… and with whom to contract to get things done?
Frankly speaking, our company never brings in freelance software developers, because in our line of work, this is considered to be a colossally bad practice.. With that said, this doesn’t mean that hiring a freelance software developer isn’t an option.
The decision whether to hire dedicated team of software developers or a freelance programmer should not depend on some abstract list of pros and cons. Rather, it should be directly tied to the key parameters of your project:
- The role of the software product in your business. Is it central or auxiliary to it?
- Your expectations from the software product. How is it going to influence the profitability of your company?
- How complex is your project? Does it require just technical expertise or a deep understanding of product design? Is marketing also crucial for its success?
- Do you have any qualified technical staff inside your company to support and manage the software product in the event of unforeseeable circumstances?
- What size of a budget can you invest in this project?
After evaluating the five points mentioned above, it’ll be more clear as to where it is better to seek your project executors: within an offshore software outsourcing company, or by asking somebody you can trust to recommend a qualified freelance software developer.
Even if you officially work with only one person from an agency, you actually gain access to the qualifications and expertise of a large multidisciplinary team. You can request a consultation regarding any aspect of your software product, and acquire a recommendation from a person who specializes in this particular issue. When you work with a freelancer, you really can’t expect much aside from his/her primary specialization.
A few more factors to keep in mind when choosing between dedicated developers and freelancers:
A qualified software offshoring agency will always find an opportunity to replace your dedicated developer in the event of something unexpected happening. If something happens with your freelancer, you’ll have to find a replacement on your own dime and time.
Availability for communication
You can face some communication problems, such as delays, due to the difference in time zones, high workloads or even a lack of discipline from the freelancer side. Such issues are time-consuming, and often lead to conflicts which affect the quality of your project. At the same time, a well-qualified agency fosters a communication process in such a way that eliminates problems caused by a lack of communication. You’ll always have access to the complete information you need, with minimal time delays.
Adhering to deadlines is the weakest link of freelance software developers. This isn’t because freelancers are mean-spirited and lack discipline. It’s connected to the specifics of their line of work. The tasks can’t be delegated to another team member if they get sick or a new, previously unknown, issue takes ridiculously more time to figure out. Also, there are some mental problems when estimating a realistic time budget, when a person is working alone. So you can almost always count on that the deadline you’ve been promised by freelancer was way too optimistic.
If your project requires signing of an NDA, it’s better to consider outsourcing to a software development company to ensure extra control over your information, and other resources. This is simply because you have more legal layers over the company, than over individuals in this regard.
Independent of whom you decided to hire, you should envision how your software product will be supported in the future. Will your contractor guarantee future support? How will the design and code be documented? What’s the procedure for troubleshooting and fixing bugs?
Regarding this point, those who work with a single freelancer are putting themselves in great risk because too many factors might impact the willingness, and ability of this person to continue working on your project. It’s a typical situation when clients have to look for another contractor to support maintenance of a product developed by a single freelance programmer. Sadly, not always with a good results.
We hope we gave you some ideas on how to make better informed and more efficient decisions. To bring it all together, hiring a freelance developer is not a bad decision if you’re just looking to wrap up a small project. However, if you’re developing a product you want to last for a while – hiring a company that provides the services of dedicated programmers will definitely be a safer bet.