What to look for in a prospective development partner?


Congrats on your decision to go for custom-built software! No matter what your goal is - be it an automatization of your processes, your growth, or something else, making the most of today’s digital-first world is a great decision!

Now that your vision is clear, we assume you can’t wait to put it into action.
You are probably already thinking about your next step and how you can make sure that you’ve chosen the most reliable software development partner.

With so many software development companies (and freelancers) out there, this is not an easy task. Naturally, all of them will claim they are the best, so you might decide to turn to your friends for recommendations.

Even though this is a usual and recommended path, sometimes your friends’ needs, requests, and values don’t match yours. As a result, they can be beyond satisfied with the company they’ve decided to go for, but you may end up disappointed. To avoid this, we are bringing you a few more things that you can ask yourself before making a final decision.

Are they trying to understand your business and idea?

As soon as you schedule an introductory call with a software development company, you can get a few hints about their culture and experience.
If the company’s representative is actively listening, asking questions about your business and idea, and trying to confirm that they’ve understood everything - you are on the right track.

If, however, they are constantly talking about themselves, promising you the world, or not letting you say anything - this might be a red flag.
In most cases, it’s not about the person you are talking with, it’s about the company’s practices.

The trustworthy partner will always try to understand what they are dealing with so that they can create a well-thought offer and arrange the next step, suitable for your idea.

Do they estimate the price during your first meeting?

At the time that you turn to a software company, you don’t know what exactly the project will look like. You are not quite clear how much time and effort will be needed for some of the features that you have planned, and what other things may pop up during the process.
The software development company will calculate the costs based on the information you gave them. This means that the more information you provide - the closer the estimation will be.

However, cost projection is not a simple task. None of the reliable software companies will be able to predict the costs right on the first meeting (unless they offer fixed price packages).

Make sure that your future software development partner has considered all the information before estimating the costs. This way, the whole budget will be more predictable and the process completely transparent.

When it comes to the fixed prices, bear in mind that counting on a fixed price is not always as reliable as it appears. A lot of companies do offer fixed prices for some projects, but what may happen during the project is that some things may ask for way more time and effort than initially planned, so the developers will have to compensate. In some cases, this may lead to poor quality and functionalities that you can’t trust.

What is their portfolio like?

This is probably one of the first things that you’ll check, but do you know what you should look for when going through a portfolio?
In case that the company hasn’t worked on projects the same, like yours - don’t worry. This shouldn’t be an obstacle, as long as they have worked with the technology you are looking for, or on similar projects.

The reason why working with a company that has a portfolio is that it means that they have tried an tested methodology for their projects.

Everyone can make mistakes, but the difference is that experienced software development companies had more opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them.
They will probably use all of the learnings with their future projects. It’s just a natural progression that comes from gaining experience.

What kind of references do they have?

Most of the companies will be able to provide reviews or recommendations from their previous clients, but if you want the review to be put in context, you should go to Clutch.

For example, if you take a look at this Clutch review, you’ll notice that the whole project has been described. The client has shared his opinion on the team itself, the whole project, their approach, the project management, and more.

After reading one or more reviews like this you’ll be able to conclude the pros and cons of a certain company.

Is the communication smooth?

Effective communication can punctuate the success or failure of a certain project.
With clear communication, the team will be able to clearly articulate what you can expect from them and what they expect from you.

With this in mind, we can say that it’s extremely important to find a software development partner that speaks English fluently (or your native language).

What can you conclude about their approach and their processes?

It’s inevitable - once you get in touch with your potential software development partner, you’ll start evaluating them and will be able to draw certain conclusions.
If your inner feeling says that they don’t have a structured (and tested) approach, it’s probably because they don’t.

Relying on processes means that a company has a way to manage or scale your project even if surprised hiccups happen.

One of the best options is to follow agile methodologies which means building software in manageable iterations. This way the team can measure the performance, detect bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions to correct them.

Do you share the same values?

This is one of the most important things to consider, even though it’s usually overlooked.
As we said at the beginning, even if they are a match for dozens of other things, if you don’t agree with their values (and vice versa), a lot of issues may pop up.

As humans, we tend to connect with other people that have similar interests, and the same is in the business world. If we share values, it’s more likely that we’ll find a way to keep both sides happy and remove any bumps in the road.

At the end of the day, you’ll spend a lot of time collaborating with your software development partners, so make sure that your time is spent well.

To conclude…

As you probably noticed, we are often using the word partner, because that is how the client-software developers relationship should look like.

If you came across a trustworthy company, be sure that the company will be vetting you as a client in the same way that you are deciding for hiring them.

Software development projects require collaboration, so make sure that you ask yourself all of the questions that we have listed, and you can rest assured that you are in good hands.

If you’d like to explore our services, and our way of work - feel free to contact us!


Article published onAugust 17, 2021



Codeus is a vibrant software development firm based in Niš, Serbia. We provide custom software development services, building a variety of advanced and fully customized software solutions.

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