Things to consider when outsourcing

A while ago I posted about being back. Well I’ve been quiet for sometime now, but I have been busy. I’ve had to accept the fact that I’m a one-woman-team at the moment and I can’t do everything myself. I just don’t have the time between commuting 4 hours a day, tending to the needs of my family and keeping up with the tech that I use in my day job. So I decided to outsource one of my projects.

Throughout this series of posts, I’ll discuss the process I went through and share some advice.

So firstly…

Why would you want to outsource your project?

You may be considering outsourcing because you’re short on time, money or skills in order to get your project completed on your own. Everyone’s situation is different and every project is different. So try to correctly assess yours and see if outsourcing is a solution that fits with you.

Will it save you money?

Ok, so let’s be frank. No. The best way to save money is to do it yourself. But remember, time is money. Although I could have developed the project myself I’m short on one big thing nowadays – time! Finding the time to develop the project would be one thing, but learning a new tool (as Unity wasn’t suitable for this project), developing the solution and then having to fix bugs could take me months, potentially half a year or more because I’m only working with a few hours each evening. And that’s not even creating the graphics for the project. If this project would take me half a year to complete, that’s 360 hours! So my solution was to find a developer that worked to more or less the same amount as I earn in my day job and get them to produce the project in less than 360 hours. That way it’d be cheaper for me to pay someone else to do the job rather than me working all hours on it and getting a quarter as far in the same amount of time. That’s when I heard about B7Dev from one of the podcasts I regularly listen to, the App Business Podcast. Their rates sounded within my budget and as a listener I got a 20% discount. So, a win already for me.

What if you haven’t got the skills to complete certain tasks?

When I first got the quote I want going to use this company to create the design. I thought “I’m not bad at design, I can do the design for this project”. But again, I realised I was short of time and, let’s face it, they were more experienced. So I squeezed more money into my budget and also got the design for the app from B7Dev. And, I could not have been more pleased. I could have created the design but it would’ve taken me longer and would not have turned out as good. Now I’m seriously considering outsourcing the design for all my future projects so I can just focus on the coding.

Will outsourcing save you time?

I commute for at least four hours a day. Yep, I know what you must be thinking, I must love my job. But after this long day I want to spend the maximum amount of time with my family after work, especially as my little girl is growing so fast and learning loads each day. I know this isn’t the correct entrepreneurial mindset of eat, sleep and breathe your business but that’s how it is for me for the time being. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m not committed. I’m willing to sink my hard earned money into my project and to be honest, I think I made the right call outsourcing to a more experienced team.

Can you manage an outsourced team?

What you have to keep in mind is that outsourcing still requires some work. You’ll need to check on progress, make sure the work matches the spec, testing, reproducing bugs and giving feedback. So although your workload has decreased dramatically you still need to wear a few hats managing the high level flow of the project.

Takeaway Tips

  • Have your budget clear in your mind and don’t exceed it (or how will this have saved you money!)
  • Make sure you’re clear why you’re outsourcing and ensure that it fulfills these reasons.
  • Keep on top of communication between yourself and the team. Managing your project when you’re not in full control of all the daily aspects is key to the project running successfully.

I hope this has helped you make a decision as to whether outsourcing your next project is for you. If you have any questions about the process I used at any step of the way, feel free to contact me via Twitter or the contact form on the site.


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