Avoid Overpaying for Software Development with These Strategies

Most companies with software development needs end up spending too much money on software development. Instead of building an app on a budget, as originally planned, they end up spending tens of thousands of dollars on services and technology they probably don’t even need.

There are many potential root causes for overpaying, such as hiring the wrong people or simply falling victim to an industry with imbalanced supply and demand. But despite these ubiquitous variables, you have significant control over the course of your software development projects, which means you can follow these strategies to avoid overpaying.

Start with a plan

It all starts with a plan. If you are planning to build an app or a new platform, you should have more than just a rough idea of ​​what that platform will look like. Too many entrepreneurs enter the world of software development with only a vague, abstract concept in mind. They figure they can work out all the details later, in the middle of development.

But this poses two major problems. First, it means that they won’t be able to collect offers or accurate price estimates because they still don’t know exactly what they want. Second, it means they are much more likely to facilitate scope drift later on, which can significantly increase the final project price.

The solution is to plan as much detail as possible for your platform, diving into the technical requirements so you can talk to your developers specifically about what you want.

Hire the right team

Hiring the right software developer makes a big difference. There are many avenues you can take here. Whichever path you choose, you will need to consider the following qualities:

  • Agility. Agile development methodologies are leaner, more efficient and more flexible than competing methodologies. Choose a software developer who specializes in agile development and make sure the team is dynamic enough to change things on the fly if necessary.
  • Skills. You should also ensure that the members of this team are sufficiently qualified and experienced. Do they have knowledge and familiarity with the programming language you want to use and the type of software you want to build?
  • Credentials/proof of work. Don’t get scammed. Be sure to check your software developer’s credentials; do they have examples of their password to show their expertise?
  • Communication. In my experience, most problems and delays in software development are attributable to poor communication. If you find a software developer with excellent communication habits and follow best communication practices, the number of communication issues you encounter will drop.
  • Pricing. Finally, consider the price. Get project estimates from several different developers to ensure the vendor you choose is reasonably priced. Don’t go for the cheapest option by default, as you often get what you pay for, but shop around and weed out agencies and freelancers who deliberately overcharge.

To negotiate

Consider negotiating before agreeing to any arrangement. Sometimes all it takes to get a lower price is a polite request. Even in the worst case scenario, you may be able to reduce the cost of the project by making a few sacrifices and compromises.

Limit scope creep

I have seen the profitability of many software development projects instantly jeopardized due to scope creep. Scope drift basically occurs when the scope of the project increases gradually throughout the project. This happens frequently to entrepreneurs because they are constantly thinking of new ideas and new directions to take.

There’s nothing wrong with being flexible and adaptable, but if you keep adding new requirements and changing your mind about the original direction, your developers will have to work countless overtime hours to meet those demands. And if they charge by the hour, that means a much higher bill for you at the end of the arrangement.

Establish practices to prevent miscommunications

The cost of the project and the time it takes to complete will both be negatively affected by poor communication. If you explain something inaccurately or if your developer misinterprets your request, you could end up spending dozens of unnecessarily billable hours making mistakes and then fixing them.

That’s why it’s important to establish practices to prevent miscommunications, such as these:

  • Be proactive. Preventing errors is much more effective than trying to correct them after they have occurred. Always be proactive in your communication and try to recognize potential problems before they develop.
  • Stay organized. Your developer won’t be able to build your software efficiently if you feed them lots of jumbled information; keep things organized and streamlined so they’re easy to understand.
  • Stay consistent. Don’t be tasteless; it’s important to stay consistent about what you want and how you want it. It doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind, but it does mean you should. strive to be decisive.
  • Periodically touch the base. Trust, but verify. Check with your developer to make sure all your instructions are clear, assess the work currently being done, and proactively acknowledge any potential issues.

Software development is not cheap. And that’s understandable. But there’s no reason to pay more for software development than you have to pay, especially when so many of the causes of overspending in this area are due to avoidable problems.

Pay close attention to your project from start to finish and stay on top of these potentially problematic areas.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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