[How and Why] Outsource Your Mobile App Development?

Today’s article is a must-read for anyone who is going to build an app. Why? Because it will tell you about basics of outsourcing! Read on to:

  • learn 5 amazing reasons to hire an outsourcing team instead of in-house developers;
  • check out our 7-step guide to outsourcing mobile app development.

Since the beginning of the century we can observe how rapidly the role which mobile technologies play in our lives increases. Yet, you’re probably a startup founder, a business owner or a marketing geek in your company so you know about it well enough without me. Outsourcing mobile app development provides you with an opportunity to get rid of a “headache” and avoid building any development departments (which is a stony path) on your own.

An outsourcing development team
Image by Aleksandar Savic

However, it’s not always totally clear how the whole process flows or what the possible pitfalls are. Keep on reading to find out all the most important aspects of outsourcing!

🤔 5 reasons that will convince you to outsource your app development even if you haven’t planned it

All these “advantages of mobile application development outsourcing” very often look like showboating of IT companies that work in this field and want to attract customers. Yet, hold your horses since I’m going to convince you that these talks have a solid ground.

Reason # 1: Pay less, gain more: a golden rule of any business 💸

How can you save your budget if you entrust development to a web or app agency? Let’s see:

  1. You don't have to build the development expertise in-house and more important - waste your time for it.
  2. Also, you have no need to buy all the necessary equipment since outsourcing developers already have all they need to work.
  3. Outsourcing teams’ hourly rates are usually lower than wages you’ll have to pay your in-house workers to stay competitive.
  4. By choosing to outsource the development, you find yourself in an adjusted process and don’t have to establish it on your own (one less headache to worry about).

All together these ways to save budget explain why an outsource app development cost is almost always lower than building the same app with in-house developers.

Reason # 2: Provide yourself with a better choice 👥

If you plan to hire an in-house developer, you are more likely to look for somebody who lives near your office or at least same town. This condition significantly cuts the number of suitable candidates. Eventually, you have to choose out of available candidates but none of them is actually the one you were looking for.

You're free to choose from many candidates (image by Igor Kozak)

On the contrary, one of the main benefits of outsourcing mobile app development is a great (almost infinite) choice of professionals who can build a successful app for you. Such a freedom allows you to find a perfect team with an hourly rate, an experience and a location that seems you the best.

Reason # 3: All about the domain expertise 📑

Hiring an outsourcing agency means you will work with guys who are already an old hand at developing mobile apps. Moreover, you can find a team that’s experienced in building exactly the kind of apps you’re interested in.

For example, let’s imagine that you need to create a hotel booking or food delivery app. Instead of walking down this path with in-house developers who don’t have experience in building similar apps, you may hire guys who are real pros in this field. They will help you avoid mistakes and pitfalls and make sure the development process flows smoothly (and of course they’re capable of it since they have already done it earlier).

Reason # 4: Higher productivity → faster work → shorter TTM (time to market) 📈

Outsourcing development agencies already have their own well-tried workflow within the company. When a new client shows up on their doorstep (metaphorically) they can assign responsibilities and establish a working process in a short time.

Shorter TTM
Outsourcing development provides you with shorter TTM (image by Seth Eckert)

Due to the rich experience, they also know how to organize the work in the most effective and efficient way. It allows you to get the job done faster and reduces the time to market.

Moreover, agencies can successfully solve different kinds of tasks and help you not only at the development and QA stage but also with the release process. By the way, the post-release maintenance (such as updating the app to new OS versions, bug fixes and so on) is often neglected by in-house developers due to lack of motivation or a too dense workload.

Reason # 5: Delegate your headache to pro’s 👨‍🎓

When cooperating with experts, you may keep peace of mind. Development agencies usually have a person (usually it’s a project manager) who constantly supervises the whole process, discusses its details with you, reports on its progress and so on.

Furthermore, if you can delegate a part of your tasks and responsibilities to experts, what is the reason for not doing so? There is a true saying among developers “do what you do best, and outsource the rest”. Follow it!

