Question: Which tech jobs (software development, apps, website design) can you safely outsource, and which should stay in-house?
In-House Means Under Control
“Keeping as many competencies as possible in-house gives us better quality and cost control, and allows us to be very nimble. Updates to our website, product photos, and layouts for our catalogs and advertisements are all done in-house. We call on outside specialists only for big projects, like total redesigns of the website or complete software creation.”
– Vanessa Nornberg | President, Metal Mafia
Small Projects Only
“For more established businesses, beware of outsourcing all your web development projects, especially because the code can be messy to work with later. Instead, only outsource small projects. You limit your reliance on their ongoing commitment to you as a client, and you make sure that you can optimize on time and resources so your own tech team isn’t overwhelmed with having to do every little thing.”
– Danny Wong | Co-founder, Blank Label
Let Others Handle Mobile Apps
“If a mobile app is not a core part of your business but only a feature you’d like to provide to your customers, it’s an ideal tech job to outsource. Because of the breadth of platforms (iOS, Android, etc.) and the concrete, repeatable milestones of app development, reputable third-party providers have sprung up. These mobile app development shops have expertise to be successful in a short engagement.”
– Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.
Don’t Do Any Development!
“Unless your primary service is development, there’s no need to have a staff developer in-house. It is very rare to find someone to do site structuring, programming, graphics, optimization, and branding all at the same time. Instead, outsource each element individually and for better results.”
Outsource Everything, Provided…
“You can outsource any tech work, if you’ve got excellent project specs and you set clear expectations for documentation and other details. But it may be more work than you expect to outsource: you need to create the documents to make sure that all your development work meets set expectations and follows similar style guidelines so that you don’t go crazy down the road trying to work with old code.”
– Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting
Web Design Is Worthy
“Outsourcing web site design is very safe if you provide detailed instructions. We internally will develop a comprehensive treatment, which includes the emotional look and feel we want to convey, as well as the homepage content. We then have the designer go in phases, page by page. This provides great quality control and ensures timely deliverables.”
– Raoul Davis | CEO, Ascendant Group
Motion Media Always Goes Out
“By hiring one or two employees, website design and digital could stay in-house. Motion media is something you usually need more frequently, so it’s better to outsource. We outsourced to Chimaeric and quickly learned that outsourcing motion media not only provides higher quality, but expands the capabilities of what you can do.”
– John Hall | CEO, Influence & Co.
What is Your Core Business?
“If it’s not a core competency of your business, outsource it. If it is a core competency, hire excellent people and pay them what they’re worth. Your priorities should always be treated as if they are priorities.”
– Brent Beshore | Owner/CEO, adventur.es
Straightforward Is Settled
“As a rule, we outsource jobs that are straightforward, so as not to need intense supervision. Also, if the jobs are repetitive, they only need to be explained once; if they’re just a one-off project, we don’t want to hire someone specifically.”