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Igor Alexandrov for JetRockets

Posted on • Originally published at

Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing Web and Mobile Development

The pursuit of a low price. Developing and launching a successful web or mobile application requires the participation of many professionals: business analysts, designers, programmers, QA testers and managers, among others. Software development is a complex and knowledge-intensive process, which makes the work of dependable programmers extremely valuable. Because of this, hiring a company that offers you a low hourly rate means that their employees are not being well compensated in turn and thus are less likely to be highly skilled.

The best plan is to look for a company headquartered in the United States that has an offshore development center. That way, you will be able to take advantage of lower prices, at least compared to U.S.-based development teams, while still enjoying superior quality and the legal protection offered by in-country corporations.

Ignoring the language barrier. Choosing a team with poor English abilities may seem like a mere inconvenience, but this supposedly minor obstacle can actually endanger a project's success. Misunderstanding certain nuances of a desired product can cause architectural mistakes that could lead to significant issues later on, resulting in rework, delays and further additional expenses. When interviewing your potential product team, make sure to speak with the actual developers that will be assigned to your project, not just the sales person or project manager. Use a video conference to conduct an in-person interview with the team and confirm that you can understand each other clearly.

Lack of technical oversight. If you do not have a technical leader on your internal team, you may run into significant problems. This is a familiar scenario: during the sales process, the team you are thinking about hiring demonstrates great technical knowledge and sounds very convincing, but as you begin the work process, you realize that the team may not have the necessary technical skills after all. To avoid a situation like this, you should hire a freelance technical advisor, who will be able to interview the team beforehand and ensure that they have the necessary technical skills to deliver a successful solution. Online services such as Codementor, Upwork, or Toptal are a few options that help you hire such an individual.

Hiring developers vs hiring consultants. Unless you have a strong internal technical leadership, it is advisable to outsource your product development to a company that provides a full range of technical consulting services as opposed to a company that offers developers for-hire. When working with a consulting firm, you get access to a dedicated team of professionals who can help you design, architect and implement your product while taking into account both your short-term and long-term business goals. Developers for-hire simply execute the tasks you present to them, often ignoring best practices and your long-term vision at once.

As an example, let’s say that you want to build a mobile application with a minimal budget and you read online that it can be done quickly as a container app. You then hire a team of programmers to execute this specific task. In the beginning everything looks great—the project has been developed to your specification and it functions just as planned. After a month or two, you decide to add animations, improve the design or add a little more complexity to the logic of the application.Unfortunately, though, your hired development team is unable to accomplish any of these tasks because the technology they used for development does not support these requirements. If the changes you want to make are critical for your business, there is only one way out: rewriting your application from scratch.

This situation can easily be avoided by working with a team of development consultants who know how to ask the right questions and can help you solve immediate problems while planning for the future.

Treating estimates as definitive project budgets. Consider the following scenario: you spend six months developing a detailed technical specification document and you send an RFP to a development company. After a week or so, the company responds with a proposal that includes a budget of 3,000 man-hours. I can guarantee with 100% certainty that your expenses will run over from this proposal. Why? Because it is impossible to accurately assess such a large and abstract number of work hours.

Instead, ask for a rough assessment of the entire project to ensure that the overall estimated budget fits your goals. Also try to pinpoint the composition of the development team and request a clear short-term plan that covers the initial development phase, usually a window of the first four to six weeks. After this you can choose to either proceed with the team on a retainer basis, which will help you manage your costs, or ask about a quote for the next four to six weeks of work based on priorities. Make sure to attend weekly meetings with the team and ask for regular budget updates.

Finally, before making a hiring decision, ask for three or four references and be sure to contact them over the phone, not via email. Inquire about the team's management skills, their responsiveness, and their ability to handle emergency situations.

Finding a reliable technology partner is a daunting task, but when approached with patience and due diligence it can quickly pay off, helping your business grow and achieve its goals.

At JetRockets we specialize in designing, developing and supporting custom software solutions that help clients achieve their unique business goals. If you have any questions or are looking for a complimentary consultation, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Top comments (3)

digydu profile image

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. There are loads of risks when outsourcing your digital project. Here are some tips how to manage common concerns of business owners who are considering outsourcing software development. Hope you find it helpful

torah10 profile image

Great post, Igor! Very valuable explanation.

I would like to add that you can start with a simple project if you want to avoid a negative outsourcing experience. For success take the following steps:

  • do your own investigation
  • make a list of all the potential web outsourcing vendors
  • conduct vendor screening process
  • analyze the data that you have collected
  • select outsourcing company
  • arrange communication and project supervision process
  • enjoy the benefits of outsourcing

Here you will read about the benefits of outsourcing software development and how to ensure that the outsourcing process will go smoothly and the final results will be up to your expectations.

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