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CEO at Relevant

A Complete Guide on How to Outsource Your Product Design

Design

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“Do what you do best and outsource the rest,” said Peter Drucker, one of the most influential management theorists of the twentieth century. 60% of tech companies turned this advice into a business strategy and started outsourcing their product design and development projects. Better talent, lower prices, access to world-class opportunities — are just a few reasons for taking action in this regard.

Are you also interested in outsourcing product design and looking for a contractor to transform your product idea into a production-ready design? Then you’ve come to the right place. 

As an outsourcing company with over 200 successful projects and eight years of experience, we will explain everything you need to know about product design and how to outsource design tasks more efficiently. Keep reading to find out why outsourcing can be a golden opportunity for your business!

The reasons to outsource product design

Fierce competition forces companies to seek innovative ways to develop new products of superior quality and in a much shorter time frame. But consumer demand often exceeds the ability of suppliers to innovate.

Each company has its schedule for the release of products, drawn up considering the workload of its resources. And in cases where the market demands new products faster than companies can produce them, they can use the help of third-party companies. It allows businesses to execute multiple processes simultaneously and with no delay.

That is why outsourcing has become a powerful strategic tool to enable companies to act smarter in the highly competitive digital marketplace. The next section describes cases when you need to outsource your product design project.

When should you outsource your product design?

Instead of thinking about whether product design outsourcing is right for your company, use a constructive approach. We’ve compiled a list of situations where it is best to hand off a product design project to an experienced outsourcing team to make things easier for you. So, here they are:

Your team lacks internal resources and skills

Consider if your product design team has the skills to get the job done well. It’s one thing to come up with a product design idea and quite another to bring it to life. Product / UX design is an ongoing analysis, design, testing, and delivery cycle. Therefore, the skills a team should have include:

  • Prototyping
  • Deep scan
  • Proper documentation
  • Testing

If your team lacks knowledge, skills, and experience in at least one of these areas, then it is worth outsourcing your product design to a product design outsourcing company.

You must complete the project on a tight schedule

Let’s say your internal team has everything it needs to manage all product development stages successfully. But if the project has to be completed on a tight schedule, you may need the help of a company that provides outsourced product design services. By delegating some parts of the product design work, you can work on multiple stages simultaneously, complete them faster, and thus speed up the project.

You want to get the best quality without spending a fortune. It’s no secret that outsourced product design and development are more cost-effective for various reasons. Many companies and we are no exception, offer efficient outsourced product design services at flexible prices. 

Design is not your core business

Designing professional software products requires a good knowledge base and solid expertise. Therefore, if you do not regularly deal with product design projects, it will be more logical and productive to outsource the part that requires special software to a qualified supplier.

You are launching a product with high market barriers

In some industries, there are high barriers to entry for new products, which often make it difficult to barrel projects. For example, several regulatory hurdles need to be overcome when developing medical solutions that lead to long delays in project phases. If you are unsure if you can move the project beyond the Proposal or Prototype stage, outsource it to software development and design firms.

You need an outside perspective on how to build a unique product

“Two heads are better than one,” says the old paraphrase. It is especially true for product design and development. When you’re trying to create unique products, it’s important to have an outside perspective to bring creativity to your industry and organization.

Working in the same industry for an extended period gives you experience. However, your thinking and the models you use are repetitive. The value of a third-party vendor lies in the ability to draw ideas and methodologies from different sources and look at things from a user experience perspective, which adds new energy and excitement to the design process.

When Should You Outsource Your Product Design Project?

The benefits of product design outsourcing

Companies that outsource product development find the process beneficial for several reasons. Here are some of them which are particularly important:

Access to best design talents

Hiring talented people to implement digital solutions strategies is no simple task. They must have the right experience and knowledge to support your projects and be culturally appropriate for your brand.

Even if you can find the best talent in your industry, you will still need to acquaint them with the internal processes as well as invest in their education. 

