Unless you’re the rare Swiss knife type of developer — able to design, develop, promote and manage your app all by yourself — you’ll probably be looking to outsource some or all of these functions. Here are some things you’ll want to avoid on your way to success.
Hand the Project Over to One Person
So you start by choosing a suitable contractor. You look through dedicated websites and stumble upon a couple of freelancers or companies. Trying to keep your budget lean, you decide to hire a single freelancer to do your project. Having assigned it to the contractor of choice, you relax and wait for completion.
Not so fast.
Hiring a single freelancer is inherently risky; there are lots of reasons why the person you’ve assigned to your task might drop out of the project.
A much better approach is to hire a full team of independent developers or an outsourcing development company. This ensures that if one person drops out, there will be others to carry on the work. When you’re dealing with a software product development company, you won’t have the worry of finding a substitute; the company handles any staff turnover.
Keep Your Team Nice and Small
Maybe you’re tempted to cut some corners when it comes to development, so you hire a very small team, expecting each member to focus on several tasks: for example, designing the app; testing it; engaging in marketing the product.
Specialists have concentrated on developing skills that take a long time to perfect, which makes them effective at this particular line of work. The skills that make a great software engineer differ drastically from those that make a good project manager or designer. If you hire, let’s say, a developer to do all of the work, she or he is likely to do a poor job of designing the app or of managing a big development team.
Be sure to find a contractor with a huge team of business analysts, project managers, designers, front-end or back-end developers, software testers — as many people as needed for your project. Their expertise will ensure that your product performs as you expect. You will know that each part of the project is being executed with a high level of skill and that the whole process is properly managed.
As for product marketing and sales, software development companies do not offer such services. Given how tedious and complicated the process is, you might want to hire a separate team for that, or keep it in-house.
Leave the Management to Yourself
If you are outsourcing your first project, you may have some misconceptions about how to manage it. Unless you have experience in software development, it’s a mistake to try to handle every obstacle by yourself.
Decent companies have experienced project managers and other staff who will help enhance your ideas and make the most of them. When you hire a company, their business analysts will investigate the potential value of your product and ensure that your ideas are clearly interpreted. Developers will offer various solutions and choose the appropriate technology, and project managers will make sure the project is developed within budget and on time.
You just need to find the right contractor.
To do that, get feedback from the contractor’s previous clients and check out whether they have the specific expertise you need. Once you’ve settled on a contractor, stay in regular communication in case they have any questions or points that need to be clarified. That way you can be assured the product will be developed just the way you want it.
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Make Technical Decisions for Developers
When it comes to little decisions about how the software should operate, you may be tempted to make those on your own.
Not a good idea.
An experienced contractor has completed numerous projects and knows the drill. The team has worked through all the potential flaws and setbacks. If you rely on their knowledge, the project should be completed in time, without unexpected costs or lost time.
When outsourcing software development, try to leave technical decisions to the developers. Engage in the aspects you are good at — promotion, for instance. To make sure your suggestions are interpreted the right way, write detailed specs and tasks.
Code, Then Design
Since software development is quite complicated, it seems to most people that they should start with code, and then figure out the design. You may think that starting with the hardest task and figuring out the details later is the best strategy.
Let us stop you right there.
How the app looks and how it works are intimately connected. During the coding process, the application undergoes many changes, some of which may have a huge impact on the app’s look and feel. You’ll have to see how the app looks and how some of its features work to make sure everything is in place, which isn’t possible without at least a UI preview. Moreover, the design helps you keep track of the features you want to implement in the first release or keep for future updates.
When it comes to UX, sometimes even a slight change of color scheme or button placement can increase the number of interactions with the app. So don’t waste time remaking the design. Be sure to nail it down before starting to code.
If the design isn’t thought through beforehand and you decide to throw in or remove some of the app’s features, it will add to the developers’ already huge pile of work. This makes the work not only harder but also more time-consuming and as a result more expensive for you.
Complete the Project in One Step
So you’ve come up with a million-dollar idea and feel the itch to start working on it ASAP. You might just dive right in, trying to do as much work as you possibly can to perfect the product and get it released quickly.
Don’t do that.
The problem with outsourced software product development is that you can’t be certain how the ongoing collaboration between you and the contractor will go. Some contractors won’t be able to cooperate or to meet the required quality standards. So the best thing to do here is to divide the project into parts and start with a small part of the development. When it is completed, if you’re satisfied with the results, you may introduce changes to the product, plan the next stage out and move forward. If you are not satisfied, you may switch contractors before it’s too late.
5 Tips to Ruin Your Business From the Get-Go
You have a dream — an idea that could make the world a better place. But there’s a real chance of screwing up the whole thing if you make all the aforementioned errors.
If you don’t want things to go south, take our advice and hire a professional team of developers, not just one person to do the whole job. Divide the project into parts for easy management, and try to engage in the project while relying on your team’s expertise. And never — we mean it — never start with coding the app and slap the design on it afterward.
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