At FaceySpacey we obviously are “outsourced” to all the time by startups. We too do a lot of sub-contracting as well for areas that are not our specialty. So we know a thing or two about how to outsource a job properly. Before I became a coder, the skill of outsourcing was one of the 2 biggest skills I prided myself of (the other was speccing). Before I was a coder, I basically had to outsource everything, especially before we had some in-house developers. So I built a formula.
The formula has been two-fold:
1) Know what you want (i.e. spec/plan your product deeply)
2) Hire the best team you can for your money
In the Speccing tutorials we cover point one at great length. So we only need cover point number two here.
Before we cover techniques to finding the best team and making sure they succeed at building your product, let’s discuss the reasons you’re outsourcing to begin with.
In an ideal world you’d build your startup with your own in-house team. Period. If you think otherwise is the right idea, all these tutorials are too advanced for you and you shouldn’t be building a Web 2.0 startup. If you’re McDonald’s and are fine paying the fees of a top-notch firm to execute some side-project initiative, sure. If you’re a small company that needs to put a web “shingle” up, fine. However if you’re serious about making a successful startup and even getting it to launch, you need to understand that the ideal way to roll would be to have your own in-house team.
So that all said, the reason your outsourcing is because you can’t hire full time developers and guarantee them a professional monthly wage over who knows how many months. You need to be able to hire a firm for a fixed price where you know what you’ll get for your money. You can’t afford to go through the growing pains of building a team, learning and growing your own process of working, etc.
So that said, you got basically one shot to find that perfect web development company to build your application. And once you lock in with that team, you need to make sure they succeed.