Why Projects Fail & How to Outsource App Development Prudently

Trung Tran

Trung Tran | 23/09/2023

How to Outsource App Development Prudently

In an era when almost everything is intertwined with technology, the use of mobile apps significantly matters for business purposes. In the realm of business, companies need mobile applications as a platform to bridge their services or products to prospects and customers. Just look at how Uber, Amazon, and Apple leverage their mobile applications to provide convenience and comprehensive service to their respective users. Lots of entrepreneurs and startup founders soon recognize the shift from classical web-based services to mobile apps and take on the challenge of completing their business pictures with their own applications.

In the digital landscape, there are so many ways to bring an app idea to reality. Business owners can immediately purchase a well-completed read-to-use application that is designed and developed based on the common needs of a particular base of clients. Or they can also consider hiring mobile app developers and assembling an in-house team to get on with the project, which can cost a fortune. One other path is to outsource mobile app development to third-party service agencies.

Being praised by both tech and non-tech companies for its undeniable benefits, outsourcing has become the strategy of choice. In this piece of writing, we are going to drill into the project-based outsourcing model - in which a client delegates the entire app development process to a third party. In specific, we take you through the root causes of failed outsourcing projects and how to keep your venture on track.

What Possibly Causes an Outsourcing Mobile App Development Project to Fall Apart?

What Possibly Causes an Outsourcing Mobile App Development Project to Fall Apart?

What potential issues might be lurking within your project? Outsourcing is no click-and-done yet like a “voyage” through many sprints and stages of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) with the aid of a dedicated team and IT partner. You are likely to confront a plethora of unforeseen risks and incidents that could potentially derail your outsourcing endeavor, resulting in delay or even total project breakdown.

While it is true that every outsourcing project carries the potential for failure to some extent, the good news is that most of the root causes often stem from early-stage missteps in the outsourcing app development process. Fortunately, this means they are largely preventable with foresight and careful planning. Hence, make sure you become familiar with all the possible triggers for project setbacks and are capable of weathering them beforehand unless you want to learn the lesson the hard way.

Lack of Clarity in the Big Picture

Mobile application development outsourcing entails plenty of nitty-gritty details; hence, business owners are likely to get lost in the weeds and lose sight of their ultimate goal: Create a completely functional product up to the mark. It might sound basic, but it could become a real stumbling block to the success of a project if you have no clear vision for yours.

Therefore, to set sail safely, you must do market research and come up with strategic objectives for your mobile development outsourcing decision. By that, it means you must have a very good idea for the “ brainchild you’re about to bear” and know what needs to be done to make it happen. Simply put, you need to know what you are going to build, who is your target audience, what your in-house development team can or cannot do, why you outsource in the first place, which portion of the project to outsource, what advantages you will gain after the project is finished, etc. Moreover, you should study the feasibility of your app idea, scrutinize your role in the whole endeavor as well, and verify the suitability for outsourcing – checking if your app project is better done in-house or entrusted to an outsourcing company.

From the first draft of your project, continue to flesh out more details until you complete a bigger picture of your outsourcing journey. Do not underestimate this preparation as it links directly to your next steps along the way, capable of making or breaking the entire effort. Once under-prepared, you are likely to set yourself up for future failure. A rough sketch from the beginning will set the firm foundation for your planning process.

An Inadequate Plan

In the area of mobile app outsourcing, once you failed to plan, you planned to fail. Outsourcing is a big decision; thus, you need a direction and a clear map to steer our project to land safely.

A well-thought-out plan has gone beyond just a rough estimate; instead, it should be backed by data and well-constructed calculations. In contrast, poor planning possibly leads to consequences, such as budget constraints, loose deadlines, project scope creep, even miscommunication breakdown, and heaps more. For good reasons, everything should be predefined long before you start scouting for potential app development companies.

First and foremost, start assessing budget and resources – including time, money, and manpower (mobile app developers available in-house). Then, align your capability with your requirements to decide on which mobile app development services and models to opt for, namely build-operate-transfer (BOT), dedicated app development team, onshore/nearshore/offshore mobile app development, and more.

In the planning stage, business owners may be prone to mistakes if they have insufficient knowledge and experience in measuring project complexity and dealing with outsourcing strategies. Hence, if needed, do not hesitate to seek professional consultation from trusted sources and hire an offshore development consultant who can help you create your plan more efficiently.

A Wrong Outsourcing Partner

A Wrong Outsourcing Partner

The wrong partner leads you to nowhere but a path of failure and a waste of time, that’s for sure. When trust is lacking, communication falls short, cultural differences cause friction, or technological gaps are prominent, you are facing the symptoms of a partnership that is not conducive to success.

