A vast majority of businesses including big brands and a plethora of small and medium enterprises and startups for building their mobile apps rely on outsourcing development services from offshore software development companies. Obviously, instead of relying on internal IT team to build an app, outsourcing the service from a reputed development company has multiple advantages including, quality assurance, streamlined and industry recognised process, competitive development cost and benefits of getting credible manpower.
But while hiring the IT outsourcing companies for building software or apps, the business needs to take into consideration multiple aspects. Hiring the wrong offshore development company can cost a business more time, money qualitative shortcomings and performance glitches. When hiring IT outsourcing companies most businesses make the 10 following mistakes.
1. Not taking care of management gaps
Management gaps make the most common faultline in the IT outsourcing process of a business. While some companies just do away with any managers for the IT outsourcing task, there are others who don’t use any project management tools or just cannot maintain cool regarding the hiring process.
No Project Managers: Since outsourcing companies will only help you in building the intended product, a business still needs project managers. Ultimately, you need to be in total control of your development project and that is why the role of project managers is very important.
Not conducting a meeting before starting: Before finalising the contract, you should conduct a kick-off meeting with the project managers from both parties present. You need to finalise a detailed path including project milestones, the roles and responsibilities, tasks, schedules, payments and deadlines.
Not considering project management tools: You have an array of sophisticated project management tools to take care of several tasks in a comprehensive manner. Some of the popular tools for apps and web development projects include Trello, Slack, Google Apps and Evernote. Not considering these project management tools will be a big blunder.
Minimising discontent and differences: You need to take extra care to minimise discontent and differences with the contractor company. Instead of quickly reaching conclusions about the problems, have patience and try to get into the root of the problem through discussion and frequent follow-up.
2. Not following a proper hiring process
The biggest roadblock for hiring quality IT outsourcing company is the lack of a proper and time-tested hiring process. Some of the common mistakes that put the hiring process in jeopardy and vulnerable condition include the following.
Not evaluating portfolio: A development company should not be hired without evaluating the portfolio and the credentials. How many web and mobile apps they created, the range of business niches and technologies they have dealt with and the kind of success their apps enjoyed, all of these aspects should be meticulously evaluated.
Not interviewing the development team: When taking offshore development services a business must interview the developers who are given responsibilities for the project. Besides, skills and experience one needs to evaluate communication and personality attributes of the developers.
Hiring developers from anywhere on the globe: Thanks to the global outreach of the internet, it is possible to hire developers from anywhere around the world. But hiring developers from anywhere without keeping the cultural and communication constraints in mind, will be a serious mistake. The short-term saving that you can gain by hiring developers from a different culture soon can turn into big cost factors.
Collaborating across time zones: Though it is perfectly okay to hire a development company from a country in a completely different time zone, you need to ensure project managers take responsibilities to collaborate with the developers by adjusting their own work schedule. Collaborating across time zones may require working in late night hours and such constraint should not undermine productivity.
3. Not addressing biases
In any human decision making and selection process the unconscious bias in varying degrees is always ready to creep in. Such things are no different when it comes to selecting an offshore development service. There are many ways such biases are expressed and end up under-utilization of resources for your new app development.
Interviewing just one offshore development service: You may be very impressed by the work of one development company whom you hold in very high esteem. But for your own app development when you interview only one such company in your good-book and do not intend to compare its credentials and strengths with others, this bias can seriously make you compromise on cost, quality, support and many respects you are not aware of.
Not taking personality and technical constraints into consideration: Our bias towards certain brands and reputed services often do not allow us to see the various mismatches, shortcomings and technical constraints in the outsourcing companies. A developer company in spite of its reputation can have a shortage of certain skills that you were looking for. Similarly, there can be cultural and personality gaps that can actually put roadblocks in communication.
4. Lack of in-depth knowledge about the outsourcing companies
This is really a serious blunder. You always need to be very well informed and updated about the development companies you are considering for your next app development. There can be no compromise on that. You need to make a short list and thereafter measure the pros and cons as well as strengths vs weaknesses for each one of them.
Hiring a company with a limited skill set: A company with a limited skill set and limited exposure to technologies and platforms can never be better options for building sophisticated apps. This is why it is important to go for development companies having experience and exposure across different technologies and platforms.
Going for development services at a fixed price: The developers who offer app development service at a fixed price are likely to have no experience in dealing with complexities of the rich, custom apps. It is advisable to opt for experienced companies who quote a price as per the technical requirements and challenges of the project.
