Outsourcing web and app development

May 15, 2020, 0 Comments

Things to Consider when Outsourcing App and Web Development

The modern global market is an extensive mix of several factors that are constantly interacting with each other in an ever-increasing manner. It is extremely important for modern businesses to analyze these factors in order to remain visible in the overall spectrum of the industry. Technology plays an important role in empowering these companies to penetrate new markets and position themselves accordingly. Modern business owners are fast taking a shift from physical formats to digital formats and those who cannot keep up with this change will find themselves in an extremely tangled web. According to a recent study conducted by IHS Markit, it is estimated that the number of smartphone users in 2020 will exceed over 6 billion. Another study published by Statista shows that annual app downloads will reach a whopping 258.2 billion by the end of 2022.

Image 1: Annual App Downloads
(Source: Statista, 2019)

Therefore, it is important for both small businesses and big global corporations to understand the importance of a strong digital footprint in a market that is constantly becoming saturated. Development and maintenance of a proper website that reflects on the values and beliefs of the company are one of the first and foremost factors that can make the difference between success and failure. The recent boom in the smartphone industry also supplemented this shift to digital formats and has now almost made it essential for a business to pair up their web apps with a mobile app if they want to remain viable in the market. However, developing a proper app or a website comes with challenges of its own and can definitely backfire if not engineered correctly. This is because developing an intuitive website or a mobile app is a combination of several tasks, each specializing in its own sector. There needs to be a dedicated team of developers, each bringing their own trade to the table, that constantly interacts with each other and works as a holistic unit rather than a team of individuals. 

Hence, a lot of companies now choose to outsource their web and app development requirements to other agencies that specialize in this sector. This eliminates the need for a specialized in-house team all year round and also ensures that the people working on the project are all experienced individuals. However, since developing a website or a mobile application is a resource-heavy process and also extremely important to the overall success of a company, it is imperative that certain precautions be taken before final decisions are taken.

Here are a few pointers that one should keep in mind before hiring a web and app development agency to take care of their digital requirements. 

Convey Requirements:

One of the first things one should do before even considering a web and app development project is to make a list of their requirements. Certain agencies may specialize in different types of content, so it is important that one understands what they want from their application. For example, if you are in the food business, you might want to make a list of the services or the information that you want your app to display. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want it to make reservations or just display information?
  • Do you want it to keep a count of guests in a day? 
  • Do you want it to keep a count of your inventory?
  • Do you want the app to manage finances?

Asking yourselves these questions will help you decide and understand not only the viability but the limitations of your concept as well. This makes it easier for you to convey that information to the development firm and state the specifics of your app clearly.

Setup Budget:

Managing a proper budget is crucial to the success of any project, and web and app development is no different. Once you have the specifics of the app down on paper, you can then start taking quotes from several web and app development firms in order to gather a perspective on your average cost. If you feel that the budget is exceeding your limitations, then you may want to rework your specifics for the app or consider increasing your budget.

Conduct Research/Background Check:

By now, you should have a decent idea about the specifics of your app and its relative budget. This is the time when you can revisit the agencies who gave you your quotes and conduct some research on them. Try finding out more about the agency, their work culture and ethics, their previous clients and their ability to finish a project on time. You should also contact some of their former clients and try to find out their experience with them. You might also want to try out a few apps developed by the firm in question in order to get a better idea of their work.

Identify Risks:

This is the section where you want to identify the areas where the app can potentially go wrong. You might want to try out apps similar to yours in order to understand their challenges and shortcomings. This is also a good time to take ideas from the same and make final changes to your requirements since the agency should be good to go by this time provided you give them the green light. It will become progressively harder to implement changes once the actual coding begins. So make sure you provide them with all your requirements and grievances before this stage.

Test Several Versions:

You should always stay in the loop with the team working on your project and make sure that you are updated once each feature gets coded. You should also keep close contact with the team in order to test these pre-alpha versions in order to implement changes as required on the go. This also makes it easier for the web development agency to implement those changes so make sure that you keep testing each version of the app constantly.

Non-Disclosure Agreement:

Data theft and security is also a large part of the problem. People are sceptical about providing another agency with their valuable data due to several scams taking place. In this age of information, data is extremely important to the company and hence, a proper NDA should be signed in-between the two entities. Make sure you hire a proper legal aid when drafting this agreement in order to seal all loopholes.

Beta Testing and Release:

Have a talk to the agency beforehand about their beta-testing process. A rigorous beta testing phase ensures that the final version of your app is devoid of any bugs or issues. It also helps you generate an idea about how the app is going to perform in the market and also provides you with a short window to make any final changes to your product or address bugs.

Maintaining Outsourced Code:

Many businesses do not consider this before outsourcing their project and usually start struggling with it after their app goes live. It is a good idea to maintain an express relationship with the company that has developed your app after the completion of the project. This is because it becomes harder for other people to work on a code that has not been developed by them. They need to spend a considerable amount of time analyzing the code and understanding its nuances before they can make actual changes to it. However, it is easier for the firm who worked on your project initially to implement these changes. Therefore, if you are satisfied with the app and the team that worked on it, stay in touch with them just in case you need to implement changes.

It is important for one to realize that proper communication plays a key role in any project management. So, be proactive and convey your needs and requirements regularly to the web development agency. Remember that changes become harder to implement as the development process progresses and forcefully editing code can only result in bugs. This not only makes the day difficult for the software developer but also increases costs. Communicate regularly, keep up with the trends in the industry, analyze your competitor’s app and you will find your software shaping up exactly as you want it.

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