In-House vs. Outsourcing App Development: How to Choose the Winning-Strategy

Let’s see, you have a great idea for an app, right? And you already figured out how the app should work and have some sketches on the application interface. But who will code your app? Should you do it yourself? Give this task to your IT department? Or is it better to outsource the development process?

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To be blunt, your app idea is worthless without proper execution. You have to sit down and start building. You can dig through countless tutorials and become a developer, but you must agree – this is not a one day job. By the time you get to the level when you can develop an app by yourself someone else may come up with your idea or the idea becomes obsolete.

As a result, you have one question that has to be answered: What is the best way to develop an app. Outsource or build in-house? To be honest, many entrepreneurs and companies overlook this question entirely, they don’t even realize that they have options here. But you are better now, you found this article.

Figure out what you need first

First things first. You have to determine what you need. Do you really need a new app, or is it possible to achieve all of the features you have planned using an existing solution?

The platform

Now you have to figure out the platform you’re developing for. Do you need a native app that runs on iOS or Android or you will be alright with a cross-platform application running on HTML5. Don’t take this question lightly, because it can significantly change the cost of the development process. Making native app doubles the development time while bringing more functions and better stability to the table, along with higher maintenance cost. The cross-platform approach is cheaper and takes less time to develop, but lacks in capabilities. But how does this relate to our question at hand? Simple, to be able to develop native apps, you have to know at least two programming languages, so if your idea demands a native approach it will be logical to hire a development team rather than spending month and month learning.


Another important detail is the type of data. If your app is going to work with some sensitive data, for example, financial information or credit card numbers then it is better to put development in the hands of experienced professionals.


Don’t forget, the clock is ticking. If you are sure you need your app on the market as fast as possible due to a number of reasons, then it is better to outsource app development. However, keep in mind, that more often than not business people are shocked to discover that what they expected to be a simple task for a day or two, can take a couple of weeks longer.  

Project management

This might be a cornerstone of this comparison. Simple question, who will manage the developers? Because it is not an easy job. You are making a mistake if you think that all you have to do as a leader or a project manager is to make sure your developers do everything on time and according to the budget. Good project management software creates a vision for success, makes sure that every team member is on the same page, and keeps them on track for success. A project manager executes a big part of quality control so solutions consistently hit the mark. Tons of promising projects have been ruined by incompetent management. So, if you have the slightest doubt about managing the software development by yourself, then you will be better off outsourcing.

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The pros and cons of outsourcing development

Outsourcing app development for a well-established business is the go-to solution. There are a lot of reasons for it, for instance – lower cost to make an app. But it is not a perfect solution, otherwise, this article wouldn’t make any sense. Here are the pros and cons of outsourcing the development.

Pros Cons
  • Experienced development teams can jump to executing your idea right after a short talk.
  • Programmers recycle code all the time, thus decreasing the development time and cost.
  • Security issues are not nearly as worrisome anymore, developers will handle that.
  • A good dev team can provide status updates on demand. Especially useful if it is your first project.
  • You will have to pay up for top-tier development team and consultants.
  • It might be hard to explain your business goals to developers or project managers.
  • Because you are handing the work to another team you may know less than you want about your app.
  • Usually, you are working with a development company, not a constant set of developers. So there is no guarantee that your favorite developer or consultant will be around for the next project.
  • You don’t acquire any experience or knowledge from the development process.


The pros and cons of making an app by yourself

Creating an app by yourself or giving this task to an inhouse IT specialist can be tempting. However, there are some significant challenges to be conquered as well as barriers. Without further ado, here is a list of pros and cons of making an app yourself:  

Pros Cons
  • In-house talent is always accessible.
  • You have better knowledge about the status of development as well as the technology behind your app.
  • It’s always easier to communicate with your employee than with an outsider.
  • You and your staff understand all about your business already, so there is no time wasted on unnecessary explaining.
  • You are saving some serious cash on ongoing app maintenance.
  • You and your team gain a lot of experience, which will be useful in the future.
  • Depending on your or your IT staff knowledge base the learning curve can be high, thus increasing the development time.
  • Any kind of training costs money, and, obviously, time.
  • Development will take more time compared to the outsourcing approach.
  • You can’t focus on something else besides development. As a result, you may miss some business opportunities.
  • The quality of the app can be lower due to the lack of experience.
  • There is always a chance that the newly trained employee might leave taking his skills and experience with him.  


Keep in mind the DIY approach is riskier than outsourcing. Developing the app indoors from the scratch cannot guarantee a great app at the end of the process. But it is a lot cheaper.

What is the right way

It comes to the employee skill set of your company and the complexity of the app you are planning to create. Here are some fast conclusions:

  • If you need your app out ASAP – outsource
  • If you plan to create more apps in the future – do it yourself
  • If your app relies on sensitive data – outsource
  • If you are really low on budget – do it yourself

Carefully weigh all pros and cons presented in this article and make a well-informed decision. Happy to help!


Author – Alex Volski

Business analyst and tech/copywriter at Thinkmobiles with over 5 years experience in web and mobile app development. Currently interested in original ways of using AR/VR technologies in app development.


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