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Want to outsource your app development? Avoid these 7 fatal mistakes
The IT industry is a dog-eat-dog world. With over seven million mobile apps available for download it’s no wonder.
That’s why your app must be one of a kind to emerge from this wild jungle.
Of course, for it to be successful you must have an expert development team.
If you’re one of those who outsource their app development, you may make some mistakes in your mobile app journey.
While we sometimes have to make mistakes to learn, some are a big no-no.
As the great Benjamin Franklin said – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most fatal mistakes and how to avoid them.
You choose the cheapest outsourcing company
You hired a company because they were so cheap! Don’t worry, we’re not judging you.
This is one of the most common and understandable mistakes not only in outsourcing but in life.
After all, companies tend to market themselves based on their price, especially if they promise stellar results for a low price.
The price itself is not the problem, but the delivery.
A few companies can have the infrastructure and capacity to deliver a perfect product if they’re charging that low.
Take notice that there are companies that are made of too small teams or even one person claiming to be a team of experts!
To avoid falling prey to those companies, do deeper research.
Explore their website, portfolio, and client reviews on sites like Clutch or Goodfirms.
Also, great site to find enterprise mobile app developers is DesignRush
Go the extra mile – check out their LinkedIn profiles (especially the recommendation section!), hop on a call with some of their previous clients.
When you draft a shortlist of potential partners, schedule a call or meeting.
Skip the costly set-up of an in-house team and get straight to the talent. — Let’s talk.
Draft a list of questions you want them to answer. They’ll help you to stay focused and get as much relevant information on the company as possible.
It will also help you realize that price isn’t the only important parameter for choosing an outsourcing partner.
Take note of:
- Their development process
- How many of their experts would build your app?
- Do they take care of the security of your product
- Do they take care of maintenance?
The bottom line is you should never take only the cost into account.
Research the company thoroughly and conduct an extensive interview with one of their representatives.
You don’t think of app security
Although app security is a must, low-quality outsourced companies or freelancers brush it away or do a sloppy job.
Truth is, it can even happen to the big ones, like Walgreens, Nissan North America or NPower.
It gets even worse if you want to build an app that deals with sensitive personal or financial data.
The best way to avoid data breaches or even emptied user’s pockets is to take care of security from the ground up:
- Infrastructure – apps are not islands for themselves. They’re part of a larger infrastructure, which also needs to be sturdy enough to resist cyber attacks.
- Secure coding – when building apps, developers must keep in mind all the safety practices such as security by design, password management or threat modeling.
- Security testing – testing is key to building a functional and valuable app. Other than testing the app’s performance or other features, developers should always test the security of the app. They can use different techniques like access to the app, data security, or error handling.
- Authentication – one of the most used methods is MFA authentication. In order to access an app a user has to provide more pieces of evidence about their identity.
When negotiating with potential partners try to find out whether they follow these security practices or not. In this case, you can also reach out to previous clients and ask for their feedback on their app’s security.
You don’t onboard your outsourced team
They may not be in-house employees, but they sure need quality onboarding so the development process can run smoothly.
You can’t blame anyone but yourself for this mistake so make sure you follow this short checklist:
- Explain everything about your project – this one is a handful, but the most crucial. Your new outsourced team has to know the nitty-gritty details of your app – target audience, their pain points, what you want the app to accomplish, etc.
If you leave them out of the loop for any important detail, it can jeopardize your app.
- Prepare necessary tools and documents – your new team has to have a knowledge base that can help them in developing the app. This includes technical documentation, internal manuals, custom access to tools, a list of requirements and other invaluable information.
Packed with project-specific knowledge the team will customize the development project according to your needs.
- Make your new team feel welcome – they may be on the other side of the screen, but they’re still probably apprehensive about their new project.
Be friendly, open to questions (there’ll be many!), and explain all the essentials of your project (deadlines, communication tools, frequency of meetings, etc.).
A friendly smile and a warm welcome may seem unrelated, but they are the best starting point for a fruitful and hassle-free development process.
Onboarding is always important when starting a new project. If done poorly, not only will the atmosphere be strained, but also the project will fail.
You don’t think about app maintenance
Just like your hair or car needs maintenance, so does your app too! The more you invest in its maintenance, it’ll have a longer life and will bring in revenue.
One of the biggest mistakes is not specifying beforehand whether the company will also be in charge of app maintenance.
App maintenance isn’t just about bug fixing. There are many convincing reasons why you should do it, including:
- Keeping the app updated – in order to be competitive, you have to regularly add new updates to your app. Updating also means taking care of crashes, tweaking the UI, and dealing with security.
