Building an App Offshore

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Offshore Facilitation

Offshore FacilitationGetting your app to market for the absolute minimum costs is vital. The key is low hourly development rates, and you won’t find those in Australia.

There are few situations more stressful than getting a new app to market. Using your life savings, loaning money or partnering with investors adds another layer of stress. Plus, many app creators are still working full-time. It’s a juggling act that is not for the feint heated.

Assuming the idea and business plan is solid …

  • How do you design and construct the app?
  • What platforms, programming languages, delivery methods or hosting do you choose?
  • How do you know if your app is being coded well?
  • What happens if it all goes pear shaped?
  • Will the original quote be the end cost?

Everything hinges on your offshore team.

That you’ve never met.

So, how do you avoid losing your mind as well as your money?

We’ve tried a lot of options, but here are two that have worked well from both a stress and financial point of view.

Option 1 – Design locally. Build offshore

Quotes will vary wildly, even with a detailed brief. We received 5 quotes for the same project and they varied from $15,000 to $150,000. How does an entrepreneur navigate that nightmare?

The more detailed the brief, the closer the quotes will be.

Before you even consider building the app, do a detailed planning process with a local team. This will flesh out all the business rules, potential issues and the best construction method. Designs may just be wireframes at this stage, but could also be detailed Photoshop artwork.

The more detail, the better. This process usually takes between 50 and 80 hours, depending on complexity.

This planning process not only catches any showstoppers before you’ve invested too much, but it also allows you to request quotes around the globe with very clear requirements.

Your local team can easily identify the offshore teams that are asking the right questions. This should alleviate fear around the technical aspects, leaving you to use your strengths as an entrepreneur to find the best cultural fit.

You may also want your local guys to play a role in the final testing and launch.

Option 2 – Design locally. Build offshore. Manage locally

This option works the same as above, except your local team will manage the whole project.

Local management requirements will vary depending on the size of your offshore team. If your team is only made up of developers, you’ll need a very strict process locally for allocating tasks and checking-in and testing code.

If your offshore team also includes project managers and testers with good agile methodologies, the local commitment may be minimal.

Clear documentation around delivery and responsibilities will need to be drawn up. Few local companies will take on that risk for the offshore team without having worked with them previously. There are a multitude of ways to divide risk and responsibilities.

Ongoing Development and Support

Launching the app is just the beginning of your journey. There will no doubt be a few months of teething and fine-tuning. Customers NEVER use your app exactly the way you intended. So, there’s always re-work in the months after launch.

New features, upgrades and bug fixing are a standard part of running any software product. How do you manage it?

Provided you are still on speaking terms with your offshore team, they would be the logical choice. If they have project management capabilities, you’ll be able to work with them directly.

If not, your developers will need to be self directed, motivated and good communicators; otherwise you’ll be herding cats, via Skype.

A hybrid relationship may be possible where you use a local team to manage the offshore development. This works just like the project construction. Planning and strategy is performed locally and development tasks are handed to your offshore team. These are then quality tested locally before joining the live code base.

Offshoring can work well, save money and enable your app to see the light of day.

Remember

  • Plan and design every detail locally
  • Don’t go for the cheapest quote
  • Use your local team to ensure quality and timeliness
  • The bigger the project, the bigger the team you’ll need

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