Are you an early bird? Work night shifts? Weekends? Do you prefer to finish work in the early afternoon, or long into the night? These questions may help ease any collaboration between you and your proposed development company. If you are only contactable at odd times then perhaps a company happy to accommodate this is best. The other thing to consider is, from a development process and budget perspective, are you more likely to favour Agile or Waterfall development? Most companies tend to prefer one style over another – so speak to them about this and see what they recommend. It could be an important factor in your eventual decision.
This one is partly related to the software company’s business acumen and communication, but do you like them? It sounds a slightly silly question to ask, but can be a surprisingly sticking point if you get it wrong. The truth is that if you don’t get on it’s going to make everything a little more difficult. You need a rapport with your software developers. Are they as enthusiastic about your project as you are? Are they motivated to deliver a really great product, or dragging their heels? Do they ‘get’ you?
It’s another slightly left-field consideration. Whilst you’re the client (and therefore the boss), software development is as much a collaboration as a specification. Ask yourself if this is a relationship you are happy to broadcast? If they’re nice people, with a good reputation and track-record, it rubs off on you. And vice versa. It should be a mutually-enjoyable association. Have a look at their website again; is there any indication of altruistic/charitable activities, or are they particularly eco-minded or community-motivated? Do these values mirror, or complement your own? The final litmus test is; are they a software development company that you’re proud to say you’re working with?