Purchasing custom software is different from buying any other product or service. There is a very different set of criteria that you should have when choosing an appropriate custom software developer, but most people are unaware of this fact. This can lead to a lot of headaches once the project is underway.
Here are five mistakes that you should avoid when hiring a custom software developer:
1) Hiring Based On Cost Alone
As Henry Ford said, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”
Like other professional services, you generally get what you pay for when hiring a custom application developer. There are always people who will take on a project for less money but if their rates are below the market, it usually means they are not as capable as a company that is charging market rates.
Inexpensive companies will always cut corners somewhere during the development cycle. This is out of necessity, since they will not make any money. They may not have the experience, skill set or disciplined process needed to create the type of application you have in mind, leading to an application that is half done and/or extensively delayed. They may also write badly written code or buggy code that may not be apparent at first glance, but is only revealed after the application is used by several people or when changes are needed to the application. These companies also may not communicate with you properly to understand your unique needs or provide appropriate status updates after the project is under way.
2) Thinking That You’re Buying a Product or a Commodity
Custom software development is both an art and a science. Experienced and professional software developers have routines and processes in place to get things done correctly and quickly. They also see the big picture and will offer creative insight and recommendations to make the software that much better.
If you are having a developer build your website, for example, then you don’t want them to simply produce something that is run-of-the-mill. Your website represents your brand, therefore you need a developer who will take the time to make it amazing, whether it is the UI/UX or any other key functionality of the site.
3) Not Owning the Source Code
Most professional customer software developers include the source code (the programs used to develop your application) as part of the application development project.
When an application developer is not willing to include source code as part of the project deliverable, he or she is “holding you hostage” for any future changes, since you can’t do anything without them.
4) Requiring a Hard Delivery Date
Just like building a house, you want the end result correct in every way, even if it takes a bit longer to make. Most custom software developers work with modules (individual functional pieces in the application) and tie everything together in the end.
They review progress with you, make sure all modules and features meet your expectations, and use their creativity and experience to make the overall application better. It is reasonable to have an expected delivery date, but putting undue pressure on a development team usually backfires, leading to quality issues in the application and not enough attention to detail.
5) Local Is Always Better
While buying your food locally may make sense, hiring a developer simply because they are close by does not. Since we work with clients all over the world, we often hear a potential client say they have someone in their area who is willing to do the work, sometimes for less money.
However, with communication tools like Skype, online meetings, shared whiteboards, and similar tools, being local really does not add much value. Here at Custom Software Lab, we meet our clients online regularly to check specifications, address questions, and conduct project reviews.
Good application developers work to understand a project, communicate on a regular basis, and make sure they are on the same page with you throughout the development process. Contact us to learn more about what you should expect from an industry leading custom software developer.
This blog post is written by David Lason, CTO at Custom Software Lab.