So you have a brilliant idea. A concept that you’re ready to turn into a reality. And you’re looking for someone who has the skills and know how to turn your napkin scribbles and endless bullet points into an amazing website/app. On an already long list of questions, one of the first things you’ll have to ask yourself is, “Who should I hire?” When it comes to taking that first step, you have two primary options: hiring an individual contractor or a full-blown dev shop.
The number one thing on anyone’s mind when starting a project, and possibly the biggest setback? Budget. This is one of the appealing draws of an individual contractor: you’re paying for a team of one. If budget is your biggest concern, working with a one-man band is definitely a solid option. Dev teams often have a higher base rate due to overhead costs, which can put your project on hold if any unexpected problems arise and your whole budget has already been allocated. But as tempting as a smaller price tag might be, there are other factors to consider when bringing your concept into fruition.
As frustrating as group projects in high school may have been, our teachers were definitely on to something. In a study published in August 2018 scientists found that working in a team can increase productivity and result in better quality work if given the opportunity to also work solo. Some participants working solo came up with great solutions to the problems at hand…others fell flat. Those who were required to collaborate during the duration of the experiment came up with higher-quality products, but due to the constant collaboration, didn’t produce as many solutions to the problem at hand. The sweet spot? The group that got equal parts team and solo work.
This is where dev teams can be the dream for your business. When working with a dev team, you’ll always have your point person, the person holding the reins, running the show. But while working on this project “alone”, their desk is never more than 5 feet from another brilliant designer, developer, marketer, or, most likely, cute dog. Group environments increase morale, providing support during roadblocks and when making important decisions. When working with a dev team, you’re paying for the ideas and skills of multiple experienced, invested professionals who are ready to celebrate the creation of another dope project.
Along with increased support, another advantage of a dev team is the varied experience and increased skill sets being brought to the table. A study published in the summer of 2018 showed a positive correlation between good teamwork/team satisfaction and its effect on tangible benefits. (In this case, net income — something we can all get on board for.) The desire to perform well in front of their mentors and peers caused a spike in hard work, resulting in happier participants and higher net income. Dev teams have established relationships and understanding of their co-worker’s strengths and weaknesses, providing a smooth transition of work between team members and time saved on communication, keeping you on — or ahead of — schedule and on budget.
Though incredibly skilled and competent, no one person can be an expert in every field. When arriving at a problem they can’t solve, an independent contractor may have to reach out to other professionals for their advice or experience or spend hours researching a solution. Or if you hire several independent contractors with varying skill sets, there’s no guarantee they’ll end up being the dream team you’re looking for. These scenarios could result in increased cost and stretch the timeline as emails, phone calls, and bouts of research steal away hours of work time.
Whether you decide to work with an independent contractor or dev team, one of the most important things is making sure they have your best interest at heart. An independent contractor may be limited by their individual past experience, and a dev team may be too reliant on proprietary frameworks. No matter how amazing the portfolio or tempting the price tag, it’s important to sit down with (or at the very least, FaceTime with) whoever you’re interested in working with. Their style of communication, skill sets, and general attitude are all things to take into consideration. Remember, this project won’t be done overnight, so do you really want to be in regular contact with someone who always talks over you? Who never responds to your emails, or doesn’t seem genuinely excited for your proposal? The relationship you have with whoever is creating your website/app will reflect in your final product, so make sure you’re happy with the connection you make.
So whether you’re leaning toward a dev team or independent contractor, come launch day you’ll be happy with all the work it took to make your dream a reality. The steps you take to get there are in the hands of whatever capable professional — or team of professionals — you decide to hire.
If you are interested in building an application but need some advice or help to make it happen, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to hear about it.