Custom Software Development

How to Choose a Software Development Company

You obviously want the best software development company you can find as fast as possible to begin building your software solution. But before you start looking for a development company for your software project, it’s crucial that you first have a clear idea of your strategic objectives and that you translate these into concrete project requirements. From there, you must extract specific project goals and a realistic timeframe for scoping, development, implementation and training.

Many companies offer custom software development services and, as in any industry, you have to spend some time sorting the wheat from the chaff. Knowing exactly what you need and documenting everything in detail can really help you evaluate these custom software development companies so that you can make an informed decision.

Choosing the right software development company will improve the efficiency of the entire process, prevent failed projects, and help ensure that you get exactly what you need, without cost or time overruns.

Here’s a broad overview of how to choose a software development company…

Software Development Outsourcing

Outsourced software teams have become key resources in the realm of software development, and it’s not hard to see why. Almost every type of company now uses software in one form or another, from payroll and customer relationship management to automating business processes, streamlining workflow, or providing new services for customers.

Most of these businesses aren’t software development companies themselves, which makes outsourcing the ideal solution. It’s far more efficient and cost-effective to engage a dedicated software development agency with substantial experience in creating the kind of systems you need, rather than hiring your own in-house team when this isn’t your core business in the first place. Let alone the additional costs that come with taking on permanent staff.

There are three basic models of outsourcing a software development project: onshore, nearshore and off-shore.

Using an onshore software development company

This is where you use a local software development company based in your own city or country. It has the benefit of no time zone differences, and you can easily pop across to their offices for progress meetings. The agency will have a good understanding of local market conditions and you’ll tend to find a good cultural fit. However, if you’re in a smaller city or town, there might not be many, if any, available.

Nearshore software development

The nearshore development model is where your outsourcing partner is in a neighbouring country or one that’s in your general region. An example would be a Scottish business using a software development company in Ireland or The Netherlands. It has similar benefits to using an onshore supplier, with the added advantage of drawing on a larger pool of skill and experience.

An offshore software development company

Offshore software development companies have become hugely popular and are very commonly used. This model offers substantial cost savings, as the companies are typically located in countries with high levels of technical skills, but also high employment rates. By offering development services to businesses on other continents, they are able to provide top-class software products at extremely cost-effective prices, due to the Pound exchange rate, for example. India is a textbook example of such an offshore outsourcing hub.

10 Steps to Choosing the Right Software Development Company

Not all software development firms are cut from the same cloth. It takes much more than just a group of software developers hammering out code. High-quality development also requires in-depth business analysis, strong project management and constant quality assurance. Continuous communication and an effective feedback loop are also critical elements to ensure that you get a robust piece of software that performs to your expectations and meets your business objectives.

Good ReadSoftware Development Life Cycle (SDLC): 7 Models and 8 Phases

Good ReadSoftware Development Best Practices

That’s why there’s a recommended vetting process to guide you on how to choose a software development company…

1. Define your objectives, business goals and timeframes

Before you can communicate your needs to a prospective outsource partner, you need to have a clear and thorough understanding of why you need the software, what it will be used for, the metrics you’ll use to measure success, and the timeframe for delivery.

Ironing this out at the start will provide an excellent blueprint to ensure that you’ll get timely delivery of software that meets your business needs and delivers the results you require. By spending this effort upfront, you can avoid many pitfalls and optimise your time to market.

2. Create a shortlist of software development companies

You can use Google to search for a custom software development company and get a list of candidates whose websites you can look at. Even better are the professional industry platforms like Clutch. Things to check for include:

  • Company size and focus
  • Experience with projects similar to yours
  • Business procedures and practices
  • Technological expertise
  • Services provided
  • Live examples of software they have developed
  • Reviews from previous or current clients
  • Location and contact details

3. Check the companies’ portfolios and experience in building similar products

Do your due diligence by looking at previous projects a company has undertaken. Reputable software companies will be able to show a proven track record of past projects, along with the results achieved for their clients. Look for similar projects to your own, to gauge whether the development team involved has the right levels of expertise and technical skills. Vague portfolios or vague portfolio descriptions are immediate warning signs. Ideally, the company will provide case studies of their past tech projects that you can read.

4. Read client reviews and testimonials

These can help you to gain insights into each software development company on your list and assess their past success with previous clients. Of course, we all know that testimonials can be faked, so watch out for generic testimonials that don’t contain any actual details of the project.

