As consumers and businesses grow more and more dependent on their mobile devices for more than just communication, you must be quick in developing applications. There might be several factors behind your decision to outsource your app development, such as time and cost saving, but you must ensure you do it effectively.
There are several challenges that you might be facing in-house for you to consider outsourcing. These include:
- You lack the essential skill set
- It is possible that you do not have the necessary staff to handle the development
- It can be time-consuming and expensive
Looking for the right staff to work on your app might mean you encounter costs such as advertising for the post, recruitment, and hiring. Not to mention that you must pay their salaries and think of the software certificates among others.
Developing an app in-house can be risky
You can never be too sure that the team’s skills are the best in the market. Also, accountability can present its own set of challenges. If you lack some expertise, you might struggle to identify the root of problems and the project could stall.
Benefits of choosing to outsource app development
By making the crucial decision to outsource an app development, you’ve taken a very strategic choice. You get to enjoy many benefits from your decision by letting someone else handle app development. Below is a list clearly indicating the benefits you will enjoy;
Synergy: you get an already established team that has a solid working relationship with one another and also with the technology required.
Reduction of the lag time: the team will start immediately
Accountability: the firm will give you a contract, scope of work that details their responsibilities and terms. If there are delays or something goes wrong the firm is accountable.
Access to standard plug and play features: most of the app’s features used are usually standard, but the way they are used make them special and unique. An experienced app team will most probably have the standard products that have been tested and optimized. Because of this, not every feature has to start from scratch. This ensures you save both time and money.
You get a package of expertise and experience: the outsourced team will most likely be on top of the latest trends and technologies. Because of this, they will ensure your app is in line with the vision of the targeted audience.
Choosing a good developer
Having looked at the benefits you will enjoy from outsourcing; it is important for you to consider the set of challenges that outsourcing brings with it. One of the challenges is the identification of the right partner.
When you are seeking a developer, you will find that you have a number of options. There are local freelancers, online app builder services, and specialized firms. If you are looking for communication and dependability, then it is not a bad idea to find someone in your area. There are plenty of offshore firms, but with a developer in your locality you will appreciate the fact that you two are in the same time zone, you, therefore, do not have to think about the time differences. Also, you can have them come into your office for important meetings.
Have a list of prospective contractors that you can choose from. You can ask around from your friends or your colleagues. You can also use Google. With your list in hand, you can start assessing them. You could visit their websites and look at their recent work examples. Look for testimonials from similar businesses. You can even call up references. There are three essential questions that you must ask about the prospective developer:
- Do they effectively and regularly communicate?
- Do they actually know their stuff?
- Do they generally ship on time?
With these questions answered, then you can proceed to choose the best from your list. A dialog with a few of the developers is encouraged to ensure they have the knowledge and the experience required to complete your project. Use instant messaging programs to discuss the task with the candidate in real time rather than having to wait around for email replies to each of your questions. The trick is to look for a company that puts a real effort in understanding the idea you have before giving you a quote, a definite timeline and even getting started on the development.
Tips on how to effectively outsource app development
After you have identified your partner, you will follow a few guidelines to ensure your relationship with the app developer is hiccup-free.
1. State the timings and budget of your project
You should make it very clear to the contractor the total budget for the project as well as the duration of time you expect the project to take.
2. Clearly state what you expect
At the very beginning brief the developer. Be upfront about the work required, avoid vague language. Ensure that you outline what you expect from the developer and they should also outline what they expect from you. This should be a discussion before the start of the project. It ensures that everyone knows what they are doing. This helps in maintaining a great relationship with the developer. The project should only commence when both of you are sure of the details.
3. Have the developer sign a non-disclosure agreement
This shows the developer you are serious about your project and you make sure things are done the right way.
4. You must put together a very detailed brief of the project
This is an important step that you must not overlook. You must put together a thorough brief for the developer. You must document the specifics of your app. Include;
- A list of features and functions you want your app to have
- Screens of different sections of an app with the labels pointing to buttons and the areas outlining what they are and their functions
- A step by step yet simple user flow of what happens when a user interacts with the app
- You should clearly mark the app graphic interface assets as you label which piece is which
- This should also be done for amends to the app
5. You should provide prompt, clear feedback to the developer
Note that your timeline can be blown out if you provide late and unclear feedback. Have clear and very concise amends documents and send them to the developer promptly to ensure the project stalls as the developer waits for your feedback.
6. Stagger the payments and outline milestones
A reward after a particular section of the app is completed can be very motivating for the developer to get to the next stage. This keeps things moving. The staggered payments ensure that the developer does not get pissed off that they are not getting payments for the work they have completed. Also by having milestones and timelines to meet them, it means you can set your expectations before the development even starts and you do not have to be on edge all the time. Even if you do not set milestones at least establish a connect calendar, so the developer gets in touch with you on specific dates throughout the project and give you a full update on the status of the project. Apart from keeping the developer motivated, pay as you go system allows for project approval points that will give you some peace of mind.
7. Request and also get to test several beta versions of the app
Do not panic when you find something wrong with it, it is expected. In case of an issue, you should screenshot the issue with your device and also document it in amends. Having a visual reference will always work better when you are looking to fix bugs.
8. Before making the final payment wait for an App Store approval
You might get excited to have your app submitted to the app store that you pay the final amount before approval. If you do not pay the final payment, you will have leverage in case the app is rejected. You will have lost all leverage for the developer to complete fixing the bugs.
9. Get a copy of the app project files
The project files should be handed over before the final payment. Since you own them, you should have them for future updates.
Building trust can take time, so once you have found a developer you would like to work with, take the first step and trust them. By following these rules, you can never go wrong.