What your startup needs to know when pursuing custom software development

Your startup came to fruition because you saw an opening: a chance to do something unlike anything else in the marketplace. You felt you could do it better and deliver for your customers a truly customized result.

Not surprisingly, then, you want a software solution as unique as your startup. Finding the right one — and the developer to create it — however, is a big decision, particularly if your startup isn’t swimming in excess capital.

That’s why we wanted to use our blog today to provide you with a guide in making this decision. We’ll start by giving you some things to consider when choosing a custom software development company and then we’ll look at what you can do to streamline the development process so you can put your solution to work as quickly as possible.

Let’s begin.

Choosing a custom software development company for your startup

You’ve done your homework and realize that a custom software solution is more than just a tailored answer for your business. It’s also a cost-efficient solution that’s easy to upgrade and, if done right, can allow for a single source of software to tackle numerous tasks. Now you need to find the right developer to deliver on all of these goals.

To find the best firm for you, here are a few considerations.

  • Does the custom software developer reflect you? Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why your startup has succeeded thus far. Chances are your answers are many of the same qualities you should look for in your custom software developer. Look for a firm that’s hungry to do new, exciting work, grounded in best practices. Look for a developer that’s willing to work with you and incorporate your goals into the solution — as opposed to simply telling you what they do for everyone else. Find a developer that thinks outside the box just like you, and your solution will meet your expectations.
  • Check the references. When choosing the right business software developer, you want to see more than just their ability to create happy customers. You also want to know that they have a history of developing software solutions similar to the project you have in mind. Inquire about what types of projects a developer has done in the past to see if they are a good fit for your need.
  • Stability counts. When you create a custom software solution, you are — ideally — making a long-term commitment to the firm you select. After all, who better to turn to when you’re looking to make updates to your one-of-a-kind solution? Thus, the lifeline of your custom solution is directly tied to the stability of the firm that built it. Look for a firm that has a track record of business success as well as stable ownership. You want to know your custom software developers will be around and successful for just as long as you are.

Working together

Once you’ve selected your custom software development partner you naturally want to work together as seamlessly as possible to bring your project to fruition. To support that end, here are a couple of things you can do to be a productive partner.

  • Know the methodology and accept it. All software developers work under a given methodology that governs their process. Some methodologies will see your developer build the entire solution for you and then send it to you for feedback. Other methodologies — like an agile methodology — will see the developer build the solution in phases collecting feedback from you on each one. Understanding the developer’s methodology — and your role in it — will clear a lot of confusion for you and allow you to pinpoint exactly when you are responsible to help move the project forward.
  • Assign a team. Depending on the size of your startup, it’s a good idea to have certain members of your team assigned as representatives to the software development project. This ensures nothing gets lost on your end because you thought “someone else was going to do it” and provides a clear point of contact for both your development team and others within your startup to go to with any questions about the project.
  • See your development firm as part of your startup. A small startup can be pretty insular at times. Consider your custom software development project as a branch expansion. Thinking of your custom software developer as an extension of your team instead of in the traditional client/vendor format will allow you to be more transparent in your goals and influence better communication between you both.
  • Scope creep: Don’t be that person.Scope creep is a constant concern for many startups. If you are one of them, now’s your chance to establish a clear scope with your developer and stick to that throughout the course of the project. This is good for everyone involved as it will result in a quicker delivery process and leave you more time for the bells and whistles you may want to add that are outside of the scope.

Finding the right developer for your startup

Partnering with a custom software developer to create your own unique solution represents an exciting growth opportunity for your company. But to keep that momentum going, you have to make the right hire. Employ our advice above and stay true to your passion and your vision for what your solution should be. Somewhere, there is a developer that can make that happen.


About Saturn Systems

Saturn SystemsSaturn Systems is an entirely U.S. based software engineering firm that provides a broad range of services, from project-based development and quality assurance testing to fully integrated staff augmentation teams. Saturn's Rural Outsourcing model couples the lower cost of doing business in Duluth, MN, with an experienced engineering team - making Saturn an attractive alternative to high-priced metro firms and the inherent difficulties of offshore services.

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