7 Steps for Successful Mobile App Development Outsourcing
So, you are either a startup co-founder or you work on a large company‘s new project, and it‘s your responsibility to figure out the best possible way to build a new Android or iOS mobile app in the most efficient way possible. You don‘t have in-house resources to allocate or it takes too much time/effort/money to hire new in-house developers. And after all, you even don‘t know if a new mobile app will be accepted by the market, so why hire new in-house developers if there is a high chance of firing them all in 6 months?
A good solution in this situation is outsourcing your mobile app development to an expert dev team. You may think, “Yeah, I‘ve tried this before – didn‘t work for me!” The truth is that it didn‘t work simply because nobody told you how to do it in the right way. These days virtually all growing companies use software outsourcing in one way or another to save on execution costs and to attract the best possible talent to build and support their products. Here are some of the top-level companies who have hired remote dev teams to build their early products:
And there are thousands of smaller ones.
More and more companies are using software outsourcing and remote developers to build a product and support it. And we are no exception. At DevteamSpace, we have several clients whom we have helped to build initial products, get their first clients, and raise funding. Even the DevTeamSpace product was entirely built with the help of remote developers.
Let‘s go through pros and cons of outsourcing app development.
#1. Identify your product correctly
Clearly, identify whether or not your project is a highly technical solution and a core of your business itself. You can think this way – if your business is a technology itself (new API, a digital security protocol, etc.), you need in-house developers for sure. And if your business is to sell a product to travel agencies, or to serve healthcare customers, or a SaaS service, or a chatbot, then it makes sense to attract the best possible dev team out there with relevant experience in your market and let them do the job!
#2. Are you building a new product, or supporting an existing one?
If you are building a new mobile-first product, then be sure to check principle #1 carefully. However, if you have a website, for example, and you need to build a mobile app for it, then it‘s safe to outsource it. Or, if you have an iPhone app and you need to build an Android version, in the same way, it‘s easier, faster and cheaper to outsource it.
#3. Mobile app outsourcing risk mitigation
Let‘s say you have identified that outsourcing your mobile app development is the right way to go. Now you need to mitigate the risks. The most common risks of mobile app dev outsourcing are:
- your developers can literally get lost
- they can delay the app delivery
- they can deliver a low-quality product
- they can be awful at communication and client relationships
Let‘s take a look at how to outsource app development the right way and mitigate 99.999% of risks.
#4. Find a right dev team
As I‘ve mentioned above, mobile application development outsourcing can be a disappointing experience if you don‘t mitigate the risks. To avoid the risk of losing your remote developers entirely, you need to do one simple thing – choose the dev team that will deliver.
Here is a checklist of tips and tricks so you can choose wisely:
- Don‘t even think of hiring remote individual freelancers. There‘s a very high chance they will disappear, even at the 90% completion stage of your mobile app (real story btw). Instead, hire a professional dev team. The price may be a bit higher, but the overall cost of the service you will get and lower risks are well worth it. Don‘t know the difference between the price and the cost? Watch a short video about a bicycle:
- Once you have watched the video above, you will never choose the dev team based on the price tag. Just because you work with a dev team doesn‘t mean they will deliver great results. So, make sure to check all the points below. A price point is the last thing you should use to choose your partner.
- The mobile dev team you choose to work with should have its own brand. That means having a decent website, a blog, social media accounts, and an SSL certificate on their website. With all those things in place, if they screw up, they have something to lose. So they will do their best to deliver great results for you.
- Ask if the dev team has any reviews on professional review websites like Clutch. It should look something like this. Make sure you read all their reviews, so you learn as much as you can about the dev team before even talking to them.
- Ask for relevant experience in the market, or a domain. For example, if you are building a reach content/social mobile application for healthcare, the dev team should have experience building similar solutions, at least in different markets, if not specifically in the healthcare field.
- Ask about tech expertise. If you want to build a mobile app for both iOS and Android, you might find that going with Xamarin or React Native is the best option in terms of price / quality / speed. So, make sure your dev team has experience with these technologies and can show you several examples.
