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In-house development – Is it a proposition worth taking?

Updated: Jul 5

Building software completely in-house can be a tempting option for many young startups.

It comes with loads of additive advantages: The idea of having complete control over the development process, being able to make quick decisions, and having direct access to the team can be very appealing, especially if you are at your growth stage.

However, before jumping into this approach, it is important to consider whether your product team is ready for this type of undertaking.

One of the main risks of building software completely in-house is the lack of expertise. Building a software product requires a diverse set of skills –

From MVP ideation and

Felicitating the user experience for a growing user base

To developmental changes with

Testing features of every product change now and then.

Building software in-house is difficult, especially while keeping up with changing customer needs and the up-to-date technology required to build one. Most of the in-house teams lack an understanding of product scalability, and hiring additional employees is becoming a piling exercise that they will abandon when the next funding winter arrives. This is putting a strain on investors' capital, and the only solution their portfolio can come up with is to waste money on futile marketing gimmicks.

Hiring for your growth needs rather a mere 9-5

In the early growth stages of any startup, the scenario is full of a chaotic bombardment of responsibilities which will further require early growth members to wear multi-tasking hats. Even with a dedicated talent acquisition team, it may be difficult to find individuals who possess all of the skills for the required development.

Therefore, streamlining recruitment strategies is still one of the biggest challenges for startups in growth staging. Recruiters have reported this as a “skill crunch” in the market with demands for these specific roles at their pinnacle. Startups are already coming up with HR tech solutions to probe into these hiring challenges. However, it is more of a humane issue that requires a change in strategy rather than a change in the tech stack you are deploying. With the tech market flourishing with trillions of businesses every year and subsequently software development: the most in-demand skill set to have, this is pushing the ball in job seekers’ favor. If you are a startup in talks with an applicant with multiple job offers, there is a high probability he is cross-shopping with you. For him/her, you are just one of the money-churning machines and it will not be viable for you to completely rely on just one profile for your growing production needs. The usual time taken by candidates on arriving at their decision station would surely make your startup miss catching up to the growth train which is extremely crucial for monetizing your customer retention.

Thinking beyond your MVP

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product development concept that refers to releasing a preliminary version of a product to a small group of customers or users to gather feedback and data to improve the final product. The general notion of MVP is factually wrong in the startup ecosystem. MVP is not some half-baked product iteration to get a certain XYZ valuation from your investors. It is a process that is repeated again and again until you reach the correct market fit. The whole cycle from MVP to market-read product starts from Identifying your most risky assumption, designing the smallest possible experiment to test that assumption, using the experiment results to course correct, and then repeating the same cycle for nailing the sweet spot of a great product with effective customer retention. Hiring the right talent for your product development in between pivoting your requirements can be a very fuzzy challenge plus strategizing is also an important step ahead. You need an experienced intuition coupled with data analytics to arrive at your finalized product design.

This experienced intuition of what will work as the final product and data analytics tracking each of your measures can be outsourced by onboarding a custom software development partner for your development journey. Your employees must work 9 to 5, but a custom software development company with a clientele similar to yours would fully commit their service pool to your requirements; they could even be your technology partners for the journey ahead.

It is the business process that differentiates two businesses

Products are bound to fail and great ones too are susceptible to failure. It is the set of business processes that differentiates two businesses. Considering the software industry, the concept of code exceptions and manual testing is here for decades and will stay here for some more decades. It is the process that betters your product with very growing customer interaction. Great products are what everybody is promising in today’s growing startup ecosystem but what about the 2% exception component of your business which is causing reputation to the rest 98%? The data integrity check is one of the few rare in the software market which is not a skill issue but rather an ownership problem. Even if you have in-house product development capacity, your developers’ time is costly. It is worth preserving to be directed toward building ever-changing product requirements. Outsourcing a SaaS vendor offering productized services tuned to your business needs (monitoring tools + established workforce implementing the best of product fixation practices) would not only save you time but also insulate your business practices from growth anomalies.

Let us jump to one last concluding question: Are you a company that wants to build the next big software thing or do you want to be stuck in the constant state of iterative hiring trying to build products?

Outsourcing a custom software development firm taking care of your talent acquisition needs and business operations should be your answer.

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