One of the most important things for every startup is deciding how are they going to approach the product development process. And the possibilities are vast. You could go with freelancers, hire an in-house team or work with a software product development agency. Which way is the best? Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of each approach!

Why Does It Matter Who Develops Your Product?

First of all, who develops your digital product will impact its quality and performance. It’s also going to impact how fast you can get your product out to market. Some product development approaches are also more risky than others. For example, when working with freelancers you might get lower rates, but the risk of them abandoning your project is rather high. Similarly, you face the risk of friction between the team members if you go with an in-house team. And working with a product development agency can get costly. So, how can you choose?

In-House Development Team: Pros & Cons

Let’s start with the first thing that comes to most owners’ minds. Hiring an in-house development team. For many, this is the best choice. At least they think so. But hiring, onboarding and maintaining an in-house team can be very tricky. First, you need to actually find specialists who will be able to build your product. And specifying who you need on board is very hard, unless you have a CTO by your side. Finding talent is quite hard in today’s market. Companies have been competing for the best developers for a long time, offering more and more benefits. Chances are, as a young startup, you won’t be able to provide as many perks as that.

Besides hiring, you will also need to onboard and maintain the team as well as take care of project management. This may seem like a great idea, but can prove to be quite the challenge. Managing a team of developers is something that should be done by a dedicated project manager or it might lead to delays and issues along the way.

On the bright side, in-house product development can save you money. However, you can only save money if you hire the right team, onboard and manage them properly. Otherwise, you might end up spending more. Besides that, one of the key advantages of in-house development is more control over the workflow as well as a lot of flexibility. Having a team working only for you ensures there’s a smaller chance of delays.

Working With Freelancers: Pros & Cons

Another route you can take is hiring freelancers. It’s the most flexible product development approach as you can scale your “team” up or own depending on your current needs. However, most people who have worked with freelancers report that the communication was poor and that their project wasn’t the freelancers’ priority. While it may not be an issue for smaller projects, if you’re looking to develop a complex mobile or web project – it’s something to keep in mind.

You also never truly know who you are hiring. Most freelancers work remotely and there’s little to none interviewing involved. Sometimes you might end up with low quality work, simply because it’s very hard to verify a freelancer’s skills. While freelancers are very flexible, they usually follow their own workflow which may not match up with how your startup operates. That’s another thing that may become an issue. You will also need to keep in mind things like time zones and locations when hiring freelancers. If you hire different people from all over the world, they might not work well together because of the time or culture differences.

Hiring A Product Development Agency: Pros & Cons

A specialized agency is the best choice when you’re looking for the highest quality. They usually have a team that has worked together previously and, therefore, can work quicker. That’s one of the biggest advantages of agencies or software houses. They have done this before, have standardized development processes and a proven workflow. However, working with a software house is not cheap. You don’t have to cover any costs of software and tools but you do have to account for their know-how and expertise.

Of course, there’s also the matter of finding the right software development agency to work with. But once you choose the right partner, agencies have great advantages. People working there are exposed to many different industries, business models etc. so they have extensive knowledge when it comes to designing products. They will come up with better solutions than a freelancer could and will be able to execute their ideas better.

How To Make The Decision?

Decision-making is hard, especially when it comes to your product idea. But ultimately, the choice will depend on what your needs and goals are. Some startups are okay with longer time-to-market if it means lower costs, others need to push the product out to market in record time. When deciding which route to take, think about your priorities and resources. Maybe consider a hybrid approach – work with a freelancer for design and with an agency for development. Choose the option that will best suit your business objectives.

If you’re looking for an experienced team that can help you with the entire product development process – contact us for a free product consultation and let’s get your project started!