Today, when the technology world is evolving faster than ever, time is the most valuable asset. In the IT industry, everyone strives to shorten the timeframes of product development. What can be a better solution than front-end development outsourcing? The front-end part is important enough to pay much attention to it and easy enough to delegate its creation to someone else. In the article, we’ll look at how to organize the outsourcing process from beginning to end.
List of the Content
- How is frontend development outsourcing organized
- Reasons to outsource front-end development
- Where to start: a step-by-step guide
- Cooperation models
- Things to consider while outsourcing front-end development
- How much does it cost to outsource front-end
- In conclusion
In recent years, the amount of developers’ work has increased drastically. More and more software development companies started delegating some parts of the development to other specialists because it decreased time and budget and enhanced flexibility and quality of built products. As client-side development is a crucial part of any project, front-end development outsourcing has become especially popular.
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So, why do companies need to outsource front-end development if it is relatively simple to develop compared to the backend part? There lies the answer. It is more accessible from the coding and algorithms perspective. Nevertheless, the UI part still requires a lot of work. Arguably, even more than the server-side, considering all the difficulties related to testing an app with a responsive interface. That’s why it’s often reasonable to delegate this part of work precisely to other devs, especially if you want to focus more on complex features like artificial intelligence or machine learning on the server.
Later, we’ll look into the other reasons to outsource front-end web development. For now, let’s dive deeper into the topic and start with how to organize work speaking about outsourcing.
HOW IS FRONTEND DEVELOPMENT OUTSOURCING ORGANIZED
It always takes time and energy to start a new process that you’ve never done before. Front-end development outsourcing may seem complicated and challenging. Still, in this article, we’ll try to cover all points related to this, so you understand clearly how the process looks like.
First of all, we should figure out what to start with. When you’re letting an external team into your company, they start making a significant impact on the project. Thus, it’s essential to figure out all aspects of the development while planning collaboration. A company that wants to outsource front-end development should familiarize the outsourcing provider with its usual workflow, methodologies, and development practice. Also, an external team should clearly understand the idea of the product they’re working with. So, explicitly stated requirements and defined scope of work are significant for successful collaboration.
If a hired team will be working only on the part of your project, it’s necessary to make sure that this part is connected correctly to the others, especially if we’re speaking about the front end and back end. They should work together in synergy. It requires constant communication between the teams that work on them. Ideally, the back end and front end are written simultaneously. For example, when a new feature appears, devs write the back-end part, and already after this, the front-end, or vice-versa. But, in the case of front-end outsourcing, it is not always possible. Companies that outsource client-side development may already have server-side developed or build it simultaneously with the front end. If the back end is already built in your case, preparing detailed documentation is the crucial step because, for outsourcing providers, it is vital to know in detail how the back end works to make the front end that will interact with it appropriately. So, when you decide to outsource front-end development, the first thing you should have prepared is the documentation of all the work that has been already done up to the moment when you hired an external team.
The scope of work performed before contacting the outsourcing provider may vary. In some cases, a company understands that they want to outsource front-end development at the beginning of the project. Then, a company that outsources development starts developing documentation, backend, and databases simultaneously with the service provider developing the front end. In this case, it’s easiest to bring the provider up to speed on the subject because both sides are currently on the same page.
Suppose a company contacts the outsourcing provider in the middle of the process. In that case, they should pay much attention to familiarizing them with all the details related to the project, such as the type of the software, target audience, documentation, reports on the already performed work, etc.
Also, a client may want a provider to do the full-cycle development that includes UI/UX design or just the web development if the design is ready. We’ll look into these types of front-end outsourcing later in the article, and now, let’s move on to the reasons to outsource front-end development.
REASONS TO OUTSOURCE FRONT END DEVELOPMENT
Delegating software development has been a common practice for a long time. Let’s see what could be the reasons to outsource front-end development.
Possibility To Focus On Your Core Business
Applications are getting more and more sophisticated. As the users’ needs grow, the complexity of the software built grows as well. That’s why artificial intelligence components, machine learning, or working with big data are often becoming used in various kinds of solutions. The thing is, there are still not so many developers that specialize in building the described features, and they are relatively scarce.
