Many businesses want to launch software products as quickly as possible, but development teams know that there’s a trade-off between quality and speed. While hiring new developers may be out-of-the-question for many budgets, there are some alternatives that businesses might consider to accelerate development timelines without the high expense.
Let’s take a look at four strategies that you can use to accelerate application development without hiring new developers.Stakeholders often want to launch software as quickly as possible, but development teams know there’s a trade-off between quality and speed. Click To Tweet
What is the (Real) Cost of Hiring?
There’s no doubt that software development is expensive. With high demand, the median salary for software developers is more than $115,000, according to PayScale. By comparison, many freelancers charge around $100 per hour, which translates to nearly $180,000 if you hire them for the same amount of time as a full-time employee would work.
While freelance costs are all-inclusive, full-time employees have a lot of additional costs. Employers must provide benefits like Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance to all employees, while insurance, retirement benefits, annual bonuses and supplemental pay (e.g. paid leave) can push costs to upwards of $150,000.
Full-time employees also introduce new overhead costs. For example, employers must typically provide office space and equipment that has both up-front and ongoing maintenance costs. These costs can quickly increase the cost of full-time hires to nearly $200,000 for a median developer and even higher for senior-level talent.
#1. Contract Labor
Contract labor, or freelancers, are the most common way to avoid hiring new developers. Freelancers tend to charge around $100 per hour, which translates to about $180,000 if they were to work the same hours as a full-time employee. Of course, there are no costs above and beyond that amount and it can be scaled up or down depending on your needs.[ Content upgrade with ID = 572 not found ]
Of course, freelancers are individuals that aren’t as dedicated to your project as an employee and tend to be less reliable. They may abandon your project if they find a better opportunity (such as a full-time job) or disappear suddenly for other reasons. It can also be challenging to manage multiple independent freelancers and integrate them with your team.
Individual freelancers may be best if you only need help with one aspect of an application that can be handled with a single person. For instance, you may want someone to write documentation or fix a limited number of bugs. Working with freelancers is also a lot easier if you have an existing asynchronous workflow in place to streamline development.
#2. Development Shops
Development shops, or agencies, are companies that manage software developers. Oftentimes, development shops will take on a specific project for a fixed or variable cost. You don’t have to worry about managing developers on your own since agencies tend to have their own management systems in place to ensure reliable work.
For example, Sharkbyte is a development agency that can handle everything from custom application development to team augmentation. Unlike other agencies, we have experienced senior-level engineers that are familiar with business domains. They seek out the best solutions to business problems and help augment your team without sacrificing quality.
Development shops are a good choice if you’re looking for multiple reliable and high-quality software developers. Since you’re working with an agency, you don’t have to worry about day-to-day management or juggling a lot of different invoices. You can focus on your business and assign tasks to the agency that you’d like them to complete.
#3. Reduce the Scope
Reducing the scope of a project can help accelerate the timeline, reduce costs due to fewer development hours, and potentially limit technical debt by only focusing on the core features. While it’s not always possible to reduce scope, businesses that can cut down on requirements can realize a lot of benefits without a lot of cost.[ Content upgrade with ID = 572 not found ]
The best way to reduce scope is to build a minimum viable product, or MVP, that focuses on just one or two core requirements. In addition, you can use test-driven development to ensure that you’re only writing the code that’s needed to pass a certain functional requirement, which can help sidestep the temptation to over-engineer an application.
#4. Third-Party Components
The use of third-party services or libraries can dramatically reduce the scope of a project and accelerate its timeline. For instance, you may use a third-party service to handle machine learning tasks rather than trying to develop a custom implementation in-house. There are services for many common tasks that can reduce the number of hours required to launch.
Of course, the use of third-party components also carries a risk. It’s not uncommon for third-party companies to vanish and leave applications in a lurch. Meanwhile, many third-party libraries and other dependencies may go unmaintained and open the door to security vulnerabilities that could adversely impact the application over the long run.
The use of third-party components requires a maintenance strategy. You should incorporate these dependencies in a way that enables them to be quickly swapped with other technologies should they go out of business or unmaintained. A common approach is creating API or dependency wrappers to isolate functionality into a single class.
The Bottom Line
Many stakeholders want to launch software as quickly as possible, but developers know there’s a tradeoff between quality and speed. While hiring new developers may be out of the question, there are some ways that you can speed up development at a lower cost.
If you’re looking for high-quality developers, Sharkbyte provides access to senior-level talent that understands business requirements. Our developers are ready to help you bring your project back on track without breaking your budget.