The experts agree: custom apps can make your team or business more productive. Once you’ve decided you want a custom app, the next step is to determine whether you should build it yourself or hire an expert to do it for you.
The availability of low-code and no-code app platforms has increased the popularity of taking the creation of custom apps into your own hands. The State of the Custom App 2016 Report found that 82% develop custom apps with internal resources. But it can be faster or more effective to bring in expert help. Let’s explore when you should make your own custom app and when to hire an expert.
What do you need your custom app to do?
You’ve probably got a good idea of what you want to build because you understand the needs of your business. Start by prioritizing this list, identifying the top three things that would make the biggest difference to your team. Choose the items that point to your vision for the future. This allows you to start small but pave the way for success.
Start with the basics: you’ve probably got paper forms or spreadsheets or some other type of document that has gotten your team through the day so far. Look for simple processes that you could turn into a simple app.
If you envision an app that fixes everything for your team at once, you’re probably looking at a complex app. See if you can break down your processes, identify quick wins, and start with them.
The simpler the app, the more likely you should choose DIY. The more complex the app, the more likely it is you should call in an expert.
When do you need your custom app?
Did you need it yesterday or do you have time to plan thoughtfully?
Even if your timeframe is very short, you should at the very least get your great idea outlined in a document that you can share with your team. Asking for their feedback will refine your ideas, get their buy-in as stakeholders, and prepare them to use the app once it is created.
The longer the timeframe, the more likely you should choose DIY. This allows you to build the app when you’re not doing your regular job. The shorter the timeframe, the more likely it is you should call in an expert.
How comfortable are you with technology?
Have you ever used calculations in Excel? Have you ever created a web page? Are you the go-to person on your team for tech questions?
The more enthusiastic and experienced you are with technology, the more likely you should choose DIY. On the other hand, if you’ve got a great idea but no interest in developing technical skills, you should call in an expert.
Do you have time to learn?
With any new skill, you need to set aside the time to learn how to do it. If your day job keeps you busy day and night, you’ll need to get strategic to find the time to learn.
Consider job crafting. The idea here is that you assess the tasks, relationships and perceptions of your job today. Then you reconfigure the building blocks of your job to create a more fulfilling and efficient experience at work. Read more here.
Through job crafting, you can identify tasks that you are currently doing that you may be able to get other people on your team to do, freeing up time to learn and make your custom app.
The less time you have to learn, the more likely it is you should call in an expert. The more time you have to learn, the more likely it is you should do it yourself.
And if you do decide DIY is right for you, there are many training options available to you, depending on the platform that you choose.
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