Many businesses want to develop web and mobile applications but don’t have the internal resources to support this type of project. If your company isn’t yet ready to abandon the project or hire a team of full-time, in-house developers, you could benefit from a third option: outsourcing the application development.
Outsourcing has many advantages; it can save your company time, money, and stress. But working with an external provider also presents challenges. To manage a project to completion, you must make careful plans and deliberate precautions. Follow these four steps to outsource your application development successfully.
Step 1: Find the Right Partner
Before you can start looking for a development partner, you need to map out exactly what kind of application you want to build. Research similar apps and narrow your focus. What is your goal for the app? What functionality and features does it need to have? What operating systems do you want it to be compatible with? How and why will users interact with this app? What will it do for them?
Be clear about the specifics of the application you want to build, and that will help you define what you require in a development team. Do you need expertise in iOS or Android development? Should they have mobile gaming or enterprise services or e-commerce experience? Don’t make the mistake of casting the net too wide. Write up a detailed project description and consider only the development partners who meet your qualifications.
Step 2: Talk with the Partner
Clarity is essential to successfully outsourcing your project. Draw up a project document that outlines the scope of work, deliverables, timelines, and any other important information, and discuss it with the development partner either in person or over video chat to make sure you are on the same page.
As the project begins, you’ll likely communicate frequently via email or other collaboration and project management tools. But be sure to build in regular face-to-face conversations to check in on problems and deadlines.
Step 3: Establish Communication Channels
Miscommunications can be costly and time-consuming. You want to work with a development partner who is responsive and transparent in communications, and who will be forthcoming about any obstacles they encounter along the way. Set up straightforward communication channels, so they know how and when to get in touch with you.
Pay attention to your early emails and conversations. Do they have a clear understanding of what your goals and requirements are for the project? Do they ask questions until they feel confident to move forward? Do they give you constructive feedback and regular updates on the project? Do they align with your current internal processes and procedures to seamlessly integrate?
Step 4: Set Important Milestones
When mapping out the timeline for your project, it’s helpful for you and your development partner to establish concrete project milestones. Each milestone marks a point at which a specific set of tasks must be completed. You can also tie milestones to payments, so you pay for the project in increments in a system that is fair to you and your partner. Create a shared calendar to help all stakeholders stay on task, adjusting it as necessary.
Outsourcing application development has some challenges, but with proper communication and planning, it can be an effective way for your company to reach its goals.
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