Hiring a development company


Imagine that I want to launch my web site or other product in six months. It's too much work for one person - perhaps it will need four to eight people. Let's also imagine that I have a good but not perfect idea of what I want, but no real idea of how software is developed.

In this case, I think I need a group of developers, and someone to manage the project. Now I could go to elance, odesk, or somewhere similar, but it doesn't seem easy to hire groups there, rather than individuals. If I hired developers individually, the management piece would be much tougher, and there may be real integration problems. Is there an easy way of finding small-to-medium-sized dev companies? If I can't afford Accenture (and who can?), then where is the market that I can go to?

With respect to management of the project, if I hire a company, they will have their own manager - what work does this leave for me? If I hire individual developers, I will also need to hire a manager. Should I bring them on board my venture, pay them per hour, or something else? Obviously I want to align their interests with mine as much as possible.

Software Development Sourcing

asked Feb 17 '11 at 20:43
James Barton
11 points

7 Answers


SOme oDesk folks are affilaited with development companies. Odesk is a good place to start. you might realize that you need less people than you think.

For most web projects, you can use the analogy of building a house. You need a lot of different people, but you need them at different times. Its very hard for a flooring contractor to work at the same time as a plumber. Its also hard for a UI designer to work at the same time the DB architect or application architect is planning how you store and itneract with data.

My advice, Hire one really good guy from ODESK. I can give you recommendations to some Great guys in eastern europe. Next, have him fully plan the project. ALlow him to bring on more team members as he needs them, with approval from you.

A 4 person team does not need a project manager, but rather a senior developer or architect who is the project owner. Also consider giving a bonus if the work is preformed on budget, time and to your liking.

answered Feb 18 '11 at 03:52
2,079 points


Search for software outsourcing companies. There are many companies with good team, where you could pick as many developers as you need, with or without manager, etc.

Personally, I'm working for one of this companies in Russia and we have many customers with many dedicated teams.

answered Feb 17 '11 at 20:53
111 points
  • Thanks, I've tried searching. I was hoping to find a list in one place, perhaps along with reviews from previous projects. – James Barton 13 years ago


There are all sorts of development companies, and a very large range of possible web sites or online products. Developing them takes more than just having developers, because some developers are able to step back and see the big picture, but most just build out pieces without worrying about how they interrelate...until there are problems down the road.

Depending on the size of the application, a project typically should have:

  • client/subject matter expert/project strategist (you - the person with the idea, who will answer any questions and will make all final decisions)
  • project manager (the person who will keep track of all of the little details, making sure deadlines are met and that everyone has what they need to keep working)
  • information architect (a person who organizes all of the information and processes, and documents them in a flowchart and wireframes as a guide to everyone else)
  • usability expert (most people make the mistake of skipping this step, but performing usability at the wireframe stage usually solves a lot of problems and saves a lot of re-work down the road)
  • creative director/art director (the person who would do the interface designs and all graphics support -- depending on the size of the project, they could be managing a team of people including graphic artists, copywriters, video people, etc.)
  • technical director (this person manages development: database creation, back-end programming, front-end programming, integration between the two, and testing)

After that, you can have a separate testing team, do other rounds of usability, launch in beta and continue designing/developing new functionality and features, etc.

Definitely a lot of work for one person.

Some people (with a lot of experience) are able to take on multiple of these tasks, but that is very rare. Without having experience in these yourself, it will be more difficult to manage a group to do all of this, without going through a digital agency (even digital agencies have trouble when they try to outsource the development to firms overseas).

You could start by looking for similar products or services, and researching how they were created or who were the people/groups who developed them, as well as how much it would typically cost to develop your product. That will give you an idea of what it will take as well as how you can get started...

answered Feb 18 '11 at 03:35
Jeffrey Berthiaume
191 points


I don't know if you'll find a list anywhere. You're probably better off getting referrals or search for software development companies online.

You can always ask companies for their portfolios, if one isn't readily available on their website. Ask for references to past clients that you can call directly to discuss your concerns about their abilities, reliability, and capabilities.

If you're looking to hire a company that will be able to provide 4-8 developers full time for several months, then you're talking about tens of thousands of dollars in development fees at least. At the lower end, a developer will cost about $40K per year, which would equate to $80K - $160K for the project. At the higher end, rates can be 2-5 times that, or as much as $800K for the project.

At such prices, you'll want to look into each company carefully to make sure that your money is being well-spent. You're looking for lower prices but capable, which may mean that your best bet is to get a referral to a company and start your investigation there. It will take time, and there will some negotiation needed as to what parts of the project are being provided by the vendor, and what are you providing.

You raise the concern that the development company will have their own manager. Quite true, but building a business based off a software product is more than programming and design - there's marketing, legal, sales, support, promotion, etc. You may find that you have your hands full just dealing with that, and liasoning with the Technical Team Lead on a regular basis, rather than managing the programmers and designers directly.

Message me directly and I can provide one such company that works with clients with similar arrangements located in Toronto, if you'd like.

answered Feb 18 '11 at 04:50
4,692 points


Hire one developer and you will very quickly learn what it is going to take. The notion that you can have a team of developers working full time on an idea for 6 months and then launch something that anyone wants to buy is taking a big risk (1/2 yr salary for 5 specialists will put you in the 200-300K range.).

No reason you can't build it in stages. Maybe your developer is no high scale database guru, but is that really a problem if you don't have any users? Graphic designers can put an elegant face on a functioning site. If you feel unable to herd all the nerds or sales and marketing is taking you away from development, you can hire a project manager or more likely an analyst to take your vision and get the necessary technology built.

Do you have just an idea or do you have knowledge in this domain and access to a market?

answered Feb 18 '11 at 08:35
Jeff O
6,169 points


Hi when you think that some one from other companies will micro manage then it is completely a mistake. They are not going to spend only on your project and they will be having 10 other projects in parallel. They won't or can't give you better suggestions or at least they don certify it before sending you for testing. So best way is go to company hire a team and then you act as a project manager.That would be a better option because when you hire three or four freelancers it will be difficult to manage them but if you hire a team from a company it will be easy for you to manage them as they have past experience of working together and feel more responsible.


answered Feb 18 '11 at 05:27
Bhanu Prasad
209 points
  • Hire a manager under your company and hire a team from other companies . – Bhanu Prasad 13 years ago


I used to run a company like this. We were (at the max) an 11 person company that provided turnkey software development services, including project management, developers, QA staff, etc.

There are other companies out there that do this, but where you would find them would depend on the specific technical needs you have.

answered Feb 18 '11 at 08:51
Bob Murphy
2,614 points

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