Custom software development is creating applications to solve business pain points. Most small and medium size businesses use common off the shelf (COTS) software to solve common problems such as bookkeeping, website development, marketing automation, CRM, etc..
An example of COTS software is Microsoft SharePoint, WordPress, and Quickbooks. For instance, a consumer may use QuickBooks for bookkeeping, WordPress for outward facing website and SharePoint for intranet. Then the consumer may use WooCommerce for online selling and Salesforce for customer relationship management.
The pain point for the business could be redundant creation of invoices after people buy online in the WooCommerce store. A cleaner workflow may be desired to take away redundant data entry by knitting together various COTS. This is where Custom Software development comes into play to save countless hours the user spends in these redundant tasks.
When shopping for a Custom Software development, there are certain aspects that need to be kept in mind. Software developers are dime a dozen, but picking the right one to deliver to your requirements requires skill.
While cost/hour is an important measure, the throughput per hour is also critical.
Ask the following questions:
- Do they have a certified project manager that will break down the requirements and identify the team and skills needed to solve your business pain point?
- What processes do they have in place to communicate the progress of the project?
- What methodology do they use to do a thorough requirements analysis and setup user acceptance tests (UAT’s)?
- Can they work with you on a fixed price contract?
- Will they provide a clearly defined SOW (Scope of work document)?
- What will happen if the project over runs on time or budget?
- What experience do they have in delivering your kind of project?
- How can they be reached and will they support you through adoption and post delivery?
- Where can you find them? Is there a physical address where the contractor can be reached at?
- Do they have any references where they delivered a custom project on time and on budget?
As a general rule of thumb, work with a development firm that is multidisciplinary to take accountability for the entire project. Lack of this will result in finger pointing between vendors if the end product does not solve the problem you wanted to solve to begin with.
Always check the LinkedIn profiles of the developers to check their reputation and qualifications among their peers.
Good luck and happy shopping.
The Author of this article is a certified project management professional and the CEO of Nowsoft.org, a company that delivers outstanding service to businesses like you.