Outsourcing Mobile App Development & Mistakes to Avoid
App Builder Appy Pie, March 28, 2018: Mobile app development has the potential to transform business operations while making sure that the audience and the target users are well engaged and can easily interact with the brand and the products. Today the businesses of all scale and sizes have gained limitless opportunities and exposure as they have adopted mobile apps for their business. The main problem arises when the great ideas of an organization are stunted due to lack of diverse skills and lower budgets. More often than not, in these cases the plans are either delayed, or implemented in a dissatisfactory manner.
In such scenarios it is a great idea to outsource the mobile app development to a team of experts and rid yourself of any technical headaches. Creating a favorable partnership with a team of such experts can develop into a long-term relationship that can determine your success or failure.
Telltale signs that you should outsource your mobile app development
1) If the main business function of your organization is not mobile app development, you must consider mobile app development.
2) If your organization would need to make special investments in additional infrastructure in order to accommodate mobile app development.
3) If the internal IT department at your organization is already working on other tasks of higher priority.
4) If the existing team at your organization does not have the skills needed.
5) If your organization would have to hire skilled resources for developing a mobile app.
6) If Your organization does not have the time to devote in training the newly hired professionals.
7) Owning or building an app for your business needs commitment for long-term maintenance or updating the app. If you are unable to commit to it internally, it’s better to outsource the whole process.
8) If your organization would fare better by spreading some of the risks, outsource your mobile app development.
9) If your organization needs to manage the budgets carefully, it is time you gave outsourcing a thought.
10) If your organization cannot afford to commit the internal resources to manage the project.
Critical Mistakes to avoid while outsourcing your mobile app development
However, in your decision to outsource the app development process to an external team of experts, it is not wise to rush in and make a hasty decision. It is therefore important to be aware of the biggest mistakes that people make while outsourcing mobile app development. When you are aware of the mistakes or loopholes that most people trip on, you would be better equipped to come up with ways to avoid making the same mistakes and make the right choice. As an app development veteran and pioneer, Appy Pie has put together a list of most common and critical errors that most people make while outsourcing mobile app development process.
#1 Poor Market Research
Like most other business decisions, outsourcing a process like mobile app development too needs due amount of research. When you set out to outsource your app development process failing to gather apt amount of intelligence and other information about your prospective technology partner is highest on the list of mistakes you can make here. When you do not know the team you hire, you are setting yourself up for a series of unpleasant surprises. The first call that you have with a prospective technology partner might go fabulously well but is that enough to help you take this decision. Therefore, it is important to meet with quite a few agencies in order to compare teams, pricing plans, strategies, and then zero in on a firm that understands the vision you have for your organization, offer their technical expertise to you, and help you build an app that would accomplish the objectives you set for your business.
Explore the portfolio of their work, understand the kind of experience they have, go through relevant case studies & reviews from credible sources. One of the most effective ways to figure out whether the company is good enough for you, is to find out if the previous clients of the company were satisfied with the final product they achieved and the services they offered.
Understand the app development firm and study their brand. This brand consists of the firm having a credible website, an active blog, and an active social media presence. The blog can prove to be a great way to understand the firm and their approach to mobile app development.
#2 Hiring from the Neighborhood or Failure to Take the Time Difference into Account
There would be times when you would want to look for a partner who is conveniently placed, or someone you are familiar with, but it would be unwise to fall for this temptation just because of familiarity. You might have some of the best firms in your neighborhood but narrowing your search only to those who are geographically convenient is not advisable. The idea is to build a robust mobile app that accomplishes the objectives you set for it, even if it is thousands of miles away from you.
However, there is another side to this aspect. Mobile app development process entails an intensive communication between you and the team that you choose to hire, and there might be some scenarios when both these partners are located in two different countries. If you are working while the partner firm is sleeping or vice versa, it might lead to some hold ups or delays, even miscommunication. This is one mistake to avoid especially in case of short term projects or the projects that are based on tight deadlines.
#3 Choosing Cost Over Quality
If you are a business owner then money must be on your mind, and quite a high priority too. If you are a small business owner or a startup, then budget and the money that you spend must be a big concern for you while picking your partnering firm. But it doesn’t make sense to choose cost over the quality of resources in your endeavor to hire a mobile app development firm. There would always be firms who would try to woo you with prices that would seem too good to be true! Guess what, that might actually be true! When you see a quote that is significantly lower than the others, it is prudent to explore deeply and understand the roots of it.
Get your quotes from competing agencies and study the breakdown of the budget, explore aspects like planned hours, the pricing of individual features, and any other factors that play an important role for the accomplishment of your objectives. This will help you spot those developers who have failed to account for certain aspects that might emerge later on in the duration of the project and might give you a nasty surprise.
