Ministers marrying business requirements to SDLC best practices
Trusted IT partners with over 200 founders and leaders from billion-dollar brands to innovative startups worldwide. The last dull day we had was a decade ago.
Top app development company
Who are we?
Who is SoftCircles?
SoftCircles was established in 2011 as a custom Software
Development company in New York. At the time of the
launch, we had limited capabilities and could only develop
standalone mobile and web applications. Our processes were
lackluster and we made a lot of mistakes breaking ground.
We ate all the cost until we brought the projects back on
track, a string of strategic decisions that built trust
with our clients.
Learning quickly from our mistakes, we introduced
strategic management processes into our organization in
2013 and pivoted our organization to develop integrated,
business-first solutions that were a byproduct of mobile
and web technologies coming together and working
seamlessly to provide a lavish experience. While our
solutions looked and felt good, the tailored functionality
they brought to the client organization allowed the
client's heavy reliance on the solutions, and us an IT
All of us at SoftCircles firmly believe in doing things
right the first time. Our work alongside Founders and the
C-suite from billion-dollar brands to innovative startups
has solved over 200 real-world business challenges and
brought hundreds of innovative ideas to life. Our
solutions handle and age well, are optimized for end-user
engagement, and can work with or alongside the existing IT
ecosystem. Among others, we still continue to serve our
clients we first engaged with years ago.
What Capabilities does SoftCircles offer?
Strategy – assisting you in determining "what
precisely should I build?"
Design - the process of developing visually beautiful,
easy-to-use interfaces that please your people and
make your organisation seem good.
Development - the process of developing and testing
code that works smoothly, gets the job done, and is
dependable on a daily basis.
Quality assurance - the process of ensuring that we
always develop the proper item and that it functions
safely across various platforms.
Deployment and DevOps - bringing your product to your
customers as quickly as possible.
Hosting and monitoring - ensuring that things function
smoothly and safely once they've been installed.
Ongoing Support — Keeping your product in tip-top form
and responding swiftly to your demands with your own
dedicated, fractional software staff.
Your strengths and weaknesses?
We aggressively seek out the finest solution and manage
projects from start to finish. Our company's reputation
has been built on timely delivery and precise solutions.
We are best suited for the following kinds of
partnerships or relationships:
New development - “from concept to MVP” or “from
MVP to version 1”
Dedicated software team - a portion of a software
- Legacy takeover and renovations
- Turnarounds or project rescues
Boosting existing teams – Adding common values to
- Just Development or just QA
Provide remote bodies to organisations for them to
We do not engage in the following activities:
Place our personnel on-site with our clients.
Contract-to-hire engagements – once again, find a
staffing firm for this
- New development - “from concept to MVP” or “from MVP to version 1”
- Dedicated software team - a portion of a software department
- Legacy takeover and renovations
- Turnarounds or project rescues
- Boosting existing teams – Adding common values to current teams
- Just Development or just QA
- Provide remote bodies to organisations for them to fill seats
- Place our personnel on-site with our clients.
- Contract-to-hire engagements – once again, find a staffing firm for this
Our composition and constitution
We are a group of 40 highly skilled individuals, each of whom went through an extremely rigorous process to join their fellows at SoftCircles.
Do you offer Continuous Professional Development?
All of our employees get compensated for their time spent
learning and sharing. This involves reading pertinent
literature, visiting industry conferences, and
participating in and presenting at local meetings.
We host lunch & learn in the workplace on a regular basis
so that our employees may learn from one another. We also
pay for every employee to attend Scrum, project
management, engineering principles and practices,
excellent design, and business strategy training classes
at any time.
Hours typically worked per week?
Our people usually bill between 35 to 40 hours of their time per week.
Where are your offices?
We have registered offices in New York and Wisconsin. We also have support centers in Pakistan, India and Singapore.
What is your hiring process?
Our vetting procedure consists of five steps:
Phone Interview with the most appropriate person
- Technical Phone Interview
Coding Exercise - This eliminates around 80% of all
- In-Person Interview with References
When we hire developers, we look for people who:
- would programme even if it wasn't their job,
can learn and apply new, even foreign, concepts
rapidly under pressure, and
have a solid understanding of computer science
Various people, of course, have different interests. Over
time, each person develops their own "T-shaped" expertise
in one field (ex: security or front-end or SQL
optimization). This implies that our staff as a whole is
proficient in a wide range of languages, technological
stacks, and specialisations.
Can you provide resumes for my project?
We don't do this unless it's for an official security clearance. When team members' resumes are sought, it is a dead giveaway that our prospective customer would prefer a staffing arrangement. As previously said, this is something we aim to prevent. You may be confident that you will engage with many different team members before we begin working on your project. If you aren't enthused about your team before we start working, we're probably not a suitable fit for you.
