8 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Software Developer

January 10, 2020

Software developers are essential in today’s businesses, especially with the constant changes in advanced technologies and modern trends. Hiring a talented and experienced software developer is a crucial decision, as it should have the perfect balance between seamless integrated solutions, practical costs, and efficient work ethics. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your particular business or project. And it’s important to know the possible obstacles that people tend to encounter so that you can prepare and avoid these yourself.

Here are eight mistakes people make when choosing a software developer.

8 Mistakes When Choosing a Software Developer

1. They Don’t Have a Clear Vision About Their Project

Some companies and business owners outsource their software development without fully understanding what they need to do or what they want to achieve. This in turn causes problems and complications in the long run. Before hiring an external team or involving other people in your business, you must first get a clear picture of your own goals for the software project. Dedicate time with your team where you can set expectations and analyze business objectives.

man writing on whiteboard

Have everyone prepare their own questions and discuss them during your meetings. Answer these together to help ensure that everyone is on the same page and has a clear understanding of what the project is or should be.

2. They Give Unclear Instructions and Requirements

When decision-makers are uncertain of their business directions and goals, it then becomes a challenge for them to give proper instructions and set clear requirements. It also becomes difficult to evaluate whether the workflow of their project is on the right track.

Once things are clear on your part, thoroughly explain to your software house the essence of your company (mission, vision, business model, etc.) before any development process begins. Discuss important matters like milestones, approval processes, content creation and editing practices, submission of updates in the app store, timelines and deadlines, and the like.

Help them to clearly understand what you want so they can plan and implement effectively. Make sure both parties agree on what and how things should be done on your project.  

3. They Don’t Do Rigorous Research

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when choosing a software developer is not giving enough time for in-depth research. A lot of them base their choice on cost-efficiency and a few good testimonials, which is a start but certainly doesn't tell the whole story.

You have to look at the way the service provider functions in the market. Pay attention to positive and negative feedback as well as their portfolio and client history. Ask about their workers and company culture and gather recommendations from people in the industry. Consider important parameters like the developer’s company credibility in Clutch, employee satisfaction rating in Glassdoor, and their annual growth rate and net profit in the past years.

All these are essential to help you choose the appropriate partner for your business.

4. They Fail to Check the Dedicated Team Members and Their Skills

Another huge mistake numerous businesses make when choosing a software developer is failing to do extensive checks and reviews of the dedicated teams. Dedicated teams are people who work solely on your project, ensuring the same quality output even if there are changes that may occur along the way. They are people who are supposed to be highly skilled and have advanced experience in the arena that you need them for.

team working on project

This is why it’s important to discuss (in the first meeting) the team members and their respective roles. Ask for their credentials and certifications to help you assess their credibility and expertise. Discuss the company’s knowledge in coding standard and gauge the team's skills based on your specific business needs. It’s best to know where they stand in different areas like familiarity with the industry and user base, new trends in the portfolio, software development pricing models, and other important matters.

It's crucial that this team has multiple skillsets amongst the members. You don't want to hire someone who has only backend developers, or people only using PHP or certain frameworks like Angular. You want people with a variety of experience and skillsets so that problems in your project that need to be solved with different technologies can be easily completed. You want project managers, front end developers, back end developers, server and database admins, UX/UI designers, digital marketers, and so on.

Note: Engineers and developers are not designers, and as such, they usually produce poor UX/UI without the aid of someone with that specific skill!

5. They Prioritize the Low-Cost Options

In businesses, cost-efficiency is considered an essential point to consider when making decisions. However, if you choose to prioritize a low-cost software developer for your web or app projects, it could compromise the quality of work and greatly affect your company in the long run.

Developers that offer cheap solutions don't necessarily have the most ideal solutions for your project. On the contrary, tried-and-tested software houses that have been operating for a long time usually charge higher rates for their services because they employ qualified developers and have renowned experiences. Always remember to maintain the balance between value for money and excellent quality of work.

And while we're on the topic of money, keep this in mind. If someone is able to give you an estimate on the spot, they're usually shooting in the dark. They need to see APIs, documentation, user flow/logic, general features, screens, and know project resources before giving an accurate estimate.

6. They Forget to Reward

Some companies, especially those who are new to software development projects, tend to be extreme idealists. They expect the impossible and set the standards too high for their outsourced partner. It takes a lot of communication and engagement between parties to settle on things, so it can go a long way when you show genuine appreciation to your software development team for all the hard work they put into your project.

Their services are not simple tasks, and constant encouragement, optimism, and rewards can help boost their confidence in their work. Understand that your dealings with your developer will not end when their project is complete. Rather, it's a long-term partnership throughout the lifespan of your software. Make sure that you maintain a healthy and functional relationship with everyone involved.

coding software

7. They Fall Behind on Communication

Especially in the early stages, your software developer is going to need your support and guidance. They aren't a mind-reader. If they ask for additional information, resources, or assets, provide them. These are the materials they need in order to do a great job. Understand that you have to dedicate a lot of collaboration time, give feedback throughout the workflow, and assess where you're at every stage of the development. Make sure that your developers understand the vision and needs of your business and that your own internal team also welcomes their recommendations. Know that even if you hire the best software development partner who’s able to offer good advice for the project, you still need to provide direction and guidance throughout the process.

Important note: This goes both ways! If you're considering a software development company that is slow to communicate and difficult to rely on, then you might want to move on to the next candidate. Constant communication is tremendously important in business dealings. Software development requires a committed back-and-forth interaction between you and your IT company, even on a daily basis. 

8. They Only Consider Freelancers

This can be tempting, especially if it helps you cut costs, but proceed with caution. Software development is usually way too much work for a single individual. When you hire a freelancer, usually, you're hiring someone who is either getting in over their head or they end up using external resources or outsourcing anyways — only this time, it's more poorly managed. You end up being the project manager, and this isn't how the process is meant to work.

Plus, trying to communicate in layman's terms to software developers can be extremely difficult. Using an agency with a dedicated project manager with years of experience in the industry and specifically with their team makes it much more efficient and can provide a much-needed bridge in the communication between teams. Even better, some agencies have technical project managers, as well.

Even with sufficient knowledge and skills needed to avoid these mistakes, it can still be a challenge to select the appropriate software development company that will best suit your business needs. We can help. Contact LSM today.