Staff Augmentation

10 Questions to Ask Your Next Development Team

Daniel Soto Rey
CTO
-
Tres Astronautas
April 1, 2024
10 min
Key Points:
  1. Importance of Selecting a Competent Development Team
    • Crucial for project success, akin to choosing a strategic partner.
    • Like selecting an architect to realize dreams or solve challenges.
  2. Key Considerations in Choosing a Development Company
    • Understanding the problem, quality/experience, and compatibility are pivotal.
    • Scenarios highlight potential pitfalls when these aspects are lacking.
  3. Validating Understanding, Quality, and Compatibility
    • Questions probe understanding of business objectives and challenges.
    • Assessing testing processes, past projects, and methodologies for assurance.
  4. Ensuring Quality and Adaptability
    • Handling scope changes, communication strategies, and addressing unexpected challenges.
    • Ensuring product-market fit for success and return on investment.
  5. Utilizing Questions to Select the Right Partner
    • Provided questions aid in assessing potential software providers comprehensively.
    • Emphasizes the importance of understanding, quality, and adaptability for success.

Choosing a development team to execute an idea, a venture, or any project is a task that many of us face more and more frequently. Selecting a good development team can be crucial to the success of the company; you are choosing a partner, a strategic ally. You are choosing the architect who can make our dream house a reality, take us to the moon, or keep our feet on the ground.

However, choosing a company can be just as challenging a task as building software. How do you compare different companies? How do you know if the company is the right one? How do you validate their knowledge? It is easy to answer these questions when you have knowledge about software, but most of us do not. What questions can help you better choose your next development team?

Our experience has shown us that the most important questions to ensure a good result in creating a technological product revolve around understanding the objective/problem, the quality and experience of the provider, and compatibility and adaptability.

What happens if one of these three is missing? Let's look at some example scenarios:

Scenario 1: Quality and Experience with Compatibility, but without understanding the problem:

The provider will create a beautiful and efficient application, but upon launch, you will realize that it does not solve the initial problem. You will have spent a lot of money and will still need to invest more to address the real need.

Scenario 2: Understanding of the problem with Quality, but without compatibility and adaptability:

After initial research, the provider will deliver an application that addresses the identified problem. But when you implement it in your organization and discover deeper challenges, the provider will not be able to adapt. Eventually, you will be asked to start the process from scratch with the new learnings.

Scenario 3: Understanding of the problem and Compatibility, but without quality and experience:

The provider will try for months to deliver an application that works. Despite having an excellent relationship and successful conversations, the final product will not meet expectations. After months of frustration, you will have to take your product to a new provider who will prefer to start the development from scratch.

So, what questions can help shed light on understanding, experience, and compatibility?

Questions to validate understanding of the problem

  1. In your own words, what is the main objective or challenge of our business?
    • It sounds obvious, but sometimes understanding the main objective in a clear and concise way is difficult.
  2. What projects with a similar objective have you worked on, and what were the most significant challenges?
    • Having worked on similar projects will help deepen the understanding of the objective.
  3. How could we measure the success of the project after each delivery?
    • Having good success indicators reflects a high understanding of the real objective and how it impacts the business.

Questions to validate quality and experience

  1. What is your testing process to ensure the quality of the product?
    • This is a broad question, but it is important to understand how the provider ensures quality. The quality of the final product ****is a mix of software quality, design quality, and experience quality - Do you want to know more about how a technological product is tested?
  2. Can you tell us about a similar case/project with customer testimonials?
    • A similar experience, with clear numbers on the impact and testimonials from past customers, is the best validator for experience. Having faced a similar challenge will make the way they approach the project much less risky.
  3. What methodologies do you use for software design and development, and why?
    • Today's ever-changing world demands iterative or agile methodologies. While this is common in the industry, each company has its way of implementing them, and it is important to understand the provider's specific stance on these methodologies. A good indication is that the provider is able to articulate their entire process from understanding to implementation and market rollout in a way that is clear about the iterative cycles and important milestones or checkpoints.

Questions to validate compatibility and adaptability

  1. How do you handle scope changes or project learnings halfway through development?
    • This derives from the previous question, but it is important to emphasize how the provider responds to change. Change is the only constant in creating technological products. A provider with clear and predictable strategies for managing it will increase the project's chances of success.
  2. How do you manage communication and progress throughout the project?
    • All individuals and companies communicate differently. It is important to know that there is synergy between the provider's communication strategies and your organizational habits. The success of a technological product is largely based on good communication. So it is important that both the provider and your organization are comfortable with the periodicity and modality of communications.
  3. What is your action plan if the project encounters unexpected challenges?
    • Creating products, especially software development, constantly face unexpected challenges. Technology can change, new restrictions can be imposed, it is necessary to integrate multiple systems that can fail, among many others. Understanding how the provider will mitigate these challenges is crucial for the project to move forward. A good framework is to start with a clear identification of risks, estimate the likelihood of them occurring, and have a clear action plan for the most critical ones.
  4. How do you ensure that the software will truly fit the need and the market (product-market fit)?
    • Most unsuccessful technological products can identify the cause of failure as a poor fit of the product to the market. Sometimes even with understanding, quality, and adaptability, the product simply does not fit its market. It is important that the provider can guide your organization to truly understand that market, how to impact it, and how to ensure that adoption represents a success and a return on investment for you. - Do you want to know more about why Product Market Fit is so important?

We invite you to use these questions the next time you are talking to a potential software provider so that you can test for yourself how understanding, quality, and adaptability are the foundations for choosing an ally to help you meet your business objectives and ensure that your investment truly generates the return you expect.

If you want to know more about how we address these questions at Tres Astronautas, write to us; we are here to help you navigate the space of possibilities and understand more about creating digital products.

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