If you were thinking of launching an app for one of your products or an internal app for your team, then you may have considered whether it would be better to bring the development in-house or work with a third party. This could also be the case if you have had apps done for you before and think you will need more in the future.
There are some cases where it makes total sense to have someone in your team do it when in other cases, it would be a much wiser decision to let an outsourced team take care of it. It all depends on what you’re looking for in your app, the scope of the project, how fast you need results, and the level of programming that it would necessitate. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider before choosing any option.
The Learning Curve
One of the benefits of working with a development team is that they will most likely have more experience than anyone you have in-house. However, working with people in-house means that they already know your brand’s culture, brand voice, and image, so there will be less need for a feeling-out period at the beginning.
A real dev team will want to know about your brand and really get to know your customers and your objectives for the app. Don’t expect the both of you to be on the same page from the very beginning. If you decide to go with a dev team, know that you’ll need to be patient and wait until both of you see eye to eye and can move in a way that will benefit both of you over the long run.
Keeping Things In-House Reduces Sign Off Times
Another benefit of keeping things in-house is that getting things approved won’t require a constant back and forth as with a dev team. It’s just easier to get hold of someone when they happen to be in the same building. Also, you can sync everyone’s schedules and do testing rounds on your time, not when it’s most convenient for you and the dev team.
You could have the chance to brainstorm over design decisions or talk about a recurring bug with the app over lunch. This is a luxury you wouldn’t be able to afford with a development team. You won’t be as likely to want to bother them over something that might seem minor, but when everything is in-house, you can change directions on a dime, and ask for modifications whenever you want.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t find a mobile dev team you won’t be able to communicate easily with. Depending on their level of communication, you might have more access through collaborative tools. A good team will also do a great job of setting up a nice and clear project schedule and following through.
Beware of Scope Creep
Note that having too much flexibility could also end up backfiring at the end. The thing about having easy access to a team is that you might end up constantly wanting to revise small things and make adjustments without getting anywhere. But with an outsourced team, you want your time to count. There will usually be a cap on revisions per round, which will force you to make definitive decisions.
You Have More Control, but Less Expertise
One of the biggest benefits of having the app development done in-house is the amount of control you’ll have. You’ll be able to choose everything from the features, user interface, design, and anything else that you’d like. However, this also means that you will have to deal with things such as testing and security on your own, which might be a challenge.
At the very least, you will have to consider manual testing and make sure that your team masters it. Automatic testing will then be performed to catch anything your team didn’t catch the first time. If you want to learn more about it, Global App Testing has an informative article on how it works. They run down some of the benefits of performing manual testing and lay out the whole process. They also explain when automatic testing should be used and how the two can work together.
Established Dev Teams are More Cohesive
A well-established development team will have all sorts of professionals working together from quality assurance engineers and testers, all the way to designers and developers. Many of these people may have worked together for years and built a certain chemistry. This eventually leads to less stalling, and the app going through a time tested and streamlined process.
However, when you’re looking at in-house work, chances are you’ll have to patch a team together. Sure, 1 or 2 of them might have some sort of mobile experience, but chances are, you’ll have to bring a few people they’ve never worked with before. This means that you’ll have to deal with all the trouble that comes with building team spirit and making sure that everyone is on the same page. They might also have to find out their strengths and weaknesses on the go while these will have already been made clear in most dev teams.
In-house Doesn’t Automatically Translate to Savings
Also, if your sole goal was to save money by building an app in-house, know that it’s far from guaranteed. Not only will you have to spend work hours on your employees, but these could easily turn into overtime as scope creep begins to set in. Also, you have to consider the fact that you might have to pay extra for new software certificates and licenses specifically for app development.
As you can see, the choice between going in-house or hiring a team for mobile app development is not as easy as it seems. At the end of the day, if you feel like your team is talented enough, going in-house might be worth a try. However, it might be wise to start with baby steps and move onto larger projects once you feel confident in their skill and chemistry.