In-House or Outsourced Web Development: Which is Better? 

There’s so much debate about which is better, between hiring in-house developers and outsourcing web development. Some business owners say that they find hiring in-house developers better than getting help from outside the company. But others think differently. This issue has left some small business owners in a quandary which can roadblock operations and threaten ROI.

in-house or outsource web developmentWhile there are many business owners raving about the benefits out of outsourcing work overseas, others see it differently. Below are significant reasons why some want to get their work done in-house.

The Benefits of Hiring-In-House Developers

  • Buy in and not Bail out: People who work within the company are likely to invest time and energy and may often share in company equity plans. This motivates them to stay as a long-term company asset.
  • Hands-on: In-house developers are aware of the various areas the business engages in and capable of offering possible solutions that an external team may not see.                        
  • Aligned with the Company’s Interests: Normally, a regular employee has a mindset aligned to the company he is working with. This means those employed in-house help in building greater revenues because they know that if the company prospers, they will likewise get their own share of success.                                  
  • Controlled Time, Activity and Quality: The company can take control of all activities, quality, and time of in-house personnel. Some business owners feel that they can cut the cost if they use inside talent as the process of requesting for skilled external resources costs more. There are companies that are blessed with outstanding teams that do not require hiring additional help.


  • Cost: In general, in-house developers are more expensive than outsourced developers, often by a factor of two or more.
  • Hiring Woes: It’s hard and takes longer to find qualified outsourced expertise, and the longer you wait, the more frustrated you get.
  • Knowledge: Using in-house developers means building up in-house knowledge and expertise, which can take significant time and efforts.

So why do people outsource web development overseas instead of using those that are within arm’s length? Outsourcing is getting the services of consultants, an agency, or a service provider that can manage some portions of a company’s business.

Reasons for outsourcing vary; it could be cost, capacity, or it may be that the company is looking for specialized skills, special equipment a startup company has, or the business only requires limited, temporary, or seasonal resources.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Web Development

  • Special Skills, Specialized Equipment: The success of online websites depends on graphics design, PPC campaigns, website development, and many others. These require special skills and special equipment that companies outside the web development industry typically don’t have in place. These can be done by outside experts who can be tasked to do, including accounting and human resource management.
  • Scalable Capacity: With outsourcing, you only easily scale your development team to the size needed, improving throughput while streamlining costs.
  • Short-Term Commitment: Infrastructure and website upgrading, as well as graphic design are temporary, seasonal or limited needs. By outsourcing you pay for these services only when they are needed.

You may hire another set of minds with different skillsets when another need arises. Hiring short-term saves you from committing to annual salaries and benefits.

  • Lower Cost: Local developers get paid more than outsourced online workers and this is another reason why many entrepreneurs opt to outsource help. Paying half the cost to outsourced skilled individuals is a welcome idea for those who are just starting up.
  • Good Values through Competition:  With so many outsourcing contractors waiting to be tapped, skilled workers employed in these companies strive hard to outdo the others. This provides assurance to companies looking to hire experts as they would be getting the better if not the best hires to work for their cause.


  • Availability: Demand for skilled developers has soared high in the recent years which made experts in this field harder to find. These people are so busy tending to different clients and their availability is scarce.  This calls for being resourceful at choosing service providers to catch up with your deadlines.
  • Language and Cultural Barriers: While there are so many experts from outsourcing companies, there is a great possibility that communication can be difficult. You need time to converse with them on some important aspects but at times, it is difficult to bridge the language gap. You can get help from countries that speak the same language you do.
  • Loss of Knowledge: Using outsourced developers often means knowledge is accrued and maintained outside the organization, and can be substantially lost if there is no relationship with the external development team. What your outsourced workers know cannot be shared with the team, which means lesser internal growth for the company.
  • Ramp up Time: The time between product or software development and capacity utilization may vary due to several reasons. If this happens, there is no control over implementation. So, if an outsourced company cannot deliver on time, expect a delay in your revenues.
  • Management Time: In-house workers can get familiarized with the systems they manage quickly because managing tasks on a personal basis is quite possible. Outsourcing can fail on this area as they do not come face to face with the problems themselves.
  • Greater Risk: Before deciding on outsourcing IT services, running a background check on your shortlisted companies is a good idea. Not all foreign countries have the same security protocols your country has so there is always a risk in terms of private data or intellectual property handling.

