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In-House App Development vs Outsourcing

Published on 27 October 16
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Today we will look at benefits and challenges from both in-house app development and outsourcing perspectives.
While researching for this article, the author came across many opinionated voices stating that there is only one right solution, but in this authors mind there are benefits and disadvantages of both, and spending 10 minutes on reading this article and answering a few questions can help you on your way in deciding for yourself.
Discern the needs
The most important thing at all, is to find out exactly what specifications your app should have, and what exactly should be developed. By approaching either freelancers or agencies with just a rough idea will result in nothing more than inaccurate bids, and will create friction on every step of the development process.

By correctly determining the size and scope of the project, it is easier to then decide whether the complexity calls for in-house experts that are available for on-going meetings, or whether the simplicity of the project makes it possible to have overseas developers follow a list of specifications.
Consider the third alternative
This tip comes from Malthe Kringelbach Iversen, Marketing Manager at Nodes App Development Agency.
“Sometimes, the best approach for a business in the market for a new mobile application, is to hire a freelancer to come work in-office. This combines the best of both worlds, meaning that businesses can monitor that the work is actually being performed, while not committing to a three year contract. ”
While not always possible, this can be a great compromise between the two more popular choices.
Establish goals
Before settling down on a choice, it can help by setting a few simple goals such as preferred price, time spent and other overall metrics.

An often overlooked metric in this aspect could be the fact that outsourcing development to an overseas company or freelancer can result in large time-zone differences, making communication even more troublesome than it already is.

In fact, many outsourced projects that are even just moderately complex have rather large overhead in terms of communication costs, since any question will have to conform to different time zones, even simple ones.
Benefits of In-house app development
  • Easy to follow progress
  • Great communication options
  • Often same time zones
  • Possible to influence the growth of the team
Since it's possible to schedule regular meetings with a local in-house developer, it goes to reason that it should also be relatively easy to follow the on-going progress, meaning that businesses can feel safer, knowing that the project is on track.

This ties into the next point of benefits, namely that the communication options available with an in-house team are some of the best available. Having easy access and timely replies to questions and feedback can be key in a fast and painless development process.

By choosing an agency that operates within the same time zone as you or your business, it eliminates that barrier that most US or Europe based companies experience when hiring Indian or other overseas developers. Waiting 8+ hours for a simple yes/no answer is not funny or productive for anyone.

Going the route of in-house app development can mean a large influence in the direction of personal growth in the developer team. By offering certain courses, meetups and conventions as part of the ongoing process, it can even be considered an investment for the team to become even better at their jobs.
Benefits of outsourcing
  1. Moves the workload
  2. Can be cheaper
  3. Can be just as effective
If your business is already employing IT or App developers, chances are they're already quite busy with other projects, or perhaps they are not 100% into the technology decided upon for the given project.

It makes sense to then hire an expert that has the required knowledge and can provide the results needed within a given time-frame.

While not always the case, outsourcing can be much cheaper on certain projects, given that US or European payrolls are usually higher than corresponding ones in the developing countries, while the talent pool for these countries are relatively comparable.

If the project is simple of nature, meaning that the project just has to be coded, and not planned along the way, outsourcing can prove the cheaper route. But even more complex projects can prove successful when designed right.

Consider companies such as Skype, Slack and GitHub all had outsourced versions of their first versions, and only once they achieved success moved development in-house.














Today we will look at benefits and challenges from both in-house app development and outsourcing perspectives.

While researching for this article, the author came across many opinionated voices stating that there is only one right solution, but in this authors mind there are benefits and disadvantages of both, and spending 10 minutes on reading this article and answering a few questions can help you on your way in deciding for yourself.

Discern the needs

The most important thing at all, is to find out exactly what specifications your app should have, and what exactly should be developed. By approaching either freelancers or agencies with just a rough idea will result in nothing more than inaccurate bids, and will create friction on every step of the development process.

By correctly determining the size and scope of the project, it is easier to then decide whether the complexity calls for in-house experts that are available for on-going meetings, or whether the simplicity of the project makes it possible to have overseas developers follow a list of specifications.

Consider the third alternative

This tip comes from Malthe Kringelbach Iversen, Marketing Manager at Nodes App Development Agency.

Sometimes, the best approach for a business in the market for a new mobile application, is to hire a freelancer to come work in-office. This combines the best of both worlds, meaning that businesses can monitor that the work is actually being performed, while not committing to a three year contract.

While not always possible, this can be a great compromise between the two more popular choices.

Establish goals

Before settling down on a choice, it can help by setting a few simple goals such as preferred price, time spent and other overall metrics.

An often overlooked metric in this aspect could be the fact that outsourcing development to an overseas company or freelancer can result in large time-zone differences, making communication even more troublesome than it already is.

In fact, many outsourced projects that are even just moderately complex have rather large overhead in terms of communication costs, since any question will have to conform to different time zones, even simple ones.

Benefits of In-house app development

  • Easy to follow progress
  • Great communication options
  • Often same time zones
  • Possible to influence the growth of the team


Since it's possible to schedule regular meetings with a local in-house developer, it goes to reason that it should also be relatively easy to follow the on-going progress, meaning that businesses can feel safer, knowing that the project is on track.

This ties into the next point of benefits, namely that the communication options available with an in-house team are some of the best available. Having easy access and timely replies to questions and feedback can be key in a fast and painless development process.

By choosing an agency that operates within the same time zone as you or your business, it eliminates that barrier that most US or Europe based companies experience when hiring Indian or other overseas developers. Waiting 8+ hours for a simple yes/no answer is not funny or productive for anyone.

Going the route of in-house app development can mean a large influence in the direction of personal growth in the developer team. By offering certain courses, meetups and conventions as part of the ongoing process, it can even be considered an investment for the team to become even better at their jobs.

Benefits of outsourcing

  1. Moves the workload
  2. Can be cheaper
  3. Can be just as effective


If your business is already employing IT or App developers, chances are they're already quite busy with other projects, or perhaps they are not 100% into the technology decided upon for the given project.

It makes sense to then hire an expert that has the required knowledge and can provide the results needed within a given time-frame.

While not always the case, outsourcing can be much cheaper on certain projects, given that US or European payrolls are usually higher than corresponding ones in the developing countries, while the talent pool for these countries are relatively comparable.

If the project is simple of nature, meaning that the project just has to be coded, and not planned along the way, outsourcing can prove the cheaper route. But even more complex projects can prove successful when designed right.

Consider companies such as Skype, Slack and GitHub all had outsourced versions of their first versions, and only once they achieved success moved development in-house.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations and IT Strategy & Management Community

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