Choosing the right software development company isn't just about software, especially in the Polish market. Poland has excellent programmers and Polish companies know how to make good software (some better than others, naturally). In that case, what will be the best option for your project?
We aren’t writing this article to tell you which companies are the best because we simply cannot be objective. Instead, we want to draw your attention to things to consider that halfway through the project, you won’t think: “I should have chosen a different software development company.” We understand we aren’t the best fit for all kinds of projects and that our approach fits some customers more than others.
This article shares our tips for choosing a software development company that delivers more than just the code and is the right fit for your next project. More specifically, we discuss:
It's a question of the business value that a good software development company will bring: from thoroughly understanding your project requirements to the ability to adjust to your work ethic. The best software development companies understand they must correctly translate your needs into project objectives and deliver high-quality code accordingly. If they don't do that, they're merely providing the code, forgetting about fulfilling your business needs and maximizing the potential.
Both nearshoring and offshoring the development process in Poland has a number of advantages that make our companies stand out in the global market. Here are the main benefits:
Our country boasts numerous highly qualified programmers that consistently make it to the top of three of various global software developers rankings. It’s not surprising they are highly sought-after: we’re the 5th in the world according to 2021 ranking by Designrush (where we’re recognized as the best country for outsourcing Java projects) and 3rd according to the 2019 SkillValue report.
An earlier 2016 ranking by Hackerrank, which assesses programmers based on their accuracy and speed, found Poland in the top 3 countries with the best developers, so we are firmly occupying the top spots. Of course, it doesn’t mean that every company will have equally skilled experts, but rather that the general level of coding education and development is high.
In addition, Polish programmers start their careers early: we are the fourth country with coders starting as early as between 5 and 10 years old, which makes our best developers some of the youngest in the world and also most experienced by the time they land their first professional job.
Our programmers also represent a wild set of skills and technologies, something that other countries may lack - the Harvard Business Review puts us in the fifth position in their tech literacy ranking, placing us among the top 15 cutting-edge tech nations! This study was conducted on Coursera students. As the authors claim, it may not be the most representative group, but it is the most important as it includes “those most motivated and able to improve their skill set.” HBR adds key industries to this rank, and this year their focus included Technology.
Since the transformation into democracy in 1989, Poland enjoyed uninterrupted economic expansion and between 1990 and 2015, we noted the largest GDP growth in Europe and among the OECD countries. Even when the EU went into recession in 2009, Poland was the only EU country that continued to grow. In 2019, the year of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Poland also noted an impressive GDP growth of 4,5%. It somewhat shrunk in 2020 as most countries did, but is expected to bounce back at 3,8% and quickly recover from the pandemic - all of this proves the Polish economy is stable and a country is a good place for doing business. A healthy economy is composed of healthy and reliable companies that won’t suddenly cease to exist or abandon your project due to lack of resources.
In the past few years, have experienced massive changes, more and more Polish IT companies have expanded internationally. The IT/ICT markets in 2018 accounted for 8% of Poland’s GDP, one of the highest in the world. The whole ICT sector grew in 2019 by around 2.9%, and the income of the IT sector itself rose by around 4,6%. Thus, the IT industry is well established in Poland. We know our trade!
Understanding each other goes beyond language - it may happen to communicate with your development partner without achieving a satisfactory level of cooperation. This occurs especially when cultural differences become vivid - we aren't saying that this will always be the case, but it's possible to observe different values and guiding principles, as well as a different approach to project management and quality in various parts of the world.
Poland’s location in Central Europe and membership in the European Union means we’re relatively close geographically and culturally to the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Scandinavia. The location allows finding a time window for direct interaction daily. We’re an EU member, and it is essential for another reason (see the next point).
Customers looking for a custom software development company in Poland don't have to be greatly concerned about intellectual property protection. As a member of the EU, Poland is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation, which in fact protects the personal and sensitive data of any entity doing business in Poland.
Of course, data protection practices differ from company to company and there are also several things you can do to ensure you choose a custom software development company that will handle your intellectual property with utmost care. If you'd like to learn more about this topic, we've already covered it in the blog post about intellectual property rights and in the below ebook.
