Introduction call with client

The article is a part of Code Inspiration’s software development outsourcing Knowledge Base.

Custom software development is something about details. As the practice shows, if there are no questions before the start of the project, it usually means that the customer documented the requirements so well, that everything is clear at first sight, which happens very rarely. The most popular scenario is that the developer is not planning to perform his work well or doesn’t care about details, aiming to make the work somehow.

What is important to clarify in the very beginning of a software development project? Which questions to ask the customer to get important details in the very beginning?

Do you have anything documented already or you are at the stage of the idea only?

This is one of the most important questions when you start the intro conversation. Usually, the product owner will start representing himself and his business idea, however, if nothing is documented yet, it will be very hard to provide any feedback.

What is more, after this representation the product owner asks to give a rough estimation of cost and timeline. But when you will discuss the prpject idea with the development team, it is most likely you will forget a half of what you spoke with the product owner about.

There are 3 most likely scenarios:

  • if the customer can share any documentation – ask him to do this after the intro call or even better before.
  • if the customer doesn’t have the documentation yet, but he can do it on his own – wait till it is finished and take it from there.
  • if your customer is at the stage of an idea only and cannot proceed doing a specification with his team – propose him your services of the development of the specification guide and mock-ups.

Do you have any deadlines for the completion of the software development project?

Already at the early stage if you hear that your customer is planning to develop “Uber” or “Ebay” in 2 months and is planning to spend 5k budget, it makes sense not to spend time for both of you, and to answer, that this scenario is hardly realistic. Being straightforward telling there are things your company cannot do, of course, with a proper explanation why, will not make your customer mad. What is more, if the customer confirms that his initial plan is not realistic and changes his approach later, most likely he will come back to you with a clear software development request.

If a customer is changing the vendor, it is of the highest importance to ask WHY?

And to make sure that points which are important for the customer are fulfilled in your company, and you will be able to provide the level of software development services expected.

After clarifying all the details about the project, do not forget to ask if your customer has any questions to you

It is of the highest importance not to start with a monologue of 15 minutes telling all the history of the company and details which are not relevant to the request itself. After the introduction of your customer and your presentation of the project – try to represent your company only according to the principle “how company X can be suitable to develop the product Y”, “which similar expertise doesn’t company X have” etc.

software development project request

Steps forward

The fifth and the most important step is the conclusion. It is important to sum up all the information discussed during the call and to establish steps forward. You can either plan the next call or agree on getting necessary information from the client about his software development project. Or prepare and send him a list of questions, whatever. The important point here is that you already establish the further plan and timelines for the next iterations of your cooperation.

The article is a part of Code Inspiration’s software development outsourcing Knowledge Base.