Digital clock with various gears symbolizing the timing of outsourcing software development decisions.

Timing is a crucial determinant of success if you consider outsourcing software development; besides deciding to whom, knowing the right time and context is equally vital.

Think of it like being a sports team coach – you have a stellar squad on the bench, but what truly makes the difference is deciding if you need to make any changes and get the timing just right considering the match evolution.

With this in mind, we aim to answer a less-asked but equally important question: When to outsource software development?

Read the entire step-by-step guide on how to outsource software development.

When is it appropriate to outsource software development?

Let's dive straight into one of the most common dilemmas. Developing in-house is usually the obvious choice for many companies, but there are several factors and situations in which outsourcing software development is just right.

1. Specialized, skilled developers are hard to come by.

You might have some projects undergoing or a new contract on the table that could mean a big win for your company. Only one slight problem – you need some highly skilled developers and fast.

While the competition for the best talent is challenging (to say the least), the actual recruitment process usually takes time and considerable resources.

Your recruiting department has to publish the opening, maybe do a direct search or headhunting, do the interviews, decide on the best fit, plus the paperwork and so much more. In this situation, outsourcing software development is almost a no-brainer. You can get a highly skilled team of developers way faster.

2. Lack of expertise or knowledge on specific technologies, industries, or processes.

Let's be honest; no matter how good your in-house development team is, they can't master every technology stack or industry know-how. Suppose you're required to develop a project in which your team has limited experience with its specifics. In that case, this is the right time to consider outsourcing your software development project.

Many outsourcing companies have niche expertise in specific industries, while some are lucky enough to feature extensive know-how in diverse fields. For example, at Ontegra, our teams handled hundreds of projects from Big Pharma to Transportation, Logistics, or Education.

3. Your In-House team is overloaded.

As your business grows, so does the number of requests and projects; thus, your internal resources might grow thin. Working your team overnights or on weekends (even for short periods) has unwanted repercussions, translating into burnout, less productivity, and overall quality. The best option at your disposal is to outsource the development project to an available partner – this will keep your team focused on their projects and keep the wheels of your business spinning, not losing a promising deal.

Additionally, when a project expands beyond your team's capacity, seeking external expertise ensures it reaches its full potential.

4. Costs, Costs, and Costs again.

Keeping your project on a tight budget takes work; as a business owner or manager, you certainly know what we're talking about. According to McKinsey, half of the large projects run 45% over budget and 7% over time. Such a situation can severely impact your company and your relationship with your clients.

Hiring a specialized, highly skilled, and knowledgeable team of software developers can ensure your project will deliver what's promised on the proper schedule and budget. If you're unsure if your in-house team can deliver on those coordinates, outsourcing is the right option for you.

When should I outsource software development as a start-up?

Start-up owners might find familiar scenarios in the above, but there are unique challenges to consider. One of the most encountered situations is related to the overhead.

As a start-up, keeping costs low is a desiderate, and having a large team of developers from the beginning can put much pressure on your budget.

If that's the case, outsourcing software development can bring a lot of value to the table – top talent with extensive expertise and flexibility critical to every start-up.

Another case that can be assigned to any company, but it's especially true for start-ups, is a clear understanding of how to develop an MVP (minimum viable product). Suppose your internal team needs a more precise understanding or the necessary experience to develop it masterly.

In that case, it's better to let a pro external team of developers handle it. We can't stress how important this is because a well-made MVP can acquire sufficient market traction, interest, and excitement.

You can then use the captured capital to transform the MVP into your final product iteration with much bigger chances of success.

Illustration of a web browser with wireframes and design tools, highlighting the importance of UX and UI expertise in web development.

When to consider outsourcing web development?

We touched on some situations on when to outsource software development, so what's so different about outsourcing web development? Besides everything we wrote about, there are two more specifics you should consider.

1. The lack of experienced UX researchers.

UX researchers are like the backstage crew of a live show, as they have one of the most critical roles but are sometimes overlooked.

Experienced UX researchers will know where to look; they will analyze data, user behaviors, and even beliefs to outline how the web experience should feel, how many interactions are needed, the logical structure of the website, and much more.

This information is critical to how the end users will perceive your web product if they consider it easy to use and enjoy the experience. If your team lacks such resources, we encourage you to consider outsourcing web development.

2. The lack of experienced UI designers.

Think about UI (user interface) as the packaging of your product. It might be great, but it also has to show through its design. This is where UI designers come into place.

Excellent, experienced designers are fully aware of the latest trends and know how to construct gorgeous user interfaces that are functional and user-friendly with insights from UX researchers.

Again, if your team lacks such skills or your project requirements are too high, it's the right time to consider outsourcing web development.

Is outsourcing software development a good idea?

Whether outsourcing is right hinges on your specific needs and circumstances. Outsourcing software development is certainly a good idea, especially if you hit the right timing and the right team/partner. If you struggle to find top talent, lack the in-house expertise, need more internal capacity, and want to keep costs down, then yes, outsourcing software development is for you.

If you are in one of the above situations, don't hesitate to chat with us; we're always open to a new software development challenge. Contact us today for a consultation.

Article written by Andreea Florescu, Recruitment Specialist

Andreea is an experienced recruitment specialist located in New York (US) who help organizations find the right person for a particular role. For the past years she was part of scaling teams for top companies in the tech world.