1. Scare yourself
Outsourcing app development should be extremely scary for you unless you have successfully accomplished this process before! This is your project, your baby – the last thing you want is somebody to steal it or some subpar developer to ruin your vision! But, what is even more important is to do your research in order to get beyond this fear. It can take some time, but once you find the right person or team to build your project – take a leap of faith and let experts help you! Many business owners and entrepreneurs have difficulty allowing others to help them, but outsourcing this task will improve your efficiency and likely lead to a much more sophisticated app than you ever would have been able to create by yourself or with inexperienced team members.
2. Find other apps that you like
Do your research on other similar apps in the industry. Whether you like or dislike any aspects, it will really help you narrow down your vision of your project. Important things to think about when looking at other apps is design and functionality. Maybe you like a certain color scheme, but do not like how the settings button is hard to find. Certain likes/dislikes like can really help your software developer(s) when trying to put together something that aligns with your objectives.
3. Prototype your project first
OK, you are allowed to do some of this project on your own… but don’t try to get too involved in something that will end up being a waste of your time when an expert can do it in minutes. It is extremely important to attempt to prototype your own app before trying to outsource to designs and developers. The reason behind this is that nobody knows the vision of your application better than yourself!
As many drawings, wireframes, user stories, or any documentation of your vision that you can complete on your own – the better for your project! And if you really want to nail down your vision, using tools like Invision can actually create hotspots that make your wireframed designs act as working app screens. But, even if you only want to draw on paper it will ensure that your vision is properly communicated to your outsourced team members who will then be able to provide more accurate estimates and ultimately a more accurate custom application to your liking!
4. Find the right fit for outsourcing app development
Although many people use Upwork, Freelancer, and other contractor web portals to find the right freelancer, try to reach out to your network first. Finding somebody or a team that you know you can trust with your project is going to be crucial to your success and overall satisfaction when working with them. If you cannot think of a good fit personally, maybe your friends, family, or colleagues do!
Reach out to them and see if they have any connections! Another piece of advice is to talk to a lot of people, and do not just settle for the first possible fit. Think of this as a relationship, because in reality you are going to be spending a lot of time with this person or company for months or even for years depending on the project.
5. Ask app developers a lot of questions
How much will this cost? How long will it take? What is your previous experience, similar projects? Have you completed projects of this size before? Will you provide all of the solutions, or is there anything that you will not be able to handle? These are all great questions!! Ask away. Would you jump into a relationship with a guy/girl without asking any questions – no, well hopefully not but its not my place to speak on your behalf, yet I know the one time that I tried… That is besides the point! Get to know your developer(s), and make sure that you can trust them and that you both desire to work with each other because outsourcing app development can be very lucrative but also comes with risks that you can mitigate with questions!
6. Determine the next steps
All developers work differently so it is crucial to determine the next steps including: down payment (if any), ongoing payments (if any), development updates (weekly, bi-weekly, via skype, via email, etc.), and more. It is best to have a contract when moving forward. This legally binds your developer(s) to what they promised in the future.
7 . Communicate
This step cannot be left out. It is crucial that you remain involved in the process. Ask for updates, give your critique, question the progress, etc. If you feel as if you developer(s) are not communicating properly – then you probably have the wrong fit and it is best to get out before its too late!
As a company we have had way too many Project Rescues in which we takeover on an incomplete or broken project in which sometimes is salvageable, but also can rarely end up being a complete disaster and having to nearly start from scratch! So, don’t let your relationship crumble with your developer(s) – a little effort in communication can go a long way!
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