A professional developer
Keep calm and let professionals do their job (image by Nicole Tan)

These were 5 undeniable benefits of the mobile application development outsourcing. “But is there any guide to it?”, you may ask. Yep! And you’re about to get it.

Read on to find out how to outsource app development in the most effective way.

📋 Your step-by-step guide to outsourcing mobile app development

So, if you plan to outsource app development the guide for you looks as follows:

  1. Think your idea out and specify requirements for the app.
  2. Search for the perfect partners.
  3. Interview them and make the final choice.
  4. Draw up a plan of the development and define the milestones.
  5. Sign a contract and an NDA (if needed).
  6. Build and test the app.
  7. Release it!

Read on because now we’re going to tell you in detail about each stage.

Step 1: Think your app idea through and out 💭

It’s not reasonable to contact any third party development agency, if there is nothing to be discussed. Moreover, it’s also impossible to make an estimation for you if the only thing you have is a raw idea. That’s why it always better to make some preliminary preparations before getting in touch with potential developers. What questions should you ask yourself?

  • What is the value of your app? What is its purpose?
  • Who are your target users?
  • Do you plan to build a native iOS or Android app? Or maybe you plan to go cross-platform?
  • What are the essential features of your app? Which ones aren’t so important and may be added later?
  • Which monetization method are you going to implement?
  • What's your pre- and postrelease marketing plan?
  • What will be the KPIs of your idea?

The list can be expanded with questions about design or any other that you find important.

Remember: the more info you will give to developers, the more precise result should be expected.

Also, if you have a designer, you may create a wireframe of your app that shows available features, content prioritization, main objects and page elements.

Read Also Why Wireframing of Your Mobile App Is So Important?

When all the preparations are done, you may feel free to move on to the next stage.

Step 2: Search for the perfect partner 🔎

First and foremost, you should decide who you are looking for.

On the one hand, you may hire freelance developers who can be easily found on special freelance boards or through Linkedin, for instance. However, it’s absolutely not the best choice. They are mostly unreliable, often disappear. Also, it’s more difficult to control them and be aware of how the development is going.

On the other hand, there are lots of agencies that provide outsourcing mobile app development services. There are several ways for you to find them:

1) Google search

You can just write “build a [hotel/restaurant/navigation/chatting/put your word] app” and Google will form for you a list of web pages that are relevant to your request. These pages usually lead directly to companies’ websites.

Google search
Page with Google results

2) Social networks

It’s also possible to issue a call for help using your accounts on Facebook or Twitter. This solution is even easier for you since it’s enough just to write “looking for app developers” or something similar and wait. I can bet that within the first day (and even first several hours) you will already have a few responses.

Social networks search
Social networks search

3) Check out the lists

It’s also possible to select a team from the list of mobile app development companies (like clutch.co). There you will find a short description of each agency with its hourly rate, specialization, location and other info.

The list of companies
The list of app development companies

4) Friends’ recommendations

If your friends (including Facebook ones) have already outsourced app development and were satisfied with the result, you may talk to them. I’m sure they will be happy to help you contact the same company.

“Ok, I’ve found a candidate. What’s next?”. During the third stage you have to interview the chosen candidate and ensure yourself that’s really what you were looking for.

Step 3: A “make-sure-you-made-the-right-choice” process ✅

The first impression is always important but if you’re going to work with a development agency for a long time (at least several months or more) you’d better have some more solid evidence of their professionalism. The fastest, easiest and, actually, most efficient way is to talk to a company representative (usually it’s a sales manager, a CTO or a founder).

Technically, this can be done in four ways:

  1. email correspondence (оften a prolonged, not very convenient but formal way to negotiations);
  2. instant messengers like Viber, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Google Hangouts and others (more informal and faster way to ask questions and get answers);
  3. video conferencing using Skype (allows you discover more nuances comparing to the written conversation).
  4. arrange a personal meeting (in case they’re not too far away).

Tip: set up a Video Skype call with your future team. It will show how the communication goes and if there's the "magic between you". A good communication is a sign for a long-term partnership.

