6 Questions You Should Ask Before Working with a Software Development Agency

Building software is rarely a simple task, and many businesses don't have in-house developers who can effectively develop and maintain the software they need.
That's why many businesses choose to hire software development agencies to build and maintain their software.

Why work with a software development agency?

A software development agency knows how to build software from the ground up and can turn your ideas into software that is extensible and easily maintainable. They can write code that not only does what it's supposed to, but that also doesn't cost a fortune to maintain. Many businesses don't consider the cost of ongoing maintenance and feature development of their software, which often ends up being significantly more than the cost of initial development.
So how do you find the right software development agency to work with? Sure, it's tempting to just pick the first agency you find, but it's generally a good idea to shop around before making a decision. There are a number of things you should consider before choosing an agency to develop your software.

Here are 6 questions you should ask a software development agency:

1. Can you tell me more about your agency?

This might sound obvious, but a lot of people skip this simple question.
Getting to know the agency you might be working with is an important step. It's the first step, in fact, of developing a relationship with them. You need to find out how their agency works, how long they've been in the business of software development, if they outsource work to junior developers, what they're good at, and what they're not so great at.

2. Can I see some of your previous projects?

Just like with any job, the hiring party should look for a portfolio or compilation of past works to determine if the applicant is a good fit given the specific requirements of your project.
You should look into their past projects to see how well they developed the software and what the final products looked like. You should also try to get ballpark numbers regarding initial cost and ongoing cost.

3. Would it be possible to speak with your past clients?

At job interviews, applicants are often required to submit character references. This gives the employer a direct channel to individuals who know the applicant well.
The same applies when hiring an agency. It's incredibly valuable to get insight from people who have worked with the agency in the past. They can answer any questions you might have, such as what it was like working with the agency, how well they communicated, how organized they were, what problems came up, and how they handled those problems.
The benefit to speaking directly to past clients is that it gives you an idea of the agency's work ethic and general values, which can be equally as important as technical experience. You don't want to be working with an agency that might have very different values than you.

4. How do you communicate with your clients?

Every agency should be able to give you a clear plan or technique for how they communicate with their clients.
Having a software development agency work for you does not mean you get to sit back, relax, and watch them do the job. Collaboration is essential, and developing software requires hands-on participation from you as well. That's why it's important that you and your agency can communicate effectively.
Asking this question will help you determine whether the agency communicates effectively, as well as find out what tools they use to keep projects organized and on track. You'll then be able to gauge if communicating with them will be smooth and seamless.

5. Will you take charge of the maintenance of my software?

Software development is not a one-time thing. It requires regular maintenance and new features are often needed after the initial launch. You need a developer who's willing to work with you in the long run. That means attending to updates, bug fixes, and feature enhancements.
It should be clear how quickly the agency will respond to issues that arise and what guarantee they are making in regards to their availability.

6. Do I have full ownership of the code?

Employees of a company should always acknowledge that any work they do is not theirs—it belongs to the company.
It works the same way in software development. Once you pay the agency, all of the code should be your property. It's essential that ownership of the work product is transparent.

These are just a few questions that will help you find the right agency.

We hope they'll save you from the headache of working with unprofessional or inexperienced agencies. Before you pick an agency, make sure you can confidently dismiss any concerns you may have about them by asking these 6 questions.