Should You Outsource Your MVP?

September 01, 2016

Lately, I’ve overheard a couple of founders in the startup community asking whether it is a good idea to outsource their minimum viable product, and then hire a team of developers after rollout. The alternative, of course, is to build out your development team in order to tackle your MVP (usually by selling those developers on the dream for lower or no pay).
Startups often outsource their MVPs, but it’s a very divisive question with hard-liners on either side. The truth is, there are so many variables in outsourced development work (and development in general) that this question can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. Here’s some advice to help guide you through the process:
    1.    Make sure you have someone internally who understands the development process well enough to know what your “outsourcing” partner is doing. Not having this technical oversight in-house is a huge risk factor that could cost a lot of time and money.
    2.    Practice an agile development methodology. If you never have before, familiarize yourself. Agile is simply the way development is done. It doesn’t even need to apply to tech development – our marketing partner uses agile methodology. If you’re considering using an outsourced development partner that isn’t practicing agile, reconsider. The fundamental components of agile: Daily check-ins, collaborative planning discussions, a story tracking system all parties can access, and an intelligently prioritized backlog of your MVP’s features are all critical to mitigating risk.
    3.    Ensure that you can communicate throughout the majority of the workday – and I’ll admit I am biased on this one. We located DevSpark in our nearshore center (in Buenos Aires province) specifically to facilitate agile development with onshore/in-house teams. Time zone alignment means that it’s easy to communicate and Blockers are often the root cause of added cost/lost time. If you can rapidly unblock issues, you can save yourself a great deal of both money and headaches.
Finally, if you’re planning on raising outside capital and do choose to work with an external development partner early on, I’d recommend talking to potential investors sooner rather than later. Some investors have very strong opinions about this (on both sides of the aisle), so you should identify your options on the front end, and reduce your risk going forward.
As alluded to earlier, founders often don’t have much choice in the matter of outsourcing their MVP because it is critical to a seed round or other financing solution. If you’re stuck in this position, take heart: for the past decade, outsourced offshore development companies have grown increasingly familiar with the startup world.
At DevSpark, we emphasize collaboration and creative discourse for every product we build, design or otherwise support. As we have expanded the focus of our services to include more and more startups and venture-funded enterprises, we have seen these cultural policies payoff. Gone are the days of assembly-line engineers in remote offshore locations, crunching out code. The modern offshore environment emphasizes teamwork, problem-solving and agility.
Interested in outsourcing your minimum viable product? Check out or contact us

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