- Ask about security issues. Who owns the code? Where will the code be located during the dev process (usually developers use GitHub, GitLab, or BitBucket)? Will you be able to access the code during the development process or not? A great dev team should definitely provide you with the access.
- And last but not least, check if they are good communicators. A great dev team will offer you daily updates, roadblocks tracking, a locally based account manager, a project manager and standup calls if necessary.
Ok, now that you know what to look for, you need to know where to hunt. If your list is short, you can start with DevTeamSpace, an AI-enhanced community of top dev teams. After that, Google is the limit.
You‘ve probably read all of this and thought, “Oh my gosh, so much work to do.” Well, there‘s not really. If you do it right the first time, you can use this approach over and over again. With the help of an expert mobile dev team, you can save time and money, and grow your business much faster than your competitors. And even if you are doing this for the first time, it‘s still months faster than hiring in-house developers.
#5. Do your homework
Choosing the right dev team isn‘t the end of the process. When you hire in-house developers – you don‘t just tell them, “Get to work guys.” You guide them and go through the onboarding process. Sometimes, this process can take months, and if you work in a large company, you know what I‘m talking about. On the other hand, the benefits of outsourcing your mobile app development are all about shortening the processes using a systematic approach. So, instead of chit-chats in the office and countless unstructured conversations, prepare your mobile application specifications. This will not only benefit the dev team; you will be surprised how much better your own product vision becomes. So, the specifications should include:
- Project description.
Simply describe your mobile application in a few sentences, up to half a page.
- A list of screens and all features.
A tree-type list helps to understand the overall mobile app structure.
- User path or user flow.
A block scheme explains how users start using your mobile app and how they navigate through the screens.
- Design materials and wireframes.
If you don‘t have the design ready, don‘t worry. Simply ask your dev team if they can do the design for you. If yes, the only materials they will need for that are the wire frames. You can make it using special tools like InVision, Proto.io, Marvelapp, Pixate, Fluid UI, etc. for mobile applications, or simply draw it in PowerPoint or on paper and then scan it. Your dev team should offer you either a custom design or use appropriate templates. A custom design is the best, though this can add more to the total project cost.
- Tech stack information.
As I‘ve mentioned above, you need to understand why you use a particular tech stack for your mobile application development. If you don‘t know what to write here, simply ask your dev team to consult you about it. And it‘s even better if you have a friend who can advise you on that.
When you have the spec completed, it‘s time to move to the next step – what you should do during the mobile app dev process.
#6. Oversee, don‘t micro-manage
Ok, you‘ve signed a contract, and everyone is excited to start. Now what? You need to oversee, but not to micro-manage the process. Some people want to talk or chat on skype/slack with their developers every single day. That‘s crazy. You simply distract them, and end up paying for chatting with them and maybe missing deadlines. You might think, “Well, I do it with our in-house developers. Why would I do it differently?” The solution is simple – ask your dev team to provide you with daily written updates on what has been done during the day, the overall project progress as a percentage, and what kind of roadblock they encountered, if any. This way, you don‘t need to worry that you‘ve missed something. Just read the updates, occasionally check the code repository (if you‘re tech savvy), and react on roadblocks.
You would be surprised, but most delays happen when the dev team needs something and the client forgets to provide the necessary information on time, for example, Stripe API keys. As a result, you have a one-day delay this week, two days next week, etc. At the end of the project, your deadlines have been missed. To avoid that, make sure you react on roadblocks within 1-2 hours, so your dev team doesn‘t have to interrupt the work process.
#7. Mobile app release
Once everything is done, make sure everything is tested way before the app store release. If you don‘t know how to release your mobile app in Google Play or the App Store, ask your dev team to help you with that. Experienced mobile developers have done it many times and will do that for you, too.
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Now you are ready to conquer the world and launch successful mobile applications by outsourcing your app development!