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8 Tips for hiring a first-class software development company

Posted on: August 31st, 2017 by Simon Swords

Atlas Team discussing a Software Development Project

Here at Atlas we know how hard it is when trying to hire a software development company for a new software project, whether you are a start-up needing an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) or an established business that needs new custom software to help with your business processes.

So here are our eight tips for hiring a first-class software development company:

1. Make sure the company has a wide variety of customers

The software that you have built will affect marketing, sales and sometimes it is the product. The more experience your chosen software development company has across a variety of businesses and industries, the better they will be able to help you improve your business.

Atlas has undertaken software projects across a range of businesses and industries including wealth management, financial services, pharmaceutical and manufacturing for big businesses as well as for venture capital backed start-ups. See our latest Software Development Case Studies for a few examples of the businesses and industries we have worked with in recent years.

2. Make sure the company uses a variety of different technologies

Find a company that has created software projects in a variety of different technologies and languages such as .NET, C++, C#, PHP, for a range of platforms including mobile (iPhone/Android), web and desktop. Languages, like tools, should be chosen on the basis of the one that gets the job done efficiently and to a high standard. Be wary of any company that seems to favour one particular technology and cannot articulate a business case to support their choice.

Atlas has experience and expertise in developing software solutions using C#, Microsoft ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Core, ASP.NET Web Forms, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Quartz.NET, Entity Framework, Xamarin, jQuery, Knockout, MomentJS, Native Script, SQL Lite, RestSharp, PHP, MySQL and the Atlas Framework. We have also created Mobile Applications for Apple’s iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch) and Google’s Android (Smartphone) platforms.

3. Make sure the company doesn’t use offshore labour

A company that only provides offshore software development teams will certainly cost less than a company with in-house software developers. You’ll find plenty of cheaper alternatives to UK software companies in India, Ukraine or Russia. However, be mindful that cheap software development often compromises important factors such as quality and the timeline for delivery. There are also other factors to contend with such as language barriers and time zone differences.

Atlas’ software development team, the testing team and the support team are all in-house at our offices in London or Southend-on-Sea, Essex. We do not employ any offshore, nearshore or remote team members, our staff are in the offices 9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

4. Make sure the company insists on small frequent releases

Much has been written about the benefits of frequent deployments so we won’t labour that point here. You should aim to have new releases of your software to review or perform user acceptance testing (UAT) once every couple of weeks. This approach is generally founded upon an agile software development methodology.

Atlas uses the Agile methodology for software development which has short and regular releases and iterations built in by default. Where possible we recommend agile, rather than the waterfall method for software development.

5. Make sure your software partner is sufficiently resourced

Most software projects are not a steady stream of work that requires a fixed amount of staffing resource. A major benefit of working with an established software development company is their ability to ramp resources up and down on your project in response to the project’s needs. Moreover, smaller software development companies could be unable to adapt quickly enough to meet your needs, and might perhaps be too reliant on your particular project for their revenue.

Atlas employs a range of dedicated and experienced developers, testers and project managers not just for our customer’s bespoke projects, but also to manage our own software products. Having teams of people dedicated to our products gives us flexibility to move them on to urgent customer projects as required at short notice.

6. Make sure the company has an online tracking tool

It should handle bugs and features, and also allow you to see the developer’s hours and notes. The better ones will also have your agreements, contracts, invoices and payments online so that it takes no time at all to keep track of these important details.

Atlas uses various online collaboration tools like Trello (see our example Trello Board) when doing software development, so our customers can always see where we are in the development process on their project. We also have regular meetings with our customers and update the online tools we use after each meeting so that everyone involved in the software project is on the same page.

7. Don’t hire a company that wants a piece of the action

It is tempting to use a company that will work for a lower or zero cost in exchange for a share of the company or the company’s profits. A software company that meets the above description generally needs a stream of income to make payroll. If your project does not provide that, they will eventually have to work on other projects. If you are paying a lower cost, you may find they would rather work on other projects that are paying the market rate.

Atlas doesn’t want your company or your idea, we are here as your software development partner and we will support you and your product vision every step of the way when working with you on your software project. We have even created our own software products, and that helps us better understand software development from our customers point of view, which is something most other software development companies don’t possess.

8. Make sure your software development agreement gives you intellectual property ownership

You should own the resulting Intellectual Property (IP) and source code for the software solution provided to you. If your developers use third party components to speed up the development of your solution, ensure they have the correct licenses they can pass on to you.

Atlas’ software development agreements assign all rights in what we produce to you. You’re welcome to do with your software, intellectual property, source code and all related materials exactly as you please.

How Atlas can help you

If you’re interested in finding out how Atlas could help you with your bespoke software development requirements, give us a call today on +44 (0)800 133 7948 or fill in our contact form for a free no-obligation consultation.

Simon Swords


Managing Director

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