Benefits of Partnering with a Software Development Contractor
Software development is different from what it was ten years ago. I should know as I’ve been in the industry for that exact period in different Project Management roles in the software development realm.
Hi! I’m Anna Bigun, VP of Delivery, Ukraine at Svitla Systems.
Being exposed to client projects across different industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, SaaS, public sector, e-commerce, etc., I’ve had the opportunity to spot what truly matters when partnering with a software development company and what the expectations are from both sides.
Next, I cover how to connect the dots of your project with a strategic software development contractor and bridge the gaps between your goals and the different formats and parameters of working with a contractor. Join me!
When should you attract a contractor?
First, let's discuss the elephant in the room: why should you pursue a software development contractor? I identify four distinct scenarios of when it makes total sense to partner with a software solutions development contractor: lack of in-house expertise, resources, a strict timeline, and the need for budget optimization. Let me walk you through each one.
Lack of expertise
Okay, so you have a clear idea of your application but need to gain the expertise to implement it. This is a common scenario that we see in companies of all shapes and sizes, especially in startup companies that are just getting their foot through the door and trying to maximize every little bit of the budget available to them. Regardless of the maturity stage of your company, you may need more expertise or know-how to address your project's technical specifications. Thus, it's crucial to partner with an experienced vendor with a proven track record of successful projects that can fully adhere to your specifications.
At Svitla, we often partner with clients in turnkey projects where we need to manage the successful balancing of the right tech talents with primary consulting services that deliver value to our clients. Additionally, we must employ the best delivery model and methodology for each unique software project.
Lack of resources
Any project, especially software development, involves many different people and resources. The reality is that most companies need the correct pipeline to employ the best tech talent and tech stack to meet unique software development project needs. You'll most likely have difficulty finding skilled resources because you may need to be entirely sure what kind of resources you need, have no idea where to start looking for talent, or it's simply too pricey to hire in-house talent.
Suppose you need a proper pipeline, or your recruiting team is overwhelmed or understaffed. In that case, the most cost-effective solution is to partner with a software development outsourcing vendor who can meet your needs at a reasonable price, with high-quality software standards and specialized talents.
In this current digital business climate, speed is a chief. Competition is fiercer than ever, everyone's running on a hectic schedule, and timelines are shorter. Partnering with a software development company can help you fast-track your projects without jeopardizing quality by accessing ready-made teams ready to jump on your project. You can use valuable time to work on strategic parts of the business and help it grow.
All companies are looking for cost-effectiveness, and partnering with a software development contractor is an excellent way to optimize your technology budget. For example, hiring can be expensive as it involves screening, recruitment, onboarding and training processes, etc.
You can negotiate seniority level, locations, and scope of work to optimize your costs. When you work with an experienced and knowledgeable custom software development company, on the other hand, you can be sure that your project will be built to industry standards and that you won't be alone if something goes wrong.
What are the formats of collaboration?
Whether working on a small, medium, or large, complex project, you must consider how involved you want employees to be.
This will largely determine the type of collaboration or engagement model you're looking for. Whether you want a team extension, an Agile-based team, or consulting, you can customize many collaboration formats to your needs.
Here are Svitla’s main formats of collaboration.
Managed team extension
"Our team becomes an extension of your team" — says the Svitla website, and it’s true. This collaboration model is carefully designed to supply clients with an extended team of developers from Svitla.
This collaboration model works particularly well for companies with a specific scope of work that needs to be handled by a specialist or when they need more resources to handle entire workloads. Instead, in this collaboration model, Svitla developers are integral to the client's team during the whole duration of the project, immersing themselves in your project and culture. Hence, they are in line with your strategic goals.
Whether you and the team are in different time zones or have unique compliance requirements, a team extension can do wonders to provide you with the right type of specialists that will be fully dedicated to your project.
I've seen Agile evolve over the years and become an almost necessity for high-performing teams looking for high-impact results. To deliver the most outstanding value to customers, it's no wonder a collaboration format dedicated to Agile exists.