Not consulting any technical expert for hire: The best way to know about the best options among the plethora of choices among development companies is to hire a technical expert onboard who has years of experience and knowledge concerning key strengths and weaknesses of development companies and how they influence projects. Such experts can help you through the selection and hiring process.
5. Not taking cost considerations
Development cost is one of the key considerations for any company. There are several aspects to it. Let us have a look at the key considerations about cost factors.
Not being open to companies using non-Microsoft products: Microsoft suites and development tools are expensive and naturally, there are too many promising startups and small companies who opt for non-Microsoft products for development. It is wise to widen your choices by considering both Microsoft and non-Microsoft users.
Not setting expectations as per the cost: When negotiating on rate, it is advisable to have realistic and market-validated expectations. Consider the country-specific rates, development standard, output and support system of the hired companies. With the lowest negotiable rate expecting a premium development service is always a mistake.
Not paying in time: The most demotivating thing for a deserving and talented developer is hanging with an unpaid invoice. Always process payment in due time to motivate developers.
Allocating the whole budget for development: Spending the entire budget on the development is a serious mistake. You need to make provision within the app budget for launch and marketing in phases.
6. Not prioritizing excellence
Some companies when hiring an offshore development company do not give priority to developer excellence. Developer excellence can be ascertained by prior experience, knowledge about platforms, etc. It is also important to give utmost priority to the output of the app.
Not considering experience in respective niche: Hiring developers with experience in the respective niche will have positive implications. Instead of hiring developers based on general experience it is always advisable to go for ones with exposure and knowledge in the respective niche.
Not considering cross-platform knowledge: Hiring a developer team with expertise in one platform can impact your app if you want to build a cross-platform app.
Not taking the product lifecycle into account: Mobile app development is not a one-time process but is a continuous one. The product gets perfect over time with bug fixes and gets better with upgraded features and subtle changes. So, while hiring developers always give importance to the future of the app and the product life cycle.
Ownership of the source code: Always remember to ensure full ownership of the source code through the contract. Without full ownership of the source code, you cannot easily switch to another development company in future.
7. Not evaluating the business opportunities
An app comes as a gateway of business opportunities for a business. Naturally, from the very early stage of conceptualising, you need to evaluate the business opportunities.
Not taking the help of market research: If you are skipping market research just for the sake of faster time to market, you are at the risk of non-utilisation of resources and building an app with less market exposure. This is why it is advisable to check the current trends, revenue opportunity, recurring cost, support and maintenance needs, etc. at the very early stage.
Hiring a development company not versed with the latest trends: Just think of hiring a development company that only built apps with backdated design and run of the mill features. Well, it can have disastrous consequence as far as competition is concerned. Always hire companies who are versed in the latest trends and technologies.
8. Lack of communication and collaboration
Many businesses when hiring offshore development companies do not give importance to a streamlined process based on collaboration and communication. There are other mistakes like not following up on the developer’s team properly and not rendering a helpful hand to the developers at every step.
Lack of proper communication: Beyond the initial meeting and project briefing from time to time, communication should continue. Frequent evaluation and setting up checkpoints are important to maintain the focus and for quality assurance.
Not remaining a source of help to developers: When working with an outsourcing company, you need to constantly remain available to help developers solving any issue. You need to available to reply to their queries and to guide them on different aspects.
Lack of follow-up: Once the developers have started working with the project, you need to follow-up from time to time and get informed about the progress. The worst thing is to stop a development project in the middle.
9. Not doing enough groundwork
Most of the times, businesses lacking proper groundwork for building an app actually end up coming with an underperforming app. Groundwork means establishing clear expectations, taking existing customer feedback and listening to the audience to come with a credible app idea.
Lack of clarity about expectations: Way ahead of the selection of outsourcing IT company, you need to have a clear idea of your expectations from the said app and accordingly should be able to communicate to your developers. You need to have a clear picture of the entire app and the kind of output you are expecting.
Not listening to customers: A business not taking opinions of its existing customers concerning the new app is at risk of producing an underperforming one. You need to encourage customers and associates to share their expectations from your app.
10. Not Prioritizing Testing
For many businesses outsourcing the app development followed by marketing and pre-launch campaigning and a quick testing just before the launch make the app ready and rolling. But unfortunately, it is not like that. App testing is not a last minute statutory consideration but should be one of the top priorities.
The so-called waterfall protocol of building an app through successive steps and concluding it with testing is already backdated. Testing an app at the end of the development process actually ends up taking longer and costing higher. In contrast, agile development process conducts testing concurrently throughout the development process and thus delivers a better product in less time.