How to Outsource Ruby on Rails Development [An In-depth Guide]

Are you looking to build your next Ruby on Rails web app, but unsure if outsourcing is the right move? We know how important it is to choose the right team. Partnering with an outsourcing team can deliver high-quality results matching internal standards quickly and cost-effectively. However, failure to align expectations and manage distributed teams sends many projects off the rails.

This comprehensive guide shares proven strategies to outsource Ruby on Rails development successfully – from vetting partners to optimizing collaboration. Follow these best practices for assembling an effective team tailored to your needs, tightly scoping the project, and mitigating risks.

Read on to learn the step-by-step playbook that ensures your outsourced Ruby on Rails project follows the smooth rails to success.

5 Steps Process to Outsource Ruby on Rails Development

Outsourcing software development can be a great way for companies to build high-quality web apps quickly and cost-effectively. Ruby on Rails is one of the most popular frameworks for web app development, known for enabling rapid prototyping and iteration.

If you are looking to outsource a Ruby on Rails project, here is the complete process to follow:

  1. Define Clear Objectives of Your RoR Web Project

    Before starting development, take time to define clear goals and requirements for your Ruby on Rails project. This upfront investment will pay off when evaluating vendors.

    Document the purpose and target users for your project. Outline major user workflows and key functionality needed for an MVP. Identify any critical integrations with existing systems for data and services.

    Gather examples of desired screens and reports to help shape the vision. Distill this into a detailed specification covering.

    • Provide in-depth descriptions of all user stories and requirements. Specify related acceptance criteria. Prioritize by release phase if the timing is critical.
    • Choose a technology stack for the front and back. List specific databases, frameworks, platforms, and existing system integrations as per project objectives.
    • Pull together examples of design aesthetics, branding elements, style guides, or UX patterns as desired. Note any constraints.
    • Outline project phases, milestones, and the expected development timeline. Allow buffer for revisions.
    • Establish the available budget for the initial release, factoring in potential enhancements and ongoing costs beyond the build.

    Well-defined goals help identify aligned partners and prevent mismatched expectations down the line. Treat requirements gathering with rigour – it’s as crucial as development.

  2. Choose the Right Outsourcing Model

    There are three common approaches to outsourcing development. Evaluate each based on your budget, needs for involvement, and appetite for complexity.

    • Nearshoring refers to leveraging teams located in nearby time zones just a few hours off for web app development services. For North American clients, nearshore Ruby on Rails application development services providers are commonly based in Latin America and Eastern Europe. This can help you hire talented Ruby on Rails developers at moderate rates with more convenient collaboration.
    • Onshoring means working with talent located domestically in your own country. While hourly rates are much higher, communication and collaboration are streamlined being in the same time zone. Onshoring is preferable for projects requiring very tight integration between product owners and engineering.
    • Offshoring involves partnering with teams overseas, often in India, Eastern Europe, or Latin America. The benefit is access to high-quality developers at significantly lower hourly rates. However, coordination can be more difficult across vast time differences, languages, and cultures.

    Evaluate the unique needs of your project and company. Many organizations use a blended model, with critical roles onshored and supplementary capacity provided offshore. Taking advantage of location-based arbitrage while mitigating risks takes thoughtful balancing.

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  4. Search and Shortlist the RoR Web Development Agencies

    The outsourcing provider you choose can make or break your project. Utilize platforms like Upwork, Toptal, and Freelancer to search for RoR developers and agencies, where you can assess their profiles, past projects, and client feedback. In addition, you can browse directories such as Clutch and GoodFirms, for agencies who have specialization in Rails development services.