AgileSquads give you a time and effort estimate based on your unique requirements. With that information, we assemble the best team of professionals for your project: the AgileSquad. With a SquadLead at the helm, this collaboration format works well for “from scratch” projects that must stay within a specific time and budget limit.
The AgileSquad possesses a great technical vision, performs research, and provides the least-risk solution to build your project. Our teams are Agile experts, often providing recommendations, helping you plan your vision, and applying best practices throughout the entire process.
In need of expert advice on how to implement and maximize technology? Or, maybe, you’re looking for the most cost-reducing options to develop your project. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back.
By excelling in an array of areas, our consulting services provide expert Svitla insights from experienced resources that analyze, design, and implement solutions. Time and again, I’ve seen software projects fail because of a misalignment between business and IT goals. Fortunately, our consulting services help you identify how to realize digital transformation and modernization for healthy revenues, lower costs, and increased productivity.
This collaboration format works best for projects requiring expert, specialized assistance. From assessments, package evaluations, strategic planning, digital transformation, and outcome-based engagement, our offering helps clients follow best practices relevant to their business/product.
What are the parameters for choosing the contractor?
- Provider certifications. Most software development providers back up their established quality services with different credentials. This is because company certifications evaluate processes, policies, security, privacy protection, etc. So you can be sure that the contractor follows performance, accountability, and transparency standards with expertise in a given area. In our specific case, Svitla is an ISO 9001:2015 certified partner, an SOC 2 certified provider, and we are an AWS select partner through a strategic AWS partnership, to mention a few.
- Tech-specialists certifications. My advice for clients is always to check if the contractor’s employees/developers have certificates in different areas/levels, especially if your project requires a relevant subject domain such as performance, accountability, and transparency standards. For example, if you’re looking for Agile resources, check for SCRUM Master certifications, or if you’re looking for experienced Project Managers, check to see if they are PMI-certified.
- Experience with a particular business domain. I recommend searching for companies that are experienced and knowledgeable of the business domain you’re a part of, with enough successful and failed past projects to review. Always ask a software development company for their company presentation and project portfolio.
- Experience with the required tech stack. Software development companies typically already work with specific tech stacks, meaning they probably already have available resources you can assign quickly to a project, which is critical to your project.
- Portfolio and feedback. Review your prospective contractors carefully, and review their client portfolio, the names of customers they’ve worked with, their business domain, and the online feedback about their work.
- Cooperation format. Before you choose a vendor, you need to evaluate if their collaboration formats will work for you. For example, if you’re building something from scratch, does the vendor have the engagement and capabilities to achieve this?
Team member locations: the possibility of overlapping with your time zone
Nowadays, a large portion of the IT workforce operates remotely, so it’s common for offices to be far away from the actual location of employees. Given their distributed nature, partnering with a software development company will give you options to work in a particular time zone and have teams overlap with your time zone.
For me, rates should be balanced between price and your business requirements.
Many things are riding on how rates are structured for software development companies, and each plays a significant impact. As such, rates are typically tailored to the client's unique needs. It's understandable that if you need a senior engineer, it will cost you more than a junior engineer. Similarly, suppose you require someone with experience in artificial intelligence. In that case, it will cost you more than other types of specialists, given that it's a position that requires plenty of expertise in algorithms, training, certifications, and more.
As such, it’s recommended that you find a contractor who can help you manage that balancing act between price and quality, as you shouldn’t have to compromise the quality of your project.
The Contractor's processes
It’s important to have transparency and for the contractor to share their processes in advance. Before signing any contract, you need to understand their processes to see if they align with your processes, culture, and expectations. It's essential to have open communication to discuss operational aspects of collaborating.
The contract terms will outline how the software development company will meet your expectations. When reviewing contract terms, you need to define goals by understanding what you need, their involvement, and other acceptance criteria that will determine the project's workflow.
