January 24, 2024

10 Questions to Ask a Software Development Company


Strategically outsourcing software development is a way to smartly build your product. Not only does it allow you to leverage your vendor's specialized expertise, but it also offers flexibility and speed without having to manually source and hire that talent.

That said, outsourcing to a custom software development company, by itself, isn't an ticket to an amazing product.

The key to a successful partnership lies in choosing the right software development company. This decision should be based on a thorough understanding of their skills, methodologies and compatibility with your project goals.

In this guide, we will explore a number of important questions to ask potential software development partners. These questions will help you gauge their experience, assess their technical prowess, and understand their approach to crucial aspects of the project.

1. Understanding the Company's Expertise and Experience

When you're in the market for custom software development, it's crucial to partner with a company that can turn your vision into reality. This begins by understanding their core competencies. Ask about their areas of expertise and specific technologies they excel in. This aligns their strengths with your project's requirements, ensuring they have the necessary skills and experience.

How to ask the question

Assessing Technical Expertise: What technologies and programming languages are your team proficient in? How do you stay updated with the latest tech trends?

Understanding Domain Knowledge: Can you provide examples of projects similar to ours that you have successfully completed?

2. Evaluating the Development Process

The methodologies that software development companies use when building can significantly impact their projects' success. Inquire about their development process, including agile, waterfall, or hybrid approaches. Understanding their workflow, from ideation to deployment, helps you gauge how your project will be managed.

How to ask the question

Agile vs. Waterfall Methodologies: How does your team approach software development? Do you follow Agile, Waterfall, or a hybrid methodology?

Collaboration and Communication Practices: How do you ensure collaboration and communication throughout the development process?

3. Ensuring Effective Communication

Effective communication is key to the success of any software development project. Ask about their communication strategies. This includes the frequency of updates, the tools used for communication, and the availability of a project manager as their dedicated point of contact. Get a feel for their project management style, and whether it meshes well with how your team works.

How to ask the question

Tools and Techniques for Effective Management: What project management tools do you use, and how do you track progress?

Communication Channels and Responsiveness: What are your primary channels of communication, and what is your typical response time?

4. Project Timeline and Milestones

Time is of the essence in software development. Question the company about the estimated timeline for your project. Understanding the timeline, including key milestones and potential roadblocks, helps set realistic expectations and ensures that your project is completed in a timely manner.

How to ask the question

Estimated Timeline: What is the estimated timeline for our project from start to finish?

Milestone Identification: Can you outline the major milestones and their estimated completion dates?

5. Cost and Payment Structure Transparency

Budget plays a significant role in any project. Discuss the cost and the payment structure upfront. This includes understanding the billing practices, whether it's a flat fee, hourly rate, or milestone-based payments, and any additional costs that might arise during development.

How to ask the question

Understanding Pricing Models: Can you explain your pricing structure? Are there different models like fixed-price or time-and-material?

Hidden Costs and Flexibility: How flexible is your billing in case of project scope changes?

6. Technology Stack and Tools

The technology stack that your software development partner uses can greatly influence the performance and scalability of your software. Inquire about the tech stack and tools they plan to use for your project. Ensure they are using modern, efficient, and scalable technologies that align with your project's needs.

How to ask the question

Tech Stack Inquiry: What will you be using to build our project?

Tool Selection Rationale: Why have you chosen these specific tools and technologies for our project?

7. Security Measures and Protocols

Security breaches are extremely costly, and one of the best ways to prevent them is to take care of the details when building. Ask about the security measures and protocols they implement. This includes data protection, secure coding practices and compliance with industry standards.

How to ask the question

Data Protection Protocols: What security measures do you implement to protect data?

Compliance with Industry Standards: Do you adhere to specific industry standards for data security and privacy?

8. Reviewing Past Projects and Client References

Past projects and client testimonials provide valuable insights into a company's capabilities. Request case studies or references from previous clients. This helps evaluate their track record and understand their experience in projects similar to yours.

How to ask the question

Success Stories and Testimonials: Can you provide references or case studies from past clients?

Learning from Past Projects: What have you learned from previous projects that can be applied to ours?

9. Post-Deployment Support and Maintenance

Software development doesn't end at deployment. Inquire about their post-deployment support and maintenance services. Ongoing support ensures your software remains up-to-date and functional, addressing any issues that arise post-launch.

How to ask the question

Support Services Offered: What kind of post-deployment support does your software development firm offer?

Maintenance and Updates Policies: How do you handle ongoing maintenance and updates?

10. Intellectual Property Ownership and Confidentiality

Protecting your ideas and data is crucial. Discuss intellectual property ownership and confidentiality agreements. Ensure that you retain ownership of the developed software and that your sensitive information remains confidential.

How to ask the question

Ownership of Code and Documentation: Who owns the final code and documentation?

Licensing and Usage Rights: What are the licensing terms and usage rights of the software?

Wrapping up

Choosing the right software development company is a decision that can shape the future of your project.

The questions outlined in this guide are tools for unlocking insights into a company's expertise, work ethic and compatibility with your vision. By asking these questions, you position yourself to make an informed decision, one that leads to a fruitful partnership and a successful project. 

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