12/07/2024

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Recommendations for Selecting Software Vendors

Recommendations for Selecting Software Vendors

A successful partnership with your Software Vendor starts with a proper selection process. When you approach your search for a vendor with the attitude of finding a partner instead of a part-time or transient one you deal with the search in an entirely different way.

Here is a list of things to look for in Software Vendors:

The quality of listening intently

During your selection process you must assess how deeply involved your vendor is in terms of understanding your needs. We have heard several times from clients that vendors jump to conclusions quickly without truly understanding the problem.

Deep desire to understand your business needs

Deep desire to understand goes hand in hand with the above quality of “Listening intently”.

Competence

You must be able to judge the competence of the vendor either by touching and playing with their prior work or by conducting referral interviews.

Is the Vendor asking lots of questions

When you see that your potential vendor proposes solutions without asking questions you must be cautious. Experience really does not matter here, every business need is different and has unique scenarios which can only be uncovered by appropriate questions.

Prior project success stories

Does your potential vendors have prior similar project implementations, if so can they demonstrate the work. The closer they are to your requirement the better.

Methodology, Agile, Waterfall etc.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Every vendor must follow one or the other methodology, preferably the one you are either following internally or the one that you prefer.

Code management, use of source control such as Github, Bitbucket, Microsoft TFS, etc.

Needless to say without a Source control system there is no way you can run a software company.

Change management process

What is the change management process your vendor follows? If you have one you can enforce that on your vendor, if not they need to have one defined.

Knowledge on Usability and User Experience (UX)

Software developers generally do not care about User Experience. Only in the recent time a lot of companies are paying attention to UX, especially after smartphone explosion. Any software that has been developed by your vendor need to follow some basic principle of UX. Check to find out if they have any in place.

Dedicated QA team, automation tools usage such as Selenium, JMeter, etc.

QA is the most important aspect of software development. You need to make sure there is a dedicated team for testing within your vendor organization, if not are they using a third party. And also if they are used to using automated testing tools.

Maintenance plan (if you wish to go that route)

What is the maintenance plan if you are intending to keep the vendor on board after the project has been completed.

As per our Clients here are things to keep in mind.

When checking reference, make sure you find out about on-time performance of all the companies you research.

Compare the process between the different companies with focus on this list:

  1. How well was the project scheduled laid out
  2. How responsive was the programmer to questions
  3. How smoothly were changes integrated into the schedule
  4. Did the client feel that the changes were priced fairly
  5. Most important how would the client rate overall communication and quality of solutions to unforeseen problems

Watch out for this Red Flag, when a vendor comes in waving their magic wand and saying they can do it all, without fully understanding the business or what was needed on their end to deliver a quality product.

Hope you find the points we presented in this article useful. You can also check out our Blog for shorter version of this article with a video in which our clients spoke about the points discussed here.