How To Chose the US Software Company You Need
Create a Draft Project Plan and Define Your Objectives
Before you begin the search for a software company from the US to outsource development to, you should start by understanding what you need. You can start by answering these 3 basic questions:
- What problem do I need to be solved?
- How can it be solved?
- When would it ideally be solved by?
For instance, let’s say you run a marketing agency that has offices in multiple cities. As your business has grown, it’s become hard to keep track of tasks, communication has been faltering, and the quality of your work has started to suffer. So, we get back to the questions:
- Problem – workload management and poor communication
- Solution – using a custom workload management and communication platform
- Timeline – 6 months
From this, you can start making a more concrete plan. What functionalities should the software have? What systems should it support? How can it be integrated with other software you use?
You don’t need to be able to answer all of the latter questions in detail. That’s something you can, and should, discuss with the IT experts that would actually be building your platform. However, the better that you can define what you need, the better your end product will be.
What Type of Outsourcing Do You Need?
If you follow through with the point above, you will also be able to answer – what type of outsourcing do you need? In essence, you need to choose whether you want to hire a company that will only create a product according to your specifications or a company that will take on more of an advisory role.
For many projects, it is more than enough to hire a company to build specific software and have that be your entire interaction. Conversely, you may require a software outsourcing partner that will do more than only create software.
Here’s the thing – not every software development company in the US has the capabilities to take on a consulting/advisory/partner role. So that is something you need to consider before selecting a company.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about how you can choose the best software company in the US for your project.
1. Create a List by Reputation
The first step is simple in theory – create a master list according to companies’ reputations. You can look for referrals from people you trust or use independent review platforms to check a company’s ratings and reputation.
However, this step can take quite a lot of time. But that’s what we’re here to do – the 15 software development companies on our list have the best reputations and track records in the US, so you don’t need to create a list yourself. From there, it’s on to step two.
2. Assess Their Technical Skills
By now, you have 1. defined your project objectives; 2. selected companies by reputation. So it’s time to check whether the specific companies have the expertise required to successfully complete your specific project. There are three ways you can do this:
- Check out their portfolio;
- Check out their case studies;
- Check out their (senior) employees.
Portfolios and case studies provide excellent insight into what a company can achieve. If they’ve managed to complete projects comparable to yours, you can be reasonably certain they would be a good fit, from a skills aspect.
However, there’s one catch here – the software company may have signed NDAs when working on previous projects and, consequently, can’t publicly display everything in their portfolio. Thus, it is never a bad decision to contact a company representative and see if they can provide more information.
As for point 3, peruse a company’s website and see what specializations their employees have (for large companies, senior employees should be good enough - to lessen the workload). It’s also advisable to check individual employees’ social media, like LinkedIn.
These 3 points can help you gauge the technical capabilities of a company and see whether they can create the software you need. From there, it’s on to assessing whether they can carry out the project in practice.
3. How Good Are Their Project Management Abilities?
A software development project is just that – a project. Thus, it requires both tech expertise and project management capabilities. Otherwise, your software may be delivered late, unnecessarily buggy, or without the specific functionalities you wanted. A software development life cycle is… complex, to say the least.
While smaller, one-off projects may not necessitate a particular management methodology, larger, long-term projects certainly do. Thus, find out what project management approach the company utilizes.
In general, software development is done in accordance with the Agile method. This approach focuses on delivering software in iterations, repeated testing, continual communication between the client and the project team, and making changes (if necessary) as the project comes along.
This approach is preferred because it has proven to deliver the best software, with the fewest bugs (which are mostly unavoidable with software development), within the set time frame. Consequently, when you find a company you are considering hiring, ask about their company structure and have them guide you through their project management process.
Dismissing companies that you don’t believe have the organizational capabilities you need, even if they are a perfect fit from a technical standpoint, can save you a lot of headaches in the future. From there, we get to the next point.
4. Where Are They Located?
Because we are discussing outsourcing software development, which is often outsourced to other countries, this point should be mentioned. Where is the company located, what time zone are they in, and what are their working hours?
If you outsource to a US software development company, there’s no issue – you will be in the same (or similar) time zone so there should be no conflict. However, for the sake of argument, let’s say you are outsourcing development to India.
In that case, you would need to think about how you and their work hours align. Even if you hire a fully independent team, you will still need to hold meetings and communicate. If you were to have a team from India work in collaboration with your in-house staff, then aligning your work hours is even more important.
These are obstacles that are easily overcome with the correct approach (which makes point 3 even more important), but not something that should be disregarded. So, if you are considering outsourcing development to a country other than the US, have an actionable plan before you commit.
5. Do They Offer Post-Development Support?
The penultimate step is to inquire about post-development support policies. Most software requires at least some maintenance. In general, it’s best if the same company that created the software maintains it. Thus, see what services the potential partner company provides and what kind of post-development support you can expect.
Even if they offer none, it’s not the end-all-be-all. You can hire another company for maintenance or train your in-house developers, if you have them. However, this will affect your long-term budget, so it’s something you should factor in before making a choice.
6. Prices and Payment Models
Finally, we get to the prices. And here, there’s no way to circumvent the fact that most US software companies have higher rates than companies from other countries. However, don’t just think about the upfront price, but the cost-effectiveness.
US development companies are the best in the world, it’s as simple as that. When they take on a project, you can expect the highest quality of services. Thus, you minimize the chance of getting faulty software that doesn’t do what you need it to do.
So, yes, you will typically pay more for a US company than for an offshore one. However, you may end up saving money because you got what you needed on the first try, instead of having to hire additional companies to help out or losing clients because of a bad software solution.
At the end of the day, you know how much you are willing to pay for the services you need. We are simply advising that the nominally cheapest option may not turn out to be the most cost-effective one in the long run.
Looking to Hire Software Development Companies Outside of the US?
In case you don’t see a software development company from the United States you like on our list, check out similar lists for other countries below. We find and promote the best software development companies from Latin America to Eastern Europe, giving them some much-deserved spotlight. Take a look and find a company that meets your needs.