What Your Software Development Company Should Be Asking You

The B2B clients we work with every day understand that digital transformation is a vital part of successful marketing. They know that 61% of all B2B transactions start online, and that an effective digital presence is crucial to attracting and converting buyers. In order to establish and cultivate effective buyer engagement online, you need a software development company that is willing to understand your business goals and create products that fit your current business needs.

A true development partner understands that a successful project involves technically strong code — maintainable, well-architected, extensible code — but they’re also able to balance those technical objectives with your business needs and goals. They know that every project has different requirements. They’ll invest their time in finding the right solution for you, and they’ll build tailored, purposeful products that meet your needs and convert your buyers.

Is This Software Development Company Right for My Business?

To separate the true business partners from the coders who only care about the technical aspects, listen to the questions a developer asks as they scope your project. Our team will start with these four questions:

1. “What business objective is this project designed to meet?”

Every project should begin with a discussion of your goals. What will success and failure look like for this project? What counts as a conversion: engagement, actual transactions or something else? How will you measure ROI?

A developer must clarify your business needs and goals in relation to each project. If not, there’s no guarantee the project will deliver the desired results.

2. “How will your needs change over time?”

Long-term projects have their own set of requirements. If you’re planning to expand your product, it should be proactively architected for change. These scalable, adaptable systems will last longer, although they often take longer to produce.

Short-term projects, on the other hand, should be laser-focused on the minimum viable product (MVP). A partner at a great software development company or agency will understand your business goals and evaluate what should be completed now. They’ll also determine which features can be delayed until a later phase, after the market accepts your product.

3. “How does this project fit into your company structure?”

Few software development projects exist in isolation. Will this project integrate with other systems? Will you host it in the cloud, on your server or on a third-party server? Will you outsource maintenance or handle it in-house?

Ease of integration is important if you want your project to tie into other systems. And if your project will grow to include more features or support other departments, expandability is key. A capable developer will grasp the big-picture circumstances of each project before writing a line of code.

4. “What’s included in your MVP?”

How “minimum” is your MVP? Will you start with a narrow feature set and expand in phases, or do you want a more complete product before you launch?

A good developer will help you understand the costs and benefits of each option. A bare-bones MVP will help you quickly get real market feedback and pivot, while a more robust MVP will help you avoid going to market with an underwhelming solution.

Find the Perfect Fit

The list above isn’t exhaustive, but any developer who’s interested in becoming your partner should at least ask you those key questions. The answers will shape your project’s parameters, including:

  • Technology and code bases
  • Scalability
  • Work allocation between your team and theirs
  • How much load and growth the software architecture should bear

You want your investment to translate into a product that fits your business like a glove — a product that will meet your needs and convert your buyers. Without asking the crucial initial questions, a coder might produce the right product for their development team, but it won’t be the right product for your business. So look for a true partner instead: a software development company or agency with an experienced team who will find out what you need and work with you to achieve it.

Starting your next software development project? My team and I would be happy to sit down and discuss your business’s needs — feel free to get in touch. Or, subscribe to our blog to get more digital development insights sent straight to your inbox each month.

Eric Von Zee

Eric has been part of The Mx Group since 1998. He develops and manages internal and external teams through every phase of the software development life cycle, including estimate, proposal, design, execution, testing, UAT and delivery to production. He brings exceptional value to every project through his management acumen and expertise in JavaScript, C#, Java and other technologies.

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