You surely have points to check before signing a contract with a development company. You want to make sure that the partner you are going to choose, is reliable and software quality is spot-on. This is part two of hour lenghty and very detailed article, so if you have questions to ask a software development company, visit the first material: Questions to ask before hiring software development company.

Points to check before signing a development contract

Top questions to ask before hiring software development company

11.  Will there be a test version of my product that I could use anytime?

It’s a good practice to let the client know that the product is alive and kicking. A software development partner should give you access to an application. You can test it, work with it, try new things. In extreme cases, you can even change the scope of the project because of the experience with this early version. We give you access to the product right after the first or the second sprint. Then, we release software via the continuous deployment approach, where automated testing is used to verify quality of the code.

12.  Will the product be available through the cloud? If so, what cloud provider do you work with?

Cloud technology is nowadays as natural as breathing. It enables or supplements many functionalities in a variety of applications. A software development company should always think about integration with acloud. For us, the preferred vendor is Amazon with its Amazon Web Services. It’s the biggest and the most reliable cloud technology in the world.

13.  How will you assure quality for the product? What does quality assurance look like in your company?

Software is complicated. Especially software for FinTech, which meets not only functional requirements but also multiple compliance issues and regulations. To assure quality, testing should be constant and unforgiving. Some software development contracts state that a dedicated person is responsible for the quality assurance of the project. As it should be, since products evolve from sprint to sprint. Projects grow, functionalities become more advanced and complicated. Some products are also integrated with other platforms and market solutions; which generates new sets of challenges. At Code & Pepper, we have a dedicated quality assurance specialist for every project. We also use code reviews, static code analysis via SonarQube/SonarCloud, Google Lighthouse. We also believe in Well-Architected Framework.

The methodology of testing, scope, and quality assurance tasks are tailored for every single project. We combine manual testing with automated tests to assure the highest level of development throughout the process. It’s constant – testing happens in every sprint, every single day. We believe in continuous delivery, which is the most rational and effective in a world of modern development. The process of testing and embedding the product into a previously agreed environment is fully automated.

14.  How much time will I have to invest in the process of product development in different stages of this development?

There is no simple answer. Each company defines cooperation with the client basing on its individual approach. Some companies don’t have business analysts, on-board UX/UI specialists. They can’t assure a complete product development cycle. 

For us, a company that can do it all, the client’s involvement is crucial. It helps us understand the product, business, and functional requirements. It also lets us present results. It looks like this:

  • From 4 to 6 hours per week in the design and specification phase
  • From 3 to 5 hours per week in the development phase

It all depends on the project. It’s size, nature, level of complexity, and so on.

15.  What technological stack will you use for my product?

Again, it all depends on the company, its approach and non-functional requirements. We create web applications in React, and Node.js for backend, React Native for mobile. We also use the “infrastructure as a code” approach, with extensive use of Amazon Web Services. Plus TypeScript and GraphQL, among the others.

16.  In what time zone do your specialists work?

It’s an important question; especially for Western countries. Europe and Northern America like to work with companies that assure flexibility and reasonable time gap. It’s also a matter of cultural and business fit. Ask this question to assure yourself a seamless involvement in the software development process. At Code & Pepper, we use UTC+1:00 (Central European Time, CET) time zone. All our engineers and other specialists work within these bounds.

17.  How would you define a goal of our mutual cooperation?

This is probably one of the most important questions of all. At the first glance, the answer is simple. The goal of software development is to put the working and bug-free product on the market. Optimized for performance and ready to attract users. But what does that exactly mean? Every company defines it differently and that’s the key to choosing the company that meets your expectations.

For us, the goal lies in details. User friction can ruin the experience of using your product. Following good practices for startups can help with that. As well as keeping tabs on software trends and innovations that improve customer experience

You will have different business needs behind a minimum viable product (MVP), different when it comes to code refinement, different if you want to make a full-blown product. You can go with any given software development company on the planet but “good enough” is sometimes “not enough”. Can you afford “good enough” and the consequences of that choice?

18.  Who is the owner of copyrights for the product?

When the product is ready, all legal rights associated with the software product go to the client. Our policy on that is clear – as a client, you have the soul right for the product.

19.  What do the product launch and post-launch support look like?

Modern trends in software development are heavily based on previously mentioned continuous delivery. There is no single point in time when the product is delivered to the client and shipped to consumers. It’s happening constantly. The product is built, tested, refined, and changed basically all the time. The moment in which the product is finished is largely contractual. At Code & Pepper, we believe in quality that grows naturally, from sprint to sprint. Building value with each passing week is more important than a date that can be labeled as “product launch”.

The launch per se is a single-point event. The product is on a market. Period. 

Support for an already launched product is a different beast. There are processes that run simultaneously. Adding additional features, monitoring and telemetry, reacting to potential incidents and feedback from the market. We patch up the small bugs that came out and change the application accordingly to what the market says and wants from it.

20.  In what way will you keep me informed about the development progress and its key metrics?

Once again, it’s a question that can be answered in many ways. Every company has its ways and philosophy regarding cooperation with the client. We prefer metrics connected with earned value management. On one hand, we control the budget and its limits. On the other hand, we keep tabs on progress. If they don’t match, we inform the client and work towards a better solution. Then, it’s about fitting functionalities that can safely achieve your business goals.

Ask away!

Creating products for the FinTech market is very demanding. It requires domain knowledge, industry experience, and the ability to safely pivot the project if the scope changes. Make sure that the company you will be working with has answers to all your questions and a proven track record. After all, FinTech is based on trust and credibility. It’s good to have some points to check before signing a contract with a development company.