English language proficiency became a standard in Poland; we described the outsourcing of software projects in Poland here. Most workplaces require it, and it is a mandatory school and university subject - especially for programmers. Cultural proximity means we watch the same movies, read the same books and listen to the same music as the English-speaking world. Since we’re a mature market and a member of the European Union since 2004, our developers and companies alike are able to communicate in English with ease.
If you thought you’d have to check the level of English proficiency before choosing a suitable partner, you will be impressed with the skill level of the custom software development companies you contact. In terms of English language proficiency, we are 16th in the world and 13 in the EU, according to this global index prepared by EF, an international language school, based on the results of the tests they carry out. The younger generation and Millenials received consistent English language education in primary and secondary school so they are well prepared to work for international companies.
Programmers’ wages are still somewhat lower in Poland than those in the United States, Australia, Canada, UK, or Germany. Life expenses are lower in Poland, which also means that the cost of development projects is also reduced. This applies especially to outsourced projects - offshoring or nearshoring to Poland will help you further reduce the project development costs, so it's a good option for businesses with their hands tied by limited budgets.
At CSHARK, depending on the role and technology, the rates range from about 40$ to 70$ per hour for a DevOps, .NET, Front-End, or Mobile developer. The rate varies depending on the level of expertise (Mid or Expert). In turn, the cost per hour for software testers ranges between 30$ and 60$, also depending on the specialization and level. In the case of more desirable technologies or ones requiring more experience, such as Go technology, it can cost up to 90$ per hour for an Expert or a Leader. The rates are valid in Q4 2021.
SODA is the Software Development Association in Poland created to support knowledge exchange and establish software development standards across Poland. It's a unique organization that fosters cooperation between software developers, boosts skills, and supports members in generating leads. Above all, it helps developers and businesses alike find answers to questions that they wouldn't be able to find anywhere else.
SODA currently has over 120 members. We joined the Association in 2019 and already benefited from this membership in different ways. We were able to seek and find expertise in domains that are outside of our areas of expertise. Our company also provided support to other organizations in various projects.
Thanks to this Association, foreign companies outsourcing software development to members of this organization actually benefit from a larger pool of skilled experts and domain knowledge that extends beyond the specific provider. We believe organizations such as SODA are vital for honing skills and growth in the IT sector.
Poland has been recognized by many multinational companies who already offshore software development as well as their R&D units to the country. Global ICT giants that offshore their IT services to Poland include Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Cisco, Samsung, Intel, and many other global brands. Foreign R&D capital typically faces easy entry and support from the local governments for their activities and a large pool of qualified experts in various domains.
Outsourcing the development process to Poland has numerous advantages. However, it's important to remember that choosing a programming company at random won't necessarily yield those benefits. Most companies will be able to deliver good software, but not all of them may be culturally aligned with your existing team. Here's what you need to know to choose a software vendor carefully.
The cost of software development is important when considering the different offers, but the lowest price should never be your top choice. Price should be your lowest priority, bearing in mind other crucial factors.
A company that gives the best offer from the financial perspective likely has the lowest margin because it doesn’t invest in the development of its employees. It may have poorly designed processes and create significant technical debt, which you will have to pay off eventually. Cheaper quotes often come with lower expertise and lesser experience, so the question is: would you be prepared to go for lower quality that’s usually associated with a cheaper offer?
Many companies outsource their project to Southeast Asia where the market is currently most competitive in terms of pricing, but that market can’t always guarantee the necessary expertise and support required in a professional business environment (not to mention the cultural differences). It may work in simple assignments, but if you want to build more complex tools that require an understanding of the target culture, you should choose a development partner who is culturally aligned with you.
You will be working with the external partner for an extended period of time, so you want to make sure that cooperation is not only productive but also smooth and pleasant - otherwise, you and your team will be going through hard times. There is also the non-measurable, human factor in successful cooperation: having common small-talk subjects also influences work dynamics.
Finding out whether your potential partner will augment your team well in terms of culture is something that is the most difficult to verify before you actually start working together. Nonetheless, you can do a number of things to get an idea about what the cooperation will be like.
