Creating software is not an easy process and picking a great software team is even harder. If you’re a non-tech person building tech it, I believe it is exponentially harder. Developing good software is complex and highly technical, with no technical background you can easily feel like you’re in over your head. All of the technical jargon, acronyms, and language-specific terms can really confuse and complicate things when you’re trying to talk to a team.
But never fear, it doesn’t have to be difficult. With some simple steps, you can effectively pick a winning team that will deliver the software that you deserve.
Some useful tips to help you pick your great team are:
- Don’t pick based on price
- Find a team that will work with you
- Find a team that will help you create requirements and road map
- Get a team to manage your project, not a freelancer
- Team with dedicated developers
- Find out the teams’ communication process
- Pick the right kind of team
Don’t Pick Based On Price
A mistake often seen that non-tech people make when trying to develop a tech product is to go with the cheapest option. The thinking that all software is created equal and between different teams, the only thing that varies is the rate they charge. That is rarely the case at all.
You need to be sure the software team can work with you and not just provide the cheapest rate to get your software over the line. It’s a long-term process and requires your team to work with you collaboratively to develop great software.
Find A Team That Will Work With You
One step beyond not working with the cheapest team is to ensure that the team will work with you. What I mean by this is that they should be able to help you define, design, and develop your product. They should not just be relegated to developers and only work on tasks or broad concepts you explain to them.
One of the major indicators is that after some brief meetings the software team will provide a fixed priced quote for the development without really digging into what involved or what will be required.
The development of software is a challenging process and requirements are constantly changing and what is discussed one day can be changed or be discarded down the line. This is why fixed-price quotes don’t work. They lock you and your team into a set of requirements that when delivered may provide little value to the solution you require.
Find A Team That Will Help You Create Requirements & Road map
You need to find a team that will work with you define your product, requirements and road map. A good team will be able to dig into your idea and really understand it, they should be able to provide feedback, alternatives, suggestions that can improve your idea and software.
Find out what your team’s process is and how they will work with you to define your idea, how will they make a product roadmap and how will they make a development plan.
Get A Team To Manage Your Project, Not A Freelancer
Freelancers can be a great asset to any software project, they help with overflow and to quickly ramp resources when needed. They are also less permanent than contractors, so you can have them come and go more often or as the project dictates.
The issue with freelancers occurs when you get one to run your project – this rarely works out well. Freelancers only have so much time they can dedicate to a project due to the nature of their working relationship. Are they doing it full-time or part-time? How many projects are they working on at once? How much time can be dedicated to your project? These are all important questions to ask any freelancer you get on board; and important to keep in mind if you’re looking at a freelancer to manage your project.
If they’re not available when needed and can’t keep on top of your project and coordinate with the rest of your resources, then are they really serving your project?
This is why you need a dedicated team to run a project. You need to be able to rely on your team and get them to work together to make it run smoothly and coordinate with other resources if needed.
Team With Dedicated Developers
What would you rather a team with people that constantly change – where the knowledge is lost from person to person? Or would you rather a team where you know each team member, can call upon them when needed and where knowledge is shared and accrued among them? I know which I’d have on my project.
It’s important to have a dedicated team. When team members are frequently rotated in and out, or you rely upon freelancers, etc. it can cause an extra layer of managed chaos and complexity to your project. Think about how much time will be spent on training, teaching, and bringing new people up to speed with a project.
Find Out The Teams’ Communication Process
Communication is key, as they say. So, find out how your software teams communicate.
What’s their process? How often do they check-in with you? How can you reach them? What tools to do they use?
Keep these questions in mind when talking to prospective teams. You need to be able to reach them and be able to communicate with them throughout the project. There are always questions from both ends, the team needs to clarify things and remove assumptions and you need to provide feedback and new ideas.
If they can’t explain their plan or what they do and how they do it, it’s probably a good sign that little effort is focused on project communication.
Pick The Right Kind Of Team
This is a critical component in getting your software developed and not as hard as you think it might be. You don’t have to be technical or understand programming to pick the right software team. The basics in qualifying are simply asking them what type of projects they have worked on before. If they don’t have any exact examples, ask them how they will develop your project, and provide examples of similar concepts or scenarios where they have worked on things they hadn’t done before.
This helps you identify if your team can develop the type of software you need. The last thing you want is to hire the wrong type of developer and they’re in over their head. A web developer is a very different person with a different skill set to that of a software developer.
The development of a software with a team should be treated as a partnership and for the long term. Software is not a simple or easy thing to develop, especially if you want it to scale and grow. You need to be able to work with a team that can communicate with you, make you feel comfortable, and work with you to develop the best software you can create. It really is a relationship and it takes both sides to make it work well. Use the above tips when you’re looking for your next team and set yourself up for success.