It is not enough for a software development partner to complete a project, hand it off to your team, and then vanish off the face of the earth. Okay, that sounds a little dramatic but it’s true – why should you settle for a partner who treats your project as a one-time engagement and then disappears? When you put a considerable amount of time and effort into a software development project that brings value to your business, you deserve to have a software development partner that supports your mission and has just as much of a personal stake in your business as you do.

But what exactly does a development partner do that sets them apart from their competition and proves that they care deeply about your business? How do you evaluate a potential partner to ensure that they are committed to your long-term success?

5 best practices that are good indicators of an exceptional software development firm:

1. Partner practices long-term code stewardship

A development partner who is committed to long-term code stewardship is an ideal one. Essentially, code stewardship is the practice of an entire team owning a project’s code rather than one person. This means that all members of a team on a project take responsibility for the health of the code and work together to fix issues if (and when) they arise. Partners who practice code stewardship spend less time fixing code issues and more time programming. This means that they will spend your budget efficiently and run into fewer issues over the entire project lifecycle, getting you a finished product that can start delivering your organization value sooner.

2. Partner offers support and continuous development plans

An important part of any software development project is deciding who will maintain your software after the project is over. Often, many organizations do not have the time or resources to troubleshoot their piece of custom software when issues arise. A software development firm that wants to support you long after your project is done is one that not only stands behind its code but wants to see your long-term success. Offering support, maintenance, or continuous development plans to your team after your project is a great indicator of a good partner and means that you’ll have a team of experts in your corner when something goes amiss. Ideally, your software development partner should want to maintain and stand behind the program they built and look to make it better through continuous development.

3. Partner allows flexibility throughout the life of the project

As many of us know, when it comes to a software development project, things do not always go to plan. Having a partner who offers flexibility when it comes to scheduling, planning, and developing your software product is important to have, especially when your team runs into roadblocks. With that, a partner who ensures that your budget can also be flexible is essential. An ideal software development partner helps you manage your budget well (and even helps you to save money) rather than sucking your budget dry before your project is even complete.

4. Partner uses agile development practices

A partner who demonstrates an agile approach to your project means that they are focused on finding the right solution for your business, even when expectations change throughout the project. Agile development means that you’ll be more involved in the discovery and development phase and your partner will be focused on delivering the most value in the time and budget that you provide. This allows you to have more control over your budget and your software development partner will take a more flexible, adaptive approach to figuring out a solution that fits the needs of your business.

Also, having an agile software development partner helps you to plan for future projects throughout the year and can provide a unique perspective in helping you reach your business’s long-term goals. When your development partner is focused on your long-term success, they’ll be able to help identify areas for improvement and even suggest ideas you might not have even considered when thinking about new features. The technical expertise developers bring coupled with a great project management team can transform the way you are currently thinking about your business.

5. Partner keeps future code reuse in mind throughout the development cycle

Chances are, what your software development partner is creating for you today will change throughout the life of your relationship. A software development partner who keeps code reuse at the forefront of their mind through the development lifecycle means that they’re dedicated to your long-term success. Code reuse is one of the earliest ideas in programming – it means that sections of code, templates, functions, and procedures are reused and built upon in the final development product. Reusing the existing code in your old piece of software helps developers to quickly understand the foundation of your program and helps to speed up the development process, as the existing code is edited and not rewritten completely.

While code might not be at the forefront of your mind during a development project, especially if you’re in a non-technical role in your organization, knowing that your development partner is focused on this can set you on the path to success.

Choosing a software development partner is no easy task, but with some time and research, you’ll be able to find a partner who supports your long-term success and delivers you value from the moment your project begins.

Emergent Software embodies all the best practices listed above and strives to be the best development partner for your custom development project. Interested in learning more about Emergent Software’s unique approach to great, long-term client relationships? Contact us today to get started!