Outsourcing allows you to easily access the best talent in UX design and development. The right supplier will provide you with a team that constantly learns new skills and keeps up with recent trends and developments. These specialists can guarantee that your product is of the highest quality and up-to-date.

Optimal price/quality ratio

Leading product development specialists often have high salaries, so hiring them as full-time employees can be incredibly expensive. In addition, design and prototyping equipment can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, not counting maintenance and repair costs. With outsourcing, you will work with leading specialists and state-of-the-art equipment for a fraction of the cost.

Ability to do more at less cost (extend capacities)

You can use a team of experts who can do more than just develop your product at a low cost. If this is your first project, you will also need the right guide. Experienced product designers can steer you on the right track. This way, there will be no mistakes in your design that you could make out of inexperience. Plus, you can get manufacturing help, material advice for your product, and even engineering services.

No need for micromanagement

Handing tasks to a specialized company often means working concurrently, as the party you outsource will complete these tasks faster without micromanagement. You get effective, built-in offshore team management as part of the service. At the same time, you do your day-to-day work, doubling productivity. Another plus is the absence of management overheads.

Faster time to market

It can take months to assemble a team of internal experts and set up equipment for product development. Even the most subtle design can take up to a year to go through the prototype stage if you do the work yourself. If you hire a third-party vendor instead, you can usually get your prototype in just a few weeks. Some relatively simple projects take only two weeks to develop, while more complex projects typically take four to seven weeks, depending on their size.

Widen your horizons (new ideas)

Product design is outsourced because you gain the experience and skills of the world’s leading product developers. When you work with a trusted supplier, a team of engineers and other product designers will analyze every detail of the product.

They will review concepts, design, prototyping processes, materials and even identify potential manufacturing problems you may face in the future. In addition, the third-party vendor will have a unique skill set and a new perspective on things. They can approach your product design from an angle you never thought of.

Easier scalability

When you work with an outsourcing company, you quickly scale your product team up and down. In fact, you don’t even need to worry about scaling. The company analyzes the requirements for your product and independently adds new technology experts according to the requirements.

Leverage their experience and networks

A product development outsourcing company is likely to have a strong portfolio with many products. So they’ve probably made a lot of connections in the product development industry. That means that you will not only put your ideas in very safe hands, but you will also have access to their entire network of competent designers and product developers. They can help you move in the right direction, increasing your chances of success.

Last but not least, besides a superior digital product, successful UX/UI design outsourcing can present you with a reliable business partner who can help you implement many successful projects in the future.

Why outsource instead of hiring an in-house team

Hiring an in-house team is a frequent choice among CEOs and startup founders. After all, isn’t it a part of building and growing the company?

This approach has certain advantages you can’t overlook. An in-house team are the people who are very involved in the development of your product, know it well, feel connected, care about its success, and transfer your company’s values into it. But the disadvantages of this strategy — building an in-house design team — can overwhelm the advantages of this approach.

After all, creating your team is not only about recruiting suitable personnel. You need to take care of IT systems, software licenses, technology training, overhead, and infrastructure costs. Obviously, in-house development will cost much more than outsourcing.

But, if rapid product iteration is a natural part of your business activity, then you have the workload that justifies building your product design capabilities. Some businesses release the newest and best versions of their products every year.

If this is your business model, then it justifies the long-term cost of building an internal team, as you will be able to use their experience to create new versions of your product for many years. It would be ideal for this kind of project to outsource the concept to an outsourcing company and use your in-house resources for the rest of the product development.

How to outsource product design right

Now that you know the outsourcing product design advantages, here are some tips for getting the right perspective on the process.

Outsource Product Design in 4 Steps

Research

Before you can determine the design and engineering effort required to bring a product to market, you must clearly articulate the marketing and technical requirements for the product.

That will form a brief for your internal or external team to take over the product design. Once you have these requirements, you can start planning design work, capital, and third-party costs.

