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Outsourcing App Development Precautions

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by SeanAustin, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. SeanAustin

    SeanAustin Power Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Rocky Mountains
    Hey BHW,

    I'm currently looking for a small team to take my mocked up photoshop app design and turn it into an actual IOS App. I've got a few quotes ranging between 1-3k where most want you to send them part of the budget before hand, then the rest after completion.

    But to be honest I have 3 main fears that are consuming me and holding me back from hiring. These are -

    1: Guy runs off with the initial money I give him and I never hear from him again

    solution - I could hire through freelancer or odesk, but do I really want to give them a percentage?

    2: Guy runs off with the app idea, and I see it on the app store in 3 months.

    solution - Not sure.

    3: Guy makes the app, but the final result is extremely buggy, not very polished, transitions are very cheap looking, etc.

    solution - Hire a local american team, and have a clean polished app but at 8x the price.

    I'm talking to a few of the devs on skype right now, and honestly have no way to verify whether or not they are legit. For example, one guy just sent me his random DL, which who knows if it was just copied off google. Another guy sent me 5 links to different apps in which he built but couldn't these just be random apps from the app store?

    How am I suppose to verify someone is as legit as they say?

    I would appreciate it more than ever to hear some advice from some of you who have gone through this process before. I really can't afford to have any of the above take place as it would put a huge damper on the first ever practical Iphone app I have mocked up.

    Thanks for reading.
  2. tiyowan

    tiyowan Regular Member

    Aug 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Hey there,

    I can relate to your situation a little bit. I'm a US-educated software developer and I'm setting my own shop down
    here in Pakistan. From the research I've conducted into the companies here, I can offer you the following advice:

    1. I would advise you against hiring someone directly. At the very minimum, go with one of the well-known
    freelancing sites, and look for agencies and not single developers.

    What you need to do is to ask them to break your project down into milestones and arrange a payment plan based
    on the delivery of those milestones, with a small initial upfront payment.

    A good firm will divide your project into iterations with deliverable milestones. Now a milestone is simply a working
    version of your app. As more and more milestones are delivered, more features get added. Let me know if this is
    unclear and I'll try to explain it differently.

    2. Have them sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with you. That way you can sue 'em if you want to. Practically,
    you're not going spend USD 30k suing an overseas company, but it does send the message that you're not going to be
    screwed around with. Also, it's a standard business practice, so if they don't have a NDA handy, you can assess their
    professionalism on this point.

    3. If you break your project down into milestones, you can cancel the project early on if you're not satisfied with the
    results. Don't go by referrals, I'm telling you right now it's very easy to put up a fake portfolio. I've seen tons of them
    having being in this business since six years.

    The best way to deal with this is to actually send an email to their previous clients asking them about their experiences.
    It's best if you do this with one of their clients who is actually from the same country as you, i.e. US.

    Lastly, if you have a friend (by this, I mean someone who's in your area) who does app development, ask them to review
    the code in the first two milestones. That way, you'll know if you're being shafted.

    Good luck.
    • Thanks Thanks x 5
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  3. tiyowan

    tiyowan Regular Member

    Aug 7, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ah yes, one other thing. If you outsource your project to a firm in the developing world, what will often happen is
    that they'll give you a "project manager" to talk to. It is really important that you talk to this guy on a daily basis
    over Skype.

    If their English is poor, then there is a high chance that the requirements you've given them are going to be
    misunderstood when your "project manager" talks to the "team lead" who actually talks to the team that's doing
    the work. If you think this is happening, ask to talk directly with the team lead.

    Generally, what I've seen is that developing-world developers are -really- talented, but they get fucked in the
    ass because the requirements that are handed down to them by the "project manager" don't resemble the client's
    requirements at all. And what usually happens is that the "project manager" blames the developers, they leave,
    some other team is hired, etc. All this while your project is stalled.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Trepanated

    Trepanated Supreme Member

    Sep 18, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Solid advice there from tiyowan.

    I'd add another couple of points:

    Don't do business with an anonymous person on the internet. Choose someone who runs a legitimate, traceable company. It's much safer. If you know you can track that person down you are in much stronger position if something goes wrong. And if they know you can track them down, they are far less likely to burn you.

    Also, if you work with someone from your own country you're going to have an easier time if something goes wrong and you need to go down the legal route. Contracts are going to be easier to enforce that way too.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2