Some people promote steering clear of outsourcing app developers, but it doesn't always end in a bad result. It can be cost and time effective when done right, so we wanted to give you a guide on outsourcing app developers.
However, being aware of certain risks involved with outsourcing app developers is certainly something to keep in mind too. Potential risks may include:
badly coded software
inexperience/inability to manage outsourced development
To help you avoid these risks, in this article we'll guide you on some of the best practices when it comes to outsourcing app development.
Let's start with the app procurement process...
Firstly you should understand the difference between procurement and a request for proposal (RFP). Procurement in business generally refers to the process of securing goods and/or services from an external business or consultant. Whereas, a request for proposal, is a form of bidding solicitation where a business will request bids for the project completion (source). An RFP is usually much more specific request then when beginning the procurement process.
These are two key terms helpful for understanding the rest of the article, so now that we've got that covered let's go through some of the best practices for outsourcing app development.
1. Gap Analysis
Your RFP needs to particular to your startup or your app, and in order to do this you should conduct a gap analysis, which businessdictionary.com defines as:
"A technique that businesses use to determine what steps need to be taken in order to move from its current state to its desired, future state. … Gap analysis consists of (1) listing of characteristic factors (such as attributes, competencies, performance levels) of the present situation (‘what is’), (2) listing factors needed to achieve future objectives (‘what should be’), and then (3) highlighting the gaps that exist and need to be filled. Gap analysis forces a company to reflect on [what kind of business] it is [at present] and [to] ask [what kind of business] [it] want[s] to be in the future."
You need to find the right developers that understand the specific needs of your business, and can offer you exactly what you require per information gathered from your gap analysis.
Two other helpful little tips are:
Create and customise your own RFPs that lay out the specific needs and requirements of the project; and
Ask developers for a customised proposal in return, and if they do this on their own initiative even better.
2. What do you need?
Different developers may specialise in different areas, for example some developers only develop gaming apps, whereas others have very limited experience with gaming apps. So, think about what type of app you have and are there any developers who specialise in that area.
Further, are you looking for developers who will be very involved throughout the whole app development process or maybe you're just looking for quick and cheap (which we DO NOT recommend, it never ends well for the client).
Here at Appifany, we are flexible with how our relationships with clients work. It's up to you, yet we are always committed to working closely and effectively with our clients to ensure the best outcome.
3. Create Developer Profiles
Of course you want to know as much you can about an app development company before agreeing to them creating your app. Therefore it's up to you to conduct your due diligence, to make sure they have the right experience, vision and work ethic. A good way of doing this is by creating developer profiles.
Here's some tips for putting together developer profiles:
conduct as much research about the developer that you can, and be sure to search social media sites and workplace review sites too.
request multiple different references from the developer, and if they are legitimate and positive this should be a good indicator
utilise your own professional networks and find out if anyone you know has had good or bad experiences with app developers, and who they were
put together a short list of your favourites
4. Meet Your Shortlist
Once you've put together a short list of your favourite app developers, meet with them in person or do a video call with them. If you are going with a developer overseas, you probably can't go meet them in person so make sure you have other means to get to know them. It's important to cultivate a good relationship with your developers so that they can deliver exactly what you want and communication is easy and effective throughout the project.
Have a list of questions prepared before the meeting or call and feel free to ask anything you like. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, they're probably not the right developer for you. Also ask for valid references and any samples of previous projects/work that they can share with you.
5. Pilot Test the Developer
This may not be something all app developers will be willing to do and it's not necessarily something you need if they've gone through previous projects with you. However, it may be an option for you. It is essentially free work which some companies don't have the ability to conduct, so don't automatically dismiss a developer that isn't able to do a pilot task for you.
If you do want to pilot test the developer, ask whoever's left on your favourites list if this is possible. When done properly, a pilot task:
Allows developers to prove their standard of work and what they can deliver; and
Enables you and the developer to iron out any integration issues and begin building a relationship prior to the project starting.
And one last tip: ensure that your pilot task is relevant to what you'll be looking for in your app and what is in your RFP if you created one.
//For more content on app development, check out our article on App Development Strategies for 2019.