4 Risks Of Using An Individual Developer

February 5, 2020

4 Risks Of Using An Individual Developer

Risky business is the name of the game here! This article takes a look at why using one developer to create your software isn’t the best idea. Identified below are 4 of the key risks in using a single developer. First off, we’ll look at the availability of the developer. Next is the technical debt that a company can accrue by using a single developer. There are growth and scale limitations. Finally, we’ll look at the costs associated with a single developer.


The most obvious risk of the bunch – availability. There will always be situations that arise when a developer is not available to fix an issue or work on a new update. There are a whole host of reasons as to why they can’t be available at all times. For instance – they may be ill, on vacation, bogged down with other work, dealing with a family emergency, and the list goes on. Your software will continue to need attention but your one developer simply can’t always be there to provide that attention at all times.

In the long term, a sole developer may become permanently unavailable as well. The individual may start working on another project, may quit, or may even pass away. When a company’s main business model may rely upon this software, these circumstances will cause havoc within a company. It is highly recommended to have other developers involved for support, design and overall knowledge.

Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

Technical Debt

Having just one developer can leave a company with technical debt. What is technical debt? Technical debt happens when developers ship software in a hurried fashion and there are problems left over that must be fixed after the fact. Whether it be inoperable features, old technology used, operating systems hitting end-of-life, poorly written code, or numerous bugs, all of these items will contribute to the technical debt of the application. Without having other developers involved and reviewing the code as it is written, there will likely be more technical debt.

There will be a lot of questions as to what is actually happening behind the scenes in the code. Has the code been written efficiently and can it scale? Does it do what we really want? Is it leaving anything out?

This also leads to the inability of others to fix the issues. No one but the development author truly knows how things are structured which makes fixing any issues extremely difficult. There may also be little or no access to the source code. This limits the company greatly especially when it comes to growing over time.

Growth Limits

A company’s growth can be greatly hindered when relying on one developer to create their software. The software will be limited to what the developer knows and their availability. It is also limited to the ability and skill set of the developer. The company’s deadlines and goals may not be feasible with only one person working on the software. Development will most likely be much slower than with a full development team.


While the one developer plan may seem more affordable at the beginning, it may come back to haunt the company. Chances are that this option will lead to the various issues listed above and many times, could require a complete overhaul of the software instead of trying to fix the issues. This intensive process is very time consuming and expensive.

Another problem could be the support costs. Often, the single developer is outside of the organization. Continual support and the fixing of bugs may cost more than the original effort. There may be support plans available, but they may come at a hefty sum. Remember to keep these in mind when calculating costs.


Remember to keep these risks in mind when deciding to work with one individual developer instead of a software team. That single developer may become unavailable. There may be more technical debt which is harder to fix. This could limit competitive advantages and scalability of the business. Lastly, costs may soar in the long run. Reach out to us and learn how an MVP solution using our team of developers may be the most cost effective option for your company.

Matt McCandless
Consulting Software Engineer

Matt McCandless is a consulting software engineer and writer in Wichita. He is skilled in Java, Integration, Javascript, SQL and Requirements Analysis.

Matt McCandless
Consulting Software Engineer

Matt McCandless is a consulting software engineer and writer in Wichita. He is skilled in Java, Integration, Javascript, SQL and Requirements Analysis.