5. Assess the partner chemistry

The most successful software development is when there is a happy partnership relationship. You need a focused software development partner that’s solely devoted to your project. Try to avoid companies that use too many cross-functional teams, so that your work enjoys top priority from your own dedicated team.

It’s important that you don’t just go for the cheapest options. You need to find a good match for your own work culture. This cultural fit can greatly improve collaborative efficiency.

6. Do a joint requirements analysis

A detailed requirements analysis for software development is crucial. You need to make sure to hire dedicated developers or a company that fully understands your business needs. Be certain to have all the requirements detailed and prepared in advance. Then discuss this with your prospective supplier to see if they fully grasp everything and understand the exact scope of your project.

Having all the requirements clearly defined upfront leads to an accurate project scope and helps ensure that your software is successfully implemented and adopted, be that in-house or by your clients. At the same time, it offers an opportunity for the software development vendor to apply its own knowledge and experience. This can result in new ideas, features and approaches that you may not have been aware of.

7. Make sure you’ll have an efficient communication routine

Effective communication can’t be over-emphasised for the success of a software development project. The ability to communicate effectively helps to ensure that everyone is working in tandem and gives the ability to quickly intervene if necessary. Clear communication is vital for on-time and on-budget software development

A good software development company will use modern communication tools to keep a constantly open communication channel with you. This helps to ensure close cooperation throughout the project development process.

8. Discuss their development methodology

Dig deeper to make sure that your potential software development partner uses the right development methodology in their development process that’s appropriate for your project. Ideally you’re looking for creative problem solvers who can design the most streamlined, cost-effective and powerful product for your needs.

This can be a challenging step if you don’t have someone in your company who is familiar with software development and the specific technologies used. At this point, it’s not a bad idea to bring in an external consultant to act as a CTO for you when you’re evaluating software development companies. It’s well worth the fee to have someone on your side of the table who understands the latest specific technologies, quality assurance and modalities involved in the software development process. Someone who can
speak the same language when it comes to concepts like agile development methodology and the importance of using the right technology stack. They can ask technical questions that you might not think of.

Good ReadWhat is the Agile Software Development Process

Good ReadTop 10 Questions to Ask a Software Development Company

9. Examine their security standards and security practices

Experienced software development firms have proper security measures to protect your intellectual property and any sensitive data you provide. These will be in place throughout the development process, to ensure data security and guard data access. This data security extends to producing secure software that protects your business’s or customer’s confidential information. You can also ask them to sign a non disclosure agreement (NDA).

10. Check on future support and ongoing maintenance

Make sure to check on what kind of training, software support and maintenance you’ll receive once your system has been implemented. Reputable software development companies will train your staff and provide ongoing support. You can also sign a maintenance contract to ensure that you have back-up if any issues arise.

This can include an upgrade plan. As new technologies emerge that offer improvements in software systems, you’ll be able to turn to an existing partner that already understands your business and the systems you use. This also gives your business the agility to quickly respond to market developments.

Red Flags When Looking For a Software Company

Knowing how to choose a software company will also help you to identify red flags during the vetting process, to avoid a train wreck down the line by working with an unreliable software development firm.

Some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Cost estimates that look too good to be true – they usually are.
  • A company that focuses more on the technology it can provide than on understanding your business needs.
  • An over-eager approach to signing the contract before going through all the project details.
  • A lack of transparency, for example, not being able to properly explain time or cost estimates.
  • Money-back guarantees – if the company isn’t fully confident in its abilities, why should you be?

Why Choose Pulsion as Your Software Development Company?

We take the time to thoroughly understand your business needs, so that we can deliver software that does what you need it to – whether it’s an in-house system or a customer-facing product.

Pulsion has over 30 years of experience in crafting software solutions for businesses of all sizes, across a wide variety of industries. We emphasise rapid delivery of the highest quality applications, using the most advanced technologies and development processes.

We don’t provide out-of-the-box solutions. Rather, we discuss your needs and develop bespoke software designed specifically to execute on your current and future business goals. Giving you return on investment and customer satisfaction are our top priorities.


The top businesses in the software development sector always advance and make an effort to keep up with emerging technologies. Companies that adhere to the most recent trends and technologies in software development are those with whom you are most likely to have successful collaborations. In particular accredited companies have been tested and certified by examination or auditing to ensure they meet a minimum base standard of competence.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of the current technologies which you may want to use in your project and whether the software development company you are using specialises in technology areas such as Cloud Migration, AI & Machine Learning and Mobile App Development.

