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How to choose the right software developers - 18 Dos and Don'ts


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Finding good software and app developers is hard, building long-term relationships with them is even harder. Here’s how to get it right from the start. Read full blog post at

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How to choose the right software developers - 18 Dos and Don'ts

  1. 1. CHOOSING SOFWARE DEVELOPERS 18 pointers to look out for
  2. 2. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG Software development can be daunting when things go wrong. Stretched Budget Unfinished Project Confused Team
  3. 3. Often, it comes down to the human factors The following list of 18 pointers is divided into three sections: 1. What to consider before meeting potential software developers 2. What to ask during the selection process 3. What to consider as warning signs
  4. 4. 1WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE THE MEETING Do your homework on screening candidates
  5. 5. DO THEY HAVE AN ATTRACTIVE PORTFOLIO? Even if the developer has not designed a scrap of the graphical interface themselves, do their app or web projects feel like the favourite ones that you use? Are they smooth or jittery, tight or clumsy? Does anything look out of place? 1
  6. 6. DO THEY OFFER CLIENT TESTIMONIALS? If they do, great, but go a step further and ask for contact details of the clients from their portfolio. A developer who offers this information willingly shows they have nothing to hide, and you stand a good chance of receiving a similar result compared to their portfolio. 1
  7. 7. A developer who is generally interested in you and your business will add value to your ideas with relevant suggestions. This is especially true with those who have many years of experience in business themselves or have studied more broadly than the core technology they use. ARE THEY ABLE TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN YOUR BUSINESS? 1
  8. 8. 1 CAN YOU FORM A LONG‐ TERM RELATIONSHIP ? Most successful software needs to be honed to become optimally functional and should evolve to stay relevant. Breaking up with your developer could mean restarting from scratch, causing your timeline to be reset. Choose carefully from the start, or give them small challenges to begin with.
  9. 9. Lowest cost option can be more expensive in the long run. The biggest reason for a failed development is because the developer completely underestimated the scope of work, sometimes to the point of not having the required skills to able to finish the job. 1 DON’T SHOP BY PRICE ALONE
  10. 10. 1 DO THEY THINK OF THE WHOLE PACKAGE, NOT JUST THE CODING? If you are extremely successful in finding a good developer you will notice they are obsessed with more than just the code, e.g. User Experience. They will also bombard you with questions to understand how the app will be used, and what conditions it will be used under.
  11. 11. 2WHAT TO ASK DURING THE SELECTION PROCESS  Specific questions for interviewing software developers
  12. 12. WHAT DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGY DO YOU LIKE? You should expect a mention of either Waterfall / Agile or a hybrid of these. Take the time to read up on the basics if you can. What you should hope is that your developer knows something about both and can present a case for which one suits your project most. 2
  13. 13. WHAT IS YOUR QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA) PROCESS? If their answer includes the use of Unit Tests to ensure that each build they create will go through a series of automated tests so that they didn’t leave any loose ends untied, this is a good start. Be sure to ask them how they conduct usability and interface testing too. 2
  14. 14. DO YOU USE VERSION CONTROL? Ask them which version control system they use, common ones include: Git, Mercurial and Subversion (SVN). While you are at it, set up an account with a source code repository like GitHub or Bitbucket and ask for access to the code. With this you can also see how often they are working on your project. 2
  15. 15. DO YOU HAVE A DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT? All experienced developers will have one of their own. If you want to be able to own your future, make sure you consider the clauses about Intellectual Property (IP) ownership carefully. The warranty they offer will also be an important indication of how the developer values their own quality. 2
  16. 16. HAVE YOU WORKED WITH DESIGNERS BEFORE? This question will determine if they are effective at working with other people. These designers could be good referees of what it is like to work with the developer. It will also indicate how much importance they place on how an app looks and feels. 2
  17. 17. DO YOU HAVE A SUPPORT AGREEMENT? Software will always require additional attention after its initial release, it is important to know how the developer will assist you into the future and how they will respond and charge. This may be included with their development agreement, otherwise, ask for it. 2
  18. 18. 3WHAT TO CONSIDER AS WARNING SIGNS Look out for these red flags at any stage of your project
  19. 19. BE WARY OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO SAYS THEY CAN DO IT ALL 3 As development includes several activities such as User Experience, Graphic Design, Interface Design, Databases, Scalability and Server environments (Cloud included), finding a very versatile person who can deal with each of these adequately is possibly quite rare.
  20. 20. THEY DON’T PROVIDE A DEVELOPMENT SCHEDULE 3 If you have been provided a quotation, this developer should also be able to provide you a schedule. Commonly, your own availability can have a significant effect on a project. Thus, this schedule should also factor that in.
  21. 21. TIMELINES ARE DRAWN OUT 3 It is not entirely unusual for a project to escape its planned schedule. Do expect this as a distinct possibility. However, if you continually receive “we are almost finished” as an update, then be concerned. You should expect a revised delivery date and a demonstration of the progress actually been made.
  22. 22. THEY PROVIDE YOU A BUDGET TOO QUICKLY 3 Unless it is an extremely simple mobile app, a good developer will be very reluctant to pull a figure or time frame out of the air. This demonstrates that they understand the iceberg analogy: there is more complexity waiting under the surface of a simple app idea.
  23. 23. REQUEST A LOT OF MONEY UPFRONT 3 It is acceptable for a developer to ask for a deposit. After the deposit, ensure that the rest of the budget is broken up into logical payments, which can be attached to the delivery and demonstration of a functional area of the app.
  24. 24. IT IS HARD TO GET HOLD OF THEM 3 Not being able to get a voice call with your developer from time to time could certainly be a warning sign, even with those in other geographical locations. That said, you should also be sensitive to your developer by giving them room to operate. Too much communication can slow a development down.
  25. 25. T H A N K S   F O R   R E A D I N G C R E A T E D B Y Read full blog post at: