Questions to Ask your Software Developer before Getting Started

Working with a software developer to create a bespoke product can add immense value to your business. To find the perfect tech partner to deliver your project’s needs as efficiently as possible, it is helpful to ask the right questions and be upfront with your needs.

In this blog, we outline some key questions to ask as well as what to prepare when you delve into your bespoke software project, whether it’s an App, portal or configurator.

 

Set Your Project Off on the Right Foot With the Right Questions

Coming prepared with the right questions when trying to find a software developer ensures a good fit and a well-aligned brief right from the off.

 

“Can a project be delivered in phases/stages?”

You may have the finished product in mind when you first approach developers, but working in a phased delivery approach will mean your project can hit milestones (e.g. prototyping, having a product ready to put live), while adding ‘nice to have’ features later on.

 

“What would a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) look like?”

Linking to your questions about phased delivery, ask your developers about a  Minimum Viable Product (MVP): what you need to feasibly launch a product that showcases functionality.

Efficient collaboration and questions will ensure a launch version that all parties are happy with, with some scope to add functionality and features over time.

We continue to roll out new features in a phased delivery on our project Mine Smart Backfill Pro for Paterson & Cooke, adding new features that will continue to benefit their product.

 

“Can you integrate into my existing tech stack?”

If you want to develop a standalone piece of software that doesn’t need to integrate with any existing software, then this can be easier as we will effectively be building from scratch. If you need integration as a core functionality of your software, ask your developer about compatibility with your existing setup at this time.

Having an understanding of a developer’s code base gives a better understanding of how the partnership will work: if integrating with your existing tech stack is an important part of your project, the ease of doing this will be covered at this point.

At Buzz, we use C# and .NET as our programming language, which is one of the more popular programming languages worldwide for its adaptability.

If you’re unfamiliar with your existing tech stack (i.e. platform, integrations), use the time ahead of speaking to a developer to find out as much information as you can, and how you would like the new software to fit in.

Asking about your developer’s past projects and breadth of expertise can help gain an insight into what is achievable, and how this aligns with your needs.

 

Assets & Content

When it comes to design assets and content, your software developers may be able to create these for you, or you may prefer to use your internal team’s established designers and copywriters.

It is worth establishing early on where the responsibility lies for content provision, and when during the development process it will be needed and in what format.

Outside of development work, ask about their approach to project management, client communication and collaboration. This will give a better understanding of what they will be like to work with on the ongoing project, and how you will receive deliverables.

 

A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way

If you arrive prepared with information about your wants and needs for bespoke software when enquiring, you are likely to get more actionable answers when approaching developers to scope out a project.

 

Your timeline

It’s helpful for developers to be aware of any dates or deadlines on your end, allowing them to create a tailored project roadmap, but also giving them a better idea of what is achievable within those timeframes. Coming back to creating an MVP or phased delivery, it may be the case that an idea of your priorities for the software and your deadlines mean that bespoke software can be developed to meet these targets, with features not immediately needed following in future releases

Whether there is a set date in which a proof of concept needs to be ready, or a trade show where you’d love to show off your new software, informing developers at this stage will make it easier to scope out what is achievable in that time, and what your MVP may look like.

From the successful MVP on our Beluga Pods project, we were able to create a pack of materials that allowed their founder Georgie to bid for funding.

 

Budget

Transparency around your budget is helpful for developers to know in the early stages of development, and while you may be reluctant to share those numbers upfront at first, this gives the development team a much better idea of the scope of what will be achievable and make sure you can get the most out of your investment.

As with timelines, you may be able to spread the costs if you are open to having a phased delivery of your software, allowing you to launch your software with just the critical functionality, and adding further features post-launch.

 

Competitor examples

If you’ve seen something that works similarly to what you want your finished product to look like, showing this to developers will give them a better understanding of the kind of finished product you have in mind.

Even if it’s not a like-for-like functionality, anything to help demonstrate key features will help your developers approximate the technology your software will need to include.

 

Start Your Project with an Informed Approach

By covering these questions and preparations when talking to your developers, you can hit the ground running once you start your project. Covering all queries and gaining a deeper understanding will only contribute to a higher-quality product.

If you have a project you would like to enquire about, talk to us today and understand how the team at Buzz Interactive can help you achieve your goals.

team meeting

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