I outsourced the development of my app to a company in India, and I am extremely happy with the results! There, I’ve said it!
Now that Org.ly, the Contact Management and Org Chart App for Sales Professionals, has been available on the App Store for around nine months, and we are are just about to start our first official pilot with a large Enterprise, I thought it would be a great time to start writing about my experiences as a novice app developer. The whole process has been completely fascinating, and I have learnt and enormous amount over the last year or so. If you are interested to understand how I came up with the idea for Org.ly you can read about that on this blog post - ‘The Origins of Org.ly’, but in this article I plan to talk about my experience of using an app developer based in India.
This was my first app development project. Like many, I had a ‘great idea’ and I had decided that I was going to take the risk and bring it to market. I spent a lot of time researching the best way to go about it. What does a good app look like, how to develop it, how to market it, etc. One of the recurring themes I heard was that I should be very careful about off-shoring any development - you can’t trust them, you’ll have to micro-manage them, communication will be a problem, etc, etc.
I had already decided that I was going to get a separate Graphic Designer to help me with the UI/UX aspects, so that meant that I just needed a good developer to turn my vision into reality.
So, once I had a detailed specification that I was happy with (it was around 35 pages long and took around three months to write) I sent it out to three App Development companies so that I could get comparative quotes, get a feel for the way they responded, etc. which I hoped would give me the basis from which I could make my decision. Of the three, two were based in the UK (where I’m based) and one was in India.
One of the British companies I chose was recommended by the company I work for in my 'day job'. Our IT department used them for the development of some of our in-house apps - good quality and not too expensive apparently. A recommendation is always a good start, so they were on the list.
It was a recommendation that led me to the Indian company too. A friend of mine had developed an app the year before and had used a company called Systematix Infotech. He had very good things to say about them, so they became the second developer on the list.
I felt that I needed to get quotes from three companies, so for the third one I simply googled for UK-based App Developers! There are clearly lots of developers around, so I picked one that had a compelling website, had some great examples of previous apps that they had developed that were similar in target audience to mine i.e. they weren’t just developing games, but had business/productivity app experience, and called them up. So far, so positive.
As a self-funded start-up, money is very important to me! This is my money, not from an Angel (as I’ve not looked for one - yet!), so even though I’d been warned about the need to micro-manage any off-shore developer, all I could think of was the 35,000 reasons why that wasn’t going to be an issue for me! And, to be honest, I wanted to be ‘hands-on’ during the process so that I could learn, so having to make sure I was involved somehow seemed like a good idea anyway.
Having selected Systematix, the next thing I had to do was to let the other developers know that I wasn’t going to go with them. So I sent them both a very nice, apologetic email explaining why I was going with someone else and wishing them all the very best for the future, etc. It was only polite, right? I never heard back from either of them. Not a word. Not an ‘OK, that’s a shame but good luck anyway and thanks for letting us know’ - just silence. Makes me think that it was a good decision to not choose them after all…..
So, Systematix it was, and it was a fantastic experience.
We started with an initial Skype video call with the team where I was introduced to Anshul, my lead developer, and Ritesh, the Team Leader, and from that day onwards they were in communication with me pretty much every day. I got new versions of code to test perhaps every two or three days, they were super responsive to any bugs I found during testing, always happy to tweak the design/functionality as we found things that needed changing, etc. There was seldom the demand for a ‘Change Request’ cost and frankly, they never seemed to go home so even the time zone difference didn’t halt the progress that was made every day.
Above all, they showed the same level of enthusiasm for my project as I had. They gave the impression of caring about my app and my success and this came across clearly in every communication we had. Frankly, I find it impossible to imagine how working with a local developer could have been any better.
If you would like to see their work, have a look at my app - Org.ly - the Contact Management and Org Chart App for Sales Professionals.