5 Mistakes Enterprises Make Outsourcing Mobile App Development
In many ways, mobile app development can transform business operations by delivering an engaging and effective way to interact with consumers. Over time, millions of smart, well-designed apps have allowed businesses to accomplish what was previously unimaginable; however, challenges arise when you have an exceptional idea, but lack the skill set to make it a reality. For this reason, many enterprises choose to outsource app development rather than designating development to their internal teams.
While there are distinct advantages to hiring a development firm, there are also challenges, and all too often, enterprises make several common mistakes when choosing a third-party partner. This post will explain how to effectively outsource development. Additionally, the article will detail how to go about selecting a firm that aligns with your business goals and values.
Making a Case for Development Outsourcing
When it comes to app development, enterprises have many items to consider, the first being deciding who is going to work on the project.
The demand for mobile app development services is growing almost five times faster than internal IT organizations’ ability to deliver them.
As with any internal team, there will always be a limit on what can be accomplished within a given time. If your enterprise has numerous projects on the go, outsourcing may be the best option to guarantee proper prioritization.
Capabilities and resourcing are among the top challenges for enterprise app development. In many cases, enterprise organizations don’t have the internal bandwidth for in-house development and find it challenging to identify and source the required roles to build a mobile app.
It’s becoming more common for enterprises to adopt a mixed-sourcing model to deliver mobile applications. This way, they can use their internal teams to focus on areas where they excel and outsource for additional expertise.
Mobile is still relatively new territory for many enterprises, and requires specific talent; however, the answer is not as simple as “hire more people.” The demand for top tech talent is high, and enterprises are competing with mobile-first startups that are challenging their business. Many enterprises are having trouble finding mobile team members with the requisite skills to deliver apps.
Outsourcing development, or supplementing your existing team with mixed sourcing is an efficient way to leverage specific skills that are in short supply. If you don’t necessarily need full-time developers, outsourcing allows you to tap into skills as required.
There are some risks involved when developing an app entirely in-house. The success of your product falls solely on the skill set of your internal team, and without adequate preparation, you risk wasting time and money.
The scalability of your team is also a significant risk to consider. If your project scope grows, or more projects arise, will your team be able to deliver on time? Will the team be able to adapt to changes, or are you facing an ever-growing backlog with a budget to match?
If you choose to outsource, your development partner will be able to take on some of those risks. With the right development firm, expertise is typically not an issue, and you can quickly negotiate the project scope.
Cost of Development
Mobile app development is a significant investment, and while many enterprises can absorb the cost of development, there are very few who account for the entire scope of the required budget. In-house development requires a solid business case, especially when mobile development is not the primary function of the IT department. Typically it is more cost-effective to outsource talent rather than recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.
10 Signs You Should Outsource Mobile App Development
- Mobile app development is not your enterprise’s primary business function.
- You need to invest in additional infrastructure to accommodate app development.
- Your internal IT department is busy with existing priorities.
- Your existing team doesn’t have the requisite skills.
- You need to hire new talent for mobile app development.
- There isn’t enough time to properly train new hires.
- You can’t commit to the long-term management of maintaining or updating an app internally.
- You would prefer to spread some of the risks.
- You need to manage the budget carefully.
- You would rather not commit internal resources to manage the project.
When outsourcing mobile app development, many enterprises jump in too fast and are left dissatisfied with the final product. Here are five oversights to keep in mind when you’re searching for a development partner.
Poor, or no Research Phase
If you decide to outsource a development firm, proper research is crucial for delivering a successful product. If you base your decision off of a great initial call with a potential partner, you haven’t done all of your homework. It’s vitally important to compare teams, pricing, strategy, and find a development firm who understands your vision, can add technical expertise, and build a product that achieves your business goals.
When it comes to evaluating potential development partners, it’s essential to look at the company’s portfolio. Look for relevant case studies and verified reviews from credible sources. Also, ask for examples of a potential partner’s previous work and see if the company’s past clients are satisfied with the final product. A great way to find out if a development firm is a good fit for your business is to see if their previous projects meet the expectations of the clients they’ve worked with previously.
The development firm you choose to work with should also have a unique brand. Having a brand entails having a credible website, a company blog, and an active social media presence. Often, a company’s blog will illustrate their approach to app development.
It’s understandable to want your minimum viable product (MVP) as fast as possible, but it’s worth taking the time to sufficiently research potential partners and identify which firm will build your MVP the right way.
Lack of Proper Planning
The planning and product discovery process involved in app development is an in-depth process and should not be overlooked. When it comes to outsourcing, it’s best to choose a partner who spends time acquiring a thorough understanding of your product vision before building anything.
Your selected partner should involve you in the planning stages of development and aim for complete transparency between your team and their own. Your partnership needs to be rooted in authentic collaboration; open communication is key to achieving your goals. Before selecting a firm, you need to assess whether your communication styles are compatible. Take the time to learn how your potential partner approaches planning and quality assurance, as well as any specific methodologies they use in the process.
Unable to Find an Agile Balance
Most development firms will practice agile methodologies. Some firms will always prioritize working software before feature documentation, but appropriate documentation is a matter of balance. While you don’t want to gloss over any essential details, excessively detailed project briefs leave no room for unexpected changes. Your development partner should seek out a happy medium.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, you should always monitor your product documentation. It’s important to review your documentation at every stage of development and never assume that because a particular requirement seems logical to you, it’s apparent to everyone else.
If you have concerns, be sure to describe each screen, feature, or project element within the scope of your project. Remember, a quality development partner will work to identify gaps in your project brief. Hire a partner who understands the importance of daily standup meetings. Your team should prioritize progress reviews, and continuously try to challenge assumptions, identify issues or potential roadblocks as they pave the way to a successful build.
Failure to Prototype
In mobile app development, it’s essential to prototype. When it comes to prototyping, you should never wait until the end of development. The worst possible scenario is discovering that your entire user-base can’t navigate through your product after all of the code is written.
Prototyping is a form of user research to validate the strategic design direction of a product. A prototype is a preliminary visualization of a working product. Prototypes build an understanding of the mobile app’s look and feel, which helps test how customers use and react to the overall user experience (UX) design. Using a prototype for usability testing gives you enough time to make changes to critical design issues before the product reaches development and it’s too late (and too expensive) to make significant changes to the UX.
Throughout the process, you will want to acquire a big-picture perspective from the actual people who will use your app. Your development partner should provide you with iterative builds of your software as often as possible. By applying early versions of the product, you will have the opportunity to course-correct if a feature doesn’t function correctly or if user feedback calls for a different procedure.
Lack of Code Reviews
As development progresses, you should perform consistent code reviews. A senior developer or team lead usually conducts the manual code review. Manual code reviews should happen frequently and check for syntax, standardization, structure, and any other vital details.
You can also perform static code reviews. There are multiple open-source tools available to run automated code reviews and flag security problems and other critical issues. If you’re unable to run static code reviews on your own, your team should perform them for you and be transparent about the results.
Where to Start the Outsourcing Process
Before you start exploring mobile app development services, the first step is to understand the product requirements completely. Knowing what you’re looking to build exactly will improve communication between you and your development partner. If you don’t have product requirements mapped out, you risk developing a product that doesn’t match expectations or doesn’t perform well. On top of that, you risk wasting time and money for every revision.
It’s true, outsourcing mobile app development will alleviate some of the pressure and mitigate risks, but it’s essential to be able to communicate effectively with the company you choose. Keep in mind; this is a long-term partnership, so you need to give thoughtful consideration to compatibility and transparency. When you find the right development partner, they can help you enjoy the creative aspects of mobile app development.