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How to choose the right web app development company?

Why outsourcing web app development?

Reasons to outsource web app development

Whether choosing to develop a brand new web application from scratch or maintaining and upgrading an existing one, more and more businesses are now opt-in to outsourcing their web app development project instead of hiring in-house web developers. The reasons could be due to budget constrained or in-house teams lack the sufficient resources to build the fundamental parts required of the end product.

These days, outsourcing web app development project is not simply just a way for business to cut down on overall development costs. More importantly, by outsourcing into foreign markets, companies can gain access into new technology, and virtually expand their in-house development teams by employing more experienced developers working offshore as well as enhance their business value etc. all at a very economy costs compared to doing things on-shore.

How much does it cost for an outsourced web development project?

Generally speaking, the overall cost of a web development project will vary depends on specific business requirements, scope, and complexity of projects. However, in reality, when you approach different web development companies to inquire about a medium sized development project, you might be quoted with different prices ranging from e.g. $10,000 to $100,000 and upward for the same project requirements.

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When it comes to software development, outsourcing will provide you the same high-quality final product but at a much lower expenditure. But every company uses different engagement models and this will result in different pricing. Besides, the hourly rates will be different and vary according to different markets. Also, different developers might have different assumptions about the type of technologies and functionality that their clients required. To better understand the reasoning behind the pricing methods, you might need to take into considerations the following aspects:

  • Different hourly rates based on markets. Traditionally, working with on-shore developers in a developed country market such as: US, Australia, Singapore will result in a higher hourly rate, while outsourcing to offshore software company in South-East Asia area (e.g. Vietnam) will offer you a lower development cost, with a more economical hourly rate, yet the quality is basically the same. 

    There is a misconception that project with lower costs will produce lower quality products. That is entirely untrue. Many large scale enterprise web apps projects are now being outsourced to web experienced IT professionals and developers in developing market such as Vietnam and the quality produced is just as good as on-shore service.        

  • What does the service entail? IT outsourcing company already calculated and incorporated QA and testing services costs, post-delivery tech support into the final price or just sent you a rough estimate for the backend/frontend, features development cost? Outsourcing companies should clarify this before taking on the project.
  • Industry Experience Do the offshore companies have experience in developing products in your industry? Sometimes, different business needs will require different development resources and leads to higher or lower pricing.

Other than that, the final cost will also depend on the kind of product you aim for. Here are a few examples of web development projects with different scope and requirements:

Basic web development project

For small businesses owner who decides to expand their physical business into the digital space. The end product is usually a small to moderate-scale website which will be a simple enough website with a few pages, custom design and a few simple interactive elements. It might also include a custom landing page as well as other web elements etc.

Mid-sized web development project

For SME businesses who wants to create a new scalable web with a fairly large number of users such as an e-commerce site. An example of this may be a large-scale, high performance website with many pages and contents, capable of handling large loads of request from users

Enterprise web app development projects

Enterprise projects are usually required of by rapidly growing mid-sized companies or corporation. Generally speaking, this is one of the largest and most complex web development projects kind which requires extensive resources, time and budgets. A sample enterprise web development project may include a full MVP platform for an entirely new product with optional integration and add-ons according to specific business requirements etc.

Important factors to consider when outsourcing a web app development project

Create an efficient communication process

The success of a web development project might heavily depend on everyone involved communicating with each other during the entire project. Many outsourced web development projects are carried out across time-zones, so clear communication is critical for smooth and efficient outsourcing of such projects, making physical distance becomes irrelevant. Here are a few points to consider for an efficient communication approach:

Do not rely on emails only for project communication: it is extremely difficult to keep track of project status via multiple email threads. There will be many topics of discussion and people might lose track when going back and forth between email topics. In circumstances like these, project management tools should be used to properly communicate and track project status.

Meeting via conference call: In addition to written communication, verbal communication is just as important for proper communication. Companies should have one/two conference call every week, involved related stakeholders to provide status updates on the project, keeping everyone on the same page. Weekly conference calls should be thoroughly planned ahead with clearly define agenda and goals to get the most out of each call.

Avoid micro-management: oversight of a project doesn’t mean multiple phone calls every day. You have the project timelines and milestones established, so it’s better to not distract your outsource developers by overly communicating. The general rule is manage efficiently and try not to interrupt the process.

Choosing the right type of reporting and management tools: 

As mentioned above, emails alone won’t be sufficient to track project status and meet deadlines effectively. Here are some popular project management tools that are useful for such purpose:

  • JIRA – for tasks, assignment and progress tracking and other features etc.;
  • Basecamp – to securely store all the communication and files in one place during the project.
  • Skype is great for conference call, especially with video conferencing feature.

To sum up, in order to ensure the smooth flow of the web development work, companies should establish a clear communication process with their outsourcing partner. Ideally, open communication should start right at the beginning of the project to make clear about project goals, requirement as well as product specifications and desired features etc.

Agile methodology

Adopting agile methodology for web app development will produce transparency to the outsourcing process. Companies can keep track of the project status as they will receive new builds incrementally throughout the project. With each build received, they should be able to evaluate the quality of work provided by their outsourcing partner and also to make sure the team is on the right track.

Agile approach requires companies to work with a development team directly and have their web-app product gradually finished, step by step. In addition, with agile, it will be easier and more flexible to perform changes in product during the project timeline. Agile approaches improve collaboration between companies and their outsourcing partner, build accountability and allowing the early release of benefits; as well as for continuous improvement of product.

Other factors to consider:

Companies can also inquire their outsourcing partner about the technology stacks they propose to use and see if they make sense. Clear communication and feedback is essential to produce the right end-product as intended. In addition, create a web-app and make it work is not enough, the web app development agency should also check to ensure that it works well and efficiently through QA and testing service.

Other issues such as network security, coding best practice, non-disclosure agreement etc. are also valid concerns when it comes to outsourcing. However, with careful planning and research, companies will be able to eliminate most of the risks involved and successfully achieve the intended goals of creating their web app through outsourcing.