6 reasons to rethink hiring an independent application consultant

6 reasons to rethink hiring an independent application consultant

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By: Sean K Blair, CTO at MXOtech

Every application development project is unique and complex. Hiring an independent application consultant to develop your web application is a cheap option — but one that’s rife with risk.

Why most companies turn to application consultants

You’re under the wire to develop a business application. If an outsourced application development firm quotes you six months to complete a project, you might turn to an independent consultant for a quick turnaround.

While some IT consultants deliver quality work on time and on budget, many will try to take advantage of you. The key to succeeding with application consultants is to understand where they fall short.

The risks of entrusting your app to an independent consultant

Here are some disadvantages of working with independent IT consultants to spearhead your business application, and how to avoid being duped.

1. Application consultants are strapped for time

IT specialists are in high demand, especially when developing custom business applications.

Application freelancers often have full-time jobs while juggling three to four freelance gigs. You may end up with re-work at the end of the project because without frequent check-ins and client feedback, functionality misses the mark.

Without ample time to dedicate to your application, freelance developers often produce low-quality deliverables.

2. You’re gambling IP security and confidentiality

When working with independent application contractors, you’re exposing your intellectual property to potential threats.

Without proper security protocol, your application developer could hold information hostage if a relationship sours.

Always investigate your legal due diligence for working with contractors before hiring an independent application developer.

3. Technical consultants rarely speak in terms of business value

You’re developing an application to solve a specific business need. But most developers only think and speak in technical terms. If you’re not technically savvy, specific functionalities can easily get lost in translation.

You need an IT consultant or application development firm that’s laser-focused on delivering business value. Make sure the individual or company working on your application speaks in terms of end user functionality and benefit, and not in terms of technologies.

Read: The ugly truth about IT consultants and vendors

4. IT freelancers are terrible project managers

Project management is the backbone of your application development project. Your consultant must have fine-tuned processes and feedback loops in place to keep your development project on track and on budget.

Freelancers often lack the processes and technology to effectively manage a complex web application development project. They don’t have the same training as a full-time project manager, and it’s difficult to hold them accountable for their work.

Learn how to vet agile application development firms here.

With no one guiding the specific tasks and roadblocks for completing your application, your project is much more likely to go beyond the set timeline and turn out over budget.

You’re only option is to hope the IT consultant delivers your application on time and on budget.

5. Time and budget estimates are never accurate

Most IT consultants charge by billable hour and often undercut rates of established development firms.

But low rates almost never signal high quality — or a fair price. You’re relying on one person to develop every piece of your complex application, maintain quality assurance, and manage the project and communication. Mistakes are bound to happen.

Application consultants also struggle to accurately forecast budgets and project timelines.

Here’s why:

  • They use outdated project management processes (like waterfall) to keep projects on track.
  • They rarely have a quality assurance process in place and don’t anticipate time spent on revisions.
  • They don’t break down projects into small, manageable chunks.
  • They don’t track their time and rely on data to estimate each phase of a project.

The longer it takes a developer to complete a project, the more you pay. The consultant might quote you 100 hours to complete an application. But without data to back up the estimate, you can only hope it’s accurate.

The sad truth is that more than half of application development projects end up costing 189% of their original estimates. You’ll likely spend more than you bargained for.

6. You miss out on training and weaken ROI

Wireframing and developing an application is only half the battle. To get real value out of your application, your users need to understand how it works and its effects on their existing processes.

Unfortunately, many application consultants don’t connect the dots between an application and business processes. They lack the expertise to integrate the technology into your business and ensure each team member gets access to the information they need to work more efficiently.

You’re developing a business application to save time and cut out manual processes. Without proper training and change management, your users will struggle to adopt the technology, diminishing the return on investment for your business application.

Choose the right application development partner

Investing in a web application has the potential to transform the way your team works for the better — but only if you choose the right partner.

At MXOtech, our technical staff is invested in your business goals and speaks your language. Using agile project management and fixed pricing, we complete every web application development project on time and on budget, while delivering true business value.

Ready to get started with your web application development project? Contact MXOtech today to learn more about our services or call 312-487-2578.

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