Welcome to the great debate: to outsource or not to outsource app development? If you’re a part of a company that deals with mobile apps, chances are you've asked yourself this specific question at a certain point. This is where you hire either external freelancers or an external agency to carry out the development of your app.
The decision can be daunting, especially when it comes to something as important as creating an app. On the one hand, you could take the risk and do it alone, which has its own advantages. But on the other hand, you could hire a team of experienced developers who could help you create a successful and secure app, which is what about 60% of companies are doing.
Advantages of Outsourcing App Development
So let’s get into some of the advantages that come with outsourcing this service.
- Wave goodbye to costly mistakes. Working with a remote team can be cheaper than hiring an in-house developer. The people you hire will also have more knowledge and experience to be able to troubleshoot any problems. If you do it right, you’ll save money and time in the long run.
- Tap into a global talent pool. You’ll get access to experts from around the world, so you can easily find the perfect developer for your project. Further, an outsourced team will likely have a deep understanding of and more experience with building mobile apps.
- Get it built quicker. Outsource your development and you’ll be able to get your app built and on the market quicker. Especially since there is a contracted time to market, your freelancers or agency will have to make sure they work according to that time.
- Benefits from new perspectives. Depending on your business model and if this can apply, outsourcing helps you to gain new ideas and insights from different cultures. Something as simple as product design can appeal differently in different markets.
- Time delegation. Guess what? If you hire an agency, you won’t have to manage the team, because that company already will have a project manager to take on that role. You choose the destination; they deal with the journey.
- Established group dynamics. This is specific to when you hire an agency; this is a team of people who have already worked well together for some time. You don’t have to worry as much about whether group conflicts would interfere with project production.
Considerations for Choosing a Reputable App Developer
Once you’ve decided to go with an app developer rather than in-house development, you have to start looking for one. Now we don’t want you going off and picking up the first developer/agency you see. So, to help get you started, here are some tips:
- Keep an eye out for developers who are familiar with the latest trends in app development. It's not really enjoyable if you end up with an app that's out of date and not up to users' expectations.
- Make sure you research the developer and look at some of their past projects. Having a better understanding of their development skills and style is always a good idea.
- Don't forget to look at their reviews and portfolio. You’ll have a better understanding of the developer you’re dealing with if you read what pas customers have to say about them.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions! To ensure that you’ll be happy with the final product, you can’t be shy to ask the developer about their processes and procedures when developing an app.
- Cost should be taken into account as well. Make sure you comprehend the developer's pricing structure and that it fits within your budget.
- Last but not least, be sure to follow your instincts. Don’t hesitate to search elsewhere if a developer isn’t a suitable fit for you and your project.
Potential Drawbacks of Outsourcing App Development
As much as we’d love to say it’s an obvious answer to outsource, evidently it’s going to have its disadvantages. Here are some that you could encounter, should you choose to outsource:
- Loss of control. Although handing over project management to the contracted agency frees up your time for you to do other things, it also means you inherently lose control over how and when tasks are done. Getting to know the project manager, learning how they typically go about projects, and making sure it aligns with your ideas can help reassure you.
- Potential security risks. If you want a successful app, you’re going to have to give information on your business processes and customers. Whenever you hand over sensitive information to another agency/worker, there’s always the risk of a data leak. So, make sure you have a strong non-disclosure agreement, at the very least!
- Decreased flexibility. The business and tech industries are always changing, and app requirements may change. With external agencies/workers, with whom you have a contract, the agreements made at the beginning of the process may result in inflexibility.
- Communication barriers. Communication with your external worker(s) can be impeded by different time zones, different cultures, and/or language barriers. Always create set times and methods of communicating, and make sure you learn about cultural differences. For language, try to make sure someone on the external team can understand your language very well.
Although there are these cons, they can all be overcome with some effort on both ends.
Tips for Successfully Managing an External App Developer
After you’ve already found your app developer/agency, it’s time to get to work. In order to have the best output in the most efficient manner, there are some things you need to do.
- Communicate clearly and often. Don't assume the developer knows what you're thinking–spell it out. Communication is key!
- Set realistic deadlines and stick to them. Developers are not mind-readers, and they can't work magic. Think about conducting research to get an idea of what your expectations should be, and make sure both parties are adhering to them.
- Provide detailed feedback on what you like and what you don't like. Be specific and constructive so they know exactly what you need!
- Don't micro-manage. Hey, I know sometimes it’s hard to let go of control. But just remind yourself that developers are professionals, and they know what they're doing. Any micro-managing actually does more harm than good, so stop!
- Be open to suggestions and changes. Just because you have a vision for the app, doesn't mean it's the only way to do it. Plus, these developers have extensive experience in the app world, so it’s safe to say that they have great knowledge.
- Show your appreciation for the hard work and dedication the developer is putting into your app. A little thank you goes a long way.
- And remember, be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your perfect app be.
Now, wouldn’t it just be great if you followed all these tips and developed a long-lasting relationship with the agency?
Obviously, outsourcing app development comes with its own set of pros and cons. But let's be honest, who doesn't love saving money and time? Plus, imagine having access to experts from all around the world, and getting your app on the market quicker than you can say "app development."
But, before you go off hiring any old developer/agency, make sure you do your research. You don't want to end up with an app that's outdated and not up to your user's expectations.
And, when it comes to managing an external app developer, remember, communication is key. Don't let time zones, cultural differences, or language barriers get in the way of creating the app of your dreams.
Outsourcing app development may seem scary at times, but with the right team, it could be a great decision. So, don't be afraid to take the leap and outsource; just make sure you do it wisely.