6 Essential Questions to Ask Your Software Development Consultant

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Are you asking your software development consultant the right questions?

When it comes to software development, choosing the right consultant can mean the difference between a successful project and one that ends up over budget and behind schedule.

Not all consultants are created equal, and it's important to make sure that you're choosing someone who will be the right fit for your project and who will be a valuable partner going forward. To help you make the right decision, here are six essential questions that you should ask your software development consultant:

1. What experience do you have?

It's important to choose a consultant who has experience relevant to your industry, as they will have a better understanding of the specific challenges and requirements that your project may face. Make sure to ask about their previous projects and how they were able to help their clients achieve their goals. A consultant should be experienced and able to give you concrete solutions that address your unique business needs.

2. How do you approach problem-solving?

Software development can often be a complex process, and having a consultant who can effectively solve the right problems is key. Ask about their process for identifying and addressing issues in your business, and how they prioritize tasks to ensure that your project addresses the your most important requirements. It's also important to understand how they handle unexpected problems and how they collaborate with the client to find solutions.

Beware of companies that don’t ask you questions about your business to better understand your needs. That can easily result in a final product that may technically work but it doesn’t address the real needs of your organization.

3. How do you communicate with clients?

Clear and regular communication is critical for successful software development projects. Ask your consultant about their communication style, including how often they check in with clients, what channels they use, and what information they typically share. It's also a good idea to ask about their availability and how they handle urgent situations.

Also, make sure you understand how the consultant wishes you to communicate with them. For example, what is the process if you need to raise issues or request changes?

4. How do you test your software?

Testing and Quality Assurance a crucial part of the software development process and helps to ensure that the software is of high quality and meets the client's requirements. Ask your consultant about their testing approach, including what methods they use and how they ensure that the software is thoroughly tested. It's also important to understand their testing schedule and how they integrate testing into their development process.

Testing not only helps ensure your launch goes successfully but a rigorous testing strategy will help make changes and bug fixes much easier and cheaper down the road.

5. How will the project be documented?

Proper documentation is essential for the long-term maintenance and success of a software development project. Ask your consultant about their approach to documentation, including what types of documents they create, how they store and organize them, and who will have access to them. It's also a good idea to ask about their documentation standards and how they ensure that all documentation is up-to-date and accurate.

Documentation can mean the difference between a project that can be easily handed off to another internal or external team and one that will lock you into a consultant with expensive maintenance contracts.

6. What will the ongoing costs be?

In addition to the initial cost of the project, it's important to understand what the ongoing costs will be for operations, maintenance, updates, and support. Ask your consultant about their pricing structure and what services they offer for ongoing support. Additionally, you may want to ask about their process for updating and upgrading the software and what costs are involved in these processes.

A good consultant will also be able to give you estimates on how well the solution will scale. Does the operating cost stay constant even as your company grows? Does it go up with each user of your solution? Or does it take advantage of economies of scale and the per user cost goes down as you grow?

In conclusion, choosing the right software development consultant can make all the difference in the success of your project. By asking these six essential questions, you can ensure that you're making an informed decision and that your consultant will be able to help you achieve your goals.

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About the Author

Andrew Curioso

Andrew is the co-founder and CEO of Curioso Industries. He is an international speaker, author, and technologist with over 20 years in the industry. He’s done work for innovative companies ranging from startups to top-50 websites. His experiences include eCommerce, web development, blockchain, and cloud computing.

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