Choosing the right vendor for your next software development project

Your Business plan is ready, investors are convinced and you are kicking with energy and enthusiasm. And there comes the  task of choosing a software development team. It does get tricky…is’nt it? With multitude of options, it is easy to get carried away and make a wrong choice.  Some immediate questions that can tease you are…

  • Should I choose a freelancer team or an organization?
  • What kind of vendor should I go for, jack of all OR master of one?
  • What is the specific domain knowledge that my vendor needs to know (so I don’t have to waste my time spoon feeding) ?
  • Is the Vendor reliable ?

Inspite of online marketplaces like Elance and Odesk providing a detailed profile, rating and feedback history of vendors, it is imperative to make informed choices rather than purly relying on the numbers. Here are a few points to consider:

Identify the nature of your project

What is the size and nature of your project? If you have a small project with short term objectives, a freelancer would fit the bill. On the other hand, if you have medium to long term project, choosing a company would be the right way to go. While choosing a freelance, there is no guarantee of back up resources or long term availability.

Look for Specialist

As a thumb rule, look for specialist in the technology or domain you are dealing with. Even though a company might have a small team, but if they have already done the job you require, your life will be easier. It is wiser to spend time in searching for the right expert, rather than wasting time working with a wrong one!

Find out work history

The best way to assess a software vendor is to call up their existing clientele and ask them about their experience. Its better not to rely on the feedback of a single client but to call at least 2-3 clients.

Understand processes, talk to people

Try to understand vendor’s approach to software development and also talk to key contacts, possibly someone at the level of  project manager. The quality of process defines the quality of a product. If the vendor has right processes, your software is in safe hands.  Recently, agile methodologies like Scrum and XP have gained popularity. Most of the vendors would TALK about it, but very few implement them well. So be sure you ask the right questions AND to the right person.

Do not get carried away by size

Quality not quantity matters. Do not get deceived by head counts companies mention in their marketing website. Recently I came across a large company whose marketing site boasted of having 40 Rails developers and after reality check it was found there were only 2.

Trust your own findings, not the information

To sum up, rely on your instincts and real findings, rather than what is already presented.

I hope these ideas will do its bit in helping you find the right vendor. You can expect similar blog articles in coming weeks where I will explore deeper into certain specific areas like Agile and Scrum.

Do let me know your ideas/comments and how can I improve this post further.

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3 thoughts on “Choosing the right vendor for your next software development project

  1. Great article Hrishikesh.

    I think this article is a great start for many buyers looking to get any IT project developed.

    It is very difficult to find the right development partner, and this article is a good start.

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