First, check the software development company's website for its mission and values. Once you know what they are about and how they talk about it, you may have an idea whether you are fully, or just somewhat aligned. It’s something worth also discussing during the initial conversation:
In addition, you can also investigate the company’s blog and social media profiles to see what content they consider noteworthy and how they communicate with their audiences - all of these will help you get a clearer picture, especially as you start comparing different outsourcing vendors.
An outsourcing partner that doesn’t ask questions won't be able to meet your business needs - simple as that. Top software developers know that good software must be bug-free and meet business goals. They ask in-depth questions and approach projects critically, knowing that they can positively influence the shape of the product. A success-driven development team will have its services and processes designed precisely with that in mind.
In fact, all team members, including sales representatives, business analysts, project managers, delivery managers, developers, and Quality Assurance managers should always ask questions about the project, the client, and the industry they are about to delve into. It's the only way to clarify key requirements and avoid miscommunication at the onset, leaving no room for unintentional mistakes. It's something that top development companies have in their DNA. They’re not creating a client's project just for the sake of it (and the money) but care about its market success.
This part is also about researching the company's specialization and available skills and getting an idea about their experience. Check their website for this information and look at their portfolio and blog for case studies. In the case of development companies, Clutch reviews will also tell a lot about the company's reliability and quality of work.
Determine the technology stack required for your project and if the potential partner doesn't have relevant expertise on board, find out how quickly they can acquire it. Do they have a process of introducing them seamlessly to the project and gaining customers’ trust? Which technologies do they use and why? What were their biggest successes and what failures helped them grow? What management methodologies does the provider know? Is the company Agile? Can they do Waterfall? What pricing models do they offer? What tools do they use for quality assurance, reporting, and communication? These questions are very important because they directly impact the time of the project, price, and dynamics of the business relationship.
Any software house that wants to deliver quality products, must be well-organized internally. An effective company focused on delivering results will have a number of solid processes established to complete any project. These processes should be oriented at:
Each process is crucial to deliver software development projects in IT outsourcing in general successfully. Before you pick a software development company, ask them about their organization of these processes. Companies that represent a process-oriented mindset offer high-quality services and are able to react faster and deliver results more predictably.
Now that you know what to pay attention to when choosing the right partner for your project, we’d like to shed some light on how we approach software development at CSHARK.
We are focused primarily on delivering products that meet the goals of our clients. This means that when we have the initial talk about your need and it turns out that in your given context outsourcing isn’t the best option, we will let you know about it. Such a critical approach is extremely important to us - we believe it’s the only way to achieve product-market fit. For us, successful software products aren’t just about bug-free code but also about fulfilling market and users’ needs.
To this end, we pay great attention to the scope, understanding of project requirements, and your business objectives. We chose the best technology stack only after these have been identified. Nudge, one of our clients said:
Once we understand your goals, we like to participate in the discussion about the best possible ways to arrive at these goals. Most of our customers find this approach useful. For instance, Focis said: “CSHARK has been exceptionally helpful during the architecting phase and has provided great ideas. New clients should be open to their methodology. If they are open to CSHARK’s recommendations, they will get more out of the partnership.”
We are happy to share our expertise but, above all, listen to our client's needs as well. “Other companies we engaged with said they could build the product for us but that they’d decide what tech stack to use. CSHARK, on the other hand, was open to using AWS because that’s what we wanted. We wanted to support our project and contribute, and they were open to that” - that’s also a quote from Nudge.
Outsourcing software development is a great option for tech companies that don't have an internal development team and want to focus on their core business. Poland offers an abundance of good software development companies, but it doesn't mean that selecting a random vendor will result in fruitful cooperation. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account when choosing a software development partner.
Paying attention to the culture fit is just as important as the skillset and experience of a given development vendor. There are no good or bad options, but one software house will be able to meet specific project needs better than others, so you should definitely focus on fulfilling the specific needs of your project.
Remember that you decide to pick a partner you will be working with over a prolonged period when choosing a software development company. Do everything you can to ensure this will be a productive time and pleasant, respectful, and based on trust.