How to Find a Software Development Partner

How to Find a Software Development Partner

Avoid wasting time and money on a software developer that does not deliver what you need.

Fool Me Once…

I hired a team in the early 2000s to build a low-level Internet filter because it was technology I had no experience with. Our first round of calls went well. They affirmed that they could do the job in about three months. We communicated regularly, but the project just kept dragging out. In the meantime, I built the frontend and studied low-level Internet filtering.

Almost a year later, I had an “ah hah” moment. I realized it was impossible to create what I had asked for. I brought this up on our nightly call, and the project lead confirmed it was impossible. When I asked why they didn’t tell me, he said, “we’ve been doing what you told us to do.

What “I” told them to do? I was telling them what I wanted. I had no idea how this stuff worked. That’s why I hired them. They knew what they were building was a waste of time but never brought it to my attention or explained what my real options were. They did not have my best interest in mind.

We left them and found a qualified partner who got us what we needed in 30 days. It was very expensive, yet worth every penny. In hindsight, we would have saved a lot of money, despite the steep rate, had we found a highly qualified partner from the beginning.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Finding the right development partner is crucial. They should understand you and your business objectives. Their focus should be on delivering a product designed to support those objectives.

You must be able to trust them.

You need a partner.

The Path to the Right Partner

A three-step process for finding the right software development partner:

  1. Define your project requirements
  2. Research potential partners
    • Be sure their values align with yours
    • Evaluate their technical expertise
    • Check their communication skills
    • Review their contracts and agreements
    • Look at their development process
    • Check their portfolio and references
  3. Consider the cost of the project

We can help you with this. Click here to schedule a free consultation where we’ll listen to your need and help you make a plan.

Define Your Project Requirements

Begin with the end in mind. That is, clearly define the scope, objectives, and requirements of your software project. This high-level clarity will allow you to communicate your needs to your potential partners and evaluate their ability to meet those needs.

Research Potential Partners

Research potential partners by searching online. Online reviews from companies that have hired potential partners can provide valuable insight into what kind of experience you can expect. Ask for recommendations from people you know who have developed custom software. Look for companies with experience in the relevant technologies and industry you’re focused on.

Be Sure Their Values Align with Yours

Hiring a software development partner whose values do not align with yours can lead to a lack of collaboration and understanding, potentially resulting in conflicts and delays. It can also result in a product that does not meet your expectations or align properly with your business objectives, wasting time, money, and resources.

Evaluate Technical Expertise

Look for partners with a proven track record of delivering successful software projects. You need to find a partner who is dependable and delivers the quality and functionality you expect. They should have the knowledge and experience to solve your custom software development problem.

Check Their Communication Skills

A good software development partner should have strong communication and project management skills. Project status should be clear to you at all times. Ask potential partners to explain how they will manage your project and specifically ask how they will keep you informed of the project status.

Review their Contracts and Agreements

A capable software development partner should have experience in establishing a straightforward and secure working arrangement with their clients. Don’t assume they won’t share your project details, replicate your idea, or give you ownership of the source code. Check their legal documents before hiring them to ensure they address these critical details in a way that is favorable to you.

Look at their Development Process

When evaluating a potential custom software development partner, it’s crucial to review their development process carefully. Make sure you have a clear understanding of their methodologies and tools, or ask as many questions as needed until you feel comfortable that their approach aligns with your organization’s way of doing business.

It’s worth noting that software development processes can vary greatly, from highly structured project management with a well-defined backlog of tasks to more informal approaches involving email-based interactions and ad-hoc deployments. It can be infuriating to work with a development team whose process does not match how you run your business, so don’t assume your way of working fits with theirs.

Check their Portfolio and References

Review a potential partner’s portfolio and references to evaluate the quality of their work and their ability to deliver successful projects.

Consider the Cost of the Project

Make sure that the project costs align with your budget. Don’t sacrifice quality for cost savings. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the lower-cost partner ended up costing us much more than a highly-qualified partner who was very expensive.


There is a lot to consider when hiring a custom software development partner. You’ll need to be sure they understand your requirements, their values align with yours, they have the skills needed to do the job, and they will communicate project status. A good software development partner will also have legal documents that clearly define your working relationship and a seasoned process that ensures your project stays on track and within budget.

Schedule a Free Consultation

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  2. Describe your project and ask questions.
  3. We share expert advice from our 35+ years of experience.

Yes, it’s really that simple.

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