As an increasing amount of business functions move from antiquated systems into the 21st century, many organizations are considering outsourcing app development over in-house mobile app design. While there are numerous benefits that come from making the choice to outsource app development, for a new or small company, it can also mean taking a big risk.

Being that this is a big risk, coupled with the fact that many companies have plenty of horror stories to tell about outsourcing, you want to make the right decision when it comes to choosing a reliable partner. In order to help you make sure that outsourcing app development will be a good experience over a bad one, we have put together a few best practices to lead you to success.

Keep in mind that despite these best practices, it is still up to you to make this work. It is a partnership, after all. All you can do is hold up your end and hope that you made the right choice. Now, let’s take a look at how to be confident in making that choice.

outsourcing app development

1. Perform a needs assessment

When you begin the search for a company to outsource app development to, the first thing that you should do is perform a needs assessment on your business. A needs assessment (or gap analysis) consists of a few elements that you need to measure in order to know where you are and where you want to be. In order to do this, follow the steps listed below.  

  •      List the characteristic factors (such as attributes, competencies, and performance levels) of the present situation.
  •      List factors needed to achieve future objectives.
  •      Highlight the gaps that exist and need to be filled.

A needs assessment is a good way to reflect on your company and what kind of business it is doing at the moment. More importantly though, it shows you where you want to be in the future. Do this, and you have your roadmap.

2. Establish clear objectives

Once you have a firm understand of where you are and where you want to be, the next step is to set clear objectives on how to get from point A to point B. Both this and the needs assessment should be done before ever contacting a company or sending out an RFP.

Planning before jumping into outsourcing app development is where many companies struggle the most. While even the best-laid plans can go wrong, make sure that you have the best plans first.

3. Find a compatible company

Once you have planned out your mission, the next step is to find a compatible company for you. While you might not make a decision on who you are going to partner up until later, this is the chance to weed out incompatible companies and hone in on a handful that you want to pursue.

When we say compatible, what we mean is that not only do they meet your business needs, but they work with your culture, understand your business objectives, and match your working style. This business that you choose to outsource app development to will soon be a part of your business, you should make sure they fit in with your company the way actual employees would.

outsourcing app development

4. Discover if your developer is outsourcing

The next thing you should do when feeling out a company is to discover if they are outsourcing too. It’s not unheard of for a company that does outsourcing work to outsource talent themselves. For most companies, this won’t be a problem. But for some, it can have disastrous consequences, including:

  •      Mishandling sensitive IP or proprietary material.
  •      Legal consequences regarding the leaking of information or technology you’ve licensed from a third party.
  •      Inconsistencies in quality and completion time.

This will be a good test of the company’s transparency. If you are going to hire them, you should know exactly who will be doing the work.

5. Ask for early proof of concept

If you have never done business with a development firm before, ask to see an early deliverable of a proof of concept model of the software you are having developed. By seeing an early draft of what your app will look like, you can know sooner rather than later if you and the firm you are using are on the same page.

6. Look for a firm with a local contact

While choosing to outsource app development doesn’t necessarily mean the company will be local, the likelihood of finding someone within your city that meets all of your needs can be slim. However, as more app development companies begin to emerge, more of them are setting up local contacts in high-density cities and areas.

Don’t be afraid to ask the firms you are working with if they have a local contact in your area. By having a contact easily available when needed, your communication will dramatically improve.

7. Prioritize good communication

This leads us to our next best practice: prioritize good communication. Far too often firm will look like a perfect fit on paper, but when it comes to actually get the project done, they are unreachable or unreliable in their communications.

When it comes to outsourcing app development, good communication is vital. Especially if the firm you choose is using Agile development (which they absolutely should be), communication should be a value to them. Even if it ends up costing a little bit more, trust us when we say that you will never regret choosing a team a good track record when it comes to staying in contact.

good team communication

8. Expect to get what you paid for

Consider this best practice as a warning. You should expect to get what you pay for when it comes to outsourcing app development, so don’t make your decision simply based off of cost. Far too often when a company goes for the lowest bidder, the company doesn’t have the money they need to do the job well. Corners get cut and your app will suffer because of it.

Do your research, follow the other practices, and be willing to pay a little extra for less headache in the long run.

9. Maintain leverage until the end of the project

Our final word of advice goes off of our last one about expecting to get what you paid for. The end of the project, where everything comes together, is by far the most important part for your company. You need to maintain leverage until the very end as to avoid getting left high and dry.

We have read too many stories and seen too many companies lose valuable time and money to a company that meets all of your needs and then abandons you before the final product is done. One strategy to help this is to put in the contract that you will reserve 1/3rd of the cost of development until the final product is completed.

This incentivizes a good company to deliver a fantastic product and scare away any other companies looking to make a quick buck. If any organization balks at this part of the contract, abandon the relationship. Trust us, it won’t be worth the headache.