The Ultimate Guide to Custom Web & Software Development: Choosing The Right Custom Development Team

Choosing The Right Custom Development Team

Selecting the right custom development team to create a personalized digital experience that sets your brand apart makes is vital. But hiring the right developers for your project can be a challenging experience. 

This chapter breaks down the hiring process into logical steps. It addresses typical roadblocks and offers simple solutions to avoid those pitfalls. You can follow these steps to streamline your hiring approach.

Factors To Consider When Hiring A Custom Development Agency

To start, the developer’s job is to explain why they are the right team for your project. Their answer should, at the least, include these variables:

Graphic of factors to consider when hiring a custom development agency.

  • Experience and Expertise: The custom development agency’s background history and portfolio should show they have the expertise needed for your project.
  • Team & Team Structure: Understand the team structure of the agency you hire—who is responsible for what and how often will there be communication?
  • Cost Management: Set a clear budget for your project with the agency ahead of time to make sure all expectations are met on both sides.
  • Quality Assurance Protocols: Determine what quality assurance protocols are in place so that you know that your final product meets the proper standards.
  • Security and Data Protection: Ask about security protocols to make sure any confidential customer data or information will remain safe.
  • References: When researching potential custom development agencies, it is important to ask for and review references from past and current clients.

Most of these points summarize the previous chapters of this guide. But when choosing the right team for custom development, it is also important to consider company culture. You or a member of your team will be managing the development team you hire with relatively frequent communication. For this reason, regardless of any differences that may arise, it is essential that the team can respond to feedback appropriately. 

It is ideal to build a bond with a company that you can continue to work with or return to for future work, rather than go through the vetting process all over again for a new partner. Therefore, it is important to try and find the best fit for your company based on both a solution and a relational basis.

If you are not clear on any aspect of your hiring priorities or parameters and need a hand with hiring the right team, consider booking Credo’s one-on-one Porter Service.

Questions to ask during the selection process

It goes without saying that choosing the right development team is probably the most important decision you will make throughout the entire building process. 

With that in mind, you should have a predefined, consistent framework that maps out how you will assess each team. You can start by outlining the most important questions. 

Here are 11 pre-hiring questions to ask potential development agencies:

  • What experience do they have in the custom development industry?
  • Do they have a portfolio of successful projects?
  • What technologies are they proficient in?
  • What process do they use when developing custom solutions?
  • Do they provide post-launch support and maintenance services?
  • Are there additional costs associated with their services (e.g., licensing fees)?
  • How long does the development process typically take?
  • What timeline can be expected for the project to be completed?
  • How will progress be monitored and reported on during the process? 
  • Who owns the code?
  • What measures are taken to ensure quality assurance and security throughout the development process?

We suggest bookmarking this guide and utilizing these questions. That way, when it comes time to interview and hire a development team, you already have your hiring framework prepared.

How to Compare Development Agencies & Make a Final Decision

Going through this process with someone who has done it before can make all the difference. Having a trusted former colleague, mentor, or someone with experience in this process gives you clarity when it comes to hiring the right team. 

Beyond having someone to consult with, keep these concepts in mind:

Contact Enough Providers To Understand What’s Available

You can search on your own through a search engine and have conversations with agencies. Another option is to use the Credo Platform where you will find a list of qualified, pre-vetted development companies available to work on your project. 

Have conversations with at least three providers (consider five or six agencies if you haven’t hired one previously)—especially if you are not quite sure what you are looking for initially.

This helps you understand what is available, as well as a consensus on pricing information. As an added benefit, you will also get introduced to the hiring process.

From those discussions, focus on these items:

  • What it looks like working with them;
  • The specific services they offer;
  • Pricing model fee structure (flat rate, hourly);
  • Typical engagement length.

Conduct “Strategy” Calls With Your Top Candidates

After the initial contact, conduct follow-up or “strategy calls” with your top picks. Go deeper into your project goals and see how well you get along. It’s important to see how well you communicate and if there is any clash in company cultures or other red flags.

While this is not a full-blown strategy call, because you haven’t entered into a contract, see how they respond when talking together about your current brand challenges.

Rehashing some items from the previous step, cover the following items:

  • Project scope and timeline
  • Budget (you don’t want any surprises!)
  • Specified skills needed
  • Testing and deployment process
  • Communication strategies (more on this to follow)

Bring everyone who will be involved in the project from your side to the call. Likewise, the development agency should also bring the initial point of contact, the project manager, and development leads who will manage your project from their end. 

Get Proposals That Have The Same Details

Now that you’ve had in-depth conversations, it is time to review proposals.

That begins by asking each prospective agency when you can expect their proposal. After all, if they promise you the proposal on a certain date and don’t deliver, how can you expect them to deliver work on schedule? Deadlines matter and they should set clear standards of excellence throughout the hiring process.

Every proposal should include:

    • Pricing;
    • Timelines;
    • Scope; 
    • Description of QA;
    • Security processes;
    • Length of engagement;
    • Terms of agreement.

Negotiate (Optional But Suggested)

Though many business owners may not be comfortable with the idea, you can negotiate on price. For instance, you may ask why an agency did not include something that the others did. Or why one broke down costs into more detailed line items than another. 

Keep in mind that negotiation might result in changing the project scope or timeline. And while you can negotiate, be mindful that experienced development companies carefully define their pricing model and fee structure.

In any case, you should feel comfortable negotiating on pricing—within reason!

Commit To a Development Agency

Finally, once you’re ready to make a decision, go ahead and commit to that web development agency or software development company. They went through the gauntlet with you and have proven they are the right team for your project. 

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This page last updated on March 15, 2023 by Credo Team

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