Another 4 Qualities of Top Software Development Firms

In this post we discussed 4 qualities of great custom software consulting firms. Here is another set of 4 qualities to consider. Use these when evaluating your prospective software development companies for upcoming custom software projects.
5) Seniors and juniors
Do the software consulting companies with which you’re talking have senior developers on projects? Do they have any senior developers on staff at all? If not, run for the hills.
There should be senior developers (7-10+ years and very good at consulting) on projects. They have the experience, among other things, to make the appropriate design decisions, can have the tactical and strategic discussions with client stakeholders, and lead and coach junior developers to ensure they’re learning and growing and doing the right work in the project. They’re the leaders in the projects, along with product owners and project managers.
6) Ethos of improvement
Does your prospective software vendor talk about the company constantly improving itself as it learns and grows? Do they talk about individuals in the company doing that as well? Is it a part of their culture to learn and grow? It should be.
7) Personal responsibility
How many times have you seen this situation?…where people working on any kind of project will point the finger as someone else when something goes wrong, throw bad work over the wall and hope someone else cleans up after them, or they’re like the kids in the old Family Circus comic strip saying, “Not me!” (as in, “It wasn’t me that broke the vase.”).
You obviously don’t want that. You want your software consulting company vendor to have team members that take ownership of their work, take pride in what they do, and want to do a great job and constantly add value.
8) Collaborative
Working on complex projects in a collaborative fashion is very important and valuable. Better work gets done faster when team members have a natural tendency to collaborate within the team and also with their client.
Does your software vendor team have this collaborative tendency? If not, that should throw up a red flag.
Consider these 8 qualities of a potential software consulting firm. Are they present? It’s hard for all of them to be present in a company. If most or all are, you can be better assured they’re going to be a good long term partner to get the right work done.

4 Top Qualities of a Software Development Firm

When selecting a software development firm to work on your custom software project you want to select the best option available, right? They all seem the same from the surface, but they aren’t. It’s not difficult to discern those that will provide a much greater chance of software project success.
Here are some qualities and experience to look for. If you don’t find most if not all of these, then you might want to consider looking elsewhere for a top software development firm.
  1. Listen and understand without selling
    Any project, no matter the type, starts of with the potential vendor listening and understanding…not talking and selling. Does your prospective software development vendor listen and ask questions in the first meetings? Do they truly understand the situation you’re in?
  2. Can say No
    Can the software firm you’re talking with say “No” to a project because it’s not a best fit? Are they so desperate to get the project that they’re willing to do anything to get it, including massive discounts, ruining other client projects to focus on your project, willing to take on the project even though it’s completely out of their capabilities and focus? If it’s not a project they can and should do, they should be able to say, “No, this project isn’t for us. Thank you for talking with us! Maybe you should talk to this other company.”
  3. True focus of the project
    Do they ask you questions like, “What really drives your company?”, “What is the main goal of your company or department at the end of the month or year?”, “What do you really care about?” If they ask those types of questions there’s a good chance they have the right focus. You can tell them what features you want, and they’ll suggest how the project should go. But they should also be thinking about how the project will help you accomplish what matters, what you care about in the company. If the project isn’t helping with that focus, then is the project really worth doing?
  4. Disciplined approach to specifications
    What do the specifications look like for the project your software vendor is about to tackle with you? Or, what do the specs look like for past projects they’ve worked on?
If they say, “We don’t need specs.”, run for the hills. If their specs don’t have a low level of detail for what needs to be created, run for the hills. If they can’t show you a sample of a spec, run for the hills (they really should have at least one spec or part of a spec they can show you with appropriate redacted info for the other client’s confidentiality.
Keep in mind there are different types and styles of requirements specification…even Agile projects have spec docs…they’re simply in a different format (e.g., epics, stories, etc.).
More top qualities of top custom software development firms to come in the future.