Before you make a decision to contact a software development company and create an application for the size and popularity like for example Instagram, probably you would like to know as much as possible and whether you can trust your potential IT partner. And here comes to help you - our first article from a blog post series of frequently asked questions which we received.
We spent some time, reviewing our old forms, mailboxes and correspondence with clients over the years (so you can be sure that the data is supported by facts!) and selected questions that are most often asked.
By the way, did you know that, having a FAQ section where our clients will be able to find answers to the most important questions is very convenient and helpful. It not only allows you to quickly answer a bothering question, but also allows you to relieve our team and facilitate communication with customers. So check out the most popular software development’s questions! Hope it will be helpful for you!
Railwaymen Frequently Asked Questions Table of Content:
Our Company Related:
- Why should we work with you? What differentiate you from the other companies? [CLICK]
- How long are you on the market? [CLICK]
- Who are the founders? [CLICK]
- Who is who in your software house? What are the team responsibilities? [CLICK]
- What other services do you offer? [CLICK]
- Would you provide contact/references I could contact with? Ideally from my country/region etc. [CLICK]
- Why is Poland/Krakow a good place to look for tech companies? [CLICK]
App Development Process Related:
- How do you solve different time zones problems? [CLICK]
- What is the likely time to build the application? [CLICK]
- How does my technical documentation must look like to start the development process with you? [CLICK]
- What should I prepare from my side to start the app development with you? [CLICK]
- What if I have an idea for my app and nothing else? [CLICK]
- Do you work on project base or rather in “developer for hire” mode (body leasing)? What is the difference? What do you prefer? Are you able to work with my internal team / other remote developers? [CLICK]
- Who will be my point of contact? What’s the typical team size and what are the roles? Can I talk directly to the developers? [CLICK]
- If hypothetically I will change the development team in the future or start with my own, will you help with onboarding? How would it look? [CLICK]
- Do you sign NDA? Do you have a sample one? [CLICK]
- Is it possible to deal in installments and if there is what is the method and what is the period? [CLICK]
- What version of the control system do you use? Which one did you compare it to? Why did you pick the one you picked over the other? [CLICK]
Technology & Competences Related:
- What is the typical tech stack you are using? Why Ruby on Rails? [CLICK]
- What do you find is better: React Native or native iOS and Android apps? [CLICK]
- Please describe the potential team's proficiency with Ruby on Rails [CLICK]
- Please describe the potential team's proficiency in English [CLICK]
- Please describe the potential team's proficiency with Vue.js/React.js [CLICK]
- “Why are you charging so much? I worked with other Polish/Ukrainian/Russian companies and they were cheaper” [CLICK]
#1 How do you solve different time zones problems?
How to organize the work for the team in another time-zone? Is it possible to manage a remote team and stay productive?
Let’s start with some facts: every year Polish tech companies and startups enjoy an increasingly better reputation around the world. We are really proud of that. Foreign clients appreciate us for language skills, a high level of education and for having one of the most talented programmers in the world.
That's why so many companies even from the farthest corners of the world decide to start cooperation with software houses from Krakow, Poland.
Poland takes 3rd place when it comes to outsourcing IT services in the near-shoring model (i.e. locations relatively close to Western Europe), and in the global ranking, i.e. in the offshoring category - 5th place, after the Philippines, India, the Czech Republic and Hungary, according to the report "Executive Brief Outsourcing 2019", prepared by the global consulting company 7N. Seven of the top 10 service locations for the IT industry are in Europe.
Nowadays, in the age of developed communication and project management tools, it is not a problem to maintain business relationships from the end of the world. when it comes to conversations with clients, we mainly use Google Meet, Skype, Slack and Zoom Video Communications. We are flexible and adapt to their preferences, we ask how they would like to communicate and choose the best solution.
Recommended Project Management tools:
What’s more, within the Scrum framework, we are working in timeboxes called sprints and we deliver smaller chunks of digital products iteratively after every sprint - usually, it is one week. After each sprint, our clients are able to see the work progress because of the whole process transparency. The time when our clients are reviewing all changes we call a sprint review meeting. We are always open to suggestions and we prefer to stay in partnership relations with daily or weekly updates.
To keep the project on track we propose following events included in the process of product development:
- Planning sessions and defining priorities for the upcoming Sprint.
- Daily standups during the Sprint for tracking the progress.
- Review sessions called demo for reviewing the progress.
- Retrospective meetings which are crucial for the smooth and effective process flow.
Fruitful and frequent communication is extremely important when we and our client are hundreds or even thousands of kilometers apart. Sometimes, the client may feel a little uncomfortable with the fact that he can not come to our office at any time and see how work on his project is going. Therefore, we make sure that you do not have to do it yourself by regularly informing you about the progress of work.
