It’s a tricky question. Before we move forward I want to disclose that I run Pixelfield, app development agency in London – sou you’re welcome to consider me biased. I have worked with many companies ranging from start-ups to corporates during several last years, and I have worked with many starting entrepreneurs, many of whom became my friends.
Lately, I’ve been involved more closely in a starting business, and that made me think about what approach I would have if I were put in a position where development of a digital product would be necessary for my starting business. I had to ask myself – would I rather risk working with strangers or try to build a new team from scratch? Should I bet with my business on someone else’s honesty and attitude, or should I throw the painful process of finding the right colleagues and processes?
As an entrepreneur, you must consider the value that an in-house team can bring to your business. Keeping the knowledge under your roof is, without a doubt, one of the most important things if you’re trying to build something of value. So what are the things you need to consider to make the right decision?
Is the development itself the core of your business?
The first question you need to answer is what kind of business you are. Many businesses believe to be IT companies, but the core of their expertise is something different. Are you a recruitment agency? Maybe your value is connecting the right employees with the right employers, understanding the needs of both sides and creating a valuable match. You value will not necessarily lie in your recruitment website itself, even if it is your primary source of lead generation.
It’s important to stay lean, especially, but not exclusively in the early stages of your business. Focusing on the core of the business and delivering real value to the customer is something you always need to keep in mind. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many businesses where the IT department overtook the whole company and became a “gatekeeper”, slowing down the progress and shifting the focus from the customers outside to the processes inside.
The speed to market is everything.
While I’m talking about gatekeepers, there is one thing that can kill your project like nothing else – being slowed down by underperforming development team. Once you start falling behind the schedule, your chances of a successful launch are becoming smaller and smaller. It becomes frustrating and discouraging for everyone in the company mainly, which is often the case when the delay in months become a standard.
Speed to market is everything and your development team, whether it is in-house or hired, needs to deliver on time. Not a day later, not a week later. It’s crucial to your business, and no delay can be tolerated. You need to build a team that truly understand this principle that is not an industry standard at this moment. You might find challenging finding developers with the right mindset.
What skillset you lack
You can’t build a team without working in the IT industry for several years. The processes that need to be set up can’t be learned in the one weak time. You need to consider your experience carefully and decide if you are up to the task or if you need to hire someone who takes care of this for you, whether it is your employee or an agency.
It is tough to find an agency that is not only a dev house. If you lack the experience to set-up a team, manage it and lead the development of the digital product, you need a partner who can supply you not only with the developers but the processes, management as well.
The one thing you need to avoid if an app or web development is not your field of expertise is hiring a developer or a group of developers. Doing so, in my experience, almost exclusively leads to delays and even the whole projects being cancelled.
Getting your team ready might take a long time.
Building the right team might take even years. For us in Pixelfield, that was the case. We’ve been continuously struggling with the organization and management. Even when we have managed to hire the right people with the right skillset, it took a long time before everything started to work. With each new hire, we think about our culture and team dynamics.
So what would I do if starting a new business? I would personally struggle to trust any agency and give them my business. However, I am in a very different position than many entrepreneurs that do not have the same experience. Finding a trustworthy partner who builds on a long-term relationship can save you a lot of time and resources and get you to the market as fast as you need.
My final recommendation would be – think about your business and what you need, think about the speed to the market and your experience. If you’re building an IT company, building an in-house team might be your only option. If you don’t have a solid digital project management background, save yourself much trouble and find a reliable partner to take care of this for you if you’re building an IT business.
Since you’re reading this on our blog already, we welcome you to get in touch with our App development agency in London to dicsuss your plans and your project.