Technology , Innovation, the Future
Internal Vs External Product Development
Time and time again we see startups hiring freelance developers or employing their own full time developer, handing them the responsibility of building the company’s product, be that an app, web application or platform. This is perfectly fine if the Co-Founder, or someone in the organisation, has experience in software development and product management, if not it could be a recipe for disaster. In essence it’s the same principle as hiring your own builder to build a house. If you have no understanding of product development, then you are really putting the future of your company in the hands of the developer (we’ve all seen Rogue Traders!).
Throughout the years, we have witnessed companies with great ideas try to develop them internally, wasting £1000’s on a product which is unfit for market.
Much like the building trade you get cowboys, and just because they say they are a developer doesn’t mean they are. I have worked with some self-proclaimed ‘expert’ developers who lack even the most basic understanding of software development.
In my experience the most important person in a project is a Product Manager. The PM has all stakeholders’ interest at heart, not just their own. You also need UX/UI designers, Back-end developers (mobile / web) & Front-end developers (horses for courses).
I know this because I am a developer and did what I thought was best without consulting the key stakeholder! Wasting time and money and ultimately putting the product in jeopardy.
It is normal for every member of the team to have their own role and agenda but if you only have a developer calling the shots, you only get one point of view.
Admittedly as a junior developer I did this and now can spot it a mile off. I still see it today – when a developer is speaking to an account person they start to bluff, but a developer to developer conversation is a different experience when challenged on the protocols and justified approach.
I hire a reputable firm with all the right skills, then once the house has been finished it is handed over to me (once the snags have been completed). The same should apply for product development.
An inexperienced developer will develop for the NOW rather than the future, simply because they have not got experience to give them the required foresight. A PM will bring this discpline to the party.
Responsibility for the full product is a massive undertaking if you haven’t done it before. The architecture and foundation of a product is the most important part of the whole process (same as a house). The success of your product will be determined at this point.
There are some great developers out there but there are also lots of cowboys who will walk off the job when the going gets tough. Then you’re left with a pile of useless code which no other developer or agency will take on (sick puppy scenario).
It’s called the “Planning Fallacy”
1. You need impartial / unbiased advice on the product and how it should be developed.
It goes without saying that a reputable app development company may be slightly more expensive however they are professional, accountable and will have knowledge and experience far superior to that of one developer and will save you time and money.
Jerry Staple (Ex Developer)
Technical Director & Co-Founder of OriginGet in touch
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