    While selecting the ROR web development agencies, you can use partners using these criteria to evaluate:

    • Specialization in Ruby on Rails framework: Look for providers with extensive experience building and scaling Ruby on Rails applications similar to yours. View past work and client reviews to confirm capabilities.
    • Development processes: Professional firms will have formal, documented processes for requirements gathering, architectural design, QA, project management, etc. Verify development follows industry best practices.
    • Communication skills: Outsourcing depends on clear communication between clients and distributed teams. Ensure your partner has English fluency, transparent workflows, modern collaboration tools, and accountability.
    • Cultural alignment: Consider providers that demonstrate transparency, shared values, and commitment to your success. Cultural mismatch is a top cause of offshore project failure.
    • Size and pricing: Both large offshore vendors and small boutiques have pros and cons. Evaluate Rails development team size, turnover, transparency of rates, and ability to scale.

    Taking time to thoroughly screen partners pays dividends during development. Prioritize firms with proven expertise, processes, tools, and cultural fit.

    Next, before finalizing an outsourcing provider, here are the steps that you can follow when evaluating each individual company.

    • Review resumes and interview developers who may be assigned to your project. Gauge their specific skills, communication abilities, and professionalism relevant to the role.
    • Carefully inspect code from previous projects similar to yours. Look for clean, modular code adhering to Ruby on Rails best practices.
    • Speak with past clients about the provider’s strengths and weaknesses. Ask about project quality, on-time delivery, and responsiveness to feedback.
    • Have the provider simulate their development agile development process end-to-end. Assess the rigour, completeness, and clarity of their methodology.
    • For serious candidates, pay for a mini-project involving a few days of initial development. Review the code firsthand for compatibility with your team’s standards.

    Taking time to thoroughly vet potential partners will pay dividends through more successful long-term engagements down the road. The due diligence is well worth it.

  5. Hire a Ruby on Rails Development Company and Sign a Contract

    As you hire the right Ruby on Rails development services partner, next sign a contract. Solid contracts establish clarity and accountability between clients and vendors. Check the following points to ensure what points need to be covered in a contract.

    While selecting the ROR web development agencies, you can use partners using these criteria to evaluate:

    • Scope of work (SOW): Provide precise, technical specifications for all features, integrations, and other requirements. Leave no room for interpretation.
    • Deliverables: Define tangible milestones and associated due dates to structure payments. Common stages include design mockups, build sprints, QA passes, and production deployment.
    • Budget and payment terms: Specify fixed pricing for the full project or monthly retainers. Include payment amounts and schedules tied to each deliverable.
    • IP ownership: Clearly state that your company will retain all intellectual property and source code produced during the project.
    • Performance criteria: Set measurable quality criteria like requiring 95% test coverage or minimal open bugs upon delivery.
    • Maintenance terms: Specify any post-launch support provided, like bug fixes and feature enhancements, along with associated costs.

    Experienced outsourcing partners will insist on thorough contracts too. Take time to intentionally map terms to prevent mismatched expectations.

  6. Start Development of Your Ruby Web Project

    When engaging with a new outsourcing ruby development partner, limit the initial downside by starting before starting full-scale development.

    A pilot should comprise a small, self-contained chunk of work that can be completed in 4-8 weeks with 200-400 hours of effort. The goal is to evaluate capabilities and collaboration on both sides before making major commitments.

    There are several effective approaches to structuring a technical pilot:

    • Focus on developing 1-2 core features that will be reused later. Verify the partner can deliver production-ready code.
    • Task the partner with a technical spike into some complex aspect of your architecture, like integrating a 3rd party API. Assess their technical competency.
    • Develop an initial proof-of-concept or prototype focusing on core user flows and visual design over complete functionality. Prioritize learning.
    • Pilot a suite of test cases against a legacy system module to demonstrate and validate the partner’s QA skills.

    Throughout the pilot, provide ample feedback and expect transparency. The goal is to mutually calibrate standards for collaboration, communication, and code quality that will drive a successful project.

    With a targeted pilot project, both parties learn about working together while minimizing risks before larger commitments are made. Use this trial period to set your engagement up for success.