A map with marked countries that we have clients from
Just to better outline our current situation. Let's go with some numbers and statistics which are always the best to present. Since 10 years about 80% of our clients are from the United States - from the East Coast (e.g. New York - 6 hours difference) but also West Coast (e.g. Los Angeles, San Francisco - 8 hours difference). 10% are from the Middle East countries (e.g. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates or Kuwait) and the rest - 10 % are from Western Europe.
So as you can see we know how to manage clients from different continents and totally different time zones. We work while you sleep which means your software development project has 24 hour coverage.
Below you can find our client’s testimonial about managing software development project in different time zone:
“One of the interesting benefits that we experienced was that we effectively a 24-hour team and so didn’t realize how much of an advantage that could be because you know generally speaking if you are here in the US you know we happen to be in the central time zone you know we’re very aware of the performance of our site during our workday or even some of our work evening but in fact when our work evening ends their workday begins so we sort of developed oddly 24 hour coverage for our website.”
Christine Boulware, CEO & Founder of itsashort.com
You can check out the whole interview on our YouTube channel here:
#2 Why should we work with you? What differentiate you from the other companies?
Probably, this is one of the most popular questions during the first contact with our potential clients. And this is pretty obvious and understandable that having a list of several software houses you want to know what makes a company stand out on the market. What is so special about them and what does it make that business conversations should start with this company and not another one? What current or former customers can say about their services? What reviews do they have about the services provided?
Actually, we as consumers do it all the time, right? Let’s imagine that you are planning to buy a new electronic equipment - laptop. What will be the first thing you do? You will probably start a research and then check the number and quality of reviews available on the product pages. The more the better. The number of product reviews (especially those where buyers give the highest possible rating) has a positive impact on making a purchase decision. Customer comments available on the store's website work almost exactly like recommendations from friends - thanks to them we spend our money without too much worry. Even if we check products of comparable quality, it can be safely assumed that consumers will more often choose those that have more opinions. The same situation is when searching for your software development partner.
One of our main values is delivering apps that solve real-time issues and at the same time what makes us stand out is the opinions of our clients. We know that probably most companies will mention the same things so instead of listing further arguments, I will write to you our main values and you can decide if they coincide with your vision and business strategy.
- Providing outstanding & high-quality products (internal, unique QA procedures, UX,UI, development)
- Building long-term customer partnerships, based on understanding their needs.
- Fostering an atmosphere of friendship, while also maintaining a professional environment.
We are the top 10 of the world's top companies Ruby on Rails Developers according to the American B2B platform - Clutch.co, based on our client's testimonials.
Railwaymen was also verified and we were qualified to be in the top 7% of Boutique Tech Teams Digital Knights. The Due Diligence process has been defined by CTOs, serial entrepreneurs and tech due diligence experts acting as advisors for Digital Knights.
See how they describe the process on their website:
Our due diligence process has been developed as a "Quality First" proprietary methodology which takes vetting and assessment to the next level.
We eliminate the lack of transparency and surface the data you need to make confident and educated decisions when engaging with one of our engineering partners.
Our rigorous screening process evaluates 10,000+ data points on each partner we vet, uncovering strengths and weaknesses so you don't have to.
Their verification process was very detailed, took more than 1 year and only 7% of software development companies applying to their network are successful. So you can be sure that these are not our invented advertising slogans, but we passed through audits of external certified companies.
#3 How long are you on the market?
Actually in 2019 we celebrated our 10th anniversary. Pretty awesome, right? Celebrating birthday was the perfect opportunity to summarize our milestones and achievements, present the Railwaymen's story and thank you, customers and employees, for working together.
Overall, a lot of things have changed over the years, it was a time of significant transformations and continuous improvements. We didn’t even dream that started as a small company with several people in a small studio, we would end up as a fully mature, award-winning company with more than 50 specialists on board, 5 times bigger office and over .
Interestingly, we have been cooperating with some clients from the very beginning. As we always focus on building an atmosphere of friendship with our partners and clients. One of the best examples is apple seeds - all-in-one play spaces for families with children newborn to five, located in New York City.
We have been working with them over 10 years now, starting with a very basic online classes booking system and finishing with a fully manageable custom CRM. Together with the apple seeds team, we really grew up and developed. We have also built an online system for a franchising program called 'Songs for seeds'. It's an interactive, music class that educates and encourages children through a live, three-piece band. There are more than 30 locations at the moment.
By the way, this is another proof that we stand out with really long customer relationships. 10 years of cooperation with clients in IT is something rather rare and we are really proud of that relationship that we've built with them!
See what they wish us for our 10 years anniversary:
See also our summary of last year - why it was special to us:
#4. Who are the founders?
