What to Consider When Choosing a Software Development Company

Outliant Editorial Team
January 23, 2023
min read

With new digital transformation trends and the competition for consumer attention intensifying, brands are seeking alternative means to reach a wider audience. This could involve building a new app or revamping existing operations. Whatever your goals may be, it’s crucial to consider the efficacy of the team you entrust to achieve them. 

While transforming a business may require conceiving of innovative ideas, choosing the right development team can make all the difference when it comes to actually bringing your products to life.

Read on to learn about software development teams and how to choose the right one to develop your products. 

  • Types of Software Development Teams
  • How to set up a software development team
  • Roles & Responsibilities of a Software Development Team

Types of Software Development Teams 

The structure of a development team may differ, depending on the size of the company or the services they offer. That said, here are three common types of software development teams to consider:

A Generalist Team 

A generalist team is a group of professionals with general technical skills and experience. On this team, every member has partial knowledge or expertise in different product development fields; however, there are no experts in a specific department. Generalists provide practical support, relying on their variety of knowledge and ability to adjust to changes. They’re equipped with the soft skills needed to face complex situations, where a specialist might struggle. 

A Specialist Team 

On a specialist team, everyone has a specific role to play. It consists of individuals specializing in one particular field, niche, or technology. They typically have vast knowledge of their designated role and provide practical solutions to issues in a particular category. The team offers high quality for any product in their specific field; however, it might take considerable work to achieve general goals with this kind of team. 

A Hybrid Team 

A hybrid team is just what it sounds like: a combination of specialists and generalists. They work on general projects, narrowing them down to specialized areas when necessary. As a combination of two broad systems, the hybrid structure offers a better advantage when managing talent; this way, businesses get an unbiased perspective when exploring ways to develop a product.

How to set up a software development team 

Choosing a software team might be challenging; you want to hire a team that understands your company values and goals and can interpret that when building your product. Here are some basic requirements to look for when selecting a company:

Product Requirements 

It’s vital to determine your product needs before hiring a development team. These requirements could include the features to be built, the project's timeline, and even your budget. For instance, if you're updating or revamping an existing product, you may require a minor team instead of hiring a large group to build a new product with new features and third-party integrations. Outlining these fundamentals will narrow down your list to the team of qualified individuals that tick these boxes. 

Company Portfolio - Experience and Technical Knowledge

A company's portfolio is the main way they exhibit their team's strengths, which can help you decide whether or not they align with your needs. When checking a company's portfolio, key things to look out for are the services, team capability, previous projects and products, and strategic business units. This gives you an informed analysis of what you can expect when partnering with that company. 

Team Efficiency - What is the response rate to issues? 

When hiring a development company to build a product, make sure to analyze their response rate to problems that arise during the process or after project completion. Discuss the agreed-upon, estimated time frame for any issues that may arise and how different product issues should be prioritized. This will also help the company sort out bugs and specific technical problems in a timely manner.

Delivery - How do you want the service to be delivered?

Some mobile development companies outsource and contract engineers or product development specialists. This group typically works hourly and responds to issues based on the hours they log in for work. Considering this factor is important, especially if your products require all hands on deck. Understanding what works for your product can determine what delivery style meets your needs. How do you want to be serviced? An on-call team or a service-and-go type of structure? You’ll want to map this out before hiring a development company and commencing the project.

Understanding Different Software Systems

Different software and AIs have specific functionalities, which could affect the illustration of your product, if not accurately applied or integrated. So, understanding the various functionalities of each software intended to be used for your product development is essential. The Tech Stack should be analyzed before kickoff, to avoid a case of inaccurate integration that could require both teams to circle back to the beginning, even after the project's launch. 

Clarify the Application Ownership

Who owns the product after development? You might be outsourcing to a software company to help develop a product. Still, you need to determine the ownership of IPs and the service level agreement before signing a contract. This makes it clear who has specific product licenses and access to certain areas of development. 

User Experience for Products

Consumer satisfaction is each product's end goal, making the user experience crucial when developing a product. The functionality and design of each product create the UX experience for your users. It’s paramount to consider the user experience for your product before outsourcing to a mobile development company. 

Communication Process

When choosing a development company, the communication pattern might have a bearing on whether or not a team is a good fit for you. It’s a good idea to determine this before project kickoff, because it helps define expectations and keep a steady flow when progressing with a new project. For example, daily or weekly standups are options that provide consistent updates on the project's progress. 

Referrals & Testimonials 

Through referrals and testimonials from previous companies the team has worked with, you can gauge their level of commitment to their clients. What are their product success rates? How attentive are they to the concerns of their clients? And how well do they work towards achieving their client's goals? The answers to these questions will help you determine whether or not the development company will prioritize your concerns.

Roles & Responsibilities of a Software Development Team

The roles in a software development team help define each member's responsibilities to ensure adequate work balance and enhance project performance. This section will focus on each position that will help you build your perfect team.

Product/Project Managers 

While very similar, the roles of a product and project manager differ. They help organize initiatives, manage team members, and aid in accomplishing company goals. A product manager determines the guidelines for product development, outlining every phase from deployment to launch. They achieve the product end goals, by efficiently monitoring updates and progress. On the other hand, a project manager determines each project element's parameters, through planning and managing resources, like budget control, and maintaining effective communication with team members. 

Business Analysts

Data is becoming more and more vital to business growth, and businesses that make the most of their data tend to reap the rewards. To this end, a business analyst processes and interprets product information, by analyzing data to define the target audience's needs and communicating these findings to marketers and developers. Essentially, they navigate through users' behavior/concerns, providing product enhancement and development recommendations. They measure a product’s relevance to users and help determine if it solves the identified problem. 

UI/UX Designers 

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers are similar roles that require creativity and technical skills; UX designers analyze user behavior to improve user experience, ensuring that the target market enjoys a seamless browsing experience with accessible features. In contrast, UI designers focus on the layout and visual design, by exploring features like fonts, colors, forms, sounds, and animations. In many cases, individuals specialize in performing both responsibilities. 

Software Developers 

Software developers are technical engineers who code software through various programming languages, frameworks, and libraries, and they play a major role in product ideas becoming a reality. Based on their experience and skill sets, they can be junior (typically a rookie with between 1-3 years of experience), middle (with a minimum of 3 years of coding experience), or senior (with considerable years of experience in coding). Software developers also vary in their specialization; they can be full-stack, front-end, or back-end developers. 

QA Engineers 

Quality Assurance (QA) engineers are typically specialists that focus on finding and fixing bugs in a product or program before its launch. They collaborate with developers on fixes, to ensure that the software works properly and conforms to quality standards. They manage the testing processing, by running through testing theories and codes. They usually have a general idea of programming, and with the help of the script they've written and a bug report, QA engineers save time and prevent further mistakes when building a product.

Tech Lead 

The primary responsibility of a tech lead is to manage the technical team. The tech lead is an experienced programmer responsible for tech tasks, like code review, and streamlining the team's technical skills. They manage developers during production, to minimize risks and solve practical problems. Similarly, they allocate technical roles reasonably, providing feedback to the managers about each member's capability. They also boost motivation and morale among team members, ensuring that they can handle tasks and are not overwhelmed.

Choosing the right software development company requires due diligence, as most companies tend to look attractive during selection. That being said, considering these specific requirements is a good way to filter through your options and make the best choice. 

We bring visionary ideas to life - Outliant is a software development company with a diverse team of first-class talent that turns innovative ideas into real products and projects. As Webflow experts, our services span design, engineering, analytics, marketing, and more. Send us a message today, and let's transform your business! 

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