Our Sales Process
Purpose of the first call?
We always start with a phone call to make sure we're a good match. A realistic budget, a clear vision and direction, and a complete dedication to the project are all things we look for.
Do we have any references?
Absolutely. Checking references is a crucial aspect of the purchase procedure, in our opinion. After we've determined that we're a suitable fit for you and your project, we'll generally provide you references.
Will you sign our NDA?
Before our first call, we will not sign an NDA. It's
critical that we understand the industry well enough to
determine whether there's a potential conflict with
current or previous clients. We also speak with over 500
potential new clients each year. It's unavoidable that
we'll encounter comparable thoughts.
We will only sign an NDA if the following conditions are
It is reciprocal or bilateral (we typically use ours)
We are familiar with the project's needs and feel that
the project and client are a suitable fit for
We are not in breach of any other agreements we have
as a business.
Will we participate in an RFP?
Not probable, in a nutshell. We have an entire blog post
dedicated to explaining why, but here's a quick summary:
RFP criteria are frequently quite precise, yet they
typically lack any commercial context.
The chances of this document having the best feature
set are quite slim.
When we agree to reply to an RFP, we are putting our
faith in someone else's capacity to accurately capture
the criteria. The project team may learn more about
the correct features by doing user interviews,
mockups, prototyping, launching actual software, and
receiving feedback from real users. From the start,
this contract type pits the customer and consultant
against each other.
Are you comfortable with fixed-bids?
We don't do fixed-bid proposals, as you may have surmised. We respectfully refuse RFPs and take the chance to educate the prospective customer on why RFPs aren't a suitable match for custom software projects.
Can SoftCircles take over an existing project?
Absolutely. We always begin with a live demonstration of the system, followed by a code audit. We provide you a comprehensive report when we finish the audit, which includes: analysis, suggestions, and a takeover proposal (if applicable).
What are your privacy and IP policies?
Who owns the code and designs created by SoftCircles during the project? Yes, you do. We'll set up a services agreement before we start working that gives you ownership of all work products and deliverables as long as we're compensated for the services we provide.
Not ready for development yet. Help?
When customers come to us, they are almost never ready for development. It's critical that we spend the time up front to assist you figure out what you should create and how much money you should set aside for your project. Find out more about our pre-project consultation service.
What are the steps involved in the creation of Custom Software?
If you need new software, we'll work with you to size up
your project using our
approach before moving forward with a Discovery, Design,
and Planning engagement. Following DDP, we'll start
working on your software. You'll be a part of the process
from start to finish.
More information on
can be found here.
Are you taking on new projects? What’s the timeline to get started?
Yes, we are always assessing new initiatives. The pre-project consultation process takes around two weeks. It takes 4-6 weeks for us to complete the Discovery, Design, and Planning phase. Following that, development starts.
What’s the usual team size?
Each project team typically consists of two to three developers. UI/UX designers, software testers, managers, and cloud engineers help each project team. We can lower project expenses for clients since each development team shares support resources. We can also make developers more productive by ensuring that they spend their time developing production-level code rather than doing other things.
What are the usual roles on the team?
Each team has a Project Lead, a full-time developer on the team who is responsible for enabling communication and planning with the customer and among the team members.
How does SoftCircles communicate?
Interactions with the Project Lead are not the only means
of communication between project teams and customers.
Every SoftCircles employee has the authority to
communicate with our customers. Phone calls and emails are
frequently exchanged between SoftCircles teams and their
clients during the work week.
At SoftCircles, each project team has its own email
address (for example, [email protected]). The
following is a list of all formal communication techniques
that will be used during the project:
Weekly Status Update
Outline the following: what was accomplished last
week, what will be accomplished this week, any
queries or concerns, and the project's current
This should be a weekly standing call that is set
at the start of the season. The goal is to touch
base and discuss any concerns, obtain answers to
queries, follow up on action items, or obtain
This is an email notification issued to the client
by the Team Lead or PM detailing what has happened
since the last build and what is ready for testing
- Outline the following: what was accomplished last week, what will be accomplished this week, any queries or concerns, and the project's current state.
- This should be a weekly standing call that is set at the start of the season. The goal is to touch base and discuss any concerns, obtain answers to queries, follow up on action items, or obtain feedback.
- This is an email notification issued to the client by the Team Lead or PM detailing what has happened since the last build and what is ready for testing and feedback.
How do you manage projects at SoftCircles?
One of the most common reasons for project failure is a
lack of communication. The most crucial component of
software project management is establishing communication
and planning routines. These are some of the rhythms:
1 hour weekly meeting to discuss accomplishments,
mistakes, and future goals
Team members show what they accomplished the week
Everyone discusses how they can improve the
A week-by-week schedule has been decided upon.