Moving smoothly to the next question: once again, we can prove that we focus on friendly contacts, because our company was founded in 2009 by 3 friends who share an unabashed love for technology collectively bring more than fifteen years of experience to the table. Based on these foundations, loves nothing more than building custom software solutions (web and mobile applications).
Let us introduce their background and experience:
is the CEO of Railwaymen. He is responsible for managing the entire team, specifying the company's goals, company growth, its mission and principles and overseeing the functioning of each department. Certified SCRUM & PRINCE2 project manager with technical background education. Ex-Ruby on Rails developer with more solid professional experience in software web development using Agile methodology.
Team leader and passionate about new technology solutions. The positive atmosphere in the Railwaymen team and satisfied customers are the most important factors for him while managing our company. He loves green tea and is the winner of many chess tournaments.
, Co-Founder of Railwaymen & Co-Founder of POSbistro. Tech leader, system administrator, Ex-Ruby on Rails developer. DevOps Engineer, responsible for synergy between software development and system management departments. Big enthusiast of Cloud Computing. Experienced in point of sales solutions.
, Co-Founder of Railwaymen & Co-Founder of POSbistro. Innovator, tech leader, Ex-Ruby on Rails and Java developer. More than 10 years of experience in the IT and startups environment. Interested in stock market and investments. Bridge player.
They have a strong experience with the startup environment and in 2012 they founded their own app product called POSbistro. This is a software solution that allows to manage the customer service and sales effectively in restaurants of different sizes. It provides a complete set of tools that you can pick and choose depending on the needs and size of your restaurant. POSbistro is a modern solution that stores its data in the cloud, so the person managing the premises can have remote access to real-time sales data. They are constantly developing this mobile app solution and therefore know how it works from two perspectives - startup product owner and development side.
Welcoming words from our CEO:
#5 What is the typical tech stack you are using? Why Ruby on Rails?
We have successfully delivered more than 100 web and mobile custom software apps. Our technical team specializes in Ruby on Rails engineering. Our projects are based on that web framework, but also mobile technologies for both iOS and Android platforms. We provide support at every stage of the project for enterprises and startups.
Want to know more about our tech stack?
Ruby is a very mature and robust programming language with a huge and very helpful community. According to its creator Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto, it was created to make programmers happy. Intuitiveness, enormous DSL possibilities, code transparency are just some of the advantages of this technology.
Ruby itself is dynamic, open-source language focused on clean & easily understandable code. “Ruby is one of the most popular programming languages among developers around the world!”
Once in a two weeks we share are knowledge about app development technologies and more through our Railwaymen Newsletter. If this topic interests you, feel free to sign up below!
Now we want to share it with you!
Ruby on Rails framework is one of the most powerful ways to develop web applications, based on the Model-View-Controller pattern. It was created by Danish programmer David Heinemeier Hansson. It began as a side-project and a way to improve the development process in Basecamp startup.
Easy and understandable code thanks to the transparent Ruby syntax. Numerous extensions to facilitate and accelerate implementation of template solutions.
Several examples: AirBnB, Twitter, Github, SlideShare, Basecamp, Bloomberg, Kickstarter, Twitch, Soundcloud. Want to learn more?
#6 What do you think is better: React Native or native iOS and Android apps?
And what about mobile apps? They are practically a must-have today for company’s growth, especially for B2C companies. So you don’t have to worry about anything cause we also specialize in developing mobile apps solutions. We do both options: native apps and cross-platform native solutions like React Native app development.
Native applications are written individually for a given mobile platform. This means that for each operating system (iOS, Android) the same application must be written in a different programming language. In the case of Android software they will be: Java and Kotlin, and in the case of the iOS platform: Objective-C and Swift.
#7 What is the likely time to build the application?
At the beginning, clients contacting a software development company to create a dedicated application have two key questions: how much will it cost to create the software and how long will it take? Mostly it depends how many features you'd like to have in the first phase. Although these issues seem clear, it is not easy to answer. Why? Because they are very complex and depend on many factors.
Application planning, including the creation of documentation and mockups, are smooth processes whose duration depends on efficient communication between the client and software house, the commitment of both parties and precise adaptation to the needs.
What we always recommend is to start working on an application with MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version first. The primary advantage of an MVP is that you can collect the most relevant feedback from users with the least amount of effort, and use it to constantly improve your product. Average time for MVP is 3months.
With this kind of approach, there’s enough value in the product so that clients are willing to make an initial purchase and there’s also the potential for future development and benefits that retain users long-term.
Put simply, an MVP offers an affordable means of getting proof of concept and instant feedback on your app.
#8 Who is who in your software house? What are the team responsibilities?
Buildinig a web or mobile app is definitely a team effort. That's why in our software house we not only have coders, but also UX/UI Designers, QA Specialists, Project Managers and more. Each person is very needed to ensure your project success. Not every app development company can say, that they do EVERYTHING in-house, without any outsourcing, but we can.
