Like car mechanic shops, the software development industry is often met with distrust, or at the very least a healthy dose of skepticism. To say nothing of your local car mechanic, it’s actually quite reasonable for people to distrust third-party software development firms. Here are five solid reasons why: 1. SO MANY Burn Victims It’s likely only 3 degrees of separation within your professional network to find someone who has been burned by a custom software project gone awry. This typically looks like cost overruns. Busted deadlines. Unsatisfactory outcomes. These types of major failures have literally hurt the careers of highly competent professionals who relied on their 3rd-party developers to simply do what they said they could do. 2. Too Many Options Onshore firms. Nearshore. Offshore. Hybrid (eg. onshore project manager + offshore developers). Big firms. Boutique firms. Your co-worker’s “expert” coder friend “who can do just as quality work at a quarter of the price of the other options.” How in the world do you choose?! Hint: Once you do choose, “hope” of success is not a good strategy. 3. Understanding Not many buyers genuinely understand what software developers are doing when they go “behind the curtain” to code a project. (How can you know their efforts will achieve the optimal outcome you require?) As humans, we tend to fear what we don’t understand. You may recognize this emotional interplay with the car mechanic analogy (Must it take THAT long and THAT much money to fix my transmission?!). 4. Defining Value Stemming from the aforementioned understanding gap is the inherent difficulty of assigning a monetary value that is seen as a fair exchange by both parties. It doesn’t help that rates from one firm to the next can sometimes vary by $100+ per hour for the “same” level resource. Important question: Do you understand the key drivers that will affect your “Total Cost of Engagement” [TCE] from one firm to the next before you sign the contract? 5. Lies Software development firms are a dime-a-dozen and this fierce competition has sadly driven some firms to say and do deceptive things in order to win business. Common practices like low-ball pricing to win a deal (hint: expect the final bill to be much higher). Misrepresentation of technical capabilities and/or resource capacity. Poor communication. Operating models that don’t actually support the tight deadlines they say they can hit. The list goes on and on. Similar to choosing a car mechanic, TRUST is the primary issue plaguing the software development industry. If you are wondering if this paradigm of distrust can be turned around (Hint: We believe it can!), then we encourage you to read our response to how we are trying to change this perception.