Hiring in-house developers has a number of advantages but outsourcing is often a better option for growing companies. While other businesses look at hiring in-house as more ideal, the fact remains that technical expertise and communication skills could break the tie as to what a company really needs.

Have you outsourced some parts of your web development, or other business processes? Do you prefer to have a face-to-face interaction with your employees? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

View User Profile for Brian Conte Brian founded Fast Track with over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience and technology expertise. Brian managed the development of Microsoft's first browser in 1985 and later founded hDC, the first Windows software company. Brian ran hDC, later named Express Systems, for 10 years before selling it to WRQ in 1996, where he remained as CTO. Brian spearheaded the development of one of WRQ's most successful products, Express 2000, which generated more than $10 million in its first year. Brian holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University.
Posted by Brian Conte Friday, September 16, 2016 3:33:00 PM Categories: business partnership content development custom development web development website

Web Development Life Cycle in a Nutshell 

In this article, you will learn the different stages of web development in a language that even a non-techy person can understand.

Your website represents you to the world. An understanding of the web development cycle will enable you to work efficiently with web developers to achieve a prominent online presence. An image depicting the life cycle of web development.
As a businessman, you have to put in a lot of effort and planning in setting up your business, as well as your website and online presence on various social networks. That is why hiring website developers to help you build your website is getting more popular. From identifying the feature you need for your website to going live, the whole process is known as Web Development Life Cycle. Normally, this process goes through 6 stages, namely:

  • Analyzing
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing and Delivery
  • Maintenance



This a crucial stage of the development cycle. This is the stage where you have to analyze the core values and functions of your company. You should have a clear understanding of your business goals and how you will need the web to attain these goals.

In order to analyze your goals in detail, you can break them down in parts and define those. First of all, consider what the purpose of the site will be; whether it will be used to promote a service, provide information, or to sell a product.  Once you have a clear purpose, you need to define the target audience next. Think of the ‘ideal’ person that you would want as the visitor; knowing their age, sex, interests etc. will help in determining the best design for the site. Now that you know your target audience, you can analyze what kind of content they’ll be looking for on your website.

After a thorough analysis, you can move on to the next stage of the web development cycle, and start planning. It is at this stage that the site map is developed.
A sitemap is the basic outline model of your website. It lists all the main areas of the site, as well as their subdivisions. This will help you to decide what type of content will be on your site. The type of technical tools to be implemented are also decided at this stage. The target audience is to be kept in mind, as you need the user interface to be such that it is not only easy but also fun and engaging for them to navigate through the web site.

Now is the time to design the layout of the website. The site will look different for different target groups as per their interests. It is also important to strengthen the identity of your company on the website. You can do that by incorporating the company logo or its colors into the design. Here are a few of the current website layout trends which you can go through for the layout of your website.

The web designer will send you several prototypes. You can either view mockups, or the designer can give you access to view the work in progress. This is done so that you are able to view the design and development stages, and are able to give feedback. This is necessary as the website needs to match your needs and tastes. You should also decide what type of Content Management System (CMS)  to use at this stage of the development cycle. Constant communication is ultimately necessary in this stage.

In the cycle, the development stage is where the actual, functional website is created by using the graphic elements of the prototype. No matter what CMS you will use, it is best to start with a generic HTML and CSS . This involves writing valid HTML / CSS code that complies with current web standards, maximizing functionality, as well as accessibility for as large an audience as possible.

The home page is the first page to be developed. After that, a template is created for the content pages, which contains the main navigational structure of the website. In this, the developer distributes the content in their appropriate areas. All the other technical features are made functional in this phase.

Testing and Delivery
Websites function as a multi-user and multi-tier system with bandwidth limitations. Consequently, tests for complete functionality and compatibility are done at this stage. Both automated testing and manual testing should be done without fail. Implement analytics tools so that you will be able to track your website’s statistics before, during, and after the website launch.