Planning

Your product’s conceptual design and specifications are developed at this stage of work. This document describes your product and specifies what you want it to do and how the user should interact with it. It is necessary because design specifications define the entire scope of your product development.

The overall project plan is also clarified, especially if your project begins its journey. Planning the details of your project ahead of time makes it easy to find the right digital product development team and is open about your expectations from the start.

Defining the budget

Next, a development budget is set, which depends on the complexity of the product. That includes total and special costs and the hourly wages each employee earns for the work that needs to be done. That is why outsourcing is important to choose a company with the best quality-price ratio.

Considering all costs (i.e., not just design work), determine in advance what you can afford now, as well as in the medium and long term, so that you can adjust the plan according to your cash flow.

Finding the team

Well, we logically approach the search for an organization that could bring your idea to life. To complete this step correctly, read on as we provide you with actionable guidance on finding a reliable product design outsourcing company.

How to select a product design outsourcing provider

If you are looking for an outsourcing service provider for the first time, you may be a little confused. There are lots of companies, all of them have attractive websites and look like industry leaders in their field. So how do you know which one is best for your project?

How to Choose a Product Design Outsourcing Provider

Hiring an offshore software company is perfectly appropriate, especially if you don’t want to spend money on unproductive teams. So let’s approach the choice in cold blood.

Step 1. Where do we look for a team?

There are many dedicated online resources (Clutch, GoodFirms, Dribbble, etc.), where you can read about product design outsourcing companies and see what other businesses think about the quality of their work. 

You can also look at intermediary platforms that connect clients and outsourcing companies worldwide. Major marketplaces used by IT professionals include Freelancer, Upwork, and Guru. 

Well, the easiest way is to google it. Each company has its website presented on the Internet. You just need to study it carefully.

Step 2. How to select the best company?

After identifying potential candidates, analyze how many years the teams have been in the industry, completed many projects, etc. Research the team’s portfolio, read reviews from previous clients, and check out their blog and LinkedIn profile to assess talent. Remember to match the team skills to your project specification. Pay special attention to the Ukrainian IT market, where many experienced professionals offer world-class design and development services.

Step 3. Get to know the vendors

By contacting selected candidates, you will get the first impression of your potential suppliers. Some of them may have too little experience in your field, and some may simply not be available. Ask them about rates, experience, certification, communication, and security measures. Then you can filter them by how quickly and fully they answer your questions when they are ready to take on a project, etc.

Step 4. Determine the costs

After some initial correspondence, you will have a shortlist of companies that might work for you. But before discussing your project, ask each of the companies to sign a nondisclosure agreement — product design can be of great value.

Based on your specification, ask for a quote, including cost and time. Costs that are too high-priced or too low should alert you. High cost does not inevitably mean high quality, and low cost almost always implies a lack of experience.

Step 5. Test the employees

Instead of asking the firm to do all the work at once, try to test its capabilities first by asking them to do a small part of the project’s design.

Do not forget to pay for the test task at the outsource’s standard rates. If you decide to continue working with the supplier, you will use what they did in your project. If not, take it as a price to pay for avoiding bad choices.

A company that suits you in all outsourcing evaluation criteria, such as rates, deadlines, processes, technology stack, the scope of services, and has passed a practical test, will probably become your reliable partner.

How much does outsourced design cost?

The cost of a product design depends on many factors. We will list the most important ones.

Key Factors Affecting the Cost of Outsourced Product Design

Project’s complexity and scope

That refers to the level of complexity of the product logic. That is one of the key factors in determining the cost of a product’s design. In addition, the complexity can lie in the design itself, when the product must have custom fonts, icons, images, etc.

Of course, digital product development costs depend on the number of features you want to add to your product. For a design to be inexpensive, the functionality must be simple. But even that can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Vendors location

The cost of product design development depends entirely on the country in which your contractor is located. According to a Gartner study, the most cost-effective place for outsourcing web development services among Eastern European countries is Ukraine. It offers flexible development prices and is also famous for its talents in product design.