How to Check the Expertise of Ruby on Rails Web Developers

When outsourcing a Ruby on Rails project, thoroughly vetting the expertise of Ruby on Rails developers is critical to success. Here are effective techniques to evaluate skills.

  • Code samples – Review representative previous work demonstrating mastery of core Rails constructs like MVC architecture, ActiveRecord ORM, RESTful routing, and modern front-end integration. Look for clean, idiomatic code following best practices.
  • Technical interview – Conduct a coding challenge relevant to your web app’s domain, such as modelling complex business objects or implementing user registration flows complete with validations. Assess the problem-solving approach, not just the final code.
  • Design patterns – Discuss the developer’s experience applying patterns like dependency injection, service objects, decorators, value objects, and factories to craft reusable, testable code. Evaluate grasp of tradeoffs.
  • Testing skills – Inspect test coverage metrics, test hierarchies, and examples of test cases from previous Ruby on Rails projects. Gauge hands-on expertise in reliable testing tools like RSpec, FactoryBot, Capybara, and others in the Ruby ecosystem.
  • Scaling knowledge – Assess knowledge of caching, background job processing, database optimization, and other techniques required to build high-performance Ruby applications at scale. Have them walk through optimizations made on past web applications developed.
  • Portfolio suitability – Verify they have built and launched Rails applications similar to yours in size, industry, integrations, and other technical considerations. Evaluate the relevance of past work.
  • Core competency – For senior roles, look for 5+ years of full-time, hands-on experience in Ruby programming language and its RoR framework. This level of competency ensures fluency and best practices.
  • Communication skills – Assess spoken and written English proficiency needed for tight collaboration with internal development teams and product stakeholders.

Taking time to thoroughly vet the capabilities of each Rails developer pays dividends in delivering a successful project suited to internal teams.

Questions to Ask Ruby on Rails Web App Developers

Here are insightful questions to ask when interviewing Ruby on Rails developers to work on your outsourced project:

  • How many years have you worked full-time with Ruby and Rails? Which notable apps have you built?
  • What Rails versions are you most experienced with? How do you stay current on best practices?
  • Have you worked on web apps in our industry vertical? What unique challenges did you face?
  • How do you write reusable, testable code that adheres to standards? What processes do you follow?
  • What Ruby tools and techniques do you leverage to meet security requirements?
  • What strategies do you use to build high-performance Rails applications?
  • How do you monitor web apps in production to identify areas for optimization?
  • At what levels do you implement testing in your development process?
  • What testing frameworks and tools do you have the most experience with?
  • What test coverage do you typically achieve? What is your approach to test-driven development?
  • How do you test and document complex features that span multiple layers?
  • Can you walk me through your typical process for building a new Rails app from scratch?
  • How do you identify and prioritize technical debt in existing web applications?
  • How do you approach debugging tricky issues that arise after a web app is live?
  • How do you like to communicate and collaborate within a remote development team?

Asking thoughtful, layered questions like these will reveal each candidate’s expertise and experience in building robust Rails applications, allowing you to choose the right developers for your project’s success.

Where to Find the Ruby on Rails Web Developers for Your Project?

When outsourcing your project, you can find talented Rails application development experts for your project.

  • Freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Toptal. These provide access to pre-vetted individual contractors.
  • Staffing agencies with dedicated practices recruiting Ruby talent around the world.
  • Open source communities like Ruby Gems and Rails Contributors. Engage developers who contribute.
  • Conferences and meetups like RailsConf and regional events. Network with the Ruby community.
  • Internal referrals from colleagues, partners, or other companies that have outsourced Rails work.
  • LinkedIn by searching for developers with “Ruby on Rails” listed as a skill and relevant experience.
  • Casting a wide net improves your chances of engaging specialized developers that best match project needs. Consider both individuals and outsourcing firms.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Ruby on Rails Web App?

For a typical Ruby on Rails development project, the total costs range from $25,000 to $75,000+. The cost depends on multiple factors, which are described in the following section.