Also, there’s the technical aspect – if you don’t update them, they won’t run on newer versions of operating systems like Android.
- Reducing downtimes – if your app is not available for even a minute for the user that can lead to a whopping decline in revenue and users. When you have someone who’ll monitor the app in case of downtimes, your app is safe.
- Keeping the app safe – according to NTT, 55% of all cyber-attacks are targeting specific apps. An outdated app is just waiting to be hacked, despite previous security measures and protocols.
When your outsourced developers update your app and keep track of possible security issues, they can easily solve or even prevent a cyber attack.
- Lower churn rates – a well-oiled, maintained app is less likely to have high churn rates (everything over 20% on an annual basis is considered high).
While an outdated app very quickly loses value for the user (remember, technology is evolving at the speed of light) so the user uninstalls it.
As you can see, disregarding app maintenance before sealing the deal with an outsourcing company is a fatal mistake.
So make sure you ask your potential partners whether they would maintain their app for you or if you should reach out to other companies.
You haven’t picked a right project manager
A project manager is like a captain on a ship – the direction depends on their steering.
The numbers also confirm this simple analogy. This job is so important that by 2027, the number of project management roles will increase by 33 percent.
If you’re getting word from your outsourced team that they’re not satisfied with the PM or you notice deadlines are missed, chances are your PM is not a good match for the team.
Or even worse – it may be a sign they don’t know how to solve problems in the development process.
So, when choosing one, make sure they have these skills:
- Excellent communicator – the PM is the link between the developers and other stakeholders. That’s why they must be able to bridge communication gaps common when dealing with experts from different industries.
Also, they should constantly give open and constructive feedback to both sides and solve issues in a diplomatic manner.
- Great handling of different time zones and cultural differences – these two are the most challenging aspects of outsourcing. With a PM who can find overlapping hours between you and the team or find a time slot that fits for all, and also can work through cultural nuances, the development process will run smoothly.
- Trustworthiness – PMs who jump from project to project without finishing them spell trouble for your app.
Someone who is inconsistent doesn’t know the ins and outs of your app or the way the team works. Only people willing to dedicate their time to your project can bring it to fruition.
- Organizational skills – handling developers and clients, making sure deadlines are met, taking care of the budget are some of the responsibilities of a project manager. So it’s logical you want to find someone with impressive organizational skills.
People with great organizational skills finish projects on time, have better time management and are less stressed.
As you can see, the PM is the first line of defense in bringing your app to life. So make sure you choose someone who has great communications skills, is organized and reliable enough to lead your team to your goal.
You’re not communicating well with your team
As the owner of the app, you must know how to get across your thoughts to your development team.
Talking with your team only on a “good job!” or “this code sucks” basis is faulty, to say the least.
They’ll easily lose motivation, slack off or even quit.
Good communication has so much benefits for your team, and in the long run, your app, such as:
- Better motivation
- Better productivity
- Improved work atmosphere
- Lower costs
So working on your communication skills will pay off in the future. When dealing with your outsourced team, make sure you:
- Give constructive and specific feedback
- Trust them
- Be open to their feedback
- Use visual tools for easier understanding
We dedicated a whole article to the art of communication with outsourced teams, so check it out.
You don’t protect your code
You get so caught up in finding the right outsourcing company, and making it through the development process that you forget to legally protect your app. Whoops!
If you don’t protect yourself, an outsourcing partner can claim the original code for itself. But don’t worry. You can easily keep an arm’s length from this costly mistake.
It’s crucial to cover yourself legally with a detailed and concise contract. A contract is also great for sealing other important issues like deadlines, obligations of both parties, and repercussions in case of not respecting the contract.
A theft-proof contract should have these essential articles:
- Price model
- Obligations from both parties
- Expected outcomes and deadlines
- Intellectual property rights (clearly state that you own the rights to your application)
- Privacy agreement
- Duration of app maintenance
- Repercussions in case of canceling the collaboration
You can draft a contract by yourself or, better yet, with the help of a lawyer.
Protecting your app legally is the best way to spare yourself from seeing others take credit for your product.
As the popular saying goes – fail your way to success. But in reality, some mistakes are not worth it.
This goes especially for outsourcing the development of your mobile app.
Many of these mistakes are one of the reasons why an app, and sometimes even a business can fail epically.
But even if you manage to avoid these, you can’t avoid them all. Only time will tell whether you did the right thing.
If you’re willing to share with someone this sometimes very daunting mission, we’ll wait for you with open arms.
Working with both small and big companies through these 12 years has made us sharp not only in building apps but also avoiding these and many other mistakes.
So reach out to our friendly experts and let’s find the best solution for your future app.