#4 Picking the Team in A Rush
When you set out to outsource the process of mobile app development, it isn’t just involve picking a random team that comes your way and entrusting them with the responsibility of creating or supporting a mobile app for you. You must embark on a journey to find a partner who suits you the best and not just a name on a letterhead.
The company that you choose might have numerous awards, accolades, or recognition in their kitty which might prompt you to think that they are perfect for you, but when you get down to it, the partnership might fail miserably. Why do you think that happened? This might happen because the company has had extensive experience in one field and might have no knowledge or expertise in the areas that you are interested in.
It is a sincere suggestion that you do not choose your partner firm in a rush, pay attention to all possible aspects, take a closer look, study everything in detail including the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and pay attention to the way their team fits in with your vision. It is perfectly okay to ask questions and answer their questions honestly too!
#5 Lack of Clarity in Requirements
This is one of the most basic things. Unless you tell them what you want, the chances of them delivering it to you are thin! The roles and responsibilities of the partnering team and your own responsibilities need to be made amply clear right at the beginning. There shouldn’t be anything left to assumption, they can’t possibly read what you have on your mind! Things that might seem obvious to you, would not figure in their vision of things, and then you both would be in hot soup. You will not be happy with what you get, and the developers too would be dissatisfied with the whole experience.
You, and the whole team at your organization must agree on some of the most basic and essential aspects that would include the following.
- Payment terms
- Deadlines for each leg of the journey
- Defined milestones and estimated sprint flow
- Tech and business requirements to the app (from your end including the required features, Backend, platform compatibility, or any other requirement.)
- Details of the design and who would be providing the wireframes, mockups etc.
- Details of the submission process including who would be responsible for uploading the app, future updates to the store, etc.
- Who would be responsible for the QA testing of the app
It is important to have a project manager in place to take care that the requirements from both the ends are met with. This is crucial, as it frees up the developers and lets them focus their attention completely on app development leaving the discussions to the project manager.
#6 Not Laying Enough Emphasis on Communication
The process of app development is not restricted to coding only. If you did not have a clear communication channel with the team of developers, the final product is bound to be questionable in terms of its ability to achieve its goals or objectives. If the communication channel and the feedback process is disorganized, inconsistent, or chaotic, it would be difficult to monitor. This means that the entire process will get slowed down, warranting more time investment and investment of resources in it.
Keep your communication channels open, and offer meaningful and crisp information in response to any query posed by the developers, while asking them for latest updates on the progress of your app development. Having regular, pre-planned meetings where everyone gets on the same table, speaks the same language, and has a clear understanding of objectives, deliverables, and the adopted path is instrumental here. Facing a breakdown in communication puts you in a high risk zone and might not even leave you a way out of the mess you might land up in.
#7 Failing to Use Best Practices of Project Management
If you have an expectation of getting exactly the app that you wanted by outsourcing the app development process and simply forgetting about it for a couple of months, you are in for a rude shock! This is going to be a project with high stakes and you would definitely have to keep checking in on a daily basis. Delegate this responsibility to an internal resource within your organization. The project would need you to adopt a very hands-on approach with regular meetings involving the whole team from both sides, so that each member is aware of everyone else’s involvement and progress in the project.
We advise you to meticulously track all the important milestones, but also employ some good project management tools. You can also ask the app development firm to provide you access to their internal project management tool, so that your interaction is not restricted to emails and phone calls only.
#8 Insufficient Testing
If you have been in the business for some time or have been dabbling with the idea to launch your business, you are probably aware of the importance of testing the product optimally before the launch. If you, as an app owner ignore this aspect you are going to have an app that would be rife with mistakes, bugs, and would probably crash quite often. This would eventually further stretch your budget out.
Apart from this, if the initial reviews leave an impression of an app that way too buggy and has a lot of errors, it is only going to stunt the chances of you getting a sizeable number of downloads.
Right at the start, clarify whether the project has provision for testing, because an app that is launched without being tested properly is eventually going to be an utter waste of money
#9 Not Owning the Source Code
Whatever else you decide to relinquish, at any cost, do not relinquish the ownership of the source code. When you sit down to draft a contract with your partner firm, make sure that you include this clause. Failing to include this clause can lead to trouble for you, if you were planning to take your business to any other firm in future.
#10 Failing to Plan for After-Release Support
The after release or post release period is crucial, even if it is not apparent to you today, you are going to realize this soon enough. A startup that puts everything into their MVP and fails to plan for the post-release phase, is simply going to fizzle down without leaving a trace.
Make sure that you add analytics to your app, so that you can determine which features on your app are most popular among the users, and which ones aren’t. When you spot features that do not increase your LTV, do not do anything to attract users, or bring in any kind of benefits in any other way, simply get rid of them without waiting for too long. Additionally, do everything in your capacity to work on and enhance those features that would increase your app’s performance. Pay sincere attention the feedback from users at this juncture.