With businesses moving towards operating fully online, Cloud Migration has become increasingly important. Organizations are released from the limitations of on-premise infrastructure thanks to cloud migration, which speeds up company operations. Important accreditations to keep an eye out for in terms of Cloud Migration are from the two most popular providers;  Amazon Web Services Partner and Microsoft Gold Partner.

More general but equally important accreditations to look out for when choosing a software development company are ISO 9001 and ISO 27001. These standards ensure that written procedures and processes are in place to ensure a consistent standard of delivery of your project and that controls are in place for areas such as data security.


Another significant factor when considering a software development company for your business is the location. Software development can be done from anywhere and often businesses outsource to completely different continents. However, ideally, you want to be based in the same country as your developers. Pulsion is a software development company in Scotland therefore, we primarily work with UK and European clients.

One of the main benefits of being based in the same country as your software developer is you will be working in the same time-zone which allows the most effective communication and collaboration. Similarly, it will be a lot easier if you speak the same language. A language barrier can create a wealth of problems in an area which can already be quite hard to understand one another.

Delivery Experience

One of the most crucial components of software development, is experience. Therefore, as a client actively looking for an outsourcing partner, it is your responsibility to gather all the relevant data regarding their prior industry experience.

Previous experience will demonstrate how well-suited the suggested company is to meet your needs. Be mindful that a long history in the industry does not always translate into better services. Large organisations frequently have multiple levels of management, which can cause misunderstandings and make your collaboration more difficult than it needs to be. As a result, pick businesses that have a lot of expertise in the areas that are important to your business.

Examine a handful of the earlier works to get a sense of the kinds of software the developers have created. Take your software project’s size into account. Taking references is also a good idea.


The software development business you hire will function as an extension of your own staff and thus must fit in seamlessly with your organization’s culture, which can frequently be ignored.

Finding people who are excellent at what they do and who have the same values as your company’s employees is crucial in this situation. After only a few minutes of talking with them, you ought to be able to figure this out. Do they share similar values? Any personalities on either side that might clash?

This is why meeting in-person can be effective to get a better gauge of the culture.

Communication Style

The process of developing software is complicated. Every stage of the process, from identifying requirements to figuring out stakeholders’ and users’ comments, will be challenging due to communication issues.

The foundation of a successful working relationship and a high-quality software product is effective communication. Discussion, sharing, and clarification of various concepts are always beneficial during the development process. You can be sure that the development team and you are always communicating clearly in this way.

Pay close attention to how the team interacts during the initial phone or video calls as well as via email. This should help you determine whether their communication style matches your preferences.

Within custom software development the biggest risk to any project is poor requirements definition. Many non-professionals specifying business requirements for a bespoke software development do not specify requirements in enough detail. 70% of project failures are due to requirements so this is an area in which to make sure you have crystal clear communication.

At Pulsion Technology, we have recently developed our new product, Requiment. We recognised  an issue which often occurs in the early stages of software development where communication surrounding the requirements gathering process can be poor and details are missed. Requiment guides you through prepared questions to determine a full and detailed requirement specification and project scope based on outcomes . This application which will act a virtual business analyst. Guiding the users through the requirements process, whilst providing insight and recommendations to the user based on the type of application being designed as well as trends from other users. Ultimately, our mission with Requiment is to make the process of software requirements capture more accurate, agile and efficient leading to more successful projects.

Team Dynamics

It’s critical to comprehend a company’s organisational structure and the dynamics of its development team. You need to understand how a business is structured, what functions various team members play, and how they collaborate.

Avoid working with firms that don’t have a structured team for custom software development. Roles within an organisation will function more effectively when they are properly defined. It all comes down to avoiding any extra overhead that may result from a disjointed team.

After Development Support

With the software development company, go over the post-development support services. Verify their commitment to offering software configuration, orientation, customisation, maintenance, and backup services by having it in writing. Some custom software development companies make most of their money by just providing resources. Most of their income comes from the large development phase so they can be unresponsive or have no one available when a minor bug has to be fixed six months after release.

At Pulsion we offer several post-production and handover support provided by our customer service team.

The Benefits of Working With Us

Working with Pulsion offers several advantages:

  • Software tailored to your unique business requirements.
  • Flexible software that evolves as your business does.
  • A bespoke product and customised user experience that conveys a competitive advantage.
  • A cost-efficient, streamlined development process.
  • Ongoing support and upgrades to the latest technology stacks.
  • Real-time data-driven insights from our business analysts to inform your application.

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