How to Vet the Engineering Chops of Your Software Vendors

After witnessing the debacle in Iowa, campaign decision-makers across the country are wondering just how good is the engineering behind the software they purchase for their campaigns? And for good reason: the stakes couldn’t be higher. Unfortunately, it’s hard to suss this out in the evaluation and procurement stage with a vendor. Slick branding, a jazzy demo, and a bargain price are designed to entice. But these attributes don’t tell you how the software will hold up in the heat of an election. Political technology is notoriously difficult to build and test, partly because usage of the software goes from zero in the off-season to 100 mph on Election Day. No software is bug-free, but you can reduce the likelihood of problems by making informed decisions during the vendor evaluation process. Here are some ways to vet the engineering capabilities of your vendors to know if you’re buying smoke and mirrors, or battle-tested software.

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