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How to Outsource App Development? (2019-2020 Guide)

By Prateek Saxena
November 2, 2018 8. min read
Last update on: July 16, 2020

You have come up with a million dollar idea for a mobile application and now you are lost on the path of development. Next 7 minutes of your time will be spent in weighing all the options you have about how to outsource app development for your big billion app idea.

If we look at it today, the mobile app development industry has become a multi-million dollar industry. Going by the stats, there are over 2 million apps on Apple’s App store and over 2.5 million apps on Google Play Store.

And to meet this demand, there are about 19 million software developers in the world and over 50% of them are dedicated to mobile app development. A simple mathematical calculation here would show how difficult it is to find a good app development agency amongst the crowd of millions of developers available in the market. And thus, it takes a lot of time and effort to find an app developer who is perfect for your app category.

Your diligent knowledge about how to find a good mobile app developer can in fact, take your app from ordinary to extraordinary. But what is difficult to sail the process of finding a good app developer, especially when you have taken an outsourcing route. 

In this article cum guide, we are going to offer all the necessary insights to keep your plans to outsource app development rolling. Here are some of the questions we will seek to answer in the article:

Outsourcing vs In-House Team of Developers: What Should be the Right Choice?

What Are The Benefits Of Outsourcing Mobile App Development?

Freelance or Agency: Which Outsource Mobile App Development Mode Should You Choose?

How To Select The Perfect Agency To Outsource Mobile App Development

How to Outsource Effectively on a Low-Budget?

What Are The Risks Involved In Mobile Development Outsourcing And How To Tackle Them?

Time and Material vs Fixed Price: The Best Application Development Outsourcing Contract

What are the Biggest Software Outsourcing Trends in 2020?

will be answered in this article and by the end of it, you will have a path to follow. So let us start.

Outsourcing vs In-House Team of Developers: What Should be the Right Choice? 

There are usually two choices that every tech startup and their established counterparts have – have an in-house team of developers or outsource the requirement

While there’s no fixed answer as to which is the right choice, in our line of work we have in fact gathered points that help entrepreneurs fall on either side of the coin. Here’s when it makes sense to outsource and not establish an in-house team:

  1. When majority of your development task is one-time 
  2. When you are working on a low budget and unclear ROI plan 
  3. When you are looking for quick go-to market time 
  4. When there’s a scope of technical updation within the application. 

The pointers that we shared above are more or less the story of every SME. So before you make your next hire, ponder upon the outsourcing route once. Especially around the benefits of application development outsourcing

What Are The Benefits Of Outsourcing Mobile App Development?

Benefits of Outsourcing Mobile App Development

  1. It enhances the speed of your app development. With outsourcing, you don’t have to wait for the full hiring process. Additionally, when you outsource, the agency you partner with works single-handedly on your software, meaning there’s no distraction or additional tasks. This single-focus approach plays a great role in increasing the app development speed.
  2. It helps in expanding the technological stacks without the need of re-hiring talent. Technologies are wildly fluctuating these days. And making hiring and firing decisions simply on the basis of the technologies which are in and ones which are outdated can be a bad move. When you outsource software development projects, you get to inculcate the necessary technologies without affecting your in-house manpower planning process.
  3. App development outsource adds innovation and efficiency to the existing set-up. The implementation of IDEA (Identify, Design, Engineer and Analyze) is the simplest pattern that greatly helps in streamlining the entire process of mobile app development.
  4. The cost-effectiveness of outsourcing is another big point in its favour that makes enterprises attracted towards it. For instance, if we go by the real-life experience of western world clients, they would tell that the cost of mobile app development or even of hiring a developer in the US and Europe is much higher than hiring a qualified app developer in the eastern part of the world.

According to some accounts, the cost was as less as 50% of setting up an in-house development team. So this makes the choice between in-house and outsourcing a bit easier.

Assuming you are sold on the benefits that outsourcing has to offer, here are the two options that would be available to you when you decide on mobile application outsourcing

Freelance or Agency: Which Outsource Mobile App Development Mode Should You Choose?

Hiring a Freelancer

Hiring a Freelance app developer can seem like an extremely attractive idea when it comes to cost-effective solutions to all your app development needs. But just like any other situation, this situation also has its pros and cons.

Hiring a Mobile App Development Agency

Hiring an agency can be your one-stop solution for all the app development requirements. A mobile app outsourcing company is much more efficient and effective and most importantly, organised in terms of handling and managing clients. They provide flexible time schedules and ensure that the cost that you’re paying ends up worth every penny in terms of services.  You can’t resist hiring an outsourcing agency for your next project.

