Codrin Andronic

"stop existing and start living" – M. Jackson

10 Questions to Ask Your Software Developer

on 2010/01/12

According to Blueberry Consultants, people or companies that need Custom Software should ask the following questions to those who build it before getting to an agreement:

1. What is your policy on copyright?

  • Good Answer: The customer owns all copyright once the project is paid for. If the developer uses internal libraries, a royalty-free, perpetual, transferable licence is granted.
  • Bad Answer: The developer retains copyright and provides the customer with a licence to use the system.

2. Will your system be built on top of any other platform or system?

  • Good Answer: No, the system will be all new code built with standard tools and libraries.
  • Bad Answer: The system will be built on top of our fantastic XYZ platform.

3. Will your system use or depend on third-party libraries or systems?

  • Good Answer: Yes, but we will ensure that you can buy licences to such systems, and these costs are clear.
  • Bad Answer: I’m not sure… maybe.

4. Do you have source code control?

  • Good Answer: Yes. All code written by our developers is placed into a central source code control system, which is backed up off-site nightly.
  • Bad Answer: What is source code control?

5. Who collects requirements from the customer? Do they have development experience?

  • Good Answer: A senior manager with development expertise talks to the customer to understand their requirements.
  • Bad Answer: Our salesperson talks to the customer first, and then brings in the development expert later.

6. Do you have people who can help with System Deployment and Firewall Configuration?

  • Good Answer: Yes, we have an in-house systems administrator, who can help with any necessary firewall or other systems configuration.
  • Bad Answer: Your IT department should do this, or we can maybe recommend someone.

7. How long have you been in business?

  • Good Answer: Ideally, at least three years. More is better, but are they up to date with new technologies?

8. How many developers do you have?

  • Good Answer: Ideally, at least 6, but not more than 30.

9. What languages do you use for programming?

  • Good Answer: C#, .NET, VB.NET, C++
  • Bad Answer: Visual Basic 6, Microsoft Access, Delphi

10. Do you use any form of logging in your software?

  • Good Answer: Yes, our software writes detailed logs.
  • Bad Answer: No, we rely on debugging the program before we give it to you.
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