"We'd like to engage you in an app take over project "

This is what we hear from time to time from businesses who want us to take over their app. They've either built it in-house or with another company but are now looking for a new app development company to take it over.

We get it; teams move on, business relationships change over time and new management may want a refresh.

We've seen a pattern emerge from these requests that generally fall into four reasons why. Maybe these reasons can help you decide if it's time to move your app management to an app development company.

4 Reasons for an app take over project

1. The project is in jeopardy. 

We refer to these app take over projects as salvage or rescue projects. And these can be the most difficult app take over projects. Typically, patience is frayed and the budget is already spent. When this is the case, we generally approach with caution. Our first task is to find out why the project has reached this stage. After our analysis, we decide if we can bring value to the project before agreeing to take over the app.

2. The in-house team is changing. 

This can be caused by a key member of the team moving on. And this happens regularly. When this is the case, the business faces the decision to replace the team member or engage a company like ours.

In other cases, management decide that they don't need a full-time app team. This is a very valid reason, particularly when the mobile team goes through periods of being exceptionally quiet. It means managing these resources and trying to integrate them into other parts of the business.

Also, if the core business isn’t mobile focused, it can see resources wasted in an area that would be better utilised elsewhere.

The push to engage a company like ours, is that they find themselves in these positions all too often. It's better to engage us for an app take over and maintenance project, than to manage their app in house. Doing this frees up the resources within the business to focus on the core functions of the business.

3. There's an existing supplier, but they've become unresponsive. 

This usually happens if they've used a small mobile app development company. The project may have gone very well and the supplier was super-responsive but now the business can't seem to get their attention for minor changes.

Smaller app development companies often work on one project at a time. And the attention tends to focus on who's currently paying the bills. A minor half day change can be a distraction to a smaller company, so they are naturally unresponsive.

4. The app was built offshore but there is a desire to have a local developer.

Offshoring can sometimes be cost-effective. We've seen situations where this has worked well and where it hasn’t worked so well. We know that off-shore developers are every bit as educated and as capable as us. But it can be a cumbersome and tiresome process working this way. The language barrier and time difference can become an issue.

We have also seen how relationships have broken down with a local agent who introduced the off-shore developers. Now the business would prefer to move the app to a local developer.

Businesses also like to deal face to face, particularly when it comes to a big app development project. They want to drop by our office to meet our development team and chat about their app.

Our approach for taking on an existing app

Assuming we have the resources to take over the project and we feel we can add value, we typically start with a reasonably short engagement.

When we take on code we didn't develop, we always do it on a time and materials basis. This means the business pays for our developers' time and not for a fixed set of functionality.

We feel this is the best approach. We weren't present when some project decisions were made and we can't immediately tell if changes will have unexpected side-effects. We simply work through the work, test, iterate and so forth.

Businesses usually ask us to spend some time evaluating the code and then ask us to fix price some features. We see little value in evaluating code. This is a notoriously tedious task and very hard for someone to do in a meaningful way for any length of time.

Instead, we ask for access to the source code and a set of bugs they’d like fixed or features they’d like implemented. We find that this is the only useful way to fully understand someone else’s code.

And after this?

Once we are comfortable with the code we'll happily discuss future plans and new features. At this point, we can begin to look at fixed price engagements, if this is necessary.

This is generally the journey into a long-term partnership.

If you are looking for an app development partner to work with you on your existing app we can help. We can review your app and breathe new life into it.

We'll take your app in its current form and work to modernise it. In a short time, we’ll have a new polished version submitted to the app stores.

If you need help with an app development project get in touch.

Dermot Daly

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Thanks for reading the Tapadoo blog. We've been building iOS and Android Apps since 2009. If your business needs an App, or you want advice on anything mobile, please get in touch