Software development can be a complex area that can sometimes confuse even the best of us. While many equate it to writing code, software development includes much more activity and responsibility. There are numerous roles and methodologies that can impact almost every aspect of the business, from customer experience to revenue flow.
Hence, when hiring software developers, a lot of things can turn out wrong in the end. Such cases are usually extremely costly so having a thorough understanding of the specific factors/necessities prior to hiring is absolutely vital for your company’s well-being.
Here are the 5 things you have to be aware of when looking to hire new software developers:
1. Distinguish between different outsourcing options
The benefits of outsourcing should be well-known by now. According to this ebook from SoftwareHut, outsourcing has become one of the preferred modes of doing business in the IT industry. It has evolved to become an extension of many companies around the globe, most notably in Europe. Having a cost-effective workforce not only helps take the load off, but also allows the company to focus on other key aspects of the business.
In order to maximize the potential of outsourcing, it’s important to recognize different types of outsourcing:
Onshoring refers to companies that are located in your immediate vicinity (city, country), nearshore outsourcing includes neighboring countries close to your HQ or main branches, while offshore alludes to moving operations to a far-away destination.
Each type has notable pros and cons. By default, it’s easier to work with developers that speak your language and live close by (give or take a time zone) for streamlined communication, as well as share similar cultural values. On the other hand, offshoring typically suits companies, especially enterprises, looking for a more cost-friendly solution. Whatever you go for, make sure you base your decision upon your own unique needs and goals.
This is not directly related to software developers but is equally important in the long run for one simple reason: whomever you hire won’t know what your idea or a project is without your input. The better job you do at describing what is expected, the more likely it will be done in line with your designated objective(s).
You need to make sure software developers fully understand the scope of the task at hand. Set specific goals, establish parameters to measure progress and aligned on timelines because developers crave a flexible work schedule. Share your thoughts, plans, and as many details as possible without being over-exacting. If the other side knows the scale of the project, and all the whats, hows, and whos, it can tell you with great(er) precision how long the project will take to deliver, and how much it will cost you.
In other words, you’ll get professional and concise feedback. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions later on. This will provide you with insights on their understanding of the job and if they see the big picture. After all, understanding each other is the key to any successful collaboration.
In a highly competitive market, not everyone is reliable or capable of meeting expectations and demands. I’m speaking from more than 20 years of experience here: in order to be the best, you should look for the best.
If you know what you’re looking for, you can spot both the good and the bad signs. Sometimes, the bad stuff is obvious such as substandard code, lack of product testing, or higher-than-usual maintenance. Other times, it’ll be more subtle like questionable source code ownership or poor communication.
Review websites like Clutch, Wadline, Venture Pact, and others can raise your awareness about very specific elements of a reliable and productive software house. Apart from great references, such a house will be naturally inquisitive about you and your business, all the while having the usual tell-tale signs of quality such as publications and strategic partnerships and associations.
Now, it’s time to get technical. Most developers differ in their expertise and experience, meaning not everyone will suit your specific needs. Different roles and responsibilities entail different needs, starting with the way the project will be conducted. Generally speaking, two main methodologies are scrum and traditional/classic development.
Scrum focuses on self-management and personal responsibility. Depending on project specs, software developers have a high level of autonomy, focusing on achieving smaller goals rather than one large, fixed scope. These teams are also limited in number of members (typically a single digit) and don’t offer accurate cost predictions long-term.
By contrast, a traditional development team has a clearly defined hierarchy and responsibilities. Such a structure in place offers better management and the ability to react proactively by looking at the development as a whole but feels more uncomfortable and asserts more control.
Which of the two works best comes down to the project itself. You should choose a methodology by evaluating your expectations and resources. The smart play is to understand both before opting for one as the wrong method can shut down a project before it even starts.
The same decision will be waged when it comes to two leading software development schools of thought: agile and waterfall. Each hasits own benefits which will largely depend on your current circumstances such as timeframes, specifications, and the ever-important budget.
Agile is routinely referred to as the new school of thought and is best suited for projects with a higher chance of periodic requirement changes. It is very flexible and offers the possibility of implementing changes in any phase.
With the waterfall model, projects with clearly defined requirements and no expected changes present a perfect fit. Because it is divided into sequences (consecutive phases), it is easy to manage, offering a rigid structure that is defined only once - at the beginning.
It’s safe to say that agile and waterfall work best with specific kinds of projects. For instance, agile stands out in larger projects or those that require the utmost attention to quality. On the other hand, waterfall excels in smaller, simple projects that require timely completion and more autonomy. My advice is to first list your priorities and then pick between the two.
Hiring new software developers can be quite an experience. It’s a difficult and challenging process, with countless things that can go wrong if they are not made clear and understandable for everyone. Above anything else, the level of your awareness will be the deciding factor whether you’ll enjoy a project win or failure. By knowing what to look for, you’ll be able to find a developer that not only meets your expectations but exceeds them.