Looking at the Pros and cons of both, hiring a freelancer and hiring an app development agency, it is fair to say that the better option out of the two is hiring an app development agency.

Now that we have decided on one aspect of our next mobile app development project, let us take a look at the scenarios you need to take care of and point to consider before deciding upon any outsourcing company.

How To Select The Perfect Agency To Outsource Mobile App Development

Mobile app development is a huge investment for any company and selecting an appropriate Agency for making the app perfectly as you have imagined is a difficult task. But following a set of pointers can ease out the outsourcing process to a great deal.

How to Select Perfect Agency to Outsource Mobile App Development

Fix a Geography

There are websites such as Clutch, Directory of Google development Agency and Appfutura which provide organised information about the ranking and rating for app development agencies worldwide. These lists can be sorted according to geography, reviews, Hourly rates and Industry focus of the company.

After you have made a decision on which geography to outsource services from, go through the reviews of the top rated companies to make a clearer second level decision.

You can even choose to personally contact some of the reviewers to get a better idea about the working procedure of the app development companies. At the end of checking and cross checking the credentials of your top companies on each of the mentioned websites, finalise four or five companies to go forward with.

Check the Quality of Work

Before making the final decision about hiring someone for your work, look at the quality of work done by them previously. Ask for a portfolio and judge the quality of work with it.

Portfolios are also a great way to scale a developer’s or an agency’s level at handling complex apps and projects. For instance, if your app is a complicated one, you will not hire the person or agency that has only simple apps in their portfolio and vice versa.

There also should be a standardized procedure to follow all the things through so that everyone is on the same page regarding the progress of the application. This has a great impact on the quality of the application.

Check the Range of Services Offered

The specifications of the project should be made clear before starting the actual development process for the best outcome. Generally, a rough solution or a scope of work is provided by the freelance developer or the app development agency according to their understanding of your vision and then you, as a client, also gain clarity about the things you need and do not need in the application.

The process of providing the scope of work also works differently for freelance mobile app developers and mobile app development agencies.

Discuss Your Idea

If you had been going with a freelancer, he would have never changed anything about the specifications you had provided and would have given you the exact set as you had stated in the paperwork but an agency walks you through the process of development. And gives you options to add or subtract anything out of the specifications as the need arises and the project becomes clearer to everyone involved in the process.

Enquire About the Post-Launch App Services

This is one of the most important parts of the contract between a client and a service provider. In a business as intricate and complicated as mobile app development, problems can arise anytime, after all, it’s a machine and no machine is flawless. Therefore, it is crucial to add the required clauses in the contract at the beginning of the project itself that makes it clear what kind of post-launch services you will be needing and the company of the freelance developer will provide you.

Agencies, usually have a separate support department which takes care of the clients’ post-launch services. On the other hand, it might not be possible for a freelance developer to provide support full-time due to time-crunch.

Post-launch services are also necessary because mobile apps require constant upgradations in order to match up to the industry standards. Also, the Operating system upgrades always need to be made compatible with the mobile application. This kind of support is easy to provide for a mobile app development agency.

Match the Communication Lined

With the growth that the world has seen in the past decade, it has become very easy for anyone to be in one corner of the world and get services from the other end of the world. This is an amazing technological advancement but with it, comes time difference.

It becomes very difficult to manage communications and projects being in different time zones. In such cases, it is cardinal that we decide the meeting and discussion times beforehand.

A checklist to outsource mobile app development effectively

  1. They should be well established with a solid portfolio to judge their work. There should be excellent and appropriate examples of their previously done projects that should convey an amenable approach towards each project and client services.
  2. They have to have a wide range of capabilities suggesting their work in diverse domains. UI/UX, Android, iOS, Web platforms etc.
  3. They should have a good connectivity to be able to cater to all the client needs.
  4. If the need arises, they should have the resources to travel to the client destination.
  5. They should have a good grasp on the language they’re serving their clients in.
  6. When you hire a remote development team, their team has to be very well-organised to reflect a critical mass in terms of the size of the organization or the team.
  7. They should abide by all kinds of government laws and shouldn’t be involved in forgery.

How to Outsource Effectively on a Low-Budget?

Outsourcing of a mobile application significantly reduces cost. Especially when you’re a start-up. On the other hand, outsourcing also broadens the horizons as to what is the extent of technology we can reach. Also, there are countries which provide mobile app development services at a much cheaper rate than the US and UK.

The initial push for any startup is crucial in such a scenario if you find a better costing option And that initial push can be an MVP made in detail. This can be possible by outsourcing apps from foreign countries (Outsourcing app development in India like countries, where the cost of an MVP and a detailed wireframe of your project is much cheaper than all the other countries).