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As the projects with advanced functionality require extensive attention to the backend, it’s not reasonable to spend the time of such devs on the work that can be done by not so narrowly focused programmers. The front end is an essential part of the application, but it requires more common qualifications compared to the machine learning specialists, for example.
The rates of developers working with artificial intelligence or big data are notably higher than web developers’. So, if a company’s main strength is advanced functionality, building the client-side themselves would be a waste of project resources. That is when front-end development outsourcing enters the game.
Time And Budget Savings
Considering how fast the technology evolves and new solutions enter the market, no delay could be tolerated. That’s why projects’ timeframes are becoming tighter than before. In terms of the limited time and financial resources, companies have to come up with new approaches to software development.
Front-end outsourcing helps to reduce the time spent on the development, and consequently, the budget. Of course, when a company decides to turn to an outsourcing provider, it still takes time to bring him up to speed on the case. On the other hand, it saves the weeks of work on the client-side part of the project.
As for the budget, it’s worth mentioning the difference in developers’ rates in different parts of the world. For example, an average salary of a front-end developer in the US is about $86k a year, whereas, for instance, in Ukraine, the salary of a developer with the same skills and experience constitutes about $36k per year.
Even in your area, the rates may vary. So, to reduce the budget, you can either outsource to other countries or look for more acceptable rates in your region as well.
The Need To Rebuild a Front-End Part
It often happens that a company receives a product that doesn’t satisfy all their needs. For example, the back end may work a treat, but the client-side quality isn’t so good. Significantly often, it occurs in the case of complex solutions. Then, some service providers may consider the functionality more important than the app’s appearance. However, there are no more or less essential parts in software development – they all constitute the fully-fledged quality product.
If one faces a situation when the client-side requires improvement while everything else works great, front-end development outsourcing may help. At this point, there’s no reason to hire a full-cycle team to fix only the client-side.
WHERE TO START WITH THE FRONTEND DEVELOPMENT OUTSOURCING
After you’ve understood why you may want to outsource front-end development, it’s time to figure out the exact steps you must take to achieve good results. The first thing to discuss is the types of front-end outsourcing.
Types Of Front-End Development Outsourcing
We can roughly divide front-end outsourcing into two types – full-cycle development and only coding. Which type is yours depends on what part of work you can do or want to do before turning to the outsourcing provider.
In the first case, you will be responsible for all product development stages apart from the client-side. They are a software requirement specification document, backend, database, integrations, etc. It doesn’t mean you need to have them completely ready before delegating front-end development, but eventually, they’ll be on your back. In this case, you leave all work related to the front-end development to the service provider. It means that they will have to work not only with the code but also develop the user interface, analyze the app’s workflow, and, based on this info, create application wireframes and mockups.
The second type of front-end outsourcing implies that apart from the backend, specifications, and databases, you already have developed the app’s structure and visualized it through the wireframes and mockups. So, the service provider will have to work only with the code. They will receive all information about the application’s workflow and appearance from you and will need to make it function. This option may be prevalent in time and budget savings because your team may not include available devs but have some designers. Thus, you may create the visual design yourself and delegate only coding to reduce development resources.
Steps To Successful Front-End Outsourcing
Well, you’ve decided to outsource and have found out much about it theoretically, but practically, where to start? Let’s see what exact steps it takes to make the outsourcing process maximally productive.
First of all, you have to choose the service provider. This step is probably the most obvious one, but it is still vital. The chosen team will drastically affect the whole development, so your first goal is to find people positively impacting the project. While choosing, you should proceed from the personal characteristics as well as from the professional skills, because nobody wants a highly-skilled worker who unsettles the established atmosphere in the company. Always remember about your requirements for further development to find specialists with the wanted knowledge.
After finding specialists you will work with, it’s necessary to get them into the loop and share the development plan made during the discovery phase. From the moment software development begins, business analysts start forming the documentation right away. It contains user stories, acceptance criteria, roles and permissions, wireframes, etc. All these details help the vendor fully understand the product you’re working on.
Constant communication is the key factor while speaking about collaboration with the external team. Even if a part of the work is delegated to the other devs, you’re still responsible for the final result. So, it’s in your best interest to keep the development under the radar. Weekly or daily calls are considered a good practice as they allow you to track the progress and ensure that you and the outsourcing team are on the same page.