Once the final output is approved, website owners then perform a final run-through to confirm that everything was uploaded correctly and is functional.  The site can then go live.

The web development cycle doesn’t stop at the site’s launch.  With a lot of online competitors vying for your target customers, the real battle has just started. As a website owner, you will have to make sure that your website is updated with the current trends as well as stuffed with content that matters to your target audience.   Aside from regularly updating the content of the site, you should also be looking at regular site backups, additional plugin installations, tools and plugin upgrades.

Was this rundown helpful to you? Give us your thoughts.

View User Profile for Shubhada Paranjape Shubhada worked as a team lead for the Objectstar testing group (a product of Fujitsu) for two years. Later, she was the product lead for the e-filing development and support team for two years. Shubhada then joined Brian and her husband Ajey to start and run the Fast Track India operations. She holds a Masters in Mathematics from Pune University and an advanced diploma in Computer Science. She's on Twitter as @ShubhadaPar.
Posted by Shubhada Paranjape Thursday, March 17, 2016 6:25:00 PM Categories: business partnership technology website

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Outsourcing Your Business Now 

business outsourcingOutsourcing has become one of the most important success strategies for small businesses. Years ago, this process was not fully understood and adopted by smaller businesses and entrepreneurs due to fear, and it were only huge corporations that used outsourced work.

These days, you will find more and more SMEs and individual entrepreneurs using outsourcing as a means of meeting business goals and accomplishing more tasks as their businesses grow. If you are thinking of outsourcing for the first time and still not seeing it as a strategy on a business standpoint, here are some of the main reasons why you should go for it.

1. You can save a lot of time. As business owner, focusing and spending time on core business tasks should be your priority, instead of doing tedious ones that can be delegated. Let's face it; there are tasks that eat up a ton of our time even if they are not directly impacting our business as a whole. Multi-tasking is often the solution that others think of, when it's time to speed things up. But studies show that multi-tasking decreases productivity and increases stress.

At the end of the day, it's about completing specific tasks that you should not be doing yourself. If you take on all of the tasks, you might not finish all of them within the day. So why not hire someone who has the skill to do it instead? This way, you can focus on your customers and key responsibilities while your outsourced staff takes care of completing other tasks that are also crucial to your business.

2. Hire experts. When you are running your own small business, it’s impossible to be an expert in every facet of the business. Why not hire people who are? Someone who specializes in the task you want done can not only do it better, they can often do it faster and cheaper as well.

3. Get a fresh, outside perspective. Hiring an outsourced professional can also bring in a fresh new outlook to your business and strategies. You can get new ideas that you wouldn't have thought of yourself and make use of them to improve the way you market your business, for example.

These perspectives come from different experiences, skill level, and involvement of the outsourced individual. When you give this person a chance to collaborate with your in-house team, they can share what they know and learn from each other's insights. Collectively, these insights can bring in fresh new ideas, solutions, and strategies that can help your business in the long run.

4. Leverage expertise on a global basis. If you don’t outsource, you are limited to the local labor pool for human resources. Multinational companies have long enjoyed the benefits of a worldwide knowledge base and teams of professional experts. You don't have to be a huge company to tap and leverage into world-class capabilities. You simply provide the platform and the tasks or projects for your global staff, and let them collaborate with your in-house teams.

5. Reduce stress and improve productivity. Delegating tasks which can free you up is more productive and efficient, rather than doing everything yourself. To some, it is an added expense because adding people into your company means paying extra heads for tasks done. However, in the long run, you will realize that things can only be accomplished sooner if there are a few experts helping out. And instead of spending time finishing tasks, you could use those extra hours in making more sales and getting more customers.

6. Increase your agility and flexibility. It is difficult to juggle tasks and responsibilities as a business owner. But with an outsourced team of skilled professionals, it is easier to keep up with the fast-changing business landscape and improve your business reach.

