March 25, 2024

You have an app idea, now who is going to help you build it?

There's No IT in Team... But There Should Be

The team behind your software is as crucial as the software itself. An average team will yield an average product, whereas a world-class, high-performing team will deliver a world-class product. This brings us to a critical decision: should you build your own team, or should you partner with an agency? Or perhaps, there is a middle ground?

Regardless of your business stage, I aim to demystify the pros and cons of building your own team, partnering with an agency, or adopting a hybrid approach. With a decade in the app development space 😬 and experience in building more than 100 software products, here are my insights on the perennial dilemma of whether to build in-house or outsource. Enjoy and I hope you get some value from it 🤙

The Infectious Energy of Visionaries

Nothing is more infectious than the energy of an entrepreneur, passionate about their vision and mission. However, without a dedicated team, even the most groundbreaking ideas can falter. Action trumps intention, so, if you find you are more of the visionary or the ideas person, how can you get the rubber to meet the road and actually bring your product to life? The answer seems straightforward: find someone to build it for you. This can unfold in several ways:

The Technical Co-Founder

Often, visionaries seek a technical co-founder, hoping for a Wozniak-Jobs synergy. If you can find a technical co-founder who is skilled, dedicated, and open to feedback, then by all means, proceed! This relationship requires clear communication and defined roles. However, caution is advised, all too often do I speak with startups that have lost huge momentum due to the technical cofounder de-prioritising work over their paying job or side hustle. It’s important to understand that building tech requires immense levels of concentration, time and focus. If your technical co-founder isn’t in it for the long haul, you’ll lose very quickly. Set clear expectations with your technical confounder, key milestones and ensure they understand that it’ll probably take 2x the levels of energy then you both think.

The Outsourced Freelancer

Another option is outsourcing to an offshore agency or freelancer. This approach seems ideal, offering lower rates and high promises. Yet, proceed with caution. Many projects get significantly delayed due to issues with offshore teams. Outsourcing carries risks due to lack of accountability and varying quality standards. On a weekly basis I have at least 2 people come to me saying their project is 2-3 years delayed because of an offshore agency or freelancer; of course it isn’t always the developers responsibility — but most of the time it is. Outsourcing overseas or on a freelancer website is cheap but it’s very risky. With limited accountability to who is doing the work, no standards on the quality of code and with motives that can be purely financial, outsourcing can end very badly. The one time to consider outsourcing is when you are looking for a tiny piece of work to be completed in a short period of time. A one or two week project, a mock up to show to an investor. Something that doesn’t require intensive planning and months of development. If you’re considering an offshore development company or freelancer, keep the project small, keep the budget low and leave nothing for interpretation.

The Accountable Agency

Lastly, there's the option I naturally advocate for — partnering with a reputable in-house agency. Finding an accountable agency that can help you avoid all of the ‘common’ startup pitfalls, help you jump a few steps in the process, provide you with years of experience that you currently don’t have, and ultimately be the rocket fuel to your engine, is immense! An accountable agency is an organisation that has dedicated engineers and designers that you can communicate with ( and ideally meet) on a week to week basis. They have systems in-place that cover everything from Project Management, UI/UX, Full-Stack Development, QA, Testing, Deployments, Go-Live and more. Systems that would take you years to master and processes that sky rocket your project from an idea to a market ready product. The most crucial thing about an ‘accountable agency’ is their willingness to be transparent on who is working on your project, timeframes for your work and costings. Nothing should be left up in the air, it should be clear for you to understand.

Choosing between building an in-house team, outsourcing, or engaging with an agency depends on your specific circumstances, including your project's scope, budget, and timeline. Each approach has its merits and pitfalls. A visionary's journey from concept to launch is complex and filled with challenges. However, with the right team or partner, you can transform your visionary ideas into successful, market-ready products. Remember, in the world of software development, the right collaboration can make all the difference. So choose wisely, communicate clearly, and stay focused on your end goal.

Before selecting your next technical partner ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they in it for the long-haul?
  • Do they have the technical skills to get us there?
  • Am I able to speak to them on a daily or weekly basis?
  • Do they genuinely care about my success?
  • Can I keep them accountable?

Continue Reading

we'll get back to you today.

let's find your

contact us

Message Sent 🚀
Our team will reach out within 1 business day to chat further!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.