Outsource or in house? Picking a developer for your startup MVP

No matter which framework you choose for your startup MVP, you’ll need a developer to get it off the ground. Unfortunately, there’s no one solution for all startups. Outsourcing and in house development both have their strengths and weaknesses and which one is best for you depends on the specific needs of your startup.

The most obvious benefit of an outsourced developer is cost, but don’t let that lead your decision, outsourcing comes with more time spent on project management and offshore communication. Does the lower cost justify the time you’ll spend on it? Actual cost judged against opportunity cost is notoriously hard to calculate but it’s definitely something you’ll need to consider. Another benefit to outsourcing development is the ability to hire for short-term commitments. Maybe you need an expert brought in to ramp up a project launch for a few weeks—that’s going to be more difficult to find in person.

In house development has pros and cons, too. In house developers are going to adapt to change more quickly. Changes and updates can be communicated instantly rather than waiting for a meeting time. Having an in person team will also benefit the quality of work, since members are present and involved in multiple aspects of the company.

Cost is a downside—a full time in house developer is going to be significantly more expensive. A sometimes unforeseen downside is that it could take more time to find the right developer and convince them to join you. However, that extra time will be rewarded by a developer who believes in your startup MVP and is ready to give it their best.

When it comes to choosing a developer, whether it’s outsourced, in house, or a combination, you’ll need to understand the needs and expectations for your startup. Outsourced development at the beginning can rapidly accelerate growth but cause difficulties in the long run when a long term commitment can’t be realized. In house development from the start can be costly and prevent growth in other areas. In reality, most startups fall into a hybrid of outsourced and in house development and ultimately, it’s going to depend on what your startup MVP needs for success.

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