How To Choose The Best Software Developer For Your Project

software developer

So you’ve finally caught on, eh?

You’re ready to embrace innovation, unlock productivity, and empower your staff with upgraded business software. 

It’s finally time to build a project management system, billing software, or a scheduling tool. One that’s a perfect fit with your business processes.

Goodbye to slow load speed, confusing workarounds, and mind-numbing data entry.

Hello to automation, intuitive processes, efficiency.

But, hold on, don’t change your LinkedIn title to “changemaker” and award yourself ‘Employer of the Year’ just yet

You still haven’t found the software developer to build the system that’ll take your business to the next level.

So, how do you plan on choosing a software developer?

We think that business owners should be much more discerning when finding the right person or agency to deliver their project.

This decision is going to impact your entire business. 

So it seems only right that you choose a software developer who understands your business, has the knowledge to take it further, and wants you to win.

The only question is, how do you find them?

Keep reading to find out. 

5 Questions To Help You Choose The Best Software Developer

  1. Do They Have Experience In Your Industry?

Let’s say you manage a wealth management company. 

You’re ready to upgrade to an internal system that keeps track of your clients (and offset the huge risk of a mission-critical spreadsheet).

You could hire one of the world’s leading developers, but if they aren’t clued up on FinTech laws, they might build you a system that undermines your client’s privacy.

Yikes!

If a developer doesn’t understand your industry, how can they build a system that will help your business?

And it’s more than just your industry. When choosing the right software company for your business, you should hire a developer that understands:

  1. Why your business exists
  2. Your business’s size and stage of growth
  3. How your staff operate internally and in front of customers

Too many businesses fail to hire software developers who understand their world. They assume that simply having a clever engineer who’s fluent in code is going to get the job done perfectly.

Without understanding the context around your business – what you do, why you exist, what’s on your plate, and where you want to be in the future – a software developer won’t be able to build a system that works…for you!

They’ll build something that’s either too generic or too advanced, and expect you to adapt to it.

Leading to…

  • More time spent on workarounds
  • More money spent on additional hacks
  • More energy spent on supporting your staff
  • More embarrassment as you apologise to your customers for delays

In other words…

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The best software developers use their industry knowledge and business expertise to provide relevant insights on things like business process improvements

  1. Do They Share Your Goals – And Challenge Them?

People with an outside-in perspective can provide illuminating business advice and insights.

That doesn’t mean you should chase all your contractors for feedback…

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The guy who washes your windows probably has no business telling you how to change your processes.

But if you’re investing a significant amount of money into a new operating system, CMS, CRM, or website, you should try to find a software developer that genuinely gives a damn about your business.

That means they do three important things:

Things a good software developer should doExamples of how they do it
Share your goals for future growth – and want you to winThey actually bother to ask you why you want to invest in new softwareThey show enthusiasm when listening to your goals and repeat them back to you in conversations, demonstrating they understand where you want to beWhen presenting a proposal and their progress on your new platform, they’re able to contextualise how the developments will help you achieve your goals
Strive to collaborate with you and your team throughout development, testing, and launchThey host a workshop or similar opportunity for you and your staff to explain the status quo and what you’re looking for from upgraded technologyThey ask for feedback from you and your team when presenting progress or running a testThey ask insightful questions of you and your team about your day to day operations
Can challenge your ideas and make alternative suggestions or provide better solutions to your problemsThey’re brave enough to (respectfully) tell you if your idea is crapThey bring new ideas to the table and explain (with examples and evidence) how they might help your business

The third point is absolutely crucial – but also the most challenging to find in a software developer.

After all, it’s easy to be a yes-man in the tech world. All you have to do is listen to the brief, build the thing, and get paid.

It’s much harder to find a tech expert who’s comfortable with discussing the human side of software development.

So… how do you separate the collaborators from the yes-men?

You ask them about their process and you ask them for case studies.

If their process doesn’t involve collaboration with your team – run for the hills!

If they can give you tangible (and enthusiastic) examples of how they’ve helped other businesses like yours to scale and achieve their goals, chances are you’ve found the one.

  1. Can They Meet Your Timeline And Budget?

We know what you’re thinking…

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The last thing you want is for your new project to get widely more expensive or time-intensive than you originally anticipated.

Of course, getting a project done on time and within budget is important.

But what you might not realise is that 1 in 6 IT projects have a 200% cost overrun.

Can you afford that? We didn’t think so.

So, how do you find out if your software developer can meet your timeline and budget – beyond just saying “we promise”?

You ask them detailed questions about their process.

But, you can’t ask good questions without doing a little research into software development processes yourself.

