What questions should you ask when talking to a software house?

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Okay, so you have the right software house in hand. You skimmed and then you did some research on them (and also some more!) and finally decided upon the lucky candidate. That is truly an awesome first step. A big hurdle removed, between you and your completed app (think: ongoing downloads 24/7). So this is the sacred place where you realise your creative dreams (and hopefully financial independence).

Let’s face it, in order to communicate well with any organisation, you need to understand their language and culture. And no, we are not referring to the native language and the native culture. We are talking about their jargon norms. What technical terms do they use to communicate and what do they mean? Better yet, how will your app really be developed? Who will do what and why? Before you get an anxiety attack, we urge you to calm down! In this article, we share some technical undertakings of a normal app development process. Since knowledge is the first step towards sound decision making, get yourself knee deep into the app development “behind-the-scene”. Read on.

Our past experience tells us that clients who ask the right technical questions have a more satisfying relationship with a software house. Knowing about how your app will be developed and designed will put you in a pilot position (no kidding). You will feel under control by understanding the intricacies behind an app programming and integration. It will also be easier to appreciate the kind of hard work put together by app development teams behind a seemingly “simple looking app”. Above all, you will understand the role of each team member and empathise when you talk to them. Here are the top five questions that you need to zero in, in order to achieve a better locus of control in your app development process.

Software House Methodology

What is their methodology of developing application projects? Are they into Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall, or a unique mix of all design? Read up on each of these design methodologies. They really boil down to the type of steps to be performed and in how many iterations.

Development team

Ask about the out-sourced team members of the development team. Where are they located? What timings are best to get in touch with them? Will you be able to chat or Skype with them? For a successful project management, you need to get in touch with the developers easily. Another important issue to sort before plunging into the design and development process is to determine the intellectual property policies. Who keeps the source code? What forms of copies do you get? Do you receive all rights or partial? Settling these development questions, in the beginning, will help make way towards a smoother development pathway.

Continuous integration

Focus on achieving transparency. What continuous integration and deployment policies do they use? Slack or Github? Is it possible for you to have access to them all? This enables you to check for any updates periodically, without requesting for an update or a meeting. A great way to get started is by conducting your personal research on these two collaboration portals. What kind of development problems has been posted by other users? How have they been addressed? Try asking a question or two in the support community and begin warming up today!

Programming practices

Ask about their programming practices. Does the development team do code reviews? Do they program in pairs? Is it a test-driven development process or is it a static code analysis. Knowing about how the team works help you determine the kind of functionality and complexity you can possibly have.


Lastly, how does your selected software house expect to be paid? Do they prefer hourly wages? Remember, it is highly unlikely that you would receive a fixed price quote for a medium to a large sized project. Smaller projects, however, do receive close to accurate fixed price quotes. Ask for a periodic upgrade and support costs to budget in your upcoming expenses. Financial issues are best-discussed hand-n-hand with projected sales and profits. What kind of marketing support is the software house offering you? How do they plan to pitch your app in the stores? What is the best business model for your app? And above all, what kind of ROI are you looking at.

When armed with these five questions, we assure you that you can be confident of your new app venture management capabilities. Try to extend your research beyond these five points. In our software development experience, the best service for the client is the ability to manage changes in requirement. The key is to stop and consult in the right stages. An experienced software house is aware of many such exceptions and knows how to handle them wisely.

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