How To Build an App Development Team: When to Outsource?

Your development team—whether inhouse, outsourced, or a combination thereof—is crucial to your product's success. Choosing how to build your team can be difficult. 

In my years of observing SmartLogic's clients, I have observed certain situations that lend themselves to a given approach. In this post, I will walk through situations when it is best to outsource all of your product's development.

SmartLogic how-to on outsourcing application development Disclaimer: as the president of an outsourced application development firm I have a vested interest in seeing to it that companies hire our team. However: life is short. We're not going to work with a company unless it's in the best interest of both parties.

This article is part 3 in a 4-part series explaining (1) different approaches to building an app development team; and (2) what you should insource and outsource. In the previous article we discussed when to insource your development team and build your product in-house.

The Necessity of Leadership

In a post about outsourcing, I would be remiss not to add a note about the importance of leadership for your team. No matter how you choose to develop your product, you won't succeed unless you have strong leadership. When I say "strong leadership," I mean entrepreneurial types who get stuff done. An outsourced development team can be a big piece of this puzzle but you can't outsource everything.

The best companies we work with have strong leadership in-house. Leadership doesn't have to be technical to succeed, but they do have to be good at setting expectations and the direction for your company. If your team's leaders don't set a strong direction for the product and can't quickly make decisions, then the technical team responsible for building your product will struggle, whether they're in-house or outsourced. It's hard to meet expectations built out of sand.

When Should You Outsource?

You should strongly consider outsourcing all development if:

  1. Your team has limited experience managing the software development process and hiring technical people.
    • It's much easier to hire one software development firm than to hire and manage ten software developers.
    • Working with a trusted outside firm can simplify the process and save you time, money, and stress.
    • It's difficult to hire individual developers nowadays. On the other hand, there are many software development firms to be hired.
    • Software development, like any technical or specialized profession, is difficult and requires a specific skillset. A professional team will know what it's doing.
  2. You need to build your minimum viable product or deploy a large number of features relatively quickly.
    • It can take months just to find and hire the right technical talent, and that's not even including how long it will take for them to build the product. An outsourced firm will already have a team of talented developers ready to go.
    • Further, outsourced teams have worked together before and (should) have a consistent process from project to project. Because of this, they can focus on what they're supposed to: getting features out the door.
  3. You have a lot of features that you need to build right now, but you're uncertain what the future will hold.
    • Outsourced firms expect projects to come and go. As such, they are equipped to handle the common scenario where a client needs to ramp up or down.

If outsourcing software development is the choice for you, remember you're not totally off the hook. You will still have to be involved for your product to succeed.

Aren't sure if outsourcing is right for you, check out our guide to insourcing development.

Want to do both? Check out ourguide on mixing in-house development with an external firm.

 

 

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