This article will concentrate on how to choose a (software development) partner who helps you grow your business, not just deliver certain tasks.
Choosing any kind of business partner is challenging. How do you know whether or not they can support your business growth? Do you feel comfortable trusting them? Do you need a partner who delivers a set of predefined tasks or someone who takes responsibility for helping to achieve your growth dreams? This article will concentrate on the last one - how to choose a (software development) partner who helps you grow your business, not just deliver certain tasks.
I have been in the software and product development industry for almost 20 years and have sat at both sides of the table - offering services and also choosing trustworthy partners. I have seen how a partner is chosen by judging CVs and hourly prices. And honestly, I have to say that this doesn't work for me at all. The CV alone says nothing. Yes, I expect high competence, but a bunch of nice CVs don't guarantee it. Not even a little bit. As for the price, yes, money matters, but ROI also matters. The cost of something is nothing compared to if it is done in a way that supports growth. Growth is my passion.
Here are two simplified examples:
You put the same amount of money into the development of 5 new features. The first option is that they get done exactly as written, but later on it comes out that the end users chose not to pay for those features. Therefore, it does not increase your income. The second option is that maybe only 3 of those 5 features get done. But by using methods of understanding the end users, their behavior, and marketing, those 3 completed features get instant success which then leads to higher profit.
You put the same amount of money into the development of a bunch of features. They get done, but with different architecture choices. With bad choices only afterwards do you start to hear excuses like "this functionality cannot be added", "this breaks the whole system", or "it takes ages to implement this". However, with better architecture choices the comments will always be "yes, it's easy to scale the product and conquer new growth goals".
Which way do you choose for your product?
Looking at those examples, the initial team, CVs, or budget won't help you understand which outcome it will be.
So, let me propose 5 out-of-the-box things to consider when you are looking for a partner organization to build software that helps your business grow:
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