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7 Questions to Ask Your Software Development Partner to Establish a Solid Partnership

CEO Alcor
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Professional areas include business structuring of tech companies in Ukraine, business & team management, leadership practices.
22 April 2021
9 min

When tech companies are looking for experienced engineers for a new project, they often opt for working with a professional development partner. Such a company can supply the right programmers and guarantee the high quality of their work. But how to know that your agency is capable of doing this?

 

After years of developing tech businesses, I’ve learned a lot about building fruitful cooperation between IT companies and staffing providers. Thus, I’ve come up with the main problems you might have with your potential software development partner, ways to solve them, and the main 7 questions that you need to ask your vendor before starting collaboration.

 

Main Issues Companies Have While Choosing the Right Software
Development Partner

 

A partner for software development is a company that can staff you with the necessary talents to meet your programming goals. You may provide your company with IT skills through outsourcing, outstaffing, and offshoring.

 

Outsourcing is a business expanding practice that lets you assign development tasks to a third-party vendor.

 

Outstaffing, on the other hand, means working with engineers provided by an outside company to reach certain development goals.

 

Besides this, some people might mistake outsourcing for offshoring, while the latter presupposes relocating part of your business tasks to a foreign country with a big talent pool and lower labor costs like Ukraine.

 

software-development-partner

 

Unfortunately, looking for experienced software vendors is a challenge since there are not many qualified partners in development. Luckily, it’s easy to rule out unfitting providers if you pay attention to these factors:

No development experience in your field

Everyone wants their software developers to be experts in a programming language or technology needed for the task. But sometimes your software development partner might fake customer reviews or hide a lack of working experience behind non-disclosure agreements. While NDAs seem a reasonable excuse to believe the provider, case studies are more difficult to forge and way easier to check.

Cloudy pricing

A software partnership is doomed if a provider cannot tell you the price and what it’s composed of – after the first call. As your cooperation will proceed, you’re likely to face unexpected hidden costs such as payments for services you didn’t use. Employee buy-out fees will be an even bigger surprise when you resort to hiring your temporary developers full-time.

A lack of loyalty

It’s often puzzling to figure out whom your developers recognize as their main employer in software partnerships with outstaffers. As a rule, people assigned for your project treat you as a temporary client, so their commitment won’t be long-lasting.

 

Besides, such business staffing options as outsourcing discourage your future investors because you delegate the development of the core product, which may entail various risks in the future.

Unclear IP rights ownership

A software development partnership with either outstaffing or outsourcing firms puts your company at risk of losing intellectual property. A provider initially owns the source code, so you won’t be able to change it unless your vendor transfers the source code ownership to you.

 

Speaking about a partnership for software development with outstaffers, they’ll give you only a part of their team, while other engineers will work on projects for other clients. All of them work in the same office space and can accidentally leak your confidential data to each other.

Communication via vendor

Hardly any software development firm as a partner lets its clients directly speak with programmers, except for offshoring agencies. Thus, your only communication channel will be your provider which can translate into poor-quality results if not all your requirements will be shared with engineers.

 

 

What to Do to Build the Best Software Development Partnership?

 

An unreliable software development partner can fake their experience, charge over-the-top costs, and even expose your confidential data to risks. Avoid such vendors by considering the aspects that I have listed below:

Choose providers with a proven track record

It’s a good sign if you find a partner for development with testimonials and case studies published on their site. Check out the vendor’s ratings and reviews on platforms such as Clutch or GoodFirms. You’re free to Google the information on independent portals to dig up not only positive but negative feedback and make a rational decision.

Demand transparent pricing

A reliable software development partnership starts from discussing the scope of work, terms, and the end price for your project. The best option is when you don’t need to make large up-front investments and pay only for services that you use.

 

Obtain control over your expenses by requesting the provider to prepare detailed monthly invoices. Thus, you should search for vendors that provide such documentation, because they will not charge you extra for no viable reason.

Take the core business in your hands

To achieve the results you’ll be satisfied with, it’s better not to delegate development to third-party vendors. What you should do is manage the core processes that directly affect decision-making in your business yourself. You can appoint your provider with operational management to get rid of tedious administrative tasks.

Embrace your intellectual property from the beginning

Believe it or not, the right development vendor will never question your ownership of IP. For example, offshore development providers can staff you with a permanent team that gets employed by you, or step it up with a development hub, so that no intellectual property risks will arise.

