The Fixed-Cost Project is Dead: How to Choose the Ideal Software Development Partner for Your Media and Entertainment Project?

Sakib Mirza, COO at Vodworks 

September 20, 2023 - 8 min read

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The media and entertainment landscape has undergone remarkable transformation over the last decade, fueled by a tidal wave of tech disruptors and large shifts in business models. The industry, once known for its time-honoured traditions, has become a hotbed of innovation and evolution. Today, it’s no longer sufficient to be a mere follower; to thrive in this quickly evolving industry, you have to be a bold innovator!

As the industry demands innovators, it is absolutely essential for media and entertainment companies to find the right software development partner to help turn innovative concepts into tangible products. They’re the bridge between vision and execution; the catalyst for bringing disruptive ideas to life. In an era where innovation is the currency of success, your choice of software development partner can make all the difference in staying ahead of the competition.

But, with an abundant supply of software development partners, how do you choose the right one? How do you choose the right software development model to achieve the greatest success? In this article we draw on our own expertise of working with media and entertainment clients to outline 7 essential steps that will help guide you through the process of selecting the ideal software development partner.

The Fixed-Cost Project is Dead

Step 1: Define What Success Looks Like

Before you start looking for a software development partner, you must have a clear understanding of what are the objectives. We often say to our engineering teams that it’s important to understand the “why” before calculating the “what” or the “how”. It may seem like this is obvious, but in our experience, a lot of clients will focus on the method of the project before defining the end objective. This will create the framework for how your software development partner will align themselves and of course how they propose the answer to you.

Step 2: Understand Your Needs and Goals

Once this is clear, it's important to take ample time to define your project/product scope, budget, and timeline. Consider specific technologies, features, and functionalities you might require for your software development project. The more you understand your own requirements, the easier it will be to communicate this to a potential partner. Its also important to understand the team you have available to yourself internally, that will define the best process and structure of the team working on your project both internally and externally. For example, if you don’t have a business analyst within your organisation for grooming the requirements, you may want to ask your development partner to supply this as part of the project.

Step 3: Be Prepared for a Non-static Budget

In the current world of software development, we’ve come to understand that when we build a software product, our priorities often change throughout and therefore so will our budgets. When considering a software development partner and project, build at least a loose product roadmap and backlog which goes beyond the initial targets. This will help you maintain momentum during the course of development, even if your priorities change, the project scope gets larger, or budgets extend.

Step 4: Look for Industry Experience

Media and entertainment is a unique industry with its own set of challenges and opportunities. When searching for a software development partner, look for those with a proven track record in the sector. Experience in this field means they are familiar with industry-specific regulations, trends, and best practices. They can offer insights and solutions tailored to your industry’s needs, giving you a competitive edge.

Here are some of the best software review websites to check:

  • G2
  • Capterra
  • Clutch
  • Software Advice
  • Gartner Peer Insights
  • TrustRadius
  • Trustpilot

Step 5: Assess Technical Expertise

Technical expertise is a non-negotiable factor when selecting a software development partner. Evaluate the team’s skills and capabilities in relevant programming languages, software frameworks, and technologies. Ensure the partner can handle the complexities and unique requirements of your project, whether it involves developing mobile apps, content management systems, or video streaming platforms. Look at their case studies and request a portfolio of their previous work to gauge their problem solving approach and the quality of their technical output.

Step 6: Understand their Data and Security Measures

Today, safeguarding sensitive data is no longer an option - it's a must! A good development partner should show transparency in their security practice and demonstrate a strong understanding of data protection. As you do your evaluation, consider how the partner proposes to manage data throughout the development process and what kind of threat protection strategies they have in place. You can also look out for certifications such as ISO 27001 or GDPR compliance to understand their commitment to data security.

Step 7: Consider Culture and Compatibility

Being able to work well together is essential for the success of any software development project. Assess the communication style and cultural fit between your team and potential partners. Are they responsible for your inquiries? Do they value your input and feedback? Beyond getting to know the partner’s sales team, you might want to arrange interview calls with the development team to gauge their skill level and cultural fit. Extra due diligence will help you form a collaborative partnership and ensure your vision aligns with their development approach, leading to smoother project execution.

Step 8: Evaluate References and Reviews

Before making your final decision, reach out to previous clients of the software development partner you’re considering. Ask for references and inquire about their experiences working with the partner in question. Browse online reviews and testimonials to gain insight into their reputation and client satisfaction. A partner with a history of delivering quality results and meeting deadlines is a strong indicator of reliability.

Step 9: Discuss Pricing and Contracts

Finally, you want to avoid surprises and conflicts down the road with regards to pricing and contract terms. Have a detailed discussion about pricing structures, payment milestones, and any potential additional costs. Make sure the partner is willing to provide a written agreement that outlines project deliverables, timelines, and legal responsibilities. This will protect both parties and establish a clear framework for the partnership.


Choosing the right software development partner for your project is a crucial decision that can seriously impact the success of your company within the industry. By carefully assessing your needs, seeking experienced partners, evaluating their technical and security expertise, ensuring culture compatibility, checking references, and discussing price and contracts, you can make an informed decision. Remember that a strong partnership can lead to innovative solutions, improved user experiences, and an edge in the very competitive world of media and entertainment. Take the time to find the right partner, and you will reap the rewards of a successful partnership.

Are you looking for a software development partner with strong experience in media and entertainment? Then look no further. We have over a decade worth of experience building software solutions for media and entertainment clients. Reach out to us to find out more.

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