- 15-minute daily standup to build team momentum
Our project management procedures are based on a “no
surprises” concept, which ensures that everyone is kept
informed at all times and that risks are addressed as they
- Team members show what they accomplished the week before.
- Everyone discusses how they can improve the project's processes/techniques.
- A week-by-week schedule has been decided upon.
Who will I communicate with in the team?
The Project Lead, in a nutshell. Every Project Lead from our team has the authority to communicate directly with clients. This helps to keep things flowing and maintain our flat organisational structure.
What are my responsibilities for the project? What’s my role?
Clients are expected to participate actively in their projects. You are the one who brings your knowledge of your industry and market to the table. We have no way of knowing if we're constructing the correct product without it. Weekly calls or meetings, as well as phone availability throughout normal business hours, are all part of the involvement.
How will my feedback be received?
Client input is critical at every stage of the process. Even if the features are still rough, you should always give feedback. Your responses will provide us with context on what's important to you and your company. This allows us to prioritise and stay focused on your requirements.
Can I adjust my plans/features on the go?
Yes. This type of flexibility is critical and may decide a project's success, but major modifications after the kick-off may have an impact on the budget or timeline.
Can I regularly see what you’re doing if I wanted to?
Yes. We think that successful software projects are built on open, transparent communication. You'll always know what's going on with your project, and you'll be in touch with your team at all times. Our Project Leads frequently phone their customers multiple times each week. To keep you informed, we give weekly progress updates and regular releases on a staging site.
What happens when the project is complete?
Software is rarely completed. We are certain that our
clients and their users will continue to come up with
innovative ideas throughout the process and beyond the
initial delivery. Your software will need to evolve and
adapt as your business changes.
After the initial release, it's usual to take a break from
adding new features and focus on improving or fixing
existing ones in order to increase user acceptance.
What’s your QA process?
QA personnel are involved from the start, and test strategies are created at the start of projects. Testing occurs throughout all stages of the project, not just at the conclusion. We also use code reviews and pair programming to guarantee that only high-quality code is created.
How do you write code?
Open source tools, libraries, frameworks, and even whole projects, as well as our own proprietary libraries, provide tremendous value to SoftCircles teams. When there is a tool that is suited for fixing an issue, we never recreate the wheel. We always programme the components that make your project unique and valuable from the start.
Cost & Timeline
What are your usual engagements?
The following are some examples of typical projects for
- Code Audit – 2 people, 1 to 2 weeks
Discovery, Design & Planning engagement – 3 people, 4
to 16 weeks • Idea to Version 1 – 3 people, 3-5 months
- Dedicated Team – monthly retainer
Fill a gap until an internal team is formed – 2
people, 3 months
Staff augmentation with current internal team – 3
people, 6 months
We've done projects for clients that only have the money
for a "Version 1" on several occasions. They spend some
time familiarising themselves with the programme before
returning for another round of design and development with
a better understanding of where the product needs to go.
How much will my project cost?
We won't be able to answer this question properly unless
we first understand your concept, business, market, users,
and so on. While we can't tell you precisely how much your
project will cost, we can tell you what's typical for the
projects we're most equipped to help you with based on the
200+ projects we've delivered since 2012.
While it is difficult to determine the exact expenses of a
project without going through a research process, such as
our Discovery, Design, and Planning phase, we can
generally assist you set a reasonable budget before you
It's also crucial to remember that most projects are
divided into phases. Our objective throughout the initial
phase of development is to constantly focus on the most
valuable features and build something that will set us up
for future phases.
No matter how large or small your budget is, we always aim
for the value we provide to our clients to much outweigh
the costs we charge.
How long does a typical software project take?
Two to three full-time developers constitute a typical
small team for the projects we work on. A big team
consists of four to six persons.
We divide the aforementioned figures by 32 hours for each
member on the team to get a general estimate of project
length. A 1200 hour project, for example, requires about 3
months of calendar time for a team of three individuals
(1200 hours / (3 persons * 32 hours/person/week) / 4
weeks/month = 3 months).
On major projects, we can add personnel and move quicker.
That is very impressive, and not something that every team
or organisation can do. Expanding the team necessitates
the availability of more personnel.
Who pays for bugs?
When paying for bespoke software, keep in mind that you
are paying a team to design and create the first version
of a product. Building the proper product, funding and
scheduling risks, third-party integrations, and technical
strategies that need to be demonstrated are all threats in
custom software projects.
Keep in mind that you are paying your team to assist you
in mitigating these risks, not to financially own them.