Another very significant advantage of outsourcing a project for a start-up is Idea-Validation. There will be an entire pool of experienced people and developers handling your project and you can get crucial insights as to what can and cannot work in the app idea that you’re proposing.

This can also be so because these companies will be able to give you some level of competitor analysis as they must have managed a project from your domain as well, previously. And this is all at a much lower cost than the cost of specialists you would have hired for the development of an app in-house.  

A big backdrop of startups is more often than not, they fall prey to the services provided at a cheaper price by inexperienced developers. That is why it is very important to abide by the list of documents and questions to ask before you hire anyone. 

In the lure of a cheaper price, you might end up stuck with a bad quality application which does not generate results as you like. This can in turn be the biggest outsourcing mistake that should be avoided at all costs. 

What Are The Risks Involved In Mobile Development Outsourcing And How To Tackle Them?

Risking the leakage of sensitive data

Involvement of a third party into anything confidential delivers a significant risk of confidential data leakage. Building a successful and quality mobile application requires working with close integration with the outsourcing company team. And that involves sharing confidential information with a third party.

The antidote for such a risk is making a strong non-disclosure agreement and along with it an IP protection agreement. These documentations should be backed by appropriate legal measures also.

Mismatch in expectations and delivery

Your selected outsourcing company might be the most competent one in business but that doesn’t lower the risk of expectations mismatch. There is always a risk attached with outsourcing that the development team might perceive the client’s app idea in a different way and execute it according to that. Another worse scenario can be that the development team did not collect the necessary information about the application and that causes an inherent flaw in the app design itself which might add cost and time to rectify at a later stage.

To avoid such risks, the client-developer communication should be clear and on paper/mail. A clear pointed contract should be formulated with the development agency so that this risk can be neglected altogether.

Talking of contract, let us next look into the two most preferred application development outsourcing contracts that businesses choose from when they outsource app design or development requirements. 

Time-and-Material & Fixed Price: The Best Application Development Outsourcing Contract

While there are multiple engagement models that an app development company offers, there are two that are most commonly used by the outsourced app development sector – Time and Material and Fixed Price. 

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Fixed Price Contracts:

Within a fixed-price contract, you pay for an app to be delivered in established budget and time. Here, entrepreneurs can set the price, duration, and the project scope in advance, which is a major pro. But the con in this contract is that everything is fixed. Meaning, there is little to zero scope of amendments in the project once the development has begun. 

Time-and-Material Contracts:

In this contractual mode, you pay the developers for the time and efforts they put in. Meaning, it is a lot specific than the fixed time model, but at the same time, a lot more creativity friendly. Working on the time-and-material model gives businesses the flexibility to play around the workflows or feature set when things are not going as per their agenda. 

What are the Biggest Software Outsourcing Trends in 2020?

Benefits of Outsourcing Mobile App Development

Security as priority

As the times are growing so is the need for sensitive data protection. 2020, will see extreme and technologically advanced measures taken. Advanced security measures related to automation and threat intelligence will find a way into the outsourcing world.

RPA (Robotic Process Automation)

RPA is another new disrupting technology that is capable of disrupting the current market of outsourcing mobile applications and bringing the cost down. There is a very high amount of data inflow during the making and testing of any mobile app and if we multiply the number of applications, the numbers are sky high. This size of data can be managed and analyzed only through automation. This will also reduce the outsource app development cost and work to provide a better quality app with the use of AI.

Hybrid Cloud Platforms

The use of cloud platforms is already rising up to a peak and cloud technology is all ready to become a trendsetter. For outsourcing companies, they will be able to highly improve and innovate their services and enhance the efficiency of their business process.

There are a lot of futuristic technologies in-line for helping out the outsourcing companies and clients which are looking to outsource app developers. 2020 has a lot in store for both of these parties.

FAQs That Entrepreneurs Have When They Outsource Mobile Application Development

Q. How to find offshore mobile app development companies?

While you can turn to a usual Google search to find an offshore app development company, what we recommend is head on to rating and review websites like Clutch, Mobile App Daily etc, which have a genuine list of software development companies that you can then select from.

Q. Will I get NDA if I outsource my application project?

Yes. Almost every software development company signs an NDA before the first level of communication with the clients. In fact, if your vetted agency says otherwise, we would advise you to see it as a red flag. 

Q. What is the handover process like in outsourced app development projects?

At the end of the project contract, you are entitled to get back all the codes, designs, and data that the agency would have on you. Ideally, this clause should be mentioned in the service level agreement. 

Prateek Saxena
Prateek Saxena
Co-founder of Appinventiv
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