#9 How does my technical documentation must look like to start the development process with you?
At first you need to understand, that without technical documentation no good software house is capable of creating an application for you. But we understand, that as a business owner you might not know, how does the proper software documentation looks like. That's why we've prepared a whole article about it + FREE technical documentation template for you to download.
#10 What should I prepare from my side to start the app development with you?
What we need from you the most, is to explain your application idea as detailed as you can! Who will be your target audience? What are your competitors? What kind of monetisation strategy are you trying to pursue? You might be surprised, that we require that BEFORE coding your app but that's because we don't want to "just" make an app for you. We want to make for you a software product, that fulfils your business needs.
We care a lot about our company reputation and clients relations. We don't cooperate with everyone, who approaches us. When we see, that some software project looks sketchy or we don't believe, that it makes sense business wise - we drop it. But fear not - if we see, that you have a passion and want to make something good, we will gladly help you to shape your idea in the right way.
Actually, we care about our clients ideas this much, that we've prepared an extended checklist of the things that they should prepare to secure their project success as much as they can.
#11 What if I have an idea for my app and nothing else?
In that situation - we will strongly advise you to consider our Discovery Phase service. This one is dedicated exactly to those kind of clients who feel, that they came up with something great and want to verify, if it also makes sense business wise. Our business experts will take your idea and check if there is a real demand on the market for it. They will also propose the functionalities your software should have, the tech stack and more.
With the Discovery Phase document you are basically set & ready to start the app development process. Or not. It doesn't entitle you to start the actual development work with us. If after this you will feel, that maybe your app idea is not as great as you thought, we won't try to convince you that you should pursue it anyway. Because we simply care.
Interested about finding Discovery Phase details? Download our extensive, FREE ebook below!
#18 If hypothetically I will change the development team in the future or start with my own, will you help with onboarding? How would it look?
Of course, if you want to change your software service provider, we will help you with onboarding new company and work status implementation. We always prepare a detailed documentation of our work, to make the transition as smooth for you as possible.
#19 Do you sign NDA? Do you have a sample one?
Yes, of course. Just let us know that you need to sign NDA first, and we will send you our sample.
#20 Is it possible to deal in installments and if there is what is the method and what is the period?
Sure, it all depends on the size of the project, there is prepayment and payment after milestones.
We are working with challenging projects, which require broad business and tech know-how and expertise. All the projects are initially estimated before we start to work on a customized software, so the ballpark costs and timeline is provided. Once it’s done, we are working on an hourly basis and we track the work that is done as well as part of the software that is delivered and accepted by the client.
#21 What version of the control system do you use? Which one did you compare it to? Why did you pick the one you picked over the other?
We use state of the art VCS - git. We're used to working on Gitlab and Github as platforms, but most of our projects are on our private Gitlab. We chose to host our own Gitlab instance mostly because of the security and NDAs.
Our Gitlab instance sits behind our firewall, as do our development machines. It prevents leaks. Hosting our own also gives more power to our developers. We support the idea of code ownership and code responsibility so the developer leading the project is also the one responsible for keeping Gitlab repo up and running.
It's not as much about the repository itself, as it is for the Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery(CI/CD) pipelines. CI/CD is our core mechanism which, once set up, allows us to easily push multiple times per day not worrying about software instability - we keep 100% automatic tests coverage from the very beginning of each project.
#22 Please describe the potential team's proficiency with Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is the main technology that we work with. This framework is a base of architecture in our web applications. This is where the application logic is usually created, which allows us to meet the needs of our customers. This framework has an established position in the IT industry, where we can find many projects created with the use of this technology. Ruby has a simple and transparent syntax. Many ready-made solutions prepared by the committed community gathered around Rails allow you to save time during development, thanks to the use of functional packages with code, the so-called gems.
During the past 11 years we have successfully delivered 127 projects worldwide for multiple industries (97 from North America), most of which were developed by our experienced specialists using RoR framework. We hire 25 Ruby developers, 12 of them are senior developers. It would be definitely challenging for you, to hire these many experienced RoR developers on your own.
Our Ruby on Rails Developers regularly share their app development knowledge on different conferences, meetups and our organized in-house Tech Talks. You can see how it looks like below:
#23 Please describe the potential team's proficiency in English
English is our main language when communicating with our clients and partners.
Since the USA is our main market our whole team can communicate fluently in English.
#24 Please describe the potential team's proficiency with Vue.js/React.js
As you can see above there are a lot of questions that potentially you will have before or during contacting your software provider. Your software house should be not only a contractor, but also an advisor, and really your business partner. Only with this approach is the chance to create a solid product - web or mobile app. Feel free to use our most frequently asked questions and our answers and stay tuned for more!