The Downfalls of In-House App Design & Development

Northsail Understands the Importance of Internal Balance

As much as you and your team might want to take on the world together, there is only so much that each person can handle in a day/week/month.

At Northsail, we take those kinds of things into account whenever we're taking on a new project. We have to be certain that we can deliver a project on-time, on-spec, and on-budget; because if not, we simply won't take it on.

However, if your team is looking at creating a new mobile app, you may be wondering whether or not you want to tackle this project internally, or whether it will make more sense to outsource the development process to a third-party company?

There are definitely some pros and cons to both, but this page will focus on some of the reasons that it might not be the best idea to use your internal teams for this type of project.

Before we get to that, let's talk a bit about what in-house app design and development can actually look like, as well as the major benefits of outsourcing the project.

What is In-House App Design & Development?

Essentially, in-house development means that all of your internal teams are going to handle all the elements involved in planning and executing your new software development project.

Typically, this means assigning a team of developers to manage the project, and then either shifting their duties onto other departments until the project is completed, or hiring people to replace them (at least temporarily).

The house team must then go through all the standard business operations required to plan, design, develop, and execute your new software solution.

As you can probably imagine, without proper planning, this can put an enormous strain on your house development team; especially if they have other responsibilities that they're also responsible for.

The Major Benefits of Outsourcing App Development

There are a number of major benefits to outsourcing this type of project to a third-party software development company, but possibly the biggest benefit is the quality of the final product.

Outsourcing work to an app development agency, or bringing in a third-party company to assist with the software development process (while your team focuses on content/marketing), can lead to a much higher-quality product.

Specialized software development teams have all the equipment, experience, and skills that they need to produce what you need - at least, they should, if they're taking on your project.

At the end of the day, isn't the most important part of creating a software product having a functional, engaging, intuitive UI/UX? We certainly think so.

7 Reasons Your Teams Might Struggle with In-House App Design & Development

1.) Lots of Additional Costs

Okay, so you've decided to manage this project yourself. You have an entire team of passionate people, what could go wrong, right?

Well, for one, have you considered the costs that go along with this type of project development? There might be a lot more than you think, which can dramatically impact a tight budget or projects with very firm budget constraints.

Do you already have a talent pool internally that you can source from, or are you going to have to hire from an external pool of talent to fill in the blanks? What about the project management tools you might need? Do you have those readily available already?

All of these factors can have an underlying impact on your project budget. If you want to be able to perform mobile development for a software application at a reasonable price, you can find substantial cost savings by using an external team.

They'll already have everything they need to execute your project (or if not, you can determine that during the prospecting process), so you can forget about absorbing those costs.

You just have to budget for the mobile app developers. That's it. It may not be cheap, but it's a somewhat stable cost that can be planned for.

2.) Lack of Qualified Developers

Does your in-house team even know how to design and develop a mobile application? It's certainly not a given, even if you have a talented in-house developer with other skill sets.

You may want to keep complete control of the project, but you can't run while you're learning to walk. And you can't create a beautiful, engaging, functional digital product without the experienced professionals needed to execute your plans.

Outsourced teams that have specialization in software development are much more likely to help you achieve your business goals than using in-house specialists that are lacking certain bits of knowledge or experience.

It takes years of extensive experience to design and develop apps that provide an ideal mobile experience, so if you really want a competitive advantage in your market, it might be a good idea to lean on mobile app development agencies.

3.) Security Risks During Development

The process of app development can be a long one, filled with lots of trial and error, so you can ensure all your app features are functioning properly.

However, without the proper security precautions put in place, your internal development team could face issues like data breaches, which can be both costly and damaging to your brand's reputation.

Software development agencies typically have a lot of built-in security features/software that can assist them in protecting secure data during the trial and testing phases of your application; especially, if you're looking to create a customer-facing or customer data driven finished product.

Nothing can throw off your business objectives like an unwanted information leak, which can cost your company hundreds or thousands of dollars in liability fines.

4.) Project Fatigue

Apart from things like core competency, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least talk about project fatigue, and how that can impact the entire app development process; including your teams' mental health and job satisfaction.

This is one of those unspoken app development costs, which can actually have an enormous impact on your overall project success.

Having dedicated development teams implies that those people have no other responsibilities (or limited), which means that they can focus almost entirely on the software development services they're responsible for.

However, using in-house app development means they either have to shift their job tasks, split their attention (never a good idea), or you have to hire new team members.

In either case, this can result in project fatigue from overloading in-house developers with too much work. If they can't handle their workload, the end results will always suffer - both for your application and their regular duties.

5.) Strain on Your Recruitment Process

If you think that you're going to be able to design, development, test, and market a new application using just your internal teams, you might be in for a bit of a shock.

In many cases, managing this type of project internally means that additional recruitment is required - either to manage the tasks that your existing team members were focusing on before, or to take on new responsibilities that are required as part of the app development process.

Whether you're looking to bring on temp employees that you can pay at an hourly rate, or bringing in new permanent members of a dedicated team, this is going to require time and resources.

Unless you take the time to plan far enough ahead of time, you might find yourself struggling to even get your new app project off the ground, because you're spending too much time hiring/training new house team members.

6.) Missing Software Features

There are a lot of potential product features that you may want to include in your new app development project, but how do you know what's going to work best for your target audience?

Your in-house development team may not know all the options available to them, how to utilize/build these types of features into your application, or simply may not have the specialized skills necessary to execute the development of certain features.

A mobile app development company typically have a lot of talented developers that know how to execute a wide array of potential application features.

If your team doesn't have any experience, the entire project can be a lot harder to design and develop efficiently. Utilizing experienced teams from a third-party team of professionals can help eliminate this potential issue.

7.) Longer Time to Market

If you don't have dedicated team members, your developers will need to focus their time on other things too. The fact that your upper management will have split attention (between their regular oversights combined with overseeing the new app development), means that it's going to take them longer to get anything done.

Overwhelming demands mean that people get burnt out. Their work can start to get sloppy; not for any lack of effort. Dedicated development teams don't have these kinds of issues, because they're used to building an app from scratch.

They'll have access to experts that can solve issues quickly, for more affordable prices, while an internal software team can get bottlenecked behind challenging app ideas to execute or ensuring business processes are maintained consistently within the new application.

All-in-all, outsourcing providers can yield a number of substantial benefits that will all work in tandem to help make sure that your final product gets to market in faster time, and in the best form possible.


Using a third-party software provider can also provide your team with more effective communication throughout the development process.

Trying to keep everything organized for the sake of collaboration can be challenging; especially on difficult product ideas. These issues can start to cause major headaches for your in-house team of software developers.

However, outsourcing to a professional company means that they'll likely already have a process in place for providing clear, direct communication throughout the development process.

This means less confusion, easier collaboration, better milestone tracking, and surprisingly, it can even lead to more direct control over the project; since the third-party developers are likely a lot more comfortable with the development process than you are.

In turn, you can pivot more quickly, find solutions for challenging app integrations, and in some cases, even create the final product at a reduced cost.

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