In order to be efficient and productive while doing software developer work, you have to be careful about which projects you choose up front. You can't be too picky when you need to make a living, but at the same time, you ought to know what you're getting into. Asking questions before taking software developer work will help you produce a better project, and it will help you manage your working relationships with clients or employers.
1. What Problem Am I Solving?
You want to go beyond the specifications of the software you're asked to create. Ask the employer what business or employee challenges they face, and that they think the software will solve. If you know that information going in, you might think of ways to deliver an even superior product than what your employers or clients are expecting. They'll think of you as a problem solver, and not just a "tech person," which means they'll go to you for advice and more solutions after the project is done.
2. What Have You Been Using and Why Doesn't It Work?
Don't develop software in a vacuum. Your employer or client has been using something before hiring you, and you need to know what it is and why it doesn't work for them. Perhaps they haven't done anything at all about the problem they face, and you have the opportunity to really shine as a developer to meet their needs.
3. Did You Hire Another Developer to Solve the Problem? If So, What Happened?
You could be the fourth or fifth person they've hired for the
project, and it's important to know that. Find out why it didn't work
out with previous software developers. You might decide to not take the
job, if you don't believe you could do more than what the other
developers did, or if you perceive that the employer or client is
impossible to please.
4. How Do You Rate Software Developer Work?
It's one of the most important questions you want to ask before you accept work. You don't want to spend too much time and energy on work that your employer or client will rate poorly when you're done. Knowing how they will rate you before you start can help you create a product and meet deadlines in ways that are pleasing to your employer.
5. What Are the Milestones for the Project?
If you submitted a proposal to get hired for software development work, you may have included milestones for the project. These are target dates for completing aspects of the job. You don't have to write down a specific date, but you should break it down into weeks. For example, milestones can be as generic as "Week 1," "Week 2" and so on. Revisit the milestones you submitted in your original proposal with the person in charge of managing your work, to confirm that those are the milestones they want to keep.
Don't take on software developer work without asking these key questions first. You and your clients will be satisfied if you know what to expect from each other.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.