7. Gain access to specific technologies. When you hire outsourced professionals, it's not surprising to find that many of them are either familiar or using some of today's latest tools and apps. This can be the result of having to work with various companies in different industries which provided them access to the latest tools they use. This can help you in discovering and using whatever latest technology is out there that can specifically benefit your projects and company overall.

8. Save money. Lower operational cost is among the major concerns and goals of SMEs. You don't need a big office in a city's high-rise building and paying for operational costs when you hire skilled professionals from all over the globe. And when properly executed, outsourcing skilled and experienced people has its crucial impact on your business's revenue and savings.

9. Minimize risk. Businesses carry certain amount risks. Competition, financial conditions, markets, technologies, and government policies change quite rapidly. Outsourcing professionals assume and manage these risks for the businesses they partner with, and generally, they make better decisions on how to avoid risks in their areas of expertise.

10. Facilitate fast growth. Outsourcing specific functions of your business to a specialty skilled professional is a strategic decision which can bring savings, improves process efficiencies, and enhances the quality of information, facilitating better decision-making, while alleviating the bottlenecks related to business growth.

Are you outsourcing some of your business functions?

What benefits have you enjoyed so far?

View User Profile for Brian Conte Brian founded Fast Track with over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience and technology expertise. Brian managed the development of Microsoft's first browser in 1985 and later founded hDC, the first Windows software company. Brian ran hDC, later named Express Systems, for 10 years before selling it to WRQ in 1996, where he remained as CTO. Brian spearheaded the development of one of WRQ's most successful products, Express 2000, which generated more than $10 million in its first year. Brian holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University.
Posted by Brian Conte Friday, February 5, 2016 8:55:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C business partnership

What is Agile Methodology? 

Agile methodology

Agile methodology is a set of tools, skills, and knowledge that is considered (collectively) as an alternative method to conventional product management and development. It is often used in software development wherein teams act and decide in response to unpredictability through iterative work sprints.

The Origin of Agile

The 1970 publication by Dr. Winston Royce entitled "Managing the Development of Large Software Systems" criticized the sequential process involved in product development.

Dr. Royce emphasized that software should not be developed like a product on an assembly line where each component is added in sequential phases, and where each phase must be completed before starting the next phase – the so-called “waterfall” approach. He opposed this phase-based approach wherein developers first gather all of the requirements, complete all of the architecture and design elements, write all the code, do all testing, and so on. Dr. Royce specifically opposed this style of process because of the lack of communication between the specific groups which complete every phase.

In waterfall methodology, teams only have a single chance to get things right. It is also not an optimized method compared to the concept of agile. Waterfall method assumes that each requirement can be identified prior to the design and coding processes. Could you tell your developers all they need to know (requirements and all elements) to include in the software before it is up and running? Or would it be easier to illustrate your idea to the development team if you could give feedback on functional software?

Why Go the Agile Way?

Using agile technology provides opportunities for your team to assess the direction of your project during the development process. This is attained through regular iterations, at the end of which, teams should present the resulting product increment. This method is described as 'incremental' and 'iterative' due to the process of repetitive shortened work cycles and the functional product they produce.
There are different types of agile methods that use the original principle stated in the agile manifesto. The most popular types are the following:


Scrum specifically focuses on how to manage tasks within a team-based development setting. It is the most widely implemented agile method possibly because it is easier for IT development teams to understand and follow. Scrum is not repressive and doesn't demand loads of technical discipline unlike well-defined Agile methods. It lets the development team decide what to do and how to do it; as well as get up to speed and begin doing Agile swiftly and cost-effectively.

Scrum certification helps fulfill the objective of the Agile manifesto by encouraging collaboration, productivity, and accomplishment among team members.      

Dynamic Systems Delivery Method (DSDM)
Possibly the original agile method, DSDM was already in existence even before the term 'agile' was used and adapted in software development.  DSDM fixes cost, time and quality at the outset and uses prioritization scope into “musts”, “shoulds”, “coulds”, and “won’t haves”.

Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme Programming or XP is a more thorough type of agile method which focuses on process analysis, development, and test phases through frequent releases in short development cycles intended to improve productivity and introduce checkpoints to accommodate new customer requirements.

