How best can you build your startup? CTO vs freelancer vs development company?
So you have got this great app idea that you are looking to build but you don’t have a technical background and are quite clueless on where to go next.
Or you are a CEO of an established company and are looking to implement a tech product to make your organization more efficient but since you are not tech-focused you lack the technical skill set to pull it off.
Choosing between a freelancer, a web development company, or a full time engineer all have their pros and cons and are all great options depending on your exact situation.
Contrary to popular belief, they are all different and comparing them is akin comparing apples to mangoes.
Although cost is a factor when making decisions, it should not be the ultimate deciding factor otherwise you will run into major problems, which would instead make it even more costly to repair.
In this article; I will explain in what scenario is most suitable to hire each of them including their pros and cons.
When to hire a development company?
A development company is made up for a team of passionate product managers, project managers, graphics designers UX experts, testers, QA people and several different developers with a variety of skill sets.
Therefore you are able to automatically tap into a variety of skill sets without going through hiring, training, office expenses etc. or having to commit to hiring the team full time.
There’s 4 scenarios when to hire a development company:
- If it is a big application with several features, and you are tight on a launch deadline but you do not have a software development team yet.
- When you don’t have an internal software development team and you need to tap into designers, developers, project managers for a period of time but do not necessarily need them in the long term.
- When it’s a startups initial stages, and you are looking to build a prototype to go out in the market and test the waters, it is best to outsource this to a software development firm. Remember they also have business analysts that could support you on the commercial landscape of your project, so it is not just about the functionality.
Benefits of using a development company:
Great value for money
Software development firms will seem expensive compared to all the other options, but when you consider what exactly they are bringing to the table you realise that it is a huge bargain.
Building and launching a successful product is rarely a one-man army, not that it can’t be done, but because there’s a lot that goes into it from a design perspective, user experience, business standpoint, along with marketing etc.
Software development firms give you the ability to tap into this entire team for only the length of the period you would need them.
Full on-demand expertise
Great software development firms like TechTIQ Solutions …shameless plug … will not only help you with developing a fully functional software, but also getting the idea launched, tapping into customer feedback and turning that into features (product management), nailing the monetization models etc.
Remember, the graveyard for well functional applications that never made it is really huge. An application is not just software, it is a business.
When to hire a freelance developer?
Freelancers are independent contractors with a marketable skill set, that are either self-employed or are a part of another organization for a specific period of time.
If you are looking to fill in a certain skill set in your existing team e.g you are looking for an angular js developer for 6 months, then it makes sense to hire a freelance developer to work alongside your existing team for the length of the project.
Source : brainhub.eu
It is a huge mistake to hire a single developer to develop an entire project, just because it sounds cheaper, and easier to manage.
Development of a mobile or web application is a team effort of several specialised skill sets and a single developer as much as they are able to pull it off, they will take longer, and the design could be lacking.
And with technology changing as fast as it does, you want to be able to get to market faster than your competitors and adjust to your users needs
It is quite impossible to be skilled at three of the core competencies that are required to create a great product i.e product management, engineering and design.
They all require slightly different personalities and each take years to master. Therefore it is usually a mistake to hire a single developer to develop the entire application; as it takes much longer to get to market.
Here are four scenarios where freelance developers are the best choice for you:
- When looking for a specific resource (i hate the word) e.g an angular js developer and you need them to work alongside your existing team for a short period of time. It is then in that case best to hire an expert freelance developer for that period of time.
- When you are looking for them to complete small specific tasks within an existing project e.g make tiny changes on a feature. This way it is better to hire a freelancer than an agency since the cost will be much less with a lot less bureaucracy.
- When your employees can do a task, but it is not the best use of their time or they are already overworked then you should go out and get a freelancer to work for you in that period of time.
You can also hire a remote developer within an outsourced agency to work on your project dedicatedly full time; but integrated with your existing team. (Staff augmentation). If you want us to get you a developer, send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefits of hiring freelancers:
When you hire freelancers, you do not have to pay for their benefits, paid sick leave, retirement, training etc. that are incurred with the full time staff.
More flexible and easier to cut ties
When it does not work out with one freelancer, it is very easy for the company to cut their losses as they simply just go out and hire a new freelancer who is more suitable for the job.
When to hire a full time developer/CTO
A lot of the time; everyone confuses the role of a CTO, their role is not necessarily to be hands on and write the code of the application but rather their role is to direct the company’s technology direction.
In my opinion, a CTO should not get his hands dirty in to code, but rather liaise with the CEO and the customers, to create a path for how the technology is going to be built.
He then works with the VP engineering/project manager who then, alongside the development team develops the code.
But if all you have a CTO in place, who has some experience managing a development team, then it is best to hire either a development agency, or a remote team of developers that the CTO
would then manage and make sure the technology is built.
The CTO can also start the hiring process to bring in all the development skill sets required for the team.
When to build an in-house development team:
You can build a remote development team that can seamlessly integrate within your existing web development environment (we create those teams for startups).
The point in having a full time development team is that it will allow your company to focus on its core strength, and build and add on features to the product while listening to customer feedback.
Although the argument that for a tech company, they cannot outsource their core function, which is the technology, global outsourcing has really advanced over the years, and you can have a remote team without going through hiring, training, office expenses etc while retaining the control.
It is very hard to recruit for technical experts, since to hire a great one, you must be, to a certain extent good at what you are hiring for.
But when it comes to hiring a remote team
Hiring freelancers, a development company or hiring full time developers for your company is not necessarily comparing apples to apples. They are all great options only suitable for certain scenarios.
But in summary, if you have technical leader who has an idea on how to build the development team and knows exactly what skill sets they need to fill up then it might make a lot of sense to hire freelancers.
If you are looking to build out solutions; and don’t have all the necessary expertise needed to get you up and running and off to market, then it might make sense to hire out a fully fledged development firm.
Either way, we can help you do both, we hire out full time dedicated developers on-demand, and also help out companies on a project per project basis.
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