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How to outsource app development smartly: the nerves-saving guide

Mariaa LozhkaIT Researcher, LANARS

How to outsource app development smartly: the nerves-saving guide

Mariaa LozhkaIT Researcher, LANARS

If you have an app idea, the question “How to outsource app development successfully?” appears to be an intriguing puzzle to solve. To begin with, we’d like to point out that it’s a wise choice to select outsourcing concerning app development. Why? If we compare hiring in-house vs outsourced developers, the latter option can significantly reduce your costs along with providing a high-quality outcome. Besides, it can offer you the following advantages:

  • a wide technology stack to choose from since outsourcing companies often face with various projects for various customer demands;

  • comfortable and professional support including communication with experienced project managers and business analysts throughout the whole project lifecycle;

  • quicker market entry;

  • development outsourcing helps you forget about worries concerning app development to better focus on marketing goals and gaining profit from your app

Looking at these tempting benefits, no wonder that 72% of companies outsourced their IT development globally in 2016.

Current and planned business functions that were outsourced globally in 2016.

 

Nevertheless, choosing the most suitable company to outsource app development   is crucial. It’s because this choice affects so many valuable aspects like the users’ satisfaction of your app, its profitability and the proper expenditure of your time and budget needed for its creation.

That’s why in this article we’d like to tell  about how to choose outsourcing development firm the best way. You’ll learn about the criteria and tips on how to choose an outsourcing company, websites where to look for them, how to pick outsourcing and pricing models and how to minimize risks involved in outsourcing app development.

Let us begin!

 

 

Know your app requirements

 

For a start, you should have a clear understanding of what your application is going to be. And though caring project managers from Lanars outsourcing company can assist you in figuring out your application requirements, only you can say what they are. To achieve the finest outcome try to be as specific as possible if you want the final product to fully meet your expectations.

You can start by searching and analyzing applications that are similar to yours. Besides, try to google a list of questions to help you specify your application specificities. Here’s an example of them:

 

  • The app purpose. Define the problems it is intended to solve for them. Define your application’s target audience. 

  • The platform (OS) and type. For instance, if you want to outsource mobile app development. Then what platform will your app be written for - iOS, Android, maybe both of them? As for type, you should consider whether you want a native, cross-platform or  hybrid application.

  • The features. What specific features should your app have? Should your app be capable of executing payments? Do you need a couple of versions of the app such as “lite” and “full”?

 

 

Define your criteria for selecting an outsource app development company

 

Various criteria can have a higher or lesser priority to you when choosing an outsourcing agency. However, here is the list of the most basic as well as important ones:

Expertise

A safe and steady working process on your project requires an app development company with high expertise. They should have an extensive track record of quality apps. Mobile or web programming is a challenging process that demands in-depth knowledge of technical tools, creativity and the target audience preferences. So it takes years of practice.

Also, a significant point to consider would be to find an outsourcing development company that developed apps similar to yours. In case they have no expertise in your particular industry, check if this company developed analogous apps for the other ones.

Client reviews

A valuable factor that helps to identify the comfortability of working with the development firm can be defined according to their previous client reviews. First of all, you can try to find them during an online search for “firm name” + the “reviews” word. Also, trustworthy rating sites like Clutch as well as GoodFirms contain detailed customer reviews of application development companies. Likewise, it takes a little time but you can phone their customers and ask them for reviews.

Clear and fast communication

This aspect is extremely important concerning every cooperation and it’s doubly true for software development. Such indicators as good understanding of your project requirements, transparency and absence of language or cultural barriers are an absolute necessity.

The communication goes well if both you and the outsource agency can freely ask questions, resolve ambiguities and provide on-time feedback.

On the other hand, the lack of communication can cause such consequences as additional code corrections, extra money expenses, and quarrels.

 

 

Search and shortlist app developers

 

The digital era has brought us an incredible option to choose any app development company around the world. So there isn’t a problem discovering the outsourcing development company online according to your liking:

  • There are specialized review websites that can assist you in finding app development firms. They are the above-mentioned GoodFirms and Clutch. There you can search for software vendors by category e.g. mobile development or VR/AR and by location.

  • Just google. For instance, “best web development companies in Ukraine” if you want to outsource web application development.

  • Recommendations. Never underestimate the power of social networks. For instance, simply posting in social media that you search for a software vendor can bring you lots of useful recommendations. Besides, if you know someone in your contact list who probably faced app outsourcing, don’t hesitate to call or write them directly.

 

 

Choose the perfect outsourcing agency

 

If you have prepared your shortlist, get ready to check portfolios, conduct interviews and establish the time frames for your project.

Check the portfolio

If you want to find out about the experience of the development team, the easiest way is to look at their portfolio. There you can find the list of apps they’ve made, the technologies they used and form your assessment about this company. The best way is to keep in mind your project requirements and find a firm with sufficient expertise to comply with them. Here you can find the Lanars company portfolio.