As soon as you are done with scoping out the contract terms, you can draft a proposal where you'll include your goals, an introduction of your company, what the project is about, the project requirements, the expected timeline, your business domain if there are any compliance or regulatory terms to meet, conditions, and any other item that needs to be covered.
How to work with the contractor
Define the goals
Every project is unique, so it’s important that, as a client, you ask yourself:
- What’s the project about?
- What issues does it solve?
- Who is our target audience?
- What benefits does the project provide?
- What are the functional and non-functional requirements?
- How would we define that the project is completed?
- What do you want the software development company to do for you?
The sky’s the limit, and your goals will dictate the type of collaboration and support you need from the contractor.
Also, please consider that you can figure out some things independently; we can help you scope your project by understanding your main idea and even proposing best practices or approaches.
Svitla Systems is not just a body shop; we're also capable of giving you valuable recommendations, especially if you need to know all your project requires. You can come to us with a general idea of the solution, and we can recommend how it should be built.
Сhoose the collaboration format that fits you best
No one understands your needs and requirements better than you, so being open about the type of collaboration you want is imperative to choose the right engagement from the software development company. The collaboration model should adhere to and adapt to the particular circumstances of your project, delivering you with the right balance of resources, expertise, cooperation, and quality.
Create an RFP and evaluate the proposal
Find a software development contractor to understand your ideas and implement them into a good project plan. Once you've chosen a company, you should ask for a project proposal that includes cooperation format, budget, timing, team size and composition, possible risks, etc.
Provide the Contractor with feedback & discuss comments, if any
As needed, provide feedback to the vendor about the overall process and specific details of your project plan and proposal. As we work towards tailoring the service for your unique needs, your inputs are highly valued and will set the stage for the type of collaboration and transparency we should strive for.
We encourage clients to return with any comments deemed necessary. Whether you have comments about the tech stack, workflows, employee details, or anything else, it’s in everyone’s best interest that everything gets clarified before entering a contract.
Review and sign the contract
Before signing a deal, I recommend carefully reading the company's service contract.
In your review process, make sure the following items are included:
- A fixed, previously agreed-upon rate for when the deadline is pushed back because of mistakes made by the development team.
- Any applicable discounts and the rules that govern how they are used.
- The rates of the entire project, up until completion.
- Credit limits and periods.
- When and how long a warranty lasts.
- Your chosen collaboration method.
Also, as needed, sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect any copyright-related items of your project.
How to manage a distributed team
- Choose the methodology that fits you best.
- Have a clear org structure that includes team roles and responsibilities.
- Choose and set up the tools.
- Set up processes, procedures, and policies and ensure each team member follows them.
- Share the project's goals and value with your team.
- Receive feedback from your stakeholders and team members and improve your processes if it is required.
Please note that the Contractor's PM will manage the engineering team and keep you updated if you choose the Agile Squads or Consulting Services engagement models. However, I would recommend assigning the Contractor’s PM even If the Team Extension model suits your needs best.
Anyway if you’d like to manage the project on your own, we will still stay in touch by:
- Support engineers' onboardings.
- Conduct ongoing meetings with our engineers to ensure they are happy with the project, work on their motivation, and build trusting relationships where we care about their personal lives.
- Conduct touchpoints with the customer to ensure all team members meet expectations.
- Resolve performance issues and replace the engineer if needed.
- Help you improve your processes, if needed.
- Track the high-level status of the project.
In the end, a software development project can be a complicated process. It takes a lot of hard work, experience, and knowledge to achieve digital transformation and develop a successful product. You and your organization must take the time to find a partner that can truly understand and measure your business goals and create a plan for success. In other words, you shouldn't just look for a company that works on software development projects; you should look for a partner.
At Svitla Systems, we have spent years getting better at making custom software and websites. Using tried-and-true Agile methods and the brightest engineers in every field, we've helped our partners make successful, future-proof solutions that help their businesses grow. Contact us today if you're looking for your next partner to help drive your organization's digital transformation.
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