As everyone is becoming more dependent on mobile devices, enterprises and even small businesses have been quick to develop mobile applications to engage their customers directly. And as per the ongoing trend not just the small and medium businesses are opting to outsource even enterprises have realized the tech prowess of offshore companies and are active in outsourcing mobile app development. Mobile app development can usually cost around $2,500-$300,000 depending upon the features, complexity and other aspects. If you have an app idea, and want the best technology in the best price – outsource to an app development company. By doing this way, you can market quickly while spending less time on developing the app.
While outsourcing is one of the best things to do, it comes with many challenges and obstacles. The biggest challenge is finding the right mobile app development company. The best way to identify the right partner is look for a company or an individual developer who puts complete efforts into understanding your requirements and develop the app accordingly. Here is the step-by-step guide to outsource your mobile app development project.
Step 1 – Know the purpose of your app
The first and foremost thing to consider is the purpose of your mobile app. Before you think of outsourcing app development, you should answer the below questions.
- What pain points you are addressing?
- Who are your target users?
- What you are expecting from your mobile app?
- What are its features?
- You want the app to be developed for Android or iOS?
- Whether it should be native or cross-platform?
- Do you want to make it free or paid?
Once you have answered all the above questions and are satisfied with the answers, you should go to the next step. Conduct proper research and analyze the market thoroughly to get insight of your competitors. Do a feasibility check on your idea, talk to different people, friends, gather feedback.
Try to serve users with a different and unique app. Humans have tendency to become bore of same things. Create something interesting keeping the users interest in mind.
Step 2 – Choose the right app developer
The next step is to choose a great mobile app developer. Outsourcing means, you are giving the entire design and development in the hands of a third person. Though the primary reason to outsource app development is to reduce cost, you must remember that the cheapest quote you receive will not always be the best vendor for you.
Ask for the app portfolio, be it Android or iOS. Professional companies never avoid sharing their portfolio with others. In fact, they will provide you their best work as soon as you ask. Have a good look at the portfolio to analyze the potential of the developer. You can even ask for published app links while choosing the app developer. This is one of the important questions to ask for, as hiring a developer whose apps are not published in the app stores may put you in trouble. Get a list of references/former clients whom you can speak with and take a feedback.
An ideal vendor should use their experience to optimize your idea further. Finding the right mobile app development company with professional developers can be a difficult task however with the right questions being asked you can be assured of finding the ideal partner.
Step 3 – Interview the vendor thoroughly
It is imperative to know the vendor completely before you hire. You can ask him to join a Skype call or instant message to talk in real time. You can even ask the person to join a video call to get the feel of face-to-face interview. While interviewing the vendor, there are certain things to look for in. You need someone who can clearly understand your requirements and implement them perfectly.
It is a good idea to ask about their experience and expertise in building outsourced apps. You also need to check how responsive the vendor is. If you have scheduled an interview and the person does not hook up on time, it may be a sign that the developer is not committed. When inquiring the details, ask questions related to their creative skills, ask any certifications they have earned, any awards they have won etc. The app developer should be able to give suggestions and at the same time, listen to your requirements.
Step 4 – Ask for a thorough project plan
Once you have selected the app developer, it’s time to ask for a project plan. It is a good idea to discuss about milestones before starting the project. Milestones are considered as the stages that need to be completed step by step. They can serve as short term goals. By setting milestones, you will know where the project stands. If the developer goes quite for few days, you need not to bother as you have already set milestones for your project.
If the project is of 3 months, adjust the project plan and establish a calendar so that the developer stays in touch with you. There are many sites that allow you to set milestones and monitor the progress of your project. You can even pay the developer as each milestone is completed. Make sure to release payments in increments as and when the milestones are completed. This will keep the developer motivated and encourage him to work dedicatedly.
The project plan allows you and the developer to assess the development over course of time. It also allows you to analyze and approve each step of the project. The app is developed for you and your approval is must for completing the project. You can even test the features, modules and other stages of development in an easy way by listing in the project plan.
Step 5 – Get to know the team
When the vendor assigns an internal team make sure to talk or chat with them initially to get to know each other. This way you can make them aware of your expectations. You can discuss various things that may be of importance to both the parties. If you see a red flag with any of the team members raise it with the vendor or ask for a replacement.
Step 6 – Consider difference in time zones
When you hire an app development company, you should consider the time zone difference. You might think that you can deal with the time difference, but from our experience it will result in disappointment if you have not made arrangements earlier. You can discuss this thoroughly with your vendor and can set a time as per availability of both for weekly meetings or calls. Usually you do not need to speak with the team daily however it makes sense you are aware of their working hours and schedules.
Step 7 – Project Management and Communication tools
Adoption of a good project management tool immensely increases the chances of getting the project finished in time and as per expectations. There are many popular project management tools that are used by professional app developers like basecamp, asana, trello etc. Add to them communication tools like slack, skype, hangouts etc and you are on your way to a great app. Many people make the mistake of ignoring these two things when assigning the project to an app development company and often the results are bad. It is highly advised to adopt both these strategies and you have won half the battle.
Step 8 – The importance of a project manager
It is always important to have somebody as a focal point in your company, when outsourcing the project. Someone who has technical knowledge can assist you with problems that occur along the way. If your company doesn’t have an employee who is tech oriented, it is advised to hire someone experienced in project management or at least get educated about general technical things. Although this is not a have must it does help.
Step 9 – Protecting the source code
Companies make the mistake of assuming that all the outsourcing locations abide by patent and trademark laws. There are some countries where the outsourcing contract clause cannot be enforced. If you have signed a NDA, it is advised to split the source code into separate sections and limit the database access to prevent problems in the future.
Step 10 – Inadequate functional tests
This is a big mistake that companies make while outsourcing mobile app development. You make sure that the mobile app functions well; it is must to include a variety of testing procedures that mimic the scenarios encountered by the end-users. For this, you can use emulator to negate the problem of working with an overseas team.
By following the above steps and avoiding the mistakes, you can outsource your mobile app development successfully. Don’t rush into anything as you just want the project to be completed. Take time to know the purpose of your mobile app, choose the right candidate and set appropriate milestones to complete the project efficiently.