In-House Development vs. Outsourcing: Overview of Pros and Cons

laptop and coding

Software Development is a fundamental part of every tech agency. Whether you’re creating mobile applications or web-based software, knowing the fundamentals of software development is enough… if you’re looking to build an average site.

But if you’re looking to build a top-grade software application, you’ll be thinking like the big fish, asking questions like; should this be an in-house or outsourced project?

Well, it all depends on the capacity and capabilities of your team. If you’ve got a beastly development team, then keeping the project in house will definitely result in increased profit for the company. But if you’re more focused on the media design part of the industry, software development might be better achieved with a freelance developer or a software house.

If you’re at a crossroads, deciding whether to grow your in-house talent or scout the industry for entrepreneurial developers, this pros and cons analysis could help you come to a solid decision:

What type of development outsourcing do I need?

Whenever you are outsourcing development jobs, you’ll need to think of the logistics of not only your site, but approving the coding, analysing the systems and grading the delivered work overall. How is your outsourcer going to deliver?

Can a freelance developer help my business?

The luxuries of checking in on a project’s process are made far more difficult when you’re working with an outsourced developer as opposed to your in-house colleague who sits a few desks away – on the next floor at the most!

Creating a communication system and easily sourced platform to save your freelancer’s process could allow you to track their work and keep up to date with their process and progress. Shared drives could be an easy solution to this ‘checking in’ issue, while group chats could initiate constant communication and contact to your self-employed colleagues. But what if you’re looking for someone to physically drop in to the office every now and then?

Should I set up meetings with my freelancers?

If you’re looking for a more hands-on software developer, but still can’t do this in-house, you might want to set up weekly or monthly meetings with your developer to touch base and transfer any new information straight from the source.

With the ‘new normal’ encouraging us to get onto a Skype call instead of a drive to the office, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for anyone at the moment. Set up individual meetings, team meetings or client meetings and get your freelancer on-board from concept stage.

Do I have to employ local software developers?

The beauty of the internet is that it’s so seamless, it doesn’t quite matter where your software development is being done, as long as it gets done on time and to the company’s standard. There are a few things you should look out for when working with freelance developers overseas:

  1. Time zones might delay projects: remember to schedule with ample time to hit deadlines.
  2. Is your communication clear: make sure all instructions are understood especially when language barriers are involved.
  3. Inflexibility will cause frustration: relay submission deadlines in advance, and be sensitive to international holidays that might delay your freelancer.

Should I build an in-house team?

If all of the above sounds like a massive administration headache, you might sway towards the in-house team build up instead – especially if this is a huge project that needs all hands on deck at all times!

How do I build an in-house software development team?

Your starting point definitely involves your brand leaders and executives; your in-house creative thinkers and strategists and the mastermind behind this development project. Together, they should think about what is specifically needed for the project, there’s no need for too much technical thinking – that’s where your software development head of department will come in.

But they need to know what you want before you can create a plan. Here’s a step-by-step to building an in-house development team:

  1. Seek out the best of the best: your first employee in the development team should be your aspiring head of department. Secure that contract and give your plan a backbone.
  2. Make your software plan is crystal clear: identifying what you need done for the project, breaking it down into stages or phases and allotting enough time will show you how many developers you need and what you expect from them.
  3. Choose based on skill set: with your top developer’s advice, employ a backend developer, a frontend developer, a tester, a UX designer perhaps, whatever the project entails.

You may not need to go in head first from the get go, bring in new employees gradually as the workload increases, or top up your gaps with trusted freelance developers who can handle any tasks assigned in good time and at a fair price.

What are the pros and cons of an in-house development team?

As with every form of employment, there might be a few cons to your set up, but weighing them out to your company needs is a totally unique experience and can only be evaluated by your core team. This table might will indicate what you need to discuss:

What are software houses? Can they help me?

A software house is a technology agency made up of IT gurus, working together in-house to create innovative software developments, designs and campaigns with the aim of revolutionising the industry.

Software houses thrive when they communicate clearly, cooperate with each other and meet their deadlines as a team – but this can all be done remotely, and overseas in fact.

So, if you’re eager to work with international talent, but don’t want the administrative duties required to keep the team in sync; why not contract a software house such as 4Sight to handle your goals?

Software houses can:

  1. Save you time and money: a retainer based package could result in better fares and a constant flow of work.
  2. Give you a fresh perspective: an outsider’s perspective is so valuable when working on a large project.
  3. Guarantee quality with every assignment: software houses don’t waste time, so they only work with the best; plus everything sent out by software houses is vetted by brand executives.

Are there any risks involved with outsourcing?

Every form of employment comes with risks – there’s always a risk of data leakage, poaching, misused guidelines and any other form of risk that could be associated with an employee. While deadlines and communication might seem like an outsourcing issue, the truth is that any in-house team member could fall victim to this too.

The choice, albeit a tough one, is yours to make – would you choose the costly yet always-available in-house software development team? Or the overseas freelancer who might miss deadlines, but delivers quality work? Perhaps it’s a mix of both quality and efficiency, professionalism and creativity – perhaps a software house might get the job done right.