How can you forecast an app development company, good or bad, right or wrong? The definition of a perfect match is not the same for different projects or clients. The right partner is not entirely determined by price, services, experience, etc., but by the combability and suitability between the two parties - the service provider and the service user. There won’t be a universal formula for all cases, so you have to evaluate multiple aspects to be able to discern which company will be the right fit for your specific project. Refer to this guide if you are on the way searching for your ideal partner.


One of the most common myths about outsourcing is that you must let go of your control over the entire project development process and possibly the final results. This is not true. You entrust a company with your project, but it does not mean surrendering all oversight. A reliable outsourcing firm will provide transparency, allowing you to maintain a level of control and be involved in the decision-making process. Instead of this fear, you should be concerned with exerting excessive control and micromanaging every detail of processes.

This supervision style can burden both sides, stifle creativity, lead to a lack of trust, cause frustration, hinder the ability to formulate mutually beneficial approaches, and even negatively impact the outcomes. Eventually, you will jeopardize the relationship with your partner. All of these ill-fated results are avoidable when business owners recognize the delicate balance between giving enough room to mobile app developers to be creative and asserting the right amount of control.

It is understandable to be anxious about the outcome of your project, but you should trust your choice, be hands-off, and leave the rest to your partner and the outsourced mobile developers. In the end, either way - too much control or none at all - is not reasonable. You have to strike a balance between the two extremes to ensure your outsourcing team can work with less restriction and more freedom to innovate and drive the project forward.

Cost Misestimation

An out-of-control budget is a classic consequence of inadequate planning. Without thorough research or consultation from experts, you are likely to underestimate the total cost of developing mobile apps - from making prototypes, testing, coding, and development up until post-launch maintenance. All these processes have their associated costs that need to be anticipated in advance.

Furthermore, miscalculation when attempting to fit the budget desperately by hiring low-cost service providers and novice developers who are not qualified or experienced enough is also common. Low pricing does not guarantee quality work; instead, it can cause more damage than you think - slow progress, buggy code, and multiple revisions that quickly pile up the costs. In this case, you may end up paying more in the long run due to the low-quality results and an extended development cycle.

Most agree that the end outcome to expect from outsourcing is cost reduction, but it is indeed a fatal mistake if you fall for the wrong partner or team merely due to the matter of costs. Therefore, be realistic when assessing your project’s budget, and don’t try to cut corners with unreasonable expectations. Stay within your budget, but also make sure you get quality work that meets your standards.

Impractical Expectations

The predefined objectives you set initially are one thing, but your expectations are entirely different. When you outsource app developers to work your project out, you have all the right to aim high and demand good results from your partner. However, unrealistic expectations are the common pitfall you may get yourself into if you are not careful. Diverging from the practicality of results might lead to an endless cycle of changes and project delays.

No need to imagine, but you can somehow forecast the subsequent consequences this can bring, can’t you? Cost overruns, no doubt. Where is the key to resolving this blunder? It all goes back to how you set your desired outcomes. Your expected results should be defined as transparent, realistic, and measurable.

In order not to get lost in your own lofty ambitions, you had better nail down a collection of metrics and proper measures to evaluate the project’s deliverables. Furthermore, it is advisable that you keep track of progress at regular intervals and refine results based on an iterative approach.

Bear in mind that these are not all of the potential pitfalls that await you on the way toward a successful outsourcing project. Therefore, stay awake, have a far-sighted vision, and plan an outsourcing strategy well enough to navigate your way through those hidden issues.

Navigate Through the Path of Mobile App Development Outsourcing Safely

Navigate Through the Path of Mobile App Development Outsourcing Safely

With all the hurdles and potential risks, you may find outsourcing mobile app development projects intimidating. However, do not falter on your choice too soon. An outsourcing journey is not necessarily challenging if you are guided in the right direction. Follow these tips on how to outsource app development efficiently:

Clarify Requirements & Expectations

Take heed of the lessons learned from the aforementioned mistakes; you should grasp your project’s intricacies from the get-go. In essence, you need to clarify your requirements and expectations.

Next, evaluate your internal capabilities and resources to pinpoint what areas would benefit from outsourcing. Convert these insights into tangible requirements and visualize the anticipated results in terms of design, development timeline, code quality, and testing procedures. Afterward, establish achievable objectives based on your findings and monitor your progress periodically.