  • Developer rates – From $50-$150/hr for offshore talent or $100-$200+/hr for US-based firms
  • Web app complexity – As the complexity of your business logic increases, the costs increase. The developers need to spend more time figuring out all the aspects of coding.
  • Features and integrations – More functionality equals more development and QA time.
  • Custom designs vs open source templates – Building unique UIs adds significant effort.
  • Development model – Onshore and fixed-price projects tend to have higher costs.
  • Team size – 2-3 senior developers or more for larger projects.
  • Licensing costs – App hosting, SSL, databases, and 3rd party services incur ongoing fees.

How to Reduce the Risks in Ruby on Rails Web App Development Outsourcing

Outsourcing software projects come with inherent risks of miscommunication, poor execution, and other issues. Here are proven ways to reduce risks for Ruby on Rails work:

  • Thoroughly review potential partners, checking references and a proven track record in Ruby custom application development.
  • Start with a well-defined contract including detailed scope and strict quality assurance.
  • Implement strong requirements documentation, specification reviews, and approval processes.
  • Focus on frequent communication through daily standups, project tracking tools, and real-time collaboration.
  • Take an agile approach with iterative development cycles and regular deliveries for feedback.
  • Emphasize test automation and maintain high coverage at all times.
  • Conduct code reviews internally and externally to catch issues early.
  • Provide oversight via a technical project manager or consultant experienced with outsourcing.
  • Start with smaller Ruby on Rails projects to evaluate capabilities before making major commitments.
  • Consider more expensive onshore or fixed-price models to reduce risk on high-stakes projects.
  • With deliberate relationship management and development practices, companies can effectively leverage offshore talent to build great products. Carefully mitigating risks leads to successful outcomes.

Here is an insightful read: If you are curious to learn which popular organizations have used the RoR framework, read this guide on the top companies that use the RoR framework.

Want to Outsource Your Ruby on Rails Web Project?

Let’s connect. We are a leading web development company, having experienced web developers in Ruby, RoR, JavaScript, and databases.

Check the following FAQ section to clear the doubts you have regarding the outsourcing rails development process.

FAQ About Outsourcing Ruby on Rails Web Development

  1. What are the challenges faced during the outsourcing development of a RoR web app?

    Challenges can include time zone differences, language barriers, and cultural differences. To mitigate these, choose a partner in a compatible timezone, emphasize effective communication, and promote cultural sensitivity.

  2. How to choose the right outsourcing model for your project development

    Consider factors like the company’s experience with RoR, portfolio of past projects, client references, development process, communication capabilities, and location. Conduct thorough due diligence before making a decision.

  3. How do you ensure control over the development process when outsourcing RoR development?

    Yes, you can retain control by defining project milestones, setting expectations, and maintaining an active role in project management. Collaborative project management tools can also help.

  4. What steps should you take to ensure data security when outsourcing RoR development?

    When outsourcing, you need to Implement robust non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and data protection measures. Choose reputable outsourcing firms with a strong track record in data security and compliance with relevant regulations.

Choose the Right Outsourcing Partner for Your RoR Web App Project

In conclusion, outsourcing Ruby on Rails app development can be a strategic move for businesses seeking efficient, cost-effective solutions. By following the best practices outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can navigate the outsourcing process with confidence. Defining clear objectives, choosing the right outsourcing model, and meticulously vetting potential partners are key steps to success. Additionally, conducting thorough interviews and assessments of Ruby on Rails developers ensures you assemble a skilled developers team.

Remember, reducing risks in outsourcing requires careful planning, strong communication, and effective project management. By addressing these challenges head-on and continuously evaluating your partnership, you can steer your Ruby on Rails project toward a successful outcome. So, embrace the opportunities of outsourcing while staying vigilant to achieve your development goals smoothly and efficiently.

Jeel Patel

Written by

Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the Founder of Monocubed and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.