What do you do when you have an opportunity that gives you big advantages but also some challenges?
You overcome the challenges, and enjoy the advantages, right?
App development outsourcing is one such opportunity. It is a nifty way for small businesses looking to develop an app without spending a truckload of money on hiring an in-house development team.
Outsourcing allows businesses to access top-tier development expertise at a fraction of the cost of hiring full-time developers.
It also frees up internal resources and allows businesses to focus on their core competencies while the development team focuses on app development. In fact, the 2022 UK IT Sourcing Study found that for the first time, cost reduction is no longer the biggest reason companies outsource. Today, 57% companies outsource so that they can focus on their core business. The second biggest driver is access to resources/talent.
However, outsourcing app development also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles that businesses face when outsourcing is the communication barrier. The offshore development team may be located in a different time zone, speak a different language, and have a different cultural background. This can make communication tricky.
But at the end of the day, communication is an art every business owner must master. With a few tips, tricks and best practices, you can easily learn to stay on the same page with your app development outsourcing company.
Once you accomplish that, you are all set to get yourself a high quality app at a very affordable price, saving you a ton of money.
Moreover, you save yourself the time and trouble of recruiting talented app developers, putting together a team, deciding on the development methodology and so much more work.
Instead, you outsource app development to a fully functional team, and watch your app come together under your guidance, while you spend your energy on growing your business.
The Non-Challenges of App Development Outsourcing
What is a non-challenge?
That which has been perceived as a challenge for some time now, but isn’t really a challenge anymore.
That’s right. Conversations around app development outsourcing are replete with mentions of Language barrier, time-zone difference, cultural differences, even something as trivial as ‘use different tools than us’.
However, most ‘conversationers’ largely understate the fact that all these barriers don’t really exist in a major capacity in the present world scenario. They are non-challenges, or to simply state – not really a big problem.
Let’s understand why.
Countries like India, Eastern Europe, South America, and others that are big players in the tech outsourcing industry, have built large ecosystems around outsourcing, primarily catering to the western market and hence, they easily adapt to western time zones, understand a lot of western culture ( sometimes more than their own indigenous culture, for better or for worse), and yes, speak fluent English.
So, all that we are left with, is just ironing out a few wrinkles, and not reinventing the wheel. It’s not like outsourcing would require to work with people who know nothing about you or that you’ll need a translator to talk to them.
As for the wrinkles, let’s iron away!
The Real Challenges of App Development Outsourcing
The real challenge of app development outsourcing lies in communication your vision and ideas to a team that isn’t in the same room with you. Now communication is a tricky aspect of human interaction, even within your own office, in the same room.
This particular challenge just becomes amplified when you are trying to relay your ideas to a remote team.
So, let’s focus on improving communication with outsourcing app development teams to make sure you can effectively exchange ideas, and build an app that looks exactly as your vision and business persona.
Steps To Effective Communication with Your App Development Outsourcing Team
Step 1. Choose the right outsourcing team to begin with
Step 2. Set clear goals and expectations
Step 3. Choose Agile Methodology
Step 4. Use few but effective communication tools
Step 5. Use Visuals for communicating important data
Step 6. Take cultural differences in your stride
Step 7. Build trust with your team
Step 8. Steer clear of micromanaging
Choose The Right App Development Outsourcing Team to Begin With
Just like everything else in business, choosing the right partner is of critical importance in outsourcing as well. You should begin by partnering with the right app development outsourcing company in the first place.
You would likely begin searching with Google, or using directories like Clutch.com or Goodfirms. You will find a wide range of companies charging anywhere between $8 to $80 an hour. While, the hourly rates can go as high as $200 an hour in USA, outsourcing your app development to India or Eastern Europe is much more affordable, even on the higher rates.
So steer clear of the lowest bidder, and choose an app development company that has been in the business long enough. Look for specific skills and experience, and a sound body of work. A simple evaluation of the company website will tell you a lot about their past experience, work portfolio, client testimonials, and more.
If you like what you see, schedule a consultation and be sure to ask the company all the questions you need to ask, to find out if they are up to the mark. At this stage, be straightforward, and get all doubts out of the way. Only when you are satisfied with the interview should you go ahead with outsourcing your app development to them. If it takes more than one interview to be sure, so be it.
