Startup: Does it make sense to outsource your MVP to an external team?

Startup / MVP / IT Outsourcing
Startup: Does it make sense to outsource your MVP to an external team?

As a startup, should I outsource my Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development?

If this question arises in your mind, you might be in doubt that outsourcing to an external development team is the right choice. And you'll be right because building an MVP isn't as simple as hiring a development agency to build it. Let's take a better look at which parts of your MVP you can outsource and which ones you never should.

Core technical parts -
always in-house

You should be aware that your core functionalities of MVP must be always built in-house. It means that you shouldn't outsource core technology development to 3rd parties.

You have to be proficient in software engineering enough to build all core functions of your MVP yourself or you must have a technical co-founder in your founding team.

If you outsource the technical development of your MVP - your startup may fail for several reasons.

If you spend too much money on senior and highly professional developers, you may run out of cash quickly

If you save money by hiring junior developers, they may ruin your product

It is too risky to rely your core technology to someone who is not a founder

And there are even more reasons why you must build the technical part of your MVP in-house. You cannot have a great technology startup without being yourself as a CTO or having a partner who takes the CTO role. When you are building your product, the CTO takes control and responsibility about the product roadmap.

An external company cannot build a product roadmap for you as they don't have the same incentives as you do. External development companies don't care about your product's success, they care about the completion of assigned milestones.

Continuing about milestones, you must be precise about the specs. If you work with an outsource dev team, they will complete your tasks according to your specifications. Typically, they will not provide any feedback or advice if you're wrong. And these mistakes are magnified when you are working with an external team. A really good development group will provide feedback and suggestions to help you and your product, but will you be lucky enough to find such? And especially, if you're not a technical person?

What can I outsource then?

Everything except core technical development.

But most commonly, when you're a young startup and your next step is to build an MVP, you don't need a lot. You need help in the design of your product. Possibly, a visual prototype of your future MVP and UX/UI flows of your future product. That's why instead of hiring a full-time design team, you can hire a dedicated outsource design team, who will help you with the UX/UI of your product

Additionally, you have an option to outsource all visual related activities. Development of UX/UI, slide decks, pitch decks, website design and development, advertisement material. You should have an attractive image of your startup and product to promote your MVP.

To conclude

Be very careful about core technical components of your MVP, as you should build them by yourself or with the help of a CTO co-founder. It's very risky for your startup to hire an outsource dev team for building the core tech stack of your future product.

However, you should definitely consider outsourcing UX/UI design and visual components as you can lower your expenses and get results faster and better compared to an internal team.

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