For example, according to Clutch, top developer companies in Ukraine charge between $25 and $99 per hour, while the hourly rates of their US and UK competitors can range from $50 to $300.

Cooperation model

Also, the number of costs can be influenced by the cooperation model. By the time and material (T&M) model, you only pay for the time spent on a specific set of tasks. But because of the lack of well-defined deadlines, the estimate may be less manageable and may go beyond the planned budget.

The fixed price model is suitable for long-term projects. However, the hourly cost of product development costs 15-20% more than the T&M model, and any significant deviations from the original project requirements are charged separately.

The dedicated development team is one of the most popular collaboration models between a client and an outsourcing provider. The client has full management control over the project and the team, while the contractor performs the recruiting and administrative support functions. In this case, the costs are predictable because you pay a monthly amount that includes the team members’ salaries and the supplier’s administrative services.

Common mistakes you should avoid when outsourcing design

Perhaps after reading the first part, your doubts about whether to outsource a product design project to a professional firm have been partially dispelled. Before jumping to conclusions, however, familiarize yourself with the most common mistakes companies make when outsourcing product design.

Key Factors Affecting the Cost of Outsourced Product Design

Lack of control

You outsource not because you lack product design ideas but because you have limited resources to bring the concept to life. The service provider does everything based on your statement. And even if you have a vision of how the product will look and how it should function, a lack of control can lead to a completely different outcome at the end of the process. Controlling the process does not mean scrutinizing every detail, but you must stay informed and make important decisions regarding the project.

Underestimating careful planning

Strategy is too important to be neglected. While this seems obvious, many companies underestimate the importance of having a simple plan with clearly defined goals and ways to achieve them. Make sure your partner is familiar with your strategy before starting the development process.

Choosing a team with a limited skillset

The company where you outsource product design should have extensive knowledge and experience. Even if you only need outside help at one short stage of your project, you need the hired team members to understand different industries, platforms, and tools. The point is the firms you turn to may not have created products like the one you want, but their varied skills and experience can be useful for your project.

Misunderstanding

When you outsource, there is a high likelihood of misunderstandings because of the lack of clear communication channels. We recommend using a single channel between the client and the dedicated development team. This way, there will be no difficulty or misunderstanding, and it will involve both parties in all stages of product development. By engaging in communications throughout the project, you can quickly identify and resolve emerging issues.

Looking for the lowest price

When choosing an outsourcing company, you shouldn’t be looking for low prices. After all, if a company’s services are the cheapest on the market, it always means a lack of qualifications or experience. When outsourcing software development, it is a mistake to think that the more you pay, the better. Don’t go to extremes. So, looking for product design outsourcing offers, find a middle ground in your pricing.

Summing up

Outsourcing product design is a wise choice for a reliable and qualified partner. And we declare without false modesty that Relevant Software is one of them.

As an outsourcing provider with 200+ successful projects, we help companies from 25 countries develop products from scratch or improve existing products. Over the years, our team has honed its skills by gaining in-depth knowledge of the latest industry standards and methodologies. And now, these skills allow us to provide digital design services that include:

  • Digital product design
  • Experience & UI design
  • Graphic & motion design
  • Visual identity

How it looks

You have a great product idea; we have the perfect strategy to bring this idea to life. Here’s a quick rundown of the process of designing a digital product:

Discovery

We start by looking at your business and the problem you are solving. The goal is to understand the advantages of your product over your competitors and its position in the market.

Roadmap

Based on the research insights, we define the concept of the product and how users will use it.

Prototyping

We create a visual prototype based on feature maps and user paths to test your concept with real users.

Delivery

In the final stage, we combine all the collected data, make final tweaks, and release the final designs for your software.

At the same time, we will provide the most accurate and realistic estimate of the project and guarantee that we will protect your confidential data as if it were our own. Therefore, if you need help with product design or know when to outsource software development, Relevant is here for you.

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CEO at Relevant
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