Top 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Programming Partner

Programming partners provide massive benefits for businesses looking beyond their in-house development teams. Deciding which strategic partnership best suits your particular needs can be challenging, as there is a lot of risk associated with bad decisions. In order to spot red flags, avoid bad partnerships, and ensure a successful result, companies need to ask the right questions.

While there are some obvious questions related to services, rates, and contracts, more nuanced questions are critical. The answers to the following questions will help inspire thoughts on how to evaluate your future programming partner.

1. What Can You Tell Me About Your Company and Team?

The first questions you should be asking a potential programming partner shed light on their background and expertise. Asking for more information about the company itself illuminates their values, and ultimately helps you decide whether there is strong alignment.

Listen for information on how long they’ve been in business, the size of their team, their preparedness to take on projects of your size. The answers to these questions will help you determine whether they have the proper team in place. Do they have enough developers, UX/UI designers, and project managers to properly execute on your project?. You can also get a sense of their awards, certifications, and client list. All of these pieces will help provide confidence in their preparedness to execute.

2. How Will We Communicate, and When?

Communication is critical to any partnership. When selecting a programming partner, you want to be sure that there is always an open channel of communication and collaboration is transparent. Questioning communication protocols ensures that this is something the partner also prioritizes so that you can rely on them to identify and resolve issues through a highly collaborative process.

It is important to listen for granular details, including the who, when and how. What format will your updates come to you in? What will be the timing of updates? What tools will you be using for communication? And perhaps most importantly, who will be your primary point of contact? If these questions are answered confidently, then you can breathe easy knowing that communication should be handled properly.

3. What is My Involvement Day-to-Day?

Your desired level of involvement is something that you need to have an understanding of before entering into a partnership. Is this something that you want to be involved with every day, or will you be more hands off? Typically, it only makes sense for you to be heavily involved if you come to the table with experience managing a software development team. Those without experience risk the quality of the outcome.

Time management is also a major concern here, because if you don’t have the bandwidth, your programming partner will need to fully understand your vision and goals. It is important that you do everything in your power to help your partner with feedback and achievable deliverables throughout the process. The success of projects often falls on this issue, so make sure that you can trust your partner with the degree of involvement that you are capable of providing.

4. Where are We Vulnerable to Failure, and How Can it be Prevented?

The answers to questions around potential failure tell an important story. What you are fishing for here are clear strategies to navigate bumps in the road. How resilient and resourceful is this potential partner? While failure is not something that anyone is hoping for, it’s important to think critically about the partnership and take a hard look at how a nimble your partner can be.

You want to hear your partner openly consider ways that your project can fail. This demonstrates that they are thinking about all possible scenarios, which will keep them prepared should something unfortunate arise. If they cannot share information about the potential for failure, they might not be as hardened or experienced as you’d like. This can be a major red flag, as some programming partners are not transparent when issues arise, ultimately damaging the potential of a project.

5. How Can You Ensure Consistent and Quality Deliverables?

Promising a great result is much easier than delivering one, which is why this question is so important. In order to gain confidence on a partner’s ability to deliver, businesses should gain an understanding of their benchmarks and metrics that gauge success.

There are many considerations here, starting with quality assurance measures focused on code. Strong methodology around development, deployment, and evaluation can help ensure the code produced is of a certain quality. The development workflow is also an important element here, so having best practices and standards explained can be insightful.

You want to listen for confidence around all processes and metrics for success, as to ensure that your project will be managed properly from start to finish. It is also important to establish whether or not continued support will be required in the future as your business scales and evolves.


Wherever any material is quoted as sourced from the published text with publishing rights vested in an individual, it is stated that it is a pure quotation and no intention to claim it as our own.

As a programming partner ourselves, we’ve successfully completed over 700 projects for our clients over the last 12 years. A number of these clients have gone on to become successful VC funded ventures. If you’d like to learn more about our unique approach to programming, click here.

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