Looking for ways to reduce your web development costs and schedule? Consider these factors

On the path to running a business without boundaries or limits, entrepreneurs often struggle to achieve maximum startup functionality and the highest level of scalability, all at the lowest possible cost. This especially comes into play when developing software or websites.

I won’t discuss whether to outsource web development or hire an in-house development team here, as that choice depends on the processes within the startup. Although a team of in-house developers costs more, having in-house support is beneficial for organizations with ongoing web development needs.

But as the marketing manager of a web development outsourcing service provider, I’m responsible for establishing communication between the startup owners and the development teams, involved from the very beginning of the process until the maintenance of the project. Here, I’ll look at the factors to consider to reduce costs and time spent if you choose to outsource web development.

Project scalability and support

Once the initial decision to outsource startup web development is made, the web development entrepreneur begins by analyzing the project and offering several approaches to choose from based on their expertise and best practices. The goal here is to strike a balance between cost, functionality, time, and startup goals. One of the additional factors to consider is the scalability of the project. Neglecting this factor can result in a great minimum viable product to secure an investment, but then it becomes impossible to scale.

Project (start-up) owners often focus on three factors: project complexity, expectations that influence acceptable project terms, and budget. From a web development agency’s perspective, clients need to be mindful of the contractor’s approaches to cost reduction, project planning, and risk analysis.

When planning, research, and risk analysis are neglected in the early stages, it can lead to costly code redevelopment and restructuring, as well as the implementation of other technologies. It is the duty of a qualified web development contractor to keep the client informed about these necessary factors. Otherwise, a project ceases to be a partnership and becomes a source of profit for the outsourcing agency, which contradicts outsourcing web development as a profitable strategy.

For example, three months ago we worked on a project with a company that wanted to develop a large and complex solution for their well-established website. We used industry-leading approaches to roughly estimate the project based on their existing feature list, and calculated a budget of $130-150,000 and a project timeline of 24-30 weeks. Our estimate appeared to exceed almost four times the client’s project budget expectations.

In order to meet in the middle, we had to work together to change our approach. With their target budget as a benchmark, we re-ran our research to find possible ways to reduce costs while launching a fully functional project to their original specifications. Finally, we found a way to bring our estimate down to around $47,000 (from their 30,000) and a project duration of 12 weeks. Our second estimate was based on reducing development costs by using other commercial solutions for the minimum viable product.

What are the real costs when saving on your web development budget?

The choice of the startup in the example above was to cut expenses at all costs, even with outsourcing – the budget approach to development. Once a startup chooses even lower costs, they should ask their development vendor how the proposed solutions will influence the following areas of their startup:

  1. Business Continuity: Sometimes using third-party services is reasonable in the early stages (although the majority of successful startups tend to develop proprietary solutions to cover functionality), but results in an increase in total project expenses later on.
  2. Scalability: Cheaper solutions have limited productivity. After a certain point, even if the marketing is excellent and the number of users increases, the project will require the development of new features to match the market, as well as a complete redevelopment and restructuring of the code. Projects with limited scalability significantly increase total development costs. The second estimate was initially affordable but did not overcome the initial technological limitations.
  3. Security and backup procedures: Supporting a project that uses insufficient architecture is a nightmare, and it also influences business continuity. Choosing the right approach and the right technology from the start is key to the success of any startup. Any startup aiming to become a big platform needs to spend money on best security practices and rollback procedures.
  4. Patenting: Multinationals use proprietary methods, tools and programming languages ​​to protect their technology. The use of open source solutions allows companies to patent inventions made during development, but this is impossible with the integration of third-party services.

The web development process for startups of any size should be smart, sensible, and based on the goals of the owner and the system being developed. Affordable now doesn’t always mean profitable in the future. Although in the startup world it is the entrepreneur who sets the priorities, ideally it is a collaborative process where the web development team can foresee bottlenecks and come up with solutions.

James S. Joseph