A startup is a very special type of businesses. One that has unique needs at every stage of its growth – from inception, through constant experimenting with its value proposition, through difficult and often very surprising (even for its own funders!) software development. For a startup, hiring an external team of developers seems like a great idea due to the flexibility this strategy offers. That is, of course, if this external team really understands what a startup needs and how they can best help it to blossom into a successful product.
As if searching for a software house itself wasn’t difficult enough already! Considering the unique nature of startups, it’s even more difficult for their founders to find the right partner. And they are very interested in doing so – according to a study by Coding Sans, more than 50 percent of startups are already outsourcing their development with even more seriously considering this option.
There are many qualities of software houses, however, that are universal regardless of what kind of company and product we’re talking about. We have covered them thoroughly in the Secret Art of... Software Development Outsourcing series. We strongly recommend you take a look at it. Just to wrap up its most important points:
- You should prioritize best value for money rather than just price alone as sloppy but cheap development team may end up costing you more money and effort.
- Software houses that value and know how to communicate well during remote software development works are the way to go.
- Strong portfolio of projects is essential, preferably featuring projects that prove their expertise in the field you are interested in.
You can very well cross out all alternatives that fail to meet these criteria… and move on to find out if the remaining options meet your requirements. Let’s focus on five distinctive qualities of software companies truly fit for working with startups.
#1 They make a great first impression
This goes a little against common sense, which tells us that we should not judge a book by its cover. Well, in the world of software development, the cover, that is your first meeting with the software house, happens to be the very first opportunity for you to really find out if your team of choice has a promise.
The team you seek, as a startup founder, is one that is willing to meet face to face from the start. During the meeting, they show genuine interest in your ideas on every level – from technical implementation to business background and circumstances of your product. They are not yes-men. They are outspoken about your ideas and willing to share their opinions, even disagree if need be. Don’t get offended if it happens. Building a great startup software requires a free exchange of knowledge between all stakeholders. Let them prove that their expertise goes beyond coding. Search for a team full of enthusiasm for your creativity, but not deprived of creativity of their own.
#2 They have flexible deals prepared just for you
When done the right way, outsourcing may help startups save a lot of money – over 60 percent in overhead costs alone according to Intetics. To achieve this, it’s crucial to choose an agreement most suitable to the project at hand.
There are a variety of deals software houses use for their development projects. To address the unpredictability and ever-changing scope of startup development, highly flexible type of deals should be available, such as time & material of fixed budget (a type of deal when the budget is fixed, but the scope is flexible – as opposed to fixed price).
#3 They understand that nitty-gritty of developing startup products
It’s not uncommon in startup development that the final product ends up being very different than the original concept. In a perfect world, both the founders and developers constantly put their ideas to the test, often releasing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to get more insight and shorten time-to-market. They use iterative approach, implementing new features and modifying scope based on feedback. To that end, agile and lean approach proves very efficient. At Software Mind, our entire approach is based around those methodologies. We call it the Outsourcing Toolbox – learn more about it.
#4 They learn as they go ...
A software developer that works with startups needs a lot more than just coding experience. They need to be genuinely interested in the business background and purpose of the product and develop with that in mind. They also need to be willing to listen to and learn from the startup founders. As they learn more about the true goal the product is supposed to serve, they help you pick the best features and ways to implement them.
#5 ... and make you do the same
As you work with your external team of developers, you should always feel that every meeting, both in person and online, makes you learn about your own company. If you are not familiar with agile development, they will surely make you appreciate it with every stand-up and retrospective meeting you participate in. Every time, do your best to engage them in a creative discussion and expect them to do the same. That is the only way to go for successful startup software development.
Software Mind is a Polish software house that has worked with many startups from a variety of niches. Knowing startups’ needs, we offer an agile, lean and iterative development meant to gradually steer the original concept into a product that is ready for market success. Developing a startup is an exciting venture, full of surprises and wonderfully pleasant eureka moments. We want to be more than just coders during this journey of yours. We’re going to do our best to help you develop software that resonates perfectly with the needs of your target market. If this sounds good, contact us now and let’s have a talk.