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When choosing an IT-contractor I have only vague ideas on how I can discern the quality of an IT-firm. Below I gather some criteria I have thought about and would like to know if those points are essential and what else I might have to consider:

The cooperation should potentially include a software project (e.g. a Webshop, connected via back office to production states like availability of material) and long-term support including smaller adjustments of firm-intern, software-based processes.

The criteria of a qualified IT contractor might be:

  • contact and exchange with developers or team leader during development on a regular basis is available
  • if mother tongue is not the same: minimum language requirement English
  • if not locally available: find out how communication is established
  • if contractor is an outsourcing and consulting company for software development: communication with team leader/ programmer must be possible
  • contacting other customers of the IT firm to find out about there experience

What else is important to check or ask? What are (kind of) standard qualities an IT contractor should deliver?

closed as too broad by Iain9688, Todd A. Jacobs, Aziz Shaikh, Mark C. Wallace, Brian Carlton Dec 10 '14 at 16:13

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  • The answer and comments below are helpful. From my perspective this question is as narrow as it can be. If one does not have any experience the nature of the question must be broad. The question can only be "narrowed down" by an iterative question-answer-experience - cycle. – d-nnis Dec 15 '14 at 8:45
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You will never know if you have chosen a quality contractor, untill their first delivery.

Sure, contracting Accentures will improve your odds. But you still won't get 100% probability of getting what you want in expected time, cost and quality. There are just too many unknown variables in your success equation.

So do not rely on questions or titles. Instead, try the next steps:

  1. Slice your project in a way, that the first feature may be delivered in maximum two weeks. Where "delivered" means "up and running on the production environment".
  2. Make sure to provide at least 1 page of specific requirements for this first piece. For the webshop this might be it's landing page. With main functionality on stubs, but clean layout, meaningful controls etc.
  3. Choose any contractor, which looks good to you and agrees to do deliver this feature first and then to be/not to be contracted for the whole project.
  4. Make sure this is reflected in a contract you sign.
  5. Collaborate and look forward for your first delivery.

The further steps are ovious. If you're happy with what you got and how you got that - proceed. If not - contract another company on the same basis.

Good luck.

  • In my personal and extensive experience, contracting Accenture is a guarantee of completely the opposite and only improves the odds of highly inflated costs, complete lack of personal accountability on behalf of the team members and Teflon-coated managers. Avoid at all costs if you actually want to achieve anything. – Marv Mills Nov 29 '14 at 10:30
  • @MarvMills interesting. I heard they were contracted to fix healthcare.gov and kind of did the job well. – Vadim Tikanov Nov 29 '14 at 20:50
  • Ayways, I have no relation to Accenture and the answer is not their promo :) – Vadim Tikanov Nov 29 '14 at 20:51
  • Why do (both of) you mention Accentures? (Who are they?) Thanks for the answer @VadimTikanov – d-nnis Dec 1 '14 at 9:31
  • @d-nnis it's a consulting company - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accenture – Vadim Tikanov Dec 4 '14 at 21:05

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