When you receive the final version of the front-end part of the app, it’s crucial to revise if everything works correctly together. The front end cannot be a stand-alone part. Along with the back end, it should give rise to a properly functioning product. So, when you’ve made sure that the application works as planned according to the formed documentation, you confirm it to the hired team and proceed to the payment.
From this moment, the external developers will support and maintain the front end, or you will take responsibility for it after their part of the work is finished. It depends on your initial agreement with the outsourcing provider.
These are the core steps you should take if you’ve decided to outsource front-end development. You will be able to discuss other details with the service provider during the initial call and make an agreement about further collaboration.
WHERE TO OUTSOURCE FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT?
According to Statista research, there are now about 25 million developers worldwide. By 2024, this number is going to reach 28.7 million.
So, why do you have to restrict your development to a small number of specialists located only within your city? Here outsourcing comes into play.
Most Popular Outsourcing Destinations
Speaking about offshoring, let’s see what the most popular destinations to outsource front end are.
The USA. Hiring American developers means receiving responsible specialists with high professional skills. However, their services’ price is the factor that may alienate startups or other businesses with a tight budget. Developers’ rates are markedly higher than in the other locations. In addition, sometimes it is complicated to find available specialists, especially while looking for some highly demanded skills.
Europe. Speaking about devs’ occupancy, the situation in Europe resembles the one in the US. European devs are very qualified, but finding available ones may take some time. However, the things in Eastern Europe are more promising. This region is full of countries with significant numbers of specialists. The most popular outsourcing destinations here are Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus. One more advantage is the developers’ rates. They are much lower than in the US, but you still can expect to receive an exemplary quality of services.
Asia. India and China are holding top positions among the Asian countries by the criterion of developers’ population.
China is distinguished by its high-quality services and a tremendous amount of available professionals. However, the counter-arguments are working hours overlap, the highest rates in Asia, and cultural differences.
India, as the outsourcing destination, is associated with developers’ availability and meager rates. Outsourcing to India is synonymous with reduced project costs, but hiring cheap developers might mean spending only more money in the long run. So, it’s worth paying more attention to personal characteristics while choosing the provider. India provides a great choice of developers because the number of specialists there is increasing day by day.
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The USA and Eastern Europe have proved themselves to be worthy competitors in terms of software quality. However, referring to the prices, the USA is not a winner as it wouldn’t be suitable for MVPs or startups that constitute a visible part of the development community. So, let’s settle for Europe and discover why it is an optimal choice almost for any company in terms of front-end development outsourcing.
Why Outsource To Ukraine?
The most popular countries in Eastern Europe are Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus. So, why choose Ukraine? It has a big talent pool of high-competent devs that quickly adopt new technologies and provide customers with comfortable communication.
First of all, Ukraine takes first place in Europe by the number of front-end developers. According to LinkedIn, there are 29k specialists there. It is no surprise considering that about 20k students in the sphere of information technology graduate yearly. Secondly, a Western mindset of Ukrainian programmers makes the collaboration with them maximally transparent and fruitful. Thirdly, with Ukrainian developers, you can be sure that your intellectual property will be safe. Privacy and confidentiality are among the top priorities of software development companies. Most of them follow ISO, HIPAA, and other security standards.
The combination of all these factors has helped Ukraine to gain global recognition in the software development field. Ukraine is listed in numerous ratings related to the number of devs, best outsourcing destinations, level of tech education, and others. So if you’re looking for affordable prices along with the outstanding quality of services, Ukraine should be on your list of candidates for outsourcing front-end development.
COOPERATION MODELS FOR OUTSOURCING FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT
There are three most common models of outsourcing that describe in what way two sides can collaborate. They show how the two teams – one from a provider and one from a customer – interact. Each of them is subject to a respective outsourcing contract. Let’s look closely at each of them and discover which one is the perfect fit in terms of front-end development outsourcing.
The idea of this type of outsourcing lies in the name. Suppose a customer company has approximately 3 to 5 people, but this team doesn’t include some specialists with particular skills required for a project. There’s no point hiring the whole outsourced team, but extending the existing one with some devs with specific knowledge would be great.
