The Preliminary Step Before You Start Choosing a Company
Define Your Needs and Project Goals
Outsourcing software development should be treated similarly to any other internal project you are working on. You should define:
- what the project is meant to achieve
- what resources you are able to invest
- what resources are available to you
The main difference is that you are outsourcing software development particularly because you do not have the (human) resources required to complete the project in-house. Thus, your search for a software development company is the third point of the list.
Still, it is up to you to define your project’s goals and specific objectives to the best of your ability. Similarly, you can, at least, provide a ballpark estimate of how much time and money you are willing to spend.
Once you start negotiating with a company, your plan will likely change to a degree. Their expertise in working on software development will help you make a concrete plan that may or may not fully align with your initial one. However, even with the expected changes, you should come to the negotiating table with a draft plan in place.
Do You Need Staff Augmentation or to Hire a Project Team?
Understanding the goals of your project will also help you understand what type of software outsourcing model you are looking for:
- Staff augmentation – where you hire an individual developer to fill a skill gap in your company and augment your in-house staff.
- Project teams – where you hire a mostly-independent team to develop software from A to Z.
This distinction is important because not every software company provides both outsourcing services. Some may specialize in one or the other, so that is something you need to keep in mind during your selection phase.
With that out of the way, we can start discussing how you can select the best software development company in Australia for your project.
5 (+1) Tips for Choosing a Software Development Company from Australia
1. What Kind of Reputation Do They Have?
The first step is making a master list of potential companies and filtering them by reputation. That includes checking out their websites for any social proof they put out (like client reviews and ratings), taking a look at their social media, and perusing independent review platforms.
More than likely, every company will promote the best reviews and ratings on their website and social media, as they can curate them. While this information is still relevant, independent review platforms are much more trustworthy.
When the ratings from independent platforms and those from the media the company manages align, you can make a reasonable estimate regarding the company’s reputation. That being said, this can be a long and arduous process.
That’s why we’ve done this part for you. Each software development company from Australia on this list has excellent ratings and reviews, so you can use it as the backbone for your selection process.
2. Does the Company Provide the Specific Services You Need?
Once you have chosen a number of companies you are interested in, it’s time to see if they can offer you the services you need. Software development, and IT in general, is a very wide field of industry. Creating a custom mobile app is very different from creating a payment platform, which is still further off from cloud solutions.
Thus, you need to shortlist only companies that provide the specific services you need. Again, this is something we’ve done for you – in the list, you’ll find what each software company specializes in and what their areas of expertise are.
3. Does the Company Have Demonstrable Experience?
Now that you have shortlisted companies that can do the job you need and are satisfied with their reputations, it’s time to dig deeper. And that includes looking for their portfolios and case studies. Demonstrable experience is the best indicator that a company can do a satisfactory job.
Case studies and portfolios give you information about specific projects the company has worked on. You can compare your project with the ones they have completed and if you find they have worked on similar ones, that company goes on the shortlist.
However, you may not find projects similar to yours in their portfolios – they may be a newer company, your project may be very unique, or they might have even signed NDAs for previous projects and, consequently, can’t display their experience publicly.
Thus, if you find a company you truly like but it doesn’t have demonstrable experience, you don’t need to dismiss it. But they would need to find other ways to convince you that they can get the job done. In such cases, a smaller, pilot project could be a good gauge of the company’s abilities.
4. What Project Management Methodology Do They Use?
Up until now, we’ve mostly discussed how to estimate the technical capabilities of the company you wish to hire. Yet, that’s not all that’s needed for successfully completing a project. Unless you are only augmenting your in-house staff for an internal project, the company you hire needs to manage it as well.
Which leads us to the following – what kind of project methodology do they use? It is recommended to hire a company that follows the Agile model, as it has proven to be the most effective method for software development projects.
If you are unfamiliar with Agile, it is a methodology developed in the 2000s specifically for software development. It is based on an iterative approach to delivering a product, with repeated testing, quality assurance, continual client input, and a focus on flexibility based on the practical situation.
In simple terms, the Agile approach enables the end product to be bug-free and delivered on time. But, here’s the thing – applying Agile successfully necessitates trained and experienced staff. Thus, besides the technical expertise of the company you wish to hire, they also need to be experts at Agile project management.
5. What Channels of Communication Will You Use?
Client input for Agile projects is not just a pro-form feature. It truly includes consistent communication. That means that a check-in email every month is not sufficient. There are many approaches you can take – you can have bi-weekly status-update meetings, access to their workload management platform where you can follow the progress in real-time, a dedicated member that will send you weekly report, etc.
The bottom line is that you need to be involved to get the best product possible. While communication can seem like a small point of friction in theory, it has proven the opposite in practice. Bad (or a lack of) communication can unnecessarily delay projects or result in unsatisfactory software.
So you should be aware that you (or your representative) can’t take a fully hands-off approach but need to invest some time. And when you are outsourcing software development to Australia, that means making a plan on aligning your working hours due to the different time zones and deciding on the channels of communication you will use.
On the other hand, an experienced Agile company will be aware of all the potential pitfalls and should guide you through the process. We’re not claiming that these are insurmountable obstacles, far from it, we’re simply saying that these are things that should be dealt with before you decide to partner with a company.
5.1. How Do You Align Culturally?
Finally, outsourcing software development to a project team or hiring developers to augment your staff works best if you are a cultural match. You can think of it similarly to hiring new employees – a good cultural fit enables productive engagement.
As far as Australia goes, there are no language barriers you need to overcome and the work culture is similar enough to the US one that there should be no issue. However, at the end of the day, how well your company cultures match boils down to personal preference, so listen to your gut.
Looking Outside of Australia?
In case the best software development companies in Australia don’t meet your criteria for partnership, you have other options. We create and curate similar lists of the best software companies from all around the world, so peruse our lists until you find a company that you would like to hire.