Choose a company that uses agile methodology. This way, you can stay in the loop throughout the development process and any required changes can be made quickly.
Whether or not you’re able to communicate with the outsourcing team, do you understand each other, are you comfortable with the accent, do you have a specific point of contact for consistency – all of these will be clear after you have a nice long interview process with the team.
Only when you are completely satisfied should you proceed to choosing them as your outsourcing partner.
Set Clear Goals and Expectations
One of the most important things you can do when working with an app development outsourcing team is to establish clear and specific goals from the outset. This means ensuring that both parties have a clear understanding of the project scope, timeline, and deliverables.
It’s also important to establish a process for communication and feedback to ensure that everyone is on the same page throughout the development process. By setting clear and achievable goals, you can minimize misunderstandings and ensure that the project stays on track.
At this stage, get as specific as it takes. Ask for a timeline on when, which parts of the development cycle will be delivered. Be firm about the standard of work you expect and set the tone for the ensuing process.
At the same time, leave room for the other party to talk. Encourage them to ask questions, to make sure they understand your vision. It’s easier to overexplain, than to go back and make changes once the app development has begun.
People in countries outside North America tend to be less vocal about their doubts. You need to create an atmosphere where they can ask you questions and not be held in low regard for not understanding the first time.
Choose Agile Methodology
We’ve said this before, but we’ll say this again – Agile is the way to go. When you’re outsourcing app development to a foreign country, it’s important to stay in the loop.
Agile methodology emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and a continuous feedback loop, which is crucial when working with remote teams. This approach allows for regular check-ins and progress reviews, which helps to ensure that the project is on track and meets the client’s needs.
Additionally, agile methodology enables quick adjustments and changes to be made throughout the development process, which is particularly important when working with offshore development teams who may have different working hours and time zones.
By using agile methodology, businesses can improve communication and collaboration, ensure that the project stays on track, and ultimately deliver high-quality results.
Use Few but Effective Communication Tools
When working with an offshore development team, it’s important to establish a small set of communication tools that are most effective for your team and project needs.
This means selecting tools that allow for real-time collaboration, such as Skype or Slack for video conferencing and instant messaging, as well as tools like Jira, Trello for sharing files and documents.
By prioritizing a small set of communication tools, you can avoid confusion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Use Visuals for Communicating Important Data
Sometimes verbal communication isn’t enough to express your vision and complex ideas may be lost in translation. Using visuals, such as wireframes or other graphics, can be an effective solution to this problem.
It is a proven fact that the human mind processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. In app development, visualization is critical to ensure that the development team has a clear understanding of the project’s goals and objectives.
Providing a simple blueprint of the app, such as a wireframe, diagrams, a simple sketch, some charts, and other graphics can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the final product meets the client’s expectations.
By incorporating visual elements into the communication process, businesses can improve collaboration, reduce misunderstandings, and ultimately deliver a higher quality end product.
Take Cultural Differences in Your Stride
Working with an offshore development team can present cultural differences that may affect communication and collaboration. However, it’s important to see these differences as an opportunity for growth and collaboration.
By acknowledging and respecting cultural differences, you can build stronger relationships and foster a more productive and collaborative working environment.
Build Trust with Your Team
Building trust and open communication with the development team is essential for a successful project. This means establishing a point of contact or project manager who can serve as a liaison between the businesses and the development team.
App development companies worth their salt have a project manager who serves as a point of contact between you and the rest of the team. This helps unify all communication channels and streamline the development process.
It’s also important to establish a culture of open communication, where team members feel comfortable asking questions and sharing feedback. By building trust and open communication, you can create a more collaborative and productive working environment.
Steer Clear of Micromanaging
When working with an offshore development team, it’s easy to want to check in every day and personally manage every aspect. However, it is critical to refrain from micromanaging the team.
Instead encourage autonomy and accountability. This means establishing clear roles and responsibilities and empowering team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work.
By fostering autonomy and accountability, you can build a more productive and collaborative working environment.
Concluding Notes – Communication Is a Two-Way Street
It’s important to recognize that communication is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and improvement. This means seeking feedback and continually optimizing communication processes and tools. By continuously working to improve communication, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project stays on track.
With some simple steps to improve communication with your app development outsourcing team, you can ensure a seamless app development process, resulting in a high-quality app that supports your business and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.