Finding a Software Development Partner for Your Business
Your think-tank has developed an idea with the potential to revolutionize big data and global automation. Members have devised a plan to integrate highly efficient artificial intelligence for global automation and instant transfer of data and intellect. Development techniques, design, and implementation, no matter the complexity, is instantaneous on a worldwide scale.
Even though the above scenario is a fabrication, it highlights real-world situations. Many questions start boiling to the surface; where does the team go from here? How does our partnership find the right software development team? How do we bring ideas to reality?
Collaboration and trust is a foundation brick for any company. Brainstorm the following ideas, find the right software development firm and bring your innovative idea to life.
Consider the software consultants and software development team that you choose, as a business partner to your success. From the outset, it’s vital to have a checklist for bare minimum qualifications, agreed upon by all company members. Recommendations are a necessary element in the vetting process. Examine the company from every angle and always dig a little deeper. Remember, the innermost secrets and ideas will need to be revealed to prospective companies.
Here are five areas of focus:
- Communication – From day one, both sides must know precisely what’s expected from the other. No matter the degree of complexity, the software team should be using SCRUM and every team member needs to understand the “Definition of Done” checklist.
- Focused Technology – Look away from companies whose leaders believe prospective customers are impressed with college degrees and the more the technologies, the better. Run away as fast as you can. If your group requires the .NET Framework, find an expert in that framework and add-on technologies. Front-end and back-end development is highly specialized; choose the right programming language like python, node.js, and Ruby. Shy away from expert companies that know it all.
- Deployment – Your development team should be eager to show you their best work, either on demand or on weekly demo meetings. This progress report has several goals. The most important being, your input to make sure development is heading in the right direction. What you need to stay away from at all costs, is a useless piece of software that took six months to compile. Communication is the key, which means you must be able to communicate with the developers, not just their companies account rep.
- Like Minds – Choose a development company with the same goals and business structure. Deciding on the most robust, multi-language developer half a world away and you fight for engineering time. Choose a one-person shop and your project may overwhelm. There will be a fine line to walk when selecting a firm with the right know-how, which means choosing an offshore company because of unbelievably low pricing will likely result in failure.
- Partners – You should be looking for a software firm with a like-minded business structure and focus. There are millions of different software development companies from iPhone App developers to IBM AI vendors. Your partner needs to understand your development needs on an ongoing basis. Most importantly, they need to understand your business and industry.
Technology has exploded at exponential rates in recent decades, from artificial intelligence to gaming and hardware. Having a great idea and breaking into the world of technology takes a foundation concept, a good team, and a solid plan for success. At Sparkfish, we build the right teams based on your needs, marketplace, and business objectives.
Capable technology firms are located the world over. But communicating software and mobile app development requirements with a company on the other side of the world has never been more challenging. Even if you are a senior developer yourself, communicating your vision across any language barriers to someone in another country with different laws and business culture will be extremely difficult. Most that try to save a few bucks taking this route end up with far less than expected and obviously no recourse to save their investment short of hiring and international lawyer.
If my company needs development, consulting, and engineering services, why should I choose local engineers and consultants? The question becomes, “what’s the advantage of doing business with a local company?”
- Getting things done right the first time and at the lowest cost are essential components to any successful business, but understanding the lowest costs are key. Buying local means no communication gaps, accountability on all deliverable, measurable performance standards are well understood, and true market impact can be guaranteed.
- What many business visionaries may not realize until they’ve completed their first custom software development project is that the partner you hire must invest a lot of time to understand your business, objectives, expected outcomes to truly develop your vision into a market driver. This is almost impossible when hiring offshore.
Software consultants commonly use a different skill set than a typical programmer. Programmers take ideas and write code. Software consultants have a slightly broader scope in terms of proficient languages, business acumen, and perspective. However, the difference between a software consultant and a programmer does not stop at the pay-plan. When making your choice, the development team should be hired for a specific purpose and goal in mind.
Sparkfish software consultants and developers look at the big picture of your organization and make targeted recommendations. The consultant analyzes a company’s hardware, networking configurations and then implements software upgrades through the software developer. Ideally these people should be part of a self-managing development team that you’ve hired on demand.
Choose the right consultancy firm based on idea number five above. The firm should be a partner, advising your company on a directed path. These recommendations may include hardware upgrades, future needs, and how best to use their recommendations going forward.
The following sections are where the rubber meets the road and successful ideas require advanced technologies on varied platforms. Use the information below as a starting point and bare minimum qualifications for any development team.
It takes a special talent to be proficient at software development. Software firms must have top-notch developers with the ability to take specific ideas and turn them into reality. There are dozens of different high-level programming languages, each with unique characteristics. Here are five of the most popular and each needs the right developer for your project to be a success. Choose carefully.
- Python – This high-level, all-purpose language has an easy syntax to learn for developers, which decrease costs. Python is a favorite for the web as an embedded scripting language. Python makes a solid foundation for the back-end of your project.
- C# – Considered as a revolutionary programming language, C# contains both high and intermediate package levels. All-purpose object-oriented language used by Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe.