When a team lacks one or two specialists, the first decision that comes to mind is to hire in-house programmers. However, this process is very time-consuming. Specifically if you’re looking for some rare skills or for a time-limited project, because the time of finding, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding may take too long. When it happens, a project may be stagnating, which may lead to unwanted expenses.
According to such an approach, outsourced programmers enter your team temporarily to perform the needed tasks. You may even hire them for a week if they’re able to complete their work in such timeframes. Due to the staff augmentation model, a customer is free to choose the composition of the hired team. That’s the reason why it’s the winning option for front-end development outsourcing. Client-side development is the little part of the project, and all you need is to hire a couple of devs who specialize in it. You may also employ a quality assurance engineer or a project manager from the vendor side at your preference.
One more advantage of this model compared to others is the high level of control over the project. With staff augmentation, you control the outsourced developers as well as the in-house ones because, for a while, they become a part of your team.
Project-based outsourcing is probably the most popular option due to the numerous benefits. Let’s describe it shortly to see why you may want to choose it.
Project-based outsourcing implies that a client delegates the whole project from the planning to the launch. An outsourcing company provides a project manager or/and a tech lead from their side, and they regularly report to your PM.
The concept of “project” here is flexible. It is a strictly defined amount of work that a client will delegate to the outsourcing team. It may mean developing all application parts like back-end, databases, integrations, full-cycle front-end development, or even only coding in client-side creation.
So, first of all, you and a service provider define the scope of work. Both sides estimate the amount of specialists’ work, and thus, the budget dedicated to a project. If both sides accept the numbers, the outsourcing provider undertakes the work. You also discuss how often you want to have meetings. It can be weekly check-ins or even daily calls, whatever you and a provider agree on.
They undertake to show you app demos and consult with you about the main points in the development, such as documentation or wireframes and do the coding only after your approval.
With project-based outsourcing, you get the least amount of control. Of course, the vendor’s PM reports to your PM, and they report to you. However, you don’t have to coordinate each developer’s action, which saves your time for the more significant tasks.
There are two ways to perform a payment:
- Time and material
Fixed price is agreed in advance. For this, you need to estimate the amount of time that programmers will need to complete all tasks before the project starts. Due to the second option – time and material – developers track the time spend on each task, and the payment is calculated as the spent time multiplied by the hourly rate.
The second option is much more flexible because it’s nearly impossible to calculate the exact amount of hours or even days spent on the development and set the fixed price in advance when speaking about large projects.
The most significant advantage of this front-end outsourcing model is that a client doesn’t need technical expertise in the particular programming sphere because the provider undertakes to control all technical aspects without the customer’s engagement.
The dedicated team model resembles staff augmentation. The difference is that in this case, developers don’t become part of your in-house team. They work separately. A company that wants to outsource front-end development decides whether a hired team will report to your PM and CTO or the ones on their side. So, either the developers will report to you or their PM, but you’ll get control over the development process in any case.
Your engagement level is higher than in the case of project-based outsourcing, but it is much lower than with the augmented team.
There’s one great advantage of hiring dedicated developers instead of augmenting your team. When you tell the outsourcing provider what skills you need for your project, he gathers a specialist team that meets your requirements. The fact that they don’t work separately makes the overall process much more comfortable – they have worked as a team within one company for a while. They know how to organize their work together to be as effective as possible. It is a great advantage of outsourcing in general – that you receive a tight-knit team at once without going through the lengthy and challenging recruitment process.
The size of the hired team may vary depending on the specifics of the project. It may be two or three developers with narrowly defined qualifications or a full-fledged team with their designers, PM, DevOps, QAs, etc.
It’s most reasonable to opt for a dedicated team if you are ready to be actively involved in the process and decide on the functionality. It leads to one more important thing – your technical knowledge in the development area you want to outsource at least at the basic level. This model may be an excellent option for front-end outsourcing because it is most often used when a client needs to fill a gap in the development process and the in-house team completes its other parts.
Are you still not sure what collaboration model is best for your project?
In the article, we’ve compared such models as staff augmentation and managed services and described their pros and cons, so you can choose that option that is the most suitable for front-end outsourcing.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE OUTSOURCING FRONT END DEVELOPMENT
API documentation tools help organize collaboration between the back and front end teams to make the client and server-side work in synergy. One of the most popular is Swagger UI. There are also Apiary or Stoplight if you want to consider other options.