The primary objective of these activities is to give you a holistic view of your mobile app development project and enable you to devise a comprehensive plan. In the dynamic world of mobile app development, the capacity to adapt and innovate in line with technological advancements is paramount. So, incorporating the factor of innovation into your outsourcing strategy will undoubtedly yield positive results.

Find a Reliable, Reputable Partner

With a well-established plan in hand, your next step is to reach out to a reliable, experienced app development agency. Unfortunately, your ideal partner is mixed in the vast ocean of outsourcing companies out there, so you need to narrow down a list of the best candidates first.

There could be multiple factors jamming your radar on a search. Location and cost are two main elements to weigh. In this case, remote destinations like Vietnam, where the IT workforce is vast and at a competitive rate, are the country of choice. Most companies hire offshore mobile app developers for cost-savings, geographic flexibility, and skillset advantages. In addition to these, you must conduct a thorough assessment to check on other elements, such as their portfolio, reviews of previous clients, ratings, pricing structure, etc., and align their capabilities with your needs. Apart from thoroughly investigating their credentials, you should also contact past clients to get their feedback regarding the services they have received.

Otherwise, you must pay heed to the service area coverage of a service vendor, reflected in how you approach the candidates. An expert in Android app development outsourcing will be much different from one in iOS app development, so select the proper ways to screen and assess the right one.

On your way to the ideal outsourcing partner, do not rush; take it slow in every step and cautiously instead.

Sign a Non-disclosure Agreement

Before digging into the project’s details, you ought to protect your intellectual property rights. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a two-way contract that verifiably builds trust between both parties and safeguards your ideas and confidential information from being leaked out or misused. This document, as a legal safeguard, also plays its part in protecting your partnership with the outsourcing provider, so it is essential to have you and the development team sign one.

Run a Pilot Project

The whole cycle of outsourcing mobile app development seems protracted. In this case, starting small is a wise choice.

Testing the waters with a pilot project is a good way to validate how well an app development outsourcing company can deliver. A pilot project is a small-scale, preliminary test or experiment conducted to evaluate the feasibility, duration, cost, and potential risk of a larger, more complex project. It serves as a model or blueprint allowing project managers to assess the potential success of the larger endeavor based on the pilot’s outcomes. In software development, this could mean developing a simple app or feature before committing to a full-scale project.

Through a pilot run, you can gain insights into the mobile app development team’s performance, quality of work, trustworthiness, communication style, and compatibility. From that, you have the foundation to make a decision on going with that team or finding a new one. In this manner, you can minimize the risks of an unsuitable partner or further a failed project.

Concentrate on Project Management

Communication is the key, and it is true but not enough. Most business owners overlook the vital role of efficient remote project management best practices in their outsourcing adventure. The presence of a dedicated project manager is essential to keep the project under control and ensure the successful completion of development tasks. The other crucial aspect is monitoring progress throughout the project lifecycle and gathering feedback from both sides regularly.

It could be challenging to manage a far-flung team, but with effective practices in place, you can make it work. Establishing clear KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and setting up the right tools for monitoring and collaboration, such as the project management system or version control, are some of the ways to ensure that everyone is on track.

Nurture a Strong Relationship with Your Partner

Now, the only imperative mission left is to build and maintain a good relationship with your IT partner at first sight and afterward. Be open to communication, answer their questions, and be straightforward with them. If things are challenging or something goes wrong, remember to stay friendly and professional in the conversation. Be patient when waiting for responses from your offshore mobile app development team as well. By showing mutual respect and trust between both parties, you can work together towards a successful project that yields smart results.

Outsource Mobile App Development to Orient Software

Outsource Mobile App Development to Orient Software

Orient Software - your trusted partner for mobile app development outsourcing or any other IT needs is here.

With Orient by your side, you can rest easy, knowing that there will be no compromise on cost-effectiveness or quality. For over a decade, Orient has been a one-stop shop for comprehensive IT outsourcing solutions. Thus, we hold a wealth of experience in developing mobile apps across platforms and supplying skilled personnel for outsourcing endeavors.

Over the years, we have cultivated our own pool of tech enthusiasts and experienced developers. As trailblazers in the Vietnamese IT market, our expertise spans a broad spectrum of services, comprising but not confined to mobile app development, web application development, QA testing, and more. We are well-equipped and eager to support you in overcoming all challenges throughout your project journey, propelling you towards success.

So, what’s your challenge? Are you seeking a dedicated software team? Or perhaps you are interested in project-based services? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Share with us your needs, and our team of specialists will be delighted to devise a custom solution that aligns with your budget and specific requirements.

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