Among the three popular types, DSDM is possibly the most comprehensive agile method, while Scrum and XP are a lot easier to implement and complementary since they deal with various aspects of software development projects and both are established on very similar concepts.

In the last decade, many industries have seen the benefits of using agile technology. Media, marketing, technology, large corporations, as well as government sectors have seen a dramatic improvement in their IT development projects and team efforts, which also provides that much-needed competitive edge.

In agile product development, project management is a little different as it relies more on the team leader's skills in coordination, communication, and facilitation with less emphasis on planning and control. However, not all projects go well with this method and it is not always the key to instant success. The key is to understand many techniques from different agile and waterfall methodologies, and pick out the best approaches that will suit a specific situation.

Agile technology, with a combination of your team's skill and experience, can help you have a more flexible approach and less documentation, more collaboration and visibility that allows for a more rewarding team experience and better products as a result.


View User Profile for Brian Conte Brian founded Fast Track with over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience and technology expertise. Brian managed the development of Microsoft's first browser in 1985 and later founded hDC, the first Windows software company. Brian ran hDC, later named Express Systems, for 10 years before selling it to WRQ in 1996, where he remained as CTO. Brian spearheaded the development of one of WRQ's most successful products, Express 2000, which generated more than $10 million in its first year. Brian holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University.
Posted by Brian Conte Thursday, January 21, 2016 5:08:00 PM Categories: business partnership custom development enterprise project management small business tips technology web design web development

5 Reasons to Hire a Social Media Marketing Team 

Benefits of hiring a social media marketing team

Social media marketing has become one of the top marketing strategies for businesses today. It has opened up more opportunities to reach out and engage with targeted audiences and the chance to turn leads into paying customers.

If your business website lacks social media integration, you’re certainly losing out on the possibilities of gaining more prospects and sales. While starting on your own seems like a good idea, you need to consider that in the future when your sales and customers increase, you’ll need manpower and expertise in planning, crafting and disseminating social media content.

Here are the benefits of hiring a social media marketing team:

(1) It allows you to concentrate more on the business side while experts handle social media

With the rest of the activities involved in running your business, you may find it overwhelming to handle the technical and marketing aspects of using social media. Using the expertise of professional social media marketers who are well-versed in using and implementing this type of marketing strategy can alleviate this stress for you.

(2) Hiring a team allows you to learn the social media ropes with less pressure

On your own or with the help of your social media team, you can learn the ropes of this social media marketing in your own time. In our opinion, this is an ideal approach for you as an owner of a growing online business since you need to be present to service your customers. Learning basic tasks, such as creating accounts, posting updates based on guidelines, and engaging with followers will be easier if you have someone to guide you.

(3) You get additional prospects through social networks

Since you have a dedicated team of social media strategists, it is easier and more effective to implement techniques such as creation of social media content, posting, scheduling, and engaging with followers. With proper implementation and time, you’ll see the rise in website activity, and hopefully sales.

(4) Keep your social community up-to-date while strengthening your brand

Your dedicated social media team can handle all the needs and expectations of your social media followers - from adding short product posts and updates on Facebook, to tweeting your upcoming promos and discounts. Handling responses and keeping the interaction swift and engaged is a great way to show that you care more for your customers than the money they'll spend on your website.

(5) No need to micromanage your social media team

Hiring a social media team shouldn’t be too complicated particularly for you, the business owner. You will often encounter outsourced team of experts with their own supervisors to oversee them. If you choose this path, you'll only deal with an account manager when it comes to updates and reports. It's also possible to schedule monthly or quarterly meetings together with the rest of the team.

Social media strategies, when done right, can accelerate your online success. You don't have to be a one-man-band to accomplish the tasks; instead, consider hiring an expert team as soon as you can to see better results.

Are you pondering on using social media as a marketing strategy? Don't know how it's done? Get in touch with us and we'll help you get started.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Thursday, April 30, 2015 5:57:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C business partnership enterprise inbound marketing online marketing small business tips social media marketing
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