• Development

How much does outsourced software development cost?

Trying to put together a budget for software development is a challenge for many business professionals. But a great first step to coming up with a budget is to really understand the elements that drive software project costs.

Niels Darcis

Software Engineer

PWA, Application Integration, and Microservices

The obvious ones and more importantly, the less obvious ones.

Direct factors that impact development cost (software drivers)

Building the right solution

Just like the construction of a building, software development requires a significant investment of time, money, and resources to design, plan, and deliver the project successfully.

That’s why, similar to construction, developing software requires a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished. Start off wrong and you will end up with something nobody asked for or isn’t fit for purpose. This is what we have been evangelising for years. Building the right thing will always be our absolute priority!

The scope of the project

For what aspects of the project are you looking to work with a development partner? If it’s up to us, we’re your digital partner for the full scope of software delivery:

  • Strategy: research, analysis, roadmap, mvp definition
  • Design: UX, UI, user journeys, user testing
  • Development: web development, app development, application integration

Logically, more scope implies more budget but there will be increased budget efficiency if we’re the one to take lead and get the project done, managing the different milestones along the way.

Complexity of the project

The cost of development can vary significantly based on the complexity of the project. Complex projects require a different setup in terms of the tools needed and skills and expertise of the individuals involved.

The layout of a difficult project will be different as well. There might be more milestones defined to help manage complexity, more edge cases to cover, more scenarios to test.

Composition of the team

Just like construction projects require a team of professionals with different specializations, software development requires a team with a variety of skills and expertise as well. Depending on the project, that team might include software architects, business analysts, UX/UI designers, developers, QA engineers and project managers.

Each team member must work together to ensure the final product meets the necessary requirements and functions effectively.

Less obvious factors that impact development cost

Your own time

One crucial factor that is often overlooked is the time and effort required by stakeholders within your company who are involved in the process. They often have other responsibilities next to their involvement in the project, which can lead to delays, miscommunications, and a lack of focus on time-sensitive tasks.

QA / Testing

Having a strong development team should only be one aspect of the delivery. It's equally important to have people on board that can thoroughly test for defects, bugs, and other issues.

Testing can be time consuming as there’s a need to identify issues, reproduce them, document them and then follow up on their resolution. But if not properly addressed, it can lead to delays, expensive post-release fixes and unhappy users.


A lack of adequate infrastructure or outdated infrastructure can lead to slower development times, increased downtime, and other issues that can impact productivity and increase costs. For example, transitioning from a legacy system to a new infrastructure will definitely need a detailed look into the cost aspect.


It’s important to explore and understand the different elements that make up software development budgets because it will lead to more accurate estimation. It will also help you when communicating with potential suppliers about a possible collaboration. In this first part, we’ve tried to outline these elements. In the next part, we will give you a detailed insight in how we approach budgets and estimations.

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