Why You Should Speak to a Consultant Before Starting Custom Software Development
Poorly done software can leave your company website open to hackers and fatal errors, especially for online-only merchants.
If you're planning on using custom software for your next project, there are several questions you need to consider, such as basic project questions, scope, timeline, and the final result. Before you meet with a Las Vegas web development agency, know the answers to these questions. A web development agency will ask you a few questions to understand your project.
Any custom developer can need to understand what you want to develop and what a Las Vegas web development agency can do.
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Four Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
Before you even begin the development process, think about defining the project and explaining how you want it to improve your business.
1. Can You Explain It in One Minute?
You should explain what you want a custom developer to do in one minute or less. Therefore, you need to be able to verbalize succinctly:
- What do you want the application to do?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your long-term goal?
If you go into a Las Vegas web development agency without knowing what you want and what your goals are, they won't know how to quote your project. That can cost more money as they continue to tweak your project.
2. What Do You Expect Upon Delivery?
Know whether you need a mobile-responsive website, mobile app, custom shopping cart, or something else. Each of these can help your business differently, requiring different questions.
For example, if you want a new, mobile-responsive website, do you want your site to be:
- Easily updated by you or your staff? Do you want to post new products or information yourself quickly?
- Does your website need a shopping cart? Does it need to be integrated with PayPal, Venmo, or something else?
- Does the site need integration with a database?
- Will visitors need special access, such as to a subscription website?
Many businesses today have mobile apps. Which can help your business reach an entirely different audience. Know the answers to these questions:
- Do you want an Android or Apple app? Or both?
- Will the app be available to the public, or is it for in-house use?
- Will the app take payments?
- Do you need integration with GPS or Bluetooth for the app?
- Which platform is appropriate for your app, native, web-based, or hybrid?
You need to know what you expect your mobile app to do and where to launch it. For example, a publically-available shopping app will be pretty different from an in-house app designed for your employees.
An in-house app designed for your employees can do things like:
- Keep track of mileage for company vehicles
- Schedule appointments
- Send private emails, text alerts, or in-app messages
- Display analytics and reports
If your company needs a custom app, consider:
- What existing systems will the app need to integrate?
- How many people will use the app?
- Does the app need to be secure or encrypted?
- Will the app need to be HIPAA compliant?
Knowing the answers before sitting down with a web developer will effectively communicate what you need more clearly.
3. Will You Be Involved in the Development?
Some Las Vegas web developers use an agile process to develop software for their clients. First, they create a project in phases, focusing on each step. Then, they'll invite their clients to see progress and decide if it’s right.
Having the client involved in the development accomplishes two things:
- It allows you to see the progress made.
- The developer can make any needed revisions right away.
It's far better to catch any issues early rather than having to scrap a project and start all over.
4. What Is Your Timeframe?
The timeframe your developer has to work can help accurately quote a price for your project. For example, many small projects can be finished in a week or two, while significant, complex projects can take months or even a year.
Ensure that you’ve planned well ahead of time. You need to give the development team enough time to build what you need correctly.
You also need to include your budget when considering the timeframe:
- Do you have the money to build a prototype?
- If you don’t have the money, how much time will it take to get it?
- Once you have the money, do you plan to include any investors in the planning and development?
Questions to Ask a Las Vegas Web Development Agency
Once you understand what's involved in developing an IT project, it's time to arm yourself with a few questions about your development agency.
1. Does the Web Development Agency Have the Expertise to Complete Your Project?
When choosing a custom software developer, you want to ensure that they have the expertise to complete your project. You need to find a software development agency with a good track record and experience in writing code. The developer you choose should have experience completing projects and providing support.
It’s also important that your custom software developer acts as a partner, communicating with you and working to exceed your expectations.
Be prepared to ask any potential web developers the following questions.
2. Ask to See Their Portfolio and References
It would help if you saw a solid portfolio and also solid references. Vet any prospective Las Vegas web development agency personally.
Ask the following questions:
- Can you give me three clients as references?
- Does your company have a Clutch profile?
- What's your company's Clutch rating?
It's crucial to research the development companies on your list thoroughly. You need to choose one that will be a good fit for your company and have a good track record.
3. Does the Web Developer Outsource Any of the Work?
Web developers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China are at least 80% cheaper than American developers. As a result, it's tempting for some agencies to charge you an American rate and then outsource the work overseas.
That might be good for the bottom line of the US-based web developer, but it's not good for you. For example, miscommunication due to language barriers can delay or wreck your project. Also, China is well-known for stealing intellectual property. Even worse, unscrupulous overseas developers can create backdoors into your site.
There are many risks involved with outsourcing IT work offshore. First, if you pay a US-based company US wages, you must ensure that Americans do the work. Charging full price for offshored work is unscrupulous.
4. Can They Speak Plain English?
Talking to tech nerds can be frustrating when they can not explain things in plain English. In addition, not speaking the same language can slow down the successful completion of a project.
Can your web developer speak in layman’s terms to explain the development process? Also, do they have a grasp of basic business? So often, creative people, including techies, focus solely on their art, with little regard for business.
Good communication is vital to completing a project. Therefore, the IT professional needs to translate the tech-speak into plain English.
Asking Yourself and the Web Developer the Right Questions is Key to Success
Planning a custom software project is a significant investment in your business. The development company you hire is integral to that investment. Therefore, thoroughly vet each candidate.
Each step is essential, from your initial and business goals to your timeframe, budget, and final product.
By preparing yourself, you’ll be able to make an educated choice when it comes to a Las Vegas web development agency. Ensure that the development agency that you’re hiring is:
- Well qualified, and can prove it with an impressive portfolio and references
- Does the work in-house, and does not outsource
- Can communicate in plain English
- Is committed to the success of your project.
We hope this blog post has helped by providing a few things to consider before hiring anyone for your next IT project.
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