Well, as they say, “Do what you do best, and outsource the rest”. That's how 43% of IT businesses work today. No wonder - the cost of in-house developer services is way higher than that of remote specialists. To the end of a running year, global business are to spend over $440 billion on outsourcing!
As appealing as it seems though, software outsourcing has its booby traps and deadfalls. Learn how to avoid them and reap the most benefits from outsourcing your iOS app development with these tips.
Finding the perfect match
Hiring a dream team to bring your idea to life is half the battle. Arguably the toughest half, when it comes to iOS.
First of all, the requirements for the iPhone and iPad software quality are tremendous. Apple themselves have made a top ten chart of reasons to reject an app submitted to their Store.
They can even kick out an old-timer. Any widely-used app is out for as much as an overlooked mention of the term “Android” on the screenshot! That's what happened with the news alert app 'Breaking' last year.
Secondly, there are simply not enough high-skilled iOS developers to satisfy the enormous business demand. And in outsourcing it's much worse to accept a bottom-of-the-barrel candidate than to overlook a good one. You will end up spending a fortune on getting your project fixed, not to mention all the wasted time.
Every person you hire who is not a top player is like having a leak in the hull. Eventually you will sink - Jon Soberg, early stage venture investor.
#1. Place an advertisement and your project's specifics on a freelancing platform. The most commonly used are UpWork, Freelancer, Elance, and Toptal. Let the skillful professionals bid on your project instead of stating the price right off the bat.
#2. Don't chase the outsource vendors who offer the lowest prices. In iOS-based development, “cheap” and “qualitative” are mutually exclusive. iOS is a rare case of a platform that requires the skill of manual memory management, which often takes over 50% of the app complexity.
#3. Take your time. “Make sure you invite lots of people to bid on your project, as it will give you a wider number of developers to choose from”, - suggests Andreas Kambanis, Nibble Apps founder.
#4. Do your homework. Remember: you are the chooser. So make a good background check of your candidates. Study their portfolio and App Store reviews, test the apps they've released. Talk to their previous clients.
#5. Pay attention to technologies they are skilled in. In the case of iOS-based development, you want professionals with a strong command of C, C++, Swift and/or Objective-C at least. For a business app development, they also need to know SQL/NoSQL to interact with databases, and some server-sided frameworks.
#6. Maintain confidentiality. If your app has unique solutions and know-hows, ensure that you've signed a non-disclosure agreement with your partner-to-be.
Communication is a key
The most common cause of IT outsourcing turning into disaster is miscommunication and lack of understanding. It's not that easy for an entrepreneur and their remote team to get their wires crossed, especially when your development crew is on different sides of the world, and speak different languages.
#7. You should set clear tools for communication with your team. Whether it's Skype, Gmail (Gchat or Gtalk), Yahoo, or any other service. It's better to be in touch via tools of your choice exclusively, throughout all the development stages.
Prefer face-to-face meetings (e.g. via Skype) before e-mails. Personal communication allows you to achieve better understanding between you and the developers.
#8. If you are uncertain about whether the outsourcing vendor can handle your project, give them a smaller task to begin with.
#9. Explain your expectations and requirements in as much detail as humanly possible. Provide an elaborated Scope of Work to explain how your iOS app has to function.
#10. Ensure that you have chat history in case you need to pull out any previous discussions.
Orchestrate the development process
#11. While the developers are busy doing their magic, you should not take the back seat. You have to manage all the key decisions and milestones of the project, its schedule, and implementation of the features. The more sophisticated your app is, the more effort you have to put into managing its development.
Don't rely on your memory. Tables and checklists, spread sheets, and various project management tools have to become your best friends at this stage.
- SAAS Project Management is a cloud service that allows you to plan, operate and collaborate with your remote team;
- Trello – a simple and effective project management tool;
- Redmine – free and open source tool for management of multiple projects. It's known for its flexibility and intuitive interface;
- Projectpier – another great app for managing teams, tracking tasks and projects.
#12. It's important for you to cover file and folder name conventions, and attentively track revisions.
Clarify all the critical elements of your app that could bring disaster to the project if disregarded. It could be animation, icons, user gestures, or content feeds.
#13. Test your product while it's being developed. This way you can rest assured that it's going in the right direction, and handle any unsatisfying issues timely.
As you see, making the iOS app of your dream with an outsourcing company is not rocket science. All it takes is choosing your team wisely, and caring about your “child” - and prosperity will follow!