We recommend you familiarise yourself with popular software development processes, such as agile vs scrum vs waterfall vs kanban.

This will help you know what your developer is talking about – and ask further questions – when they start explaining how they’ll work on your project and manage their time.

You might start to get some ideas about what style of software project management methodology will work best for you based on your communication requirements, the size of the project, and how bespoke the software will be.

Here are some important questions to ask when sussing out whether a software developer can deliver on time and within budget:

  • Do they have case studies that demonstrate how they’ve delivered projects of a similar scope in the past?
  • Have they worked for a business like yours in the past?
  • Do they have controls or guarantees in place in the event that a project goes over time and budget?

It might feel awkward at first to ask challenging questions, especially about something you’re not an expert in. But, when you’re investing in your business’s future, it pays to make sure there’s a fit with your software developer. 

  1. Are They A Thought Leader?

A thought leader is more than just an expert in their field. They’re an innovator, unafraid to challenge the status quo and constantly working on practical solutions to take their industry further. 

Let’s be honest. “Thought leader” is a total buzzword nowadays.

And it can be hard to sort the real freethinkers and changemakers from the guys who spend their time dreaming up new titles for their LinkedIn profiles…

Source

So, why should you care about hiring a genuine thought leader in software development in the first place?

Because they put innovation first.

Innovation is crucial to your business software for four reasons:

  1. It solves problems
  2. It strengthens your advantage against competitors
  3. It improves internal productivity and efficiency
  4. And this leads to higher returns and profits

But they never just build tech for tech sake! It’s gotta add value somewhere.

No wonder 50% of companies say that their technology partners are the most important part of their innovation strategy.

So… how do can you tell if a software developer or software development agency is a thought leader?

Some questions to ask yourself as you do your internet stalking (no judgement!) are below: 

  • Are they producing consistent, valuable, detailed content about their industry? (via LinkedIn, their blog, YouTube, podcasts etc)
  • Do they appear on other business’s podcasts or content (eg. case studies, recommendations, networking events)
  • Does their content seem original, cutting-edge, and maybe even a little controversial?
  • Are they open about their own journey in software development and show self-awareness?

You want to choose a developer that recognizes the signs of broken business processes in their own organization and is constantly trying to improve and grow. 

Otherwise, how could you trust they’d do the same for you? 

  1. What Do Their Customers Say?

We all know that reading reviews is essential when choosing to buy… anything.

But discerning between software developers is slightly more impactful than sussing out who does the best butter chicken.

So with that in mind, it’s crucial that you corroborate reviews between multiple sources to work out which software developer or agency has the best reputation.

A Google search doesn’t always cut it. Use specific review sites to find more detailed testimonials of software developers from other businesses like yours.

We’re huge fans of Clutch and Capterra because they allow you to find and compare developers all on one platform. 

These sites will actually interview the customers to gain as much detailed information as possible about the service provided, as well as complete transparency into cost.

Check out our profile:

Source

Why Choose Human Pixel (that’s us!) 

Let’s cut to the chase. 

We think we’re the best software development solution for growing Australian businesses.

Here’s why…

  1. We put people first

Building software that empowers businesses means putting people at the centre. 

At Human Pixel, we find what works by collaborating with your people and immersing ourselves in your process.

We don’t overwhelm you with jargon and niche concepts – that’s rubbish.

Our development process ensures that you and your team are involved at every stage. 

This helps us get the insights we need to solve your everyday challenges, and it enables your team to receive hands-on guidance with new tools to improve their performance and workplace wellbeing.

  1. We thrive on problems

Seriously. Tell us everything.

As innovators, technologists, and all-round passionate people, we’re not afraid to get into the nitty gritty of what’s holding your business back. 

Our Discovery Workshop gives you the opportunity to tell us exactly what’s happening, what’s going wrong, and what your best case scenario would be.

We invite clients to be bold and ambitious with their goals. We work best when challenged as we develop the best digital solution to eliminate barriers and unlock new opportunities and success for your business.

  1. We tailor a solution that fits like a glove

That means being up front and honest about what your business needs. 

If your problems could be solved with a simple off-the-shelf solution, we won’t beat around the bush with something overcomplicated – we’ll give you the tools you need and be on our way.

But if your business needs a unique solution that bridges the gap between numerous departments, we’ll build you a fully custom, digitally architected solution that becomes your IP.

With Human Pixel, you can have complete peace of mind that your business is in good hands. 

Conclusion: Choose Human Pixel

If you’re looking for a human-centred approach to solve your business problems, Human Pixel is the perfect solution. 

start a conversation with us today and lets explore together what’s possible to take your business to the next level.  

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