How to Outsource Software App Development

How To Outsource Software App Development
How To Outsource Software App Development

You may want to explore outsourcing development once you’ve decided to develop a mobile app for your company. We’ll go through how to outsource mobile app development and how to identify a suitable outsourcing business to help you put your idea into action in this article.

Why Outsourcing Software App Development Is Advantageous

The efforts required in hiring skilled staff for in-house app development such as developers, technical heads and probably a project manager may be quite tedious. Moreover, maintaining the team and ensuring regular upgrading of their skills in tune with advances in technologies, is also costly. In such a situation, outsourcing app development can be of great benefit, and the costs saved as a result can be used to build a more feature-rich app.

The app development partner would bring many benefits to the arrangement:

      • They would have the ready technical experience and up-to-date resources (both manpower and tool based), to carry out the development of the app.
      • In addition, their foresight and expertise can help you to perceive hurdles and address them proactively.
      • You can enjoy the services of an expert for either one stage of the app development process, or throughout all the phases.
      • If you are looking at a long-term partnership, the vendor can support and maintain the app for you in the long run after its successful development.

Apps That Can Be Outsourced:

Companies are developing apps to actively and directly interact with its own employees, business partners, customers and end-users. Thus, software apps have made their foray into each layer of business, be it pertaining to maintenance of internal records, infrastructure management, enterprise resource planning, business intelligence, strategic alliance interfaces with partners, customer relationship management, content management systems, learning management systems, or interactions with users or customers. An enterprise app may be created to manage the company’s resources efficiently or it may allow its global workforce to access data and tools from anywhere, on-the-go. These apps can be on-premise, web-based or cloud based.

With the advent of multiple technological platforms and devices, mobile apps that can be downloaded and operated from different types of smartphones, laptops and tablets, are being developed rapidly. Besides web apps and native mobile apps, there is now a new model, the hybrid app, which has the advantages of both. Also, the use of responsive technology has made it possible to develop a single app that can run on multiple devices and thus save overall costs.

The development of any type of app – enterprise, web, mobile or cloud – requires expertise in the specific technology and an understanding of the trending business requirements. This is best obtained by outsourcing this process to a specialized company that deliver an appropriate app solution for your business.

Steps for Effective App Development Outsourcing:

Outsourcing is saddled with as many risks as there are benefits. The best outcome from outsourcing can be achieved by establishing a relation of trust and open communication between you and the developer. At the same time, expectations, scope, requirements and deadlines for the app development must be discussed, agreed upon and fully documented to build a common understanding and a central point of reference. Payment should be linked to deliverables to keep the motivation of the developer high.

Specifically, you should focus on the following:

      • State objectives clearly.
      • Outline your budget and time schedules
      • Make a feature priority list; mark the most important along with desirable features clearly.
      • Choose a vendor who understands your business well. Use feedback from previous customers. Examine some samples of apps similar to yours that have been previously developed by them.
      • Make the outsourcing service provider sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your business interests.
      • Provide prompt, clear and timely feedback.
      • Have an open mind and listen to the developer’s ideas and suggestions, so that the domain expertise can work out to your benefit.
      • Divide the app development into milestones with clearly defined deliverable and timelines for each milestone.
      • Stagger your payment and link it to deliverable at each stage.
      • Be ready for multiple beta versions of the app. In fact you must perform functional tests in the end-users’ environment before accepting each version.
      • Ensure that you get the code files at the final delivery along with the running app, since the code belongs to you.

Breaking Down the App Development Cycle:

Breaking the app software development cycle into smaller well-defined phases would make the process more stable. Along with improving the quality of the app, you would also be able to track the process. Below are the steps that should be followed:

  1. Discovery:

      • This stage involves getting a common understanding as regards the goals and expectations of the app. It should contain a clear description of what you want from the app, the ‘must-have’ features, the optional desirable ones, how the app should look at the end, the intermediate project timelines and the date for the final deliverable.
      • It is good to also discuss and decide on the support for fixing bugs for a short period of time when the app is being tested or after it has gone live.
      • Multiple rounds of discussions and open communication will be needed to reach a common standpoint.
  1. Scope Definition And Alignment:

      • Once the app goals have been specified, the developer/designer should include these in the document defining the complete scope of the app.
      • You should understand this thoroughly and review it closely to ensure that the developer’s perception of the app is in tune with yours.
      • The scope of work also becomes the basis of contractual agreements between both parties, so that any additional features may entail extra costs.
  1. Development:

      • This phase comprises of the actual coding and active development to bring the app into existence.
      • It is essential that the delivery milestones and deadlines are defined in multiple sub-stages with clearly specified functionality for each stage. Such an incremental approach will ensure that you get glimpses of how the app is shaping up.
      • The agile or scrum approach is quite useful in this stage. Irrespective of the adoption of a formal technique, the phased delivery allows for review and testing of the app to happen along with the development, so that any deviation from expected look and behavior can be rectified quickly and cost-effectively.
  1. Shipping And Initial Support

      • Once the app has been developed, it is ready to be shipped. If it requires an app store, ensure that a place has been secured in the store well in advance.
      • Shipping is a part of the app development life cycle; so ensure that the developer packages it and delivers it to the target servers.
      • The initial scope of work must include support for a certain period by the developers. This would be in order to fix any bugs from the live app. At the end of this stage, do ensure that the updated source code files are also handed over to you, since they are your intellectual property.
  1. Support And Training

      • Someone will need to support the live app. It can be the original developer (or team) or a person(s) engaged by you.
      • In case of the former, you will need to sign a fresh maintenance contract with the developer. In case of the latter, ensure that the developer trains the new staff for successful transfer of knowledge and skills, to support the app.

A good and reliable developer will co-own the app with you and give you proactive reports and genuine suggestions for improvement with the intention of helping you build a better product. The initial design will indicate the sincerity and clarity of thoughts of the outsourcing service provider. Also, the timeliness of deliverables and thoroughness of process would signify better quality

The software app development process is not a one-off affair. Technology changes, increasing demands of the users, security challenges, changes of business scenario and competition will keep alive the need for enhancements, optimizations and improvements to your app throughout its life. A successfully executed app development project builds a healthy relationship with your developer/vendor which can be leveraged for smoother future engagements as well.


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