Each sprint or release does not guarantee a complete,
bug-free product and you can always identify them and plan
the fix with us in the next sprint, along with backlog
We do, however, have standards and best practises in place
to encourage each team to do their best to create a
high-quality product the first time.
What are your payment terms?
We invoice once a month in arrears when charging by the
hour. For example, on February 1st, you will get an
invoice for the hours tracked from January 1st to January
31st. The payment is due in 10 days.
When paying for a dedicated team, money for that month's
team is needed in advance. For example, on February 1st,
you will pay for the entire month of February.
Does SoftCircles offer any guarantees?
We guarantee the price. We go to great efforts in our upfront approach to de-risk projects in an industry notorious for cost overruns and low-ball bids. This endeavour yields precise answers, precise estimations, and successful connections. If we misjudge something, we will bear 100% of the additional cost until we are back on track. Why? Because that is the moral thing to do. We also promise that you will be able to cancel at any moment. By putting the power of termination in the hands of our clients, we ensure that we are held accountable at every step of the process.
What is your success rate? How do you de-risk projects?
In an industry where 42 percent is the standard, we have a success record of 96.5 percent. Communication, tight frequent feedback loops, and remaining lean have all contributed to our high level of success and reputation for providing rapid, accurate answers.
Have you ever failed on a project?
Yes, we have had a few initiatives fail in the past. Every
failure may be related to communication difficulties,
- Lack of knowledge of the project's scope;
misalignment between what was being created and what
was required; and
a lack of client and team communication throughout the
In the case of a failure, we ate the whole project's
cost until it was brought back on track.
We know it was the right decision.
We enhanced our processes and training after taking our
bumps. Among the enhancements are:
Development of our very effective Discovery, Design,
and Planning phase
Methods of multi-point estimation with a focus on risk
A more comprehensive 60-day onboarding procedure for
all new hires
- Scrum training is required for all new hires.
What languages and tech do you work with?
SoftCircles offers a diverse skill set, which allows us to
investigate possibilities and choose the best languages,
platforms, and tools for each task. We use these for
around 80% of our work:
Web – Angular.js, React.js, Vue.js, Node.js, Python
(Django, Flask), ASP.NET Core (C#), PHP, RoR
- Mobile – iOS & Android: Swift, Kotlin
- Desktop – Java, Microsoft WPF (C#)
Database – PostgreSQL, SQL Server, MySQL, MongoDB
Do you write iPhone and Android apps?
We do, indeed. Assuming your project does not necessitate complex polling or data processing, we often utilise React Native or Flutter to target both platforms with the same core code. This significantly reduces development time and expenses.
What industries have you worked with till date?
Are you able to share past projects?
On our website, you may find a list of some of our most recent clients. Unfortunately, due to confidentiality concerns, we won't be able to discuss project information until we know there's a suitable fit and a mutual NDA is in place. At that time, we will offer you a portfolio of work as well as a comprehensive list of references.
Are you hands-on with developing APIs?
Yes, an API layer is built into all of our applications.
Are you comfortable with working under HIPAA and PCI compliance protocols?
Yes, we've handled HIPAA compliance on numerous
large-scale healthcare projects, and PCI compliance is
something we deal with on a daily basis because 80 percent
of our projects include the processing, transfer, or
storage of credit card data.
We can offer our full security and compliance package,
which outlines our policies and procedures for data
processing, security, and any other protections, upon
request. This covers all regulations pertaining to our
Hosting & Monitoring
Are you experienced with cloud hosting?
Yes. We have a private cloud hosted and managed by AWS and Azure that we use to host and manage our clients' apps. We host and maintain products on which thousands of users rely on a daily basis. Uptime as a result has never been a problem in our production environments.
What is the hosting package composed of?
Container for services such as transactional email,
notification, and batch reporting, among others.
Development, testing, and staging environments in
Updates to the operating system on a regular basis
Backups of the web server and databases are performed
on a nightly basis.
- Bot and attack monitoring is ongoing.
Standardized recovery methods and performance
Do you have security standards and policies?
Yes. We can offer our full security and compliance package, which outlines our policies and procedures for data processing, security, and any other protections, upon request. This covers all regulations pertaining to our hosting packages.
How secure is your infrastructure?
While no one is ever completely safe, we take pleasure in the fact that none of our clients have ever been attacked and that our network has never been compromised.
Tell me about your approach to disaster recovery?
We've never had to deal with an emergency recovery situation, but we do make nightly backups to help with rapid recoveries. We backup data every few hours in some situations. Our response time to recovery is less than 24 hours.
Dude, where’s my call?
If you’re here, you’ve got a problem. Trust us, it won’t solve itself. Give us a holler and let’s figure it out together.