22 Oct Outsourcing: From Someone Who Has Done It and Failed
You’re thinking of outsourcing. You’ve looked at firms locally, out of state, and overseas. You’ve gone to those popular outsourcing websites your friend told you about where you could spend $5 and get a full-blown platform built…you know the ones I’m talking about. You’ve posted your project online and gotten a range of bids from a hundred bucks to a hundred thousand dollars and all from firms or freelancers who look like they know what they are talking about. They pressure you to pick them: now, do it now, right now! It’s overwhelming, and this is your baby, the idea you’ve thought about every day and night for weeks or months or even longer; this has to go perfectly.
What do you do?
Stop, wait, breath. This is a big decision but there are a couple things to keep in mind that can make this whole process go much smoother. The best thing you can do is take the time to write out a specification document and a flow document. This may sound confusing but you don’t have to be a state of the art programmer to write these. For a spec doc a simple bulleted list of all the features you can think of will work just fine and for the flow document try to explain as best you can what a user would experience when they come to your site or open your app for the first time and then take the reader through the process of what pages or screens the user will see and then which ones they can go to next. These two documents will save you a massive headache as you can give them to every potential developer out there and see what they say. This will be the guide for the developer to make your vision come to life.
After answering any questions from the potential developer on your flow and feature list the next step is pricing and how long it will take to bring the project to life. Development is a sticky business and you get what you pay for, most of the time. If you are hiring the guy that says he can build a full Tinder clone app in four weeks and for a cost of $1,000 you’re in for a lot of problems. We offer free quotes on projects so feel free to send us an email or chat with us directly on our website to get your free quote. Though it is possible that the developer could actually deliver most likely what will happen is those four weeks will turn into six months and when you do see the product it will not be what you were expecting or the developer will ask for more funds at every stage.
Most projects will go over the time the developer says for different reasons but the biggest ones are that some feature may have been listed in the spec doc but had extras that the developer did not anticipate and the client didn’t explain in detail thinking that the developer just knew. Though the developer may or may not charge you extra for these it will delay the project. A simple task that may seem easy may actually affect multiple features and could delay the project significantly. A good idea is to ask your developer for updates often, usually upon some pre-agreed upon schedule before starting the project, and that way you can work through any issues or changes that may come up and keep the project on track.
The key takeaways for outsourcing are to maintain communication with your developer, explain all features and the flow of your project in detail, and when it comes to pricing do your research on potential costs to deliver a proper product.