So you are a CTO and you are developing high-quality software for your company’s product or service? Besides technical know-how, tools and budget, you will also need a developer. Probably even a whole team. But how to secure all necessary resources for the development project? What are your options and what will it cost you? These are questions Roemie Hillenaar, CEO of Creative Fabrica was asking himself when he wanted to expand an online application for his online marketplace. Marek Gajda, CTO of The Software House, shares his insights.
The cost of software
Before we talk about money, it’s good to look at the key element that enables you to move the software development project to the next level. Let’s face it, you can’t do everything on your own. In this technical world the most important assets are still people and their work. And it is likely they will also be the biggest part of your budget, says Marek Gajda. He is CTO and co-founder at software development company The Software House. Gajda identifies three different options to get the required developers to do the job: using in-house developers, hiring freelancers or pairing with a software development company. So out of these three options, which one could work for you and what spendings it will require?
Growing the team of in-house developers
Hiring more developers or bringing new competences to your team, like a designer or a QA specialist, is not as simple as just posting a job offer, picking your favourite candidate and setting him or her to work. The talent war in this sector is reaching new levels. On top, your team has already structured the process, the way they cooperate. Preparing them for the change will land on your desk and requires time.
“In many business scenarios this is certainly the best option and worth the effort. It will give you full quality control over their work, you see them every day, and in case of an emergency, you can call a face-to-face meeting”, says Gajda. “However, imagine the cost and struggle when you need dozens of devs with different specialities.” Which brings him to the second option: freelance outsourcing.
Freelancers are perfect for MVP
Freelancers are the most flexible, quick and affordable option. “They are perfect for short-term and ASAP projects”, says Gajda. “I would recommend using the help of freelancers for example for MVP development. The downside is there’s little control over the quality of work and you can’t really expect one freelancer to take the best care of all the tasks like frontend, backend, QA, mobile, UX/UI design, DevOps, etcetera.” If you have software that will need long-term support, with various experts’ advisory and structured system of cooperation, Gajda suggests a third option: partner up with a software house.
Working with a software house
Teaming up with a good software house (you can verify this on Clutch for example) will give you a complete team at your service. Experienced developers are represented by a project manager and overseen by CTOs. Quality control and development processes are built-in, the latest technologies are the standard. Besides writing the code, services such as analysis, consultations, brainstorming new ideas, testing, fixing and maintenance are all part of the package.
Using a software house is certainly not the cheapest option, says Gajda. “Depending on the software house’s reputation and effectiveness, it might be a pretty penny. It will definitely cost more than freelancers, but probably less than building the team in-house. You just need to find a perfect match and the most cost-optimal option for your project”, says Gajda. “In order to do that, you might start outsourcing outside your country. When outsourcing abroad, let’s say to Central and Eastern Europe which is a pretty hot outsourcing destination now, it can be cheaper.”
Software development at Creative Fabrica
Not worrying about a technical part of the long-term project is one of the reasons Roemie Hillenaar teamed up with The Software House for the development of his online application. Hillenaar is CEO of the Dutch company Creative Fabrica. The online platform is considered the ‘Netflix for crafters’, allowing creatives to download and use a wide range of graphics to use in their arts and crafts. “Our customers are the people that sell their wares on Etsy”, explains Hillenaar. “There are currently over 5,000 digital designers on our platform creating work for them to use.”
Creative Fabrica, which raised 500,000 euros in funding from Peak Capital in 2019, is currently conquering the USA where 60 billion dollars a year is being spent in the crafting market. To leverage more than a million users, Creative Fabrica is looking to add a social layer on their website. Hillenaar: “We’re building something where you can share your craft projects, build a following and interact with users and content.”
‘This is self-managing’
Building a social network for millions of crafters is not an easy task, Hillenaar realised. “We did a lot of developing in-house, both in our office in Amsterdam and remote. But we simply needed more developers. It’s hard to find good people in Amsterdam.” Hillenaar found the solution at Gajda’s The Software House.
“We’ve been working with them for about four months now, and it’s been a very positive experience”, says Hillenaar. “They’re not afraid to dive into something themselves or show initiative. Our CTO keeps a close eye on the project, but also gets a lot of support from The Software House. At first, we were looking for some extra hands to just do the coding for us. But that would mean we need to manage those hands ourselves as well. This is self-managing, which saves us a lot of overhead.”
Team Creative Fabrica, with CEO Roemie Hillenaar in the back.
‘Extension of our own team’
So what about the costs? How much do you need to shell out if you want, for instance, have a social layer on your wildly popular crafting platform? Hillenaar can’t divulge any numbers. “We’re very product-focused. We never thought ‘oh we need about 12 sprints, so that will take so much time.’ We see this as an extension of our own team, instead of a separate project team. The good thing is that The Software House is very clear about its tariffs.”
For now, Hillenaar sees the project as a continuing effort and he plans to keep The Software House by his side for that. “Once the social layer is finished, we’ll have maintenance left. But we’re also opportunistic. We like to build and test a lot and launch new stuff. We will hire some in-house developers but will probably also scale up our external team.”
Scaling up or down: part of the deal
For Gajda, it is also hard to predict the exact costs of maintenance of an application. “There are many scenarios and each will require a different approach and investment during the implementation and maintenance of a software product or service. That’s why it’s convenient to have the possibility of scaling up and down on-demand, whenever you need, in all areas of software development.”
So whether you need to add a specific specialist for just a quick improvement, suddenly receive a new deadline from your stakeholders or – the other way around – suddenly go through hard times and need to cut your development budget; when you partner with a software house, you can scale up or down even within days. And whenever you are ready to work on your application again, your software development partner will be ready to scale up again to provide you with the pace of development you need.
Do you have more questions about the topic or you would like to consult with Marek Gajda – The Software House CTO? Click here and book a free, one-hour consultation.