No matter which type of communication you will choose, there are a few “golden” tips that will help you to find out whether this exact candidate is suitable for you or not. So our advice for you is following:

  • Make sure there is mutual understanding between you and developers. Despite it sounds like a very simple and obvious tip, understanding should be a footing of your cooperation.
  • Ask about their domain expertise in iOS app development outsourcing (or Android one). It’s always better if the agency has worked on similar projects before.
  • Examine their portfolio. This will allow you to personally verify the quality of their work.
  • Take a look at testimonials from prior clients. While a portfolio can tell you more about developers’ technical professionalism, feedbacks provide you with information regarding their communication skills, engagement, punctuality.
Case study
An example of work with client's review (image by Hanson Wu)

If everything goes well, by the end of this stage you will already have an outsourcing mobile app development team by your side. That means it’s time to get back to your app.

Step 4: Draw up a project plan with your team ✍️

One of the first things you should do together with the selected agency is to make a roadmap of your app development which will take into account all milestones. Milestones are something like short term goals. By breaking the development process into such parts, you can always easily and quickly understand at what stage it is and how quickly the work is progressing.

A roadmap
A variant of a roadmap (image by Alejandro Vizio)

Yet, keep in mind that you shouldn’t consider this plan as a minute-by-minute roadmap of your app. If you’re aimed at the best possible outcome, stay prepared to sacrifice some time for the sake of quality.

When you have agreed on terms and conditions of your mobile app development, it’s time to move on to signing the contract.

Step 5: It's time for the paperwork - sign the contract and a non-disclosure agreement 🤝

People always hate any paperwork but when it comes to your time and money you should be careful. Before signing a contract you have to choose its type. Luckily, your choice is limited to two options: a fixed price contract or time & material one. If to cut a long story short, for iOS and Android app development outsourcing it’s almost always better to choose a time & materials type of a contract.

If you are interested why and what the differences between these two models are, you can check out our article dedicated exactly to this topic:

Read Also Time and Material vs Fixed Price Contracts

What about an NDA?

NDA (a non-disclosure agreement) is an agreement between a client and a development company that protects your intellectual property rights. It prevents the company or developers from reusing the code, design and other elements of your app without a permission.

However, there is no such a law that obliges you to sign an NDA, so it’s up for you to decide.

Step 6: The development flow ⌨️

The biggest part of your job is done: you’ve thought your app project out, found and interviewed a team, drew up a roadmap with milestones together with your developers and signed a contract. Now an intensive coding process begins.

Coding
The biggest part of your job is done; now coding begins (image by Kayla Sawtelle)

Another thing to consider at this stage is the supervision. Well, it’s pretty reasonable that you want to know where your money goes and how the work progresses. Yet, keep the balance. Try not to micro-manage the development process because it will distract the team and prolong building of your app.

For example, we at Stormotion keep our client always up to date with reports and constant communication during the sprint. As a basic set, we provide reports at the start, in the middle and at the end of each sprint.

Keep in mind: it’s impossible to create a perfect app that has no bugs on the first try. Be ready that you developers will have to spend another 30% of time on QA to make sure the app works smoothly and accurately with different OS versions, screens and typical user behavior scenarios.

Step 7: App release 🚀

Talents of an experienced outsourcing mobile app development agency are usually not limited only to the development. If you’re not sure what the right way to publish your app to Google Play Market or Apple App Store is, guys will definitely help you to figure this out.

Release
Outsourcing developers will also help you release your app (image by Justas Galaburda)

If you want to maintain your app after the release (fix possible bugs that were noticed by users, make sure your app is compatible with new OS versions, release updates, enrich the app with new features and so on) you can continue your cooperation with the team that developed the app for you. Moreover, it’s a preferable solution since this exact team knows your app better than anyone else.

So, it was our 7-step guide to outsourcing mobile app development. By following it you will be able to get the work done quickly and efficiently.

❗ Conclusion

Mobile application development outsourcing may be a challenging task but if you know how it goes and what the pitfalls are everything is going to be smooth. Follow our guide, avoid the widespread mistakes and you will be able to create your app in the most efficient way.

Stormotion can turn your idea into a product with great UX. Just drop us a line if there any questions left or if you simply need an advice!

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