April 10, 2019
By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
PhoenixBizz, a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Data Titan, Sofvue LLC, and the author
If your company is in need of a mobile app for your business, there are three paths. You will either hire your own in-house developer, hire a local Phoenix firm to build your app or you will offshore. This article addresses offshore. Outsourcing app development has pros and cons. If you believe that your time, communications, critical thinking, articulation of details, and local support are less important than costs, then offshoring is an option. That said, here are some critical variables to consider before making the leap across the pond.
1. Assembly of Your App Requirements
Do you have your app requirements pre-defined? If you don’t, plan on many late-night meetings, and even when you find a company that operates in your time zone, plan on many day time meetings. I’m not saying that outsourcing can’t be done, but it will require a significantly greater amount of time and resources to establish a meeting-of-the-minds. And by all means, if you must start your project without a complete Statement of Work (SOW), go into the process knowing it will take 4-5 times longer to develop the solution as opposed to developing the solution locally. This is not a subjective number, it’s what our clients have told us many times who started down the offshore path.
2. The Budget Myth
Ten years ago, all offshore firms would provide fixed price quotes. That’s no longer true. Smart offshore firms no longer provide fixed price estimates, and for two simple reasons. 1) They were always wrong and both the customer and offshore firm lost money. 2) Because the fixed price was always wrong, offshore firms relied on scope change requests to cover the overage costs, but in most of those cases, the company went broke or cancelled the project altogether. So, if you call an offshore company and they provide you with a fixed price, go into the relationship knowing that 1) the number they provide you is, at best, an educated guess and 2) Become very familiar with their Scope Change or Change Order (CO) processes and overage cost processes because that’s where most of your projects are going to land.
3. Validate Industry Knowledge
Longevity in an industry is typically an indicator of a company’s technical experience, but not always. The real test of validating a mobile app development company is not truly known until you are able to confirm, through three past project referrals, whether the company has the right technical experience needed for your specific project and your particular niche.
4. Define Project Expectations
When hiring an offshore development company, and when you do not have a Master Scope Document (MSD), a Statement of Work (SOW), all the required wireframes and a local project owner in your company, you will need to clearly provide clearly written project expectations (deliverables). The expectations, left unchecked, will not begin to rear the ugly side of the project until about mid-way through the project, after which the amount of scope creep and change orders will simply spiral out of control. So, upfront, be sure to establish payment terms, time frame and deliverables explicitly before making any final decisions on your mobile app development partner.
5. Communication isn’t One Thing, it’s Everything
Any of our current clients will tell you that at PhoenixBizz, we believe communications trumps everything. Communications play a vital role when you are choosing offshore mobile app development. When talking with the various offshore firms, you should begin by explaining your most difficult project components and having them detail back to you, in writing, and if, after reading the returned documentation, you are not satisfied with what they’ve provided to you, this is the first indicator of what to expect throughout the course of the project. As the famous author George Bernard Shaw once said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
6. Ask for A Project Plan
As already explained, if you don’t have a written MSD, SOW and complete stack of wireframes, your project has a 70% chance of failure, but if you are still confident you don’t need these artifacts before starting your project, and you want to increase your odds, even if slightly, then you need to ask your offshore company to provide you with a Project Plan having them explain to you what they plan to develop, how they plan to code and test, which hosting solution they recommend, along with its associated costs, and how much they expect you to spend on a monthly basis for hosting and maintenance costs.
If you do not have a project plan, more accurately described as a Software Development Project Plan, and you don’t want to open talks with offshore firms without one, and when you want to work with PhoenixBizz as your react native app developer, we can work with your company to develop a plan, this to ensure that when you hire an offshore company, your odds of success are increased exponentially.
Regardless of your business app requirements and complexities, selecting an offshore mobile app development company can be daunting considering the number of development agencies in the market. When you need a mobile app developer that completely understands your business model and a company that holds your business goals as the single greatest priority, then look no further than PhoenixBizz. Contact us today so we can begin talking about your agile mobile app development needs, and how PhoenizBizz can become your long-term business vendor.