Too often, companies overlook key skills when deciding to bring in an outside software development firm. You might hope to increase your IT team’s capacity and capabilities, but doing so doesn’t guarantee you will get a corresponding increase in business value and team productivity.
In order to accelerate development and reach your business objectives, you will need more than just increased capacity, and you need to chose your development partner accordingly.
A successful partnership requires technical experts of course, but choosing a partner based primarily on an assessment of their staff’s technical acumen is a mistake frequently made. If a firm has experience and expertise in your industry or even better if they have experience with similar projects, that could be very useful. But again it would be a misjudgement to chose the firm primarily for those reason. You should check these boxes and then move on in your assessment.
Key Skills, Strengths And Qualities
If you’re the head of software engineering, you understand the need to choose a software development partner that complements your team – one that is strong in areas where your organization is weaker. To determine what you need from a partner firm, you must have a clear picture of your own strengths and weaknesses. Consider conducting an internal assessment to improve your awareness of your IT team’s capabilities.
With that said, here are some of the most important skills, strengths and qualities to look for when choosing an outside software development firm.
- A mature, agile development process
- Cross-functional communication and collaboration
- Ability to define a product strategy and roadmap
- Ability to manage project scope
- Accurate cost estimates
- A partnership mindset
- Experience with similar projects and subject matter
- Ability to drive innovation
- Teamwork and cooperation
- Listening and sharing knowledge
- Always learning and reflective
- A sense of urgency
- Honesty and integrity
Beyond these strengths, remember to pay close attention to how well the development firm’s culture fits with your own. If you sense that a software development firm would be a poor cultural fit, start looking elsewhere. You don’t want to end up with communication problems and conflicts that could result in longer development cycles, missed deadlines and frustration for your internal team.
Taking time to assess a firm’s skills upfront helps you avoid the consequences of choosing a firm that lacks crucial skills. By making a smart choice at this stage, you gain a valuable strategic partner, helping your development team meet deadlines, stay on budget and deliver more to the business.
Choosing The Right Software Development Firm
Great software is possible when cross-functional teams form and collaborate following defined Agile methods. Think about your current process and how well your organization cooperates with each other and collaborates on software projects today. Does your company have an agile mindset that spans across the entire organization? Partnering with a software development firm gives you an opportunity for improving your process and embedding an agile culture.
The right software development firm for you may be one that can bring a mature agile development process to your organization, and one that can effectively engage your business stakeholders and act as change agents where needed. These factors will most certainly help you accelerate development AND build better software products.
Read more about Partnering with the right software firm is a great way to streamlininge the development process and creatinge a more powerful software product here.
Additionally, think about how your organization currently defines the strategy for new software products and how it gets started on such initiatives. Is there a clear vision shared with all stakeholders about the business goals and objectives for the product? Is there a product strategy that explains how the goals will be met? Is the customer problem you are addressing identified and validated? Has a product roadmap been been created to guide the development effort?
The right software development firm for you may be one that can help your organization answer these questions. This will give you assurance that development is guided and aligned at maximizing business value.
Originally published by Small Footprint.