We’ll use Swagger as an example to describe how the outsourcing front-end team writes code that is later integrated with the backend. It is an open-source toolset created for designing and documenting REST APIs. Its main goal is to allow the front-end team to see how each feature is written on the backend, what variables it includes, what values it returns, etc. Swagger implies two states of each part of the code:
- Starting state
- Performed state
Performed state shows how the program should react to users’ actions, which gives front-end developers the ability to understand the logic thoroughly.
The central part of work lies on the shoulders of the backend developers. First of all, they need to write a script that makes the process of documenting automatic. Later, they write the program code according to all guidelines, so the documentation is generated correctly. If these steps are performed correctly, when they develop a new feature, it will automatically appear on Swagger, giving a front-end team the ability to write code that is integrated properly with the backend.
Of course, one program is not enough to guarantee the expected results. Two teams should keep constant collaboration with each other. Both sides should discuss the frequency of their meetings in the process of collaboration planning.
Cultural And Timezone Differences
If you outsource front-end development to some distant countries, you should never forget about the possibility of cultural and timezone differences. It is not a big problem in the modern world, considering that the IT-sphere mostly has a flexible work schedule. However, cultural diversity sometimes may cause some misunderstandings.
The main differences may lie in the approach to the working process, the level of engagement, and loyalty to your project.
A Reliable Service Provider
No matter how long you want to hire an outsourcing team, the collaboration should be fruitful and effective in terms of the project resources. What’s more important, the human factor is the basis of the successfully conducted business. So, it’s always necessary to remember that the ease of communication and trust between the customer and the service provider is much more important than solely the budget and time calculations.
However, choosing the best outsourcing company may be a challenging task. Nowadays, there are so many IT service providers that it may seem impossible to find the one that seems right. Fortunately, many Internet resources allow you to read reviews about the company and look at the projects they’ve completed. Clutch would be an excellent example of a reliable platform. Reviews there are published by the clients and continuously verified so that you can trust them.
Want to find out some tips on how to choose a good software provider?
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COST TO OUTSOURCE FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT
There are numerous reasons to outsource front-end development, and it’s not a good practice to consider reduced budget a top priority. However, quite often, outsourcing is indeed very profitable speaking about financial resources.
If you outsource to distant countries, the financial difference will be the most noticeable. The developers’ rates vary drastically depending on the world region. We can distinguish six main outsourcing destinations. They are:
- North America (USA, Canada)
- Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Chile)
- Western Europe (UK, Germany, Slovakia, France)
- Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Poland, Belarus)
- Eastern Asia (China, Taiwan, Japan)
- Southern Asia (India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia)
Developers’ rates in each of these world regions differ drastically. The range from the lowest to the highest price constitutes $15/h-$175/h. So, it’s not possible to name the defined price of front-end development outsourcing. In addition, the project length and complexity are other factors that affect the price.
While estimating the price, it’s worth remembering that development rates are the most significant factor because, regardless of the country, the project length and complexity will affect the price almost in the same way. In the table below, you can see the frontend development rates depending on the world region.
|Region||Average Frontend Development Rates|
Front-end development may seem relatively easy, but it is critical for each application and should be done on the highest level. The intuitive user interface and its simplicity define the user engagement and how much they enjoy the app. Often, it can be built by the in-house team, but sometimes, companies lack the time or technical expertise to make everything at the senior level. That’s when front-end outsourcing is a reasonable choice.
What collaboration model is best for front-end outsourcing?
What outsourcing model to choose depends on a variety of factors. To decide which type feels right for you, think about how much control you want to receive, how much technical knowledge you have, and how big your existing team is. Answers to these questions will help understand what to choose: staff augmentation, dedicated team, or project-based outsourcing.
Choosing the outsourcing vendor defines the outcome of the project. The minor details should be considered while deciding on the provider, technology stack, and other factors. Also, remember that easy communication and trust are more important than the economy of the financial resources.
Want to outsource front-end development?
We consider transparency and trust the vital aspects of a successful project. We provide different outsourcing models. Get in touch with us to receive more information on front-end development outsourcing.