Building an App Development Team: Insource, Outsource, or Hybrid

When you need to build an app development team for a new product (or to ramp up / change an existing project), you should carefully consider three different approaches to building your team:

  1. Insourcing all development
  2. Outsourcing all development
  3. Using a hybrid model

SmartLogic How to build an app development team
Of course, companies hire SmartLogic for outsourced application development all the time, so I am biased here, but there is serious merit to each model, depending on the needs and stage of your product and company. Outsourced software development companies aren't a great fit for everyone.

This article is part 1 of 4 in a series explaining (1) different approaches to building an app development team; and (2) what you should insource and outsource.


When considering building a web or mobile software product—and how to build your app development team—we'll consider 5 key constraints:

  1. Time: how quickly do you need to launch? On the other hand, are you unable to start development until you've figured out some other piece of the puzzle (e.g. development of a physical prototype of your product)? Is there a certain window of opportunity in your marketplace that constrains when you need to launch your product?
  2. Budget: how much money do you have? Can you sacrifice timeliness in favor of spending less money? Or do you have lots of money but need to get the product out the door ASAP?
  3. Long-Term Plans: are you building the next Facebook, which means you'll have a steady flow of work, thereby necessitating that you hire thousands upon thousands of engineers? Or are you building a product where your development needs will ebb and flow or just be seasonal in nature?
  4. Your Experience Hiring / Managing Developers:  software developers are a certain breed. As with any type of specialist, if you don't know how to manage them then you may be setting yourself up for failure.
  5. Your Experience Developing Software Products: if this isn't your first rodeo then you'll have a better handle than most on what resources you'll need to get your software built and launched.

Different Approaches to Building a Team

You'll pick one of the three approaches based on your specific situation. Below is a brief overview of each of the three approaches and when it could be most appropriate for you:

  1. Insource: In this approach you do all product development in-house, with your own staff. It'll take you longer to get your product to market, but will be the cheapest approach in the long-term. It also requires you know what you're doing and that you know how to manage developers and the software development process.
  2. Outsource: This approach is generally more expensive in the short-term, but outsourcing software development also allows you to ramp up development resources quickly, meaning your product launches sooner than it would otherwise. While it helps if you've had experience managing the development process it isn't a requisite if you hire the right development vendor.
  3. Hybrid: If you hire people in-house while outsourcing some development then you may experience the best of both worlds: quick turnaround at a good cost. You also won't necessarily need a tremendous amount of experience with developing software if you hire the right people and companies.

If you want to learn more about putting a team together and software development, download our ebook.



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About Yair Flicker

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