- PHP – An active worldwide community keeps PHP as one of the most widely used languages on the web. The most notable companies on the internet engage PHP configurations.
- Java – One of the most widely used and popular languages ever written, eight billion devices use Java. Founded on ease of writing and object-oriented programming, Java is a popular language to learn for every software development expert.
There has been an explosion of applications providing do it yourself website building. Websites are often built by cutting and pasting or uploading text and images to the Content Management System (CMS). The most well known of these Content Management Systems are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, along with plenty of others. Early stage CMS providers hide the HTML and CSS from the most inexperienced of users. All that’s needed to create a website is hosting space, downloading WordPress, downloading a theme and following directions. The number of blog posts, tweets and websites are staggering, with experts agreeing there has been an increase of 800% of new websites each year.
Beyond the website world, web applications and portals are where your front end must interact with the infrastructure, and this is no small task.
Client-side developers should have complete familiarity with as many of the following as possible:
- HTML / CSS
- CSS Preprocessors
- REST & RESTful APIs
According to recent statistics, more people are accessing the internet on mobile devices than desktops. The move to mobile is a huge opportunity for developers poised to take advantage. If your think-tank project involves a mobile device, developers should be familiar with responsive and mobile design.
Responsive functionality means a desktop website or application is geared to changing screen sizes. Typically, the HTML code from the desktop site includes view-port code telling the browser specific screen size. Developers are now honing skills to improve upon the move to various screens and hardware.
The idea for instant global transfer of ideas and design will no doubt involve some form of optimized mobile application. Look for a few of these basic design specs from your software team.
- Functionality across platforms (iPhone, Android)
- Triggers for specific actions (input a phone number triggers an email)
- Optimized navigation
- Fast loading
- Reformatting based on screen size rather than a browser
Back-end or server-side development is the code a user never sees. Server-side connects to databases, powers applications, and manages the myriad of connections from the website to various users. The right team to influence your ideas may have different specialists for each area of development, both front end and back end. Finding the best solution may involve a larger team than you expected with different computer programmers for each area of your project.
Programming for the server side of a project will encompass either, object-oriented development or functional development. A development team needs to decide from the outset what will be the best direction for your project. Familiarize yourself with both development strategies; this is fundamental coding. 1) Object-oriented programming is the process of creating objects, then an executed statement. 2) Functional programming is action based using declarative language.
Functionality for the server-side of any project is just as specialized as front-side language development. It’s vital that front-end developers work in union with a back-end developer to produce precisely what your think-tank project requires. Programming languages may overlap. However, their syntax is different. Back-end developers need to have a solid understanding of the following programming languages. Any developer should be able to prove their competence.
- Java – A versatile language, which can be used for both front-end and back-end programming. Any skilled developer needs a solid understanding of this primary language. The use of Java covers smartphones to desktops because of the versatile JVM acting as a React.js buffering layer. There’s a vast community of avid followers for the Java language.
- .NET – This framework is Microsoft’s counter to Java. The architecture, designed to be controlled by an MVC (Model-View-Controller) then interacts with all back-end duties. In 2016, the language was offered as open source and is highly stable. Microsoft’s .NET is versatile across a variety of platforms and applications.
When it’s time to interview a back-end development team or individual, you may find that most developers are experts in a single programming language. It’s essential when choosing the right software team that you know the background and education of the developers doing the work. A complete vetting process, from the head of the company to each developer needs to be carried out before any hiring.
- Ruby – Developers can create and launch applications quickly with the Ruby language. Ruby on Rails is a set of tools allowing for prototyping and repetitive tasks. Ruby is open-sourced. Developers usually know this language on top of others.
- PHP – This server-side language powers over 70% of all websites on the internet. Developed in 1995, popularity has continued to grow. PHP allows the developer to write dynamically, which aids in error detection. Every developer should have a basic understanding of the language.
- .NET – Many of the languages popular for front-end development are also a backbone for server-side development. Developers should be able to write in C# and VB. The language is great for development of all Internet technologies. Since Microsoft made the language open source, popularity has grown.
- SQL – Structured query language (SQL) is a staple technology for the web. The language is easy to learn due to its declarative nature. With the rise of database technology, SQL has unlocked the potential.
- Python – This language is used for all types of applications and desktop development. Python, dynamically written makes it easy to correct errors. An elegant object-oriented language.
The goal for your think-tank and your idea is to find the right partner with the right knowledge and experience. Whether your team wants to be within driving distance, or at least the same state, depends on a culmination of your vetting process. What’s important is timely communication and quality of the updates.
Hiring the right team is a daunting task, made easier with current technologies. Your think-tank and its vision or idea will succeed if you take time to choose the right partner. Use the ideas above as a starting point for deeper research into quality companies and their knowledge.
At Sparkfish, we take team building seriously and have the right resources to build the expert team that you need for your project. Most importantly, our teams have the business savvy needed to work for your business as a part of your business and ensure all custom solutions deliver on your intended impact.