Tuesday, 12th January 2021

Top 8 qualities to look for in a custom software development firm

Software plays an essential part in the technological world in which we live. When searching for firms that specialise in providing custom software and digital transformation solutions, predicting the value of the product or service can be a challenge. Software is intangible; unlike hardware, the build quality can be difficult to determine prior to purchase provoking scepticism and hesitation. Custom software packages often involve long term commitments between the two companies and, just like with any business collaboration, striking a healthy relationship and building up trust is an important steppingstone for future success.

We at Shoothill have been in the industry a long time and we know what our customers value the most from our products and services. Here is our top eight list of qualities to look for in a custom software development firm to help you determine the quality you are paying for.


The IT industry is one of the fastest evolving industries in the world. Businesses and people working within a highly dynamic industry such as this must be able to adapt to new ideas and technology to produce modern, up-to-date, relevant products and services. Failure to do so could lead to sub-standard output quality and inefficiency regarding time and money. Some businesses have highly dynamic environments therefore their wants and needs can change quickly over time as they grow. A high-quality software firm should be able to keep up and continue delivering great service with constant updates long after the product has been delivered to the customer.

The best way to measure a software firm’s ability to adapt is to read into their history. Who have they worked for in the past? What did they produce? How did their customers react? How long did it take them to produce the product? A well-respected software company is bound to have a quality website. Case studies are gold mines regarding answers to these questions.


A huge amount of time and effort of a quality software firm is spent learning about their customers and what product or service could give them the most value for money. A high-quality software firm will have a natural desire to learn about their customers from the minute they walk through the door. “Where can this company reduce costs and improve efficiency via digital transformation?” You know you are dealing with a great software company when they ask a lot of questions.

A healthy balance between pragmatism and perfectionism

Developing software and designing its user interface takes an awful lot of creativity and skill. A well-respected software firm will recognise when the job is done and will not give the system more time than is necessary to the point where deadlines are missed, and at the same time, will not neglect what needs to be done. The best way to measure this balance is to look at software the company has created and evaluate the overall quality of the product while keeping in mind the amount of time it took to produce. Case studies can help here too.


Continuous improvement is essential for any business, especially software. Software must receive constant updates to meet new demands, fix bugs, and improve overall quality to suit the user. It can be very easy for an inexperienced software developer to think that what they have created is exempt from criticism; often products fresh off the production line work as intended but are not as user friendly as they could be, which is where self-criticism is essential to improve quality. A self-critical software firm will be transparent about their mistakes with their customers and will present solutions to the problem and act on them quickly.


Like with any business, time is money. The longer tasks take to complete, the more money is being spent. Punctuality is essential for all parties. For prospective customers, there are many ways of measuring punctuality. The little things matter: How long does it take for a reply to an email? Are they good at answering the phone? Small indications of lateness can be red flags for future problems.


Any company can have their daily workflows slickened up by software if you look in the right places. Well experienced software firms have worked with businesses from many different types of industries, from the water industry to customised socks and everything in between. The ability to take a brand and create software that fits their vision takes a huge amount of creativity and imagination. Everything down to the font. If a software firm has a catalogue of history on their website, creativity is bound to be on display.

Technical expertise

It goes without saying. Technical ability is of paramount importance. Software can be incredibly technical, even if it does not appear to be so. Off the shelf software solutions often advertise demos. Demos are a great way of getting a feel of what software is like, and the technical ability of the software developers can be discovered solely by navigating software and seeing how the software reacts to different scenarios and how it performs.


Honesty is probably the most significant quality in any business relationship regardless of industry. A lack of honesty or a breakdown in communication is an extremely common problem in human relationships, not just in business. Custom software development is often a long-term commitment and in any long-term relationship, honesty is essential. The best way to measure honesty would be to look at the software firm’s previous work and see what their customers have had to say about them. A well respected, high quality and experienced software firm will have nothing to hide, and positive customer reviews will be heavily publicised.

We at Shoothill have been in the industry a long time and have worked with customers from all over the country, all with different needs, wants, interests and work for all types of different companies. One of the biggest challenges of being a custom software development firm is having the ability to hop from one project to another and deliver vastly different solutions for vastly different people with different needs while delivering the same level of high quality. It is a skill that has taken many years to perfect, but we have the talent behind us to ensure that our quality output is unmatched.

If you are interested in a custom software solution for your business, get in touch with us today: https://shoothill.com/start-my-project/