First hire a local manager

If you participate in the recruitment process and obtain the right to either approve or disapprove candidates, you’re likely to succeed in the long run. Beyond that, it would be beneficial for you to hire a local team leader or a project manager who will be accountable for the development progress.

 

issues-software-development

 

To develop a fruitful corporate partnership for software development, you should work with skillful business process outsourcing services vendors. They will not only provide you with the solutions that I have mentioned above but also offer a better alternative to outsourcing – your R&D center!

 

For instance, our company offers a full cycle of operational functions: from hiring talents to promoting your employer brand in Ukraine, managing your payroll & accounting as well as legal support. This enables you to forget about non-essential tasks and stay focused on your product. At least that’s what enterprises such as Samsung, Luxoft, BigCommerce, Huawei, Wargaming, and many others did with us in Ukraine!

 

 

7 Questions You Should Ask Your Potential Development Partner

 

Both web and app development partnerships can bring you lots of profit and prompt your business growth. But first you need to collect the most important information about your provider by asking the following software vendor interview questions:

 

1) Do they have software development experience in your sphere?

 

Before you make any decision, check out if your vendor will build your site or app on their own, or hire IT specialists to do this. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s safer to supervise development yourself and appoint your provider with administrative tasks.

 

For instance, our company takes over operational functions and focuses on helping IT product companies to reach any development goals by recruiting top-notch programmers in Ukraine. That’s why we managed to set up an R&D center for People.ai, an AI platform provider for sales in B2B businesses. It took us one month to establish their dream office abroad and staff it with the best software engineers.

 

2) Do they provide back-office functions or will you have to manage them yourself?

 

This is one of the crucial questions to ask a software development company since you have to know about the obligations of both parties. The ideal software development vendor must provide full operational management: recruitment, legal & compliance, payroll & accounting, real estate, and other BPO services, so you will be able to focus on development.

 

3) How will they recruit developers for your project?

 

Recruitment is the most important step in business development. That is why seasoned IT researchers and recruiters have to attract and hire talents step by step. In this case, we do the following:

 

  1. Take your staffing requirements into account on the first call;
  2. Access our database of over 80,000 tech professionals to find the best engineers for you;
  3. Sometimes prepare prescreening questions for developers;
  4. Conduct an HR interview;
  5. Organize an online coding session or a tech interview upon your request.

 

4) Is it easy to scale your team if you collaborate with them?

 

A professional partner for software development provides its clients with guarantees such as 20+ software developers in 3 months. Otherwise, they will recruit the rest free of charge. On top of that, they should give you a 3-month warranty, so that you can replace a candidate if he/she doesn’t meet your expectations. At least, this is what our company does for every client.

 

recruitment-guarantees

 

5) Do they offer a compliant cooperation model?

 

An honest partner in development always makes sure that your business is lawful both in the offshoring location and your home country. For instance, our solution is fully compliant with local legislation which has been approved by foreign technology enterprises that successfully grew from a seed startup to a public company (BigCommerce, ThredUP).

 

Moreover, our lawyers provide any other legal support like obtaining work permits for your foreign employees in Ukraine – like when Grammarly, a leading English writing assistance provider that helps over 30 million people in the world, needed to legalize and receive residence permits for some of their foreign employees in Ukraine, Alcor made it happen and even more.

 

6) Will you own the source code?

 

Your intellectual property and the source code must legally belong to you from the beginning. For instance, we sign non-disclosure agreements with our clients to make it a reality.

 

7) Will you be able to control your cash flow?

 

Yes, if you work with professional accounting managers who will prepare detailed monthly invoices to let you see how much you pay for each service. Thus, you can make as many investments as you can afford at the moment.

 

checklist-offshore-partner

 

Final Thoughts

 

A partner in development can be found among outsourcing, outstaffing, or offshoring agencies. However, you’ll struggle to build long-term collaboration with outsourcers and outstaffers because most of them have scarce development experience in your sphere, offer weird pricing, lack commitment to your product, question your IP rights ownership, and poorly communicate with you.

 

To avoid dishonest development partners, ask the 7 most essential software development questions to your vendor. Luckily, our team knows the answers to all of them. That is why you may spend most of your time improving your product with complete operational backup from our side!

 

Contact Us

We will provide you with statistical data regarding the number of developers in Ukraine and their average salaries. The discussion will proceed with the expected hiring deadlines and our recommendations on managing payroll, equipment procurement, and compliance matters.

We respect your privacy and will never share your data with any third party or spam you

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