Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Having worked +4 years in software factories and moving from a software developer to CTO, many times heard and answered the question: why would we choose you as our tech partner? In this article you will find the key aspects to select the best software factory for your needs.
The company size is one of the key aspects to consider when choosing a software factory. You have to know that the service you will contract will be different if the software factory has 30, 100, 500 or 1000 employees.
A small company, if it intends to stable in that size, can be called a boutique. The boutique will care a lot about your experience and will try to provide an excellent software product. You won't be another client for them since they usually will have between 5 and 10 projects, no more. Also, usually they are trying all the time to innovate and use the best technologies. The downsides: probably in some part of the process they are not the best. They can focus on web development, or UX design, but it will be hard that a small c
ompany will take in all the development process in the same quality level.
A medium company already has teams dedicated for each client, and probably lots of products built. They will try to reuse all the already built services the have (with the good part and the bad part of that). Usually the will try retain you: for bigger companies, retaining clients is key because they cannot be rotating clients all the time as they have already a big costs structure. Let's hope that they will try to retain you for their good service (delivering in time, good communication, quality software) and not for their bad service (never finishing, using hard technologies they only know).
A big software factory has already a standard service, teams to deliver, and teams supervising those teams. They will probably offer a great service and have worked with the greatest companies locally or internationally. You will probably want them if you have a running and stable company, but probably not the bests to develop an MVP being more traditional with bureaucratic processes.
Location, language, timezone
If you are looking for a software company, you have a great advantage comparing to other industries: you have the full globe to look for it! Software factories usually will work remotely with you. That's why you need to consider where your time will be, at which hours will they work and how do they will communicate.
If you are building an MVP for your great business idea, you want to have a strong relationship with your builders. I would recommend you to pick a team that at least shares a 4 hours window with your working hour, that will be enough for both to have online dailies and speak about the product advances, next feature and more.
Many software factories have teams in different places of the world, and usually have commercial offices near the clients. The clients like to know there's the chance to meet personally with someone from the software factory. Check if the software factory has an office near your place.
About language, always someone in your team will speak good English. I encourage you to check if all the team does, and if you will be able to talk with all of them. Your developing team will know a lot about your product since the are building it: their opinion really matters to you.
For this point, I will assume you are not a technical person. If you are, comment me if you agree with what I say on this point.
The technology the software factory will use to build your idea is essential. Picking a wrong one is starting to build your house with the wrong bricks. Ask which technologies they usually use, which ones they will implement in your project, and all the why's. If you know anyone you can trust on the software world, ask for his or hers opinion. Google for the technologies and check comparisons.
It's also important to know if the software factory will use a licensed or private software. If you are building an MVP, I will suggest to keep away private stuff and limit to open software. Therefore, be careful with libraries: a library is an open source piece of code that anyone can use. Check if the software factory has a process to select open source code: it's really dangerous if they use any random stuff they find on the internet (and believe me, I have already seen many cases about stupid software done by others supposedly harmless but then mining bitcoins in clients servers).
All the software factories have Juniors, Semi seniors and Seniors. This experience division is related to the years of the developers coding in the market. Of course, this is directly related to the hourly price.
My advise for this topic: try to pick a balanced team. Yes, juniors maybe will code slower than a senior, but don't underestimate them: they junior probably will get in love with your product and feel it like it's own. I'm not saying this won't happen with the rest of the team, but it's more likely to happen with Junior developers which are building their first products. Therefore, it's important to check how the Junior's code is supervised to someone with more experience.
An experienced person it always needed in the teams. No matter if you are building another marketplace, having a Senior or Semi Senior in the team who can technically lead the product, answer your questions and design a scalable architecture is mandatory.
Software factories have different cultures and ways of working depending on how they grew. Feeling comfortable with the persons you will work with is something you need to consider. Check if you feel there's trust between both sides and if there are the intentions to have a strong professional relationship that will benefit both sides. Meet the founders or the C-levels if possible.
Today, the software world is collapsed and there is a lot of potential clients for the software factories. Don't feel that you have a stronger position than the software factory just because you are the one paying: if they are small, they can find another client really fast and usually will select the clients they want to work with.
If you are on the search for the best software factory that will develop your idea, hope that this article was helpful. Here are some aspects to compare software factories:
Reviews: other clients experience is fundamental. It's a good idea to check if the company is on Clutch and if it has reviews there.
Employees opinions: another interesting topic! Check what people believe about working for that software factory, usually there hides the truth.
Price: I will write another article about this, so stayed tuned!
I'm Gonza, Co Founder & CTO of Zerf. Yes, you guessed, it's a software factory! After reading the article, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org if we match your needs.