Vendor or Partner?
Due to the number of possible solutions that you may be seeking at any given time, it is not possible to cover everything that you may want to consider or ask specific vendors over time. There are lots of good articles already online that will give guidance on specific questions and details that you may want to review for specific projects – website, web app, native app, etc.
The reality is that working with a vendor is a relationship. And, like all relationships, if it starts off with a good foundation, it is much more likely to last long-term. Relationships based entirely on money are often not long for this world.
Below, is a guide for how I would recommend beginning a relationship with a vendor – whether for software development or, just about, anything else. I’ve been hiring vendors to support many business areas for over fifteen years. It took me the first ten years to figure out what I should be focusing on when beginning a new relationship.
Did they ask/engage about your values or mission?
Your values and/or mission is your identity. It is why your customers choose you, over someone else. If a vendor doesn’t understand who you are and what you represent, they are unable to connect their work with you and your organization in truly meaningful ways. Good vendors will research who you are, before you meet, or will try to understand who you are during initial conversations. If they aren’t asking these types of questions, be sure that you are continuing to research your options in the market.