Talk before hire

Although portfolio and technical expertise are certainly important factors, they can’t substitute the necessity of comfortable communication. You should set an interview with the desired outsourcing development company. However, both email and text chat are not enough for this case. It’s because real-time communication always gives you much more info about the team. For example, if the company you’re going to hire doesn’t show a keen interest in your project by asking questions, don’t assume they will after you hire them.

Establish important milestones

If the communication went well and you found the appropriate app developers then the final stage is to negotiate about your project’s milestones. By milestones we mean the time frames when the development team should accomplish certain assignments. Furthermore, that’s where you’d better negotiate when to conduct payments. Two standard options are after project completion or after each milestone.

 

Dividing project lifecycle into milestones

 

Establishing milestones is important as it helps you track the current progress on your project and make sure that it falls within the specified time frames. If you don’t prefer dealing with milestones, the least you can do is to set a connect calendar. This measure is intended so that the software vendor can contact you on particular dates to keep you aware of the progress of your project.

 

 

How to choose an outsourcing model for app development?

 

There are two basic models concerning outsourcing programming: outsource (or project-based) and outstaff. 

The project-based model implies that the outsourcing firm has full control and responsibility for your project. There won’t be a possibility for you to contact the programmers and give them assignments directly. Besides, the project-based model implies that the developers are often involved in several projects simultaneously.

How communication in the outsourcing (project-based) model goes

 

Outstaffing model means that a team of hired workers employed by the outsourcing firm performs work assignments of another firm (customer). The hired developers remain officially employed by the outsourcing firm which is still in charge of human resources records and providing them equipment, dealing with taxes and calculating their salaries. However, your company as a customer gains the possibility to set assignments and manage the hired programmers. 

 

How communication in the outstaffing model goes

In fact, outstaffing provides you with the remote developers who become a part of your staff members. You can manage them using your staff employees or by hiring remote managers via outstaffing. 

Hence, development outsourcing means developing your app on a turn-key basis. However, outstaffing allows you to hire and control individual developers or managers.

The pros and cons of both outsourcing (project-based) and outstaffing models

 

 

How to choose an outsourcing pricing model?

 

If you outstaff programmers, the payment you should make is a monthly salary to them. As for outsourcing programming using project-based model, there are two variants:

 

Fixed price

The fixed price approach is suitable solely in case you’ve precisely defined the project requirements and know that no changes will occur to them. This model implies assigning a strict time frame of the project’s completion and negotiating on the fixed outsource app development cost. Programmers will have to stick to the specified time frames as well as budget so they’ll ignore some technical problems to remain within them.

Time-and-resources

Time-and-resources approach’s main advantage is its flexibility. It’s because it doesn’t rely on fixed prices and strict time limits. The actually consumed resources and time is what you pay for. Thus, you can alter the primary plan and respond flexibly to any changes. 

The final cost of the app can vary concerning time-and-resources approach but that’s what you trade for great quality and market-fit.

Hence, the choice of pricing model depends on your  preferences, budget and previous experience concerning outsourcing programming. However, with the appearance of the time-and-resources model, it has become highly demanded among customers and almost fully displaced the fixed price model.

Difference between the fixed-price and the time-and-resources pricing models

 

 

What are the risks involved in outsourcing and how to tackle them?

Let’s talk about two main causes of client worries when it comes to outsourcing software development:

Confidential data diversion. 

There is one key difference concerning in-house vs outsourcing software development.  Outsourcing causes entrusting some confidential data about your project to a third-party firm. Thus, there is a chance of valuable data diversion, no matter how reliable the outsourcing firm is.

However, since it’s a common case concerning the IT industry, the solution has been found long ago. To secure your data you’ll need to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as well as an intellectual property (IP) protection agreement. Beyond that, if you require even more protection, it’s better not to limit yourself with these specific documents but use additional legal measures to protect your data.

Misalignment between client expectations and the final product

Despite the high expertise of the desired outsourcing development company, the risk of expectations misalignment remains. The outsourcing firm might interpret your app requirements differently or not gather the required data about your project. Anyway, it eventually leads to additional money and time expenses.

To prevent such a risk, your communication with the developers should be as unambiguous as possible. In addition, your project requirements should be necessarily stated in a signed contract.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Outsourcing software development is a common practice these days as it brings a pile of benefits. Of course, one of them is cutting your costs as different countries offer various hourly rates. 

Among the best countries to outsource software development take a precise look at Ukraine. The hourly rates amount here to only 25$ - 70$. Ukraine holds the 8th place as a country with the most skilled developers, according to SkillValue. And in 2017, this country was called the "Outsourcing Destination of the Year" by the Global Sourcing Association. The entrepreneur magazine can tell you more about why to outsource to Ukraine.

To receive all the benefits of development outsourcing, you’ll have to put some effort into choosing the outsourcing company. But it’s definitely worth it, as a well-chosen company can take your app from ordinary to extraordinary. 

One of the companies that exceeds the client expectations has clear communication, and delivers high-quality products is Lanars. We specialize in mobile (Android, iOS) and web development. We also create hardware such as the Internet of Things (IoT), embedded software and PCBs. Contact our caring managers now to receive a comprehensive consultation about your app idea.

 

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