In-House vs. Remote Development Team: What’s Best for Your Startup?

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In this post, I’ll try to cover both the advantages and challenges of choosing to develop a project with an in-house or a remote development team, those that every start-up founder has had to face from the beginning.

Okay, let’s go into detail.

When you choose a development team for your startup, many things should be taken into consideration and many questions must be asked. First of all, depending on the current stage of your startup, requirements for the development team will differ. Also, whether or not you have a CTO who can focus on perfecting the technical side of your product as well as making sure you’re staying within the deadlines.

Does your CTO need to work on development?

In reality, ‘development’ means a dozen different tasks including project management, product feedback, testing, etc., which is all still in development. So, if you need to complete several different tasks and focus on your product, choose a remote development team

As simple as that sounds, a proper remote development team will close tasks directly associated with writing code, and it usually involves planning and project management functionality. Yes, you will still need to forecast the work and maintain the process, but, with a fully functional remote team, your CTO will become a product owner, rather than just a developer.

Next, ask yourself the following: Is this a core product or just additional functionality?

If you’re planning to work on the core product, and you’ve already hired an in-house team, sure, do it in-house. However, if your team is a three-man boat (to say nothing of the dog) – don’t waste time or money hiring and onboarding in-house developers. Work with an outsourced development team and just keep an eye on the planned budget. 

Speaking of core development, the bonus of an in-house team comes down to intellectual property. Startup founders don’t usually outsource core because of the risks associated with data leakage. With an in-house team, you feel more ‘in control’ of the situation since your developers were hired by you. But, in reality, will you actually have control over the intellectual property, and what does this ‘control’ mean to you?

On the other hand, if you’re just willing to add additional functionality to your product – outsource it. That will save you time that can be better spent on planning on how to scale your product for the next year.

Can you keep control over intellectual property? Also do you need multiple talents in your team?

Look, if you don’t trust anyone and care deeply about intellectual property, knock yourself out hiring an in-house team. But don’t forget to put everyone in the same building with no access to the internet and black curtains on the windows. I’ll bet, this way, your product will be safe and sound. Is it possible? – Maybe. Do you believe that will allow for the creation of really great products?

On the other hand, if you’re more realistic about intellectual property and the experience of developers you work with, outsourcing is a great option that saves time and nerve cells.

Moving on to the budgeting. How much can you spend on development next year? 

That’s a tough question, I know. But along with scaling your product, the number of changes will  grow exponentially. Consider what you can afford in the long run: in-house or remote?

Again, you can hire a do-it-all single developer, but cleaning up a mess could cost you more. Whereas, a remote team provides a selection of specialists, where each can be hired for a specific amount of hours per month. 

Let’s say you need a designer, but you’re not sure whether or not you’ll have a constant flow of incoming tasks. Also, you’re struggling with your budget. This is a perfect example of when outsourcing comes into play – just hire a good outsource designer for occasional tasks until you have resources and the right amount of tasks to keep the designer occupied full time.

Finally, what about flexibility? Isn’t it more flexible to have your own in-house team?

That’s a good question. Let’s say you have a release tomorrow and nothing has been done. With a devoted in-house team of developers that you have great relationships with, you could probably stay up all night going through a pile of tasks. Because that’s what teammates do, right? 

With a remote team, it will be rather difficult. But, in case you have an empathetic HR specialist in your team, the plan of staying up all night and overloading an in-house team might fail as well.

Overall, choosing between an in-house and remote team lies in the planning. I know how boring this is but this is the only way to keep your product afloat, while not destroying your funds. The reason I urge you to plan is because, with accurate planning and outsourcing, your product could hit the market much sooner than with just an in-house team. So, choose wisely, but don’t forget the key ingredient. 

Don’t stop exploring! Here’s what we recommend reading next:

Minimum Viable Product – 4 Things Every Startup Should Know

5 Reasons Why Quality Not Cost is the Priority when Choosing Mobile App Developers

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