or are there add-ons? Does the prospective partner include enough resources or have they cut corners in order to give you a better price? These issues will come back to cause real problems if they are not clarified in advance.
Stability – How long has the prospective partner been in business? Do they use a lot of subcontractors and temporary team members who may leave the company and cause the project to be delayed or to fail? How solid is the foundation of the business? It may be tempting to accept a proposal from a start-up business because the price is lower but that consulting business must build its reputation and references and it is likely they are trying to do so without the necessary guarantees and stability in place to ensure your project succeeds. Look for a stable, dependable business with long-standing team members and client referrals.
With a careful review of iT partner proposals and a comprehensive interview process, the business can ensure effective, professional management of product development phases to achieve strategic market goals with quality products in the most cost effective manner, and a product that is built on a foundation of flexibility, scalability and performance for current and future requirements.
“While some consultants may have decades of experience in software application development, the need for specific skills related to software product release, testing, upgrade and support is very real.”
If your business wants to ensure a successful outcome, we invite you to explore our Software Product Development Services.
This White Paper provides a foundation for your business to use when choosing an Offshore Development Partner to help you with your software product vision.