The arena of software development has established itself on remote and outsourced models of operation, owing to the cost savings and conveniences that such working systems bring to both businesses and development teams. Software companies in Sri Lanka are no exception. With numerous agencies catering to many international clients in addition to local portfolios, outsourcing software development services is ultimately the most optimal (and only) means to deliver competencies and leverage to the businesses that depend on them.
However, the software outsourcing model has been receiving modifications to its usual style of function, as more businesses embrace virtual work environments. With smaller companies now keen to enlist the services of software outsourcing companies, dedicated team models are now starting to gain popularity. Combined with the sheer pressure and fast pace that organisations today have to tackle in the wake of soaring demand, economic changes and/or aggressive competition, many companies may not have enough time to spare for building a software outsourcing team.
Dedicated team models therefore enable businesses to hire developers precisely based on the skills they need – as opposed to committing to an entire outsourced team. This offers businesses massive flexibility, as scalability can be achieved in record time, and with a minimal contractual commitment. In this article, we discuss the ins and outs of dedicated team models for building quality software, and how your business can hire the right talent in order to scale quickly.
Although dedicated team models are a form of outsourcing, there are some key differences between the two. For one, outsourcing involves hiring entire teams, which include a project manager, designers, developers and testers. A dedicated team member will only involve a few individuals who will be hired to fill any skill-related gaps in an existing team. Dedicated team members will also involve lesser costs and contractual commitments, as only an individual (or two) will be hired to meet any lack of expertise.
Additionally, a dedicated team member may not always report to the outsourcing agency that would’ve offered them the placement; while having HR and other administrative tasks handled by the agency, they may formally report to the client who requested them, with other aspects such as performance evaluations, bonuses and even leave allocations being moderated at the client’s discretion.
There is never a hard line between dedicated team members and fully-fledged software outsourcing teams, when it comes to software development; companies may choose to use both models depending on what suits them best. For example, an organisation may start with hiring a fully-fledged software outsourcing team, and then adding dedicated team members to this existing team at a later stage. Any number of reasons could prompt this decision; either the outsourcing agency wasn’t successful in sourcing the professional expertise required, or it was more affordable to simply hire someone else as a dedicated team member.
This can also be the case for in-house teams, as their competencies are amplified through the contributions of a dedicated team member. Ultimately, it is key to keep in mind that software development team models can be tweaked to allow nuances – as long as any combination you choose serves the unique needs of your business, it is advisable.
Although dedicated team models and software outsourcing models are relatively similar, dedicated team models offer certain benefits that make it distinct from its outsourcing counterpart. Some of these include:
Through a dedicated team model, you only need to focus on closing gaps for specific skills or competencies. This means that your organisation only needs to source an individual or two to address this need, as opposed to hiring an entire team. This enables versatility in the wake of fast-paced growth, as businesses can meet any sudden needs in niche expertise with little to no downtime.
Having served numerous international clientele through the years, the EFutures global presence has given us time-tested experience in building, scaling and maintaining software outsourcing teams, including supplying dedicated team members to clients who will benefit from the same. Our experience tells us that first assessing existing business requirements is the ideal starting point, as this can provide clarity on which skills are lacking – so the right candidate can be sourced and placed in order to meet objectives.
Hiring a dedicated team member to upscale your software development efforts will certainly come at a cost, but never more so than hiring an entire team. While software outsourcing has been known to be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house team, dedicated team models are a step above as they further help control costs owing to only having to remunerate an individual or two, in comparison to an entire team.
Dedicated team models also offer the flexibility to hire specialists on a short-term basis, therefore reducing (if not completely removing) the pressure of honouring long-term contractual commitments. While such team members are ideal for short-term projects, they are particularly suitable for consulting. For instance, enlisting the competencies of an SEO specialist to build a strategy that existing teams can then execute is best done via a dedicated team model. Once the strategy has been built and teams are familiar with what they need to do, the SEO specialist’s retainer can be halted, until if and when they are required again.
Before seeking any candidates, it is advisable to conduct an internal assessment of existing business processes, including assessing your current software development team. In due course, identify what your objectives are, as this shall help identify the skills required to hire the right candidate.
Some questions that you can ask both your business and software development teams in order to comprehensively assess your business include:
Upon having a discussion, collate all feedback into a brief. This shall then serve as a primary point of reference to understand what exactly is lacking, and how company objectives can be met via the right hire.
Once you have successfully connected the dots between your organisation’s goals and the skills needed to meet them, it is time to start searching for the right candidate. While the usual methods of talent sourcing can be used for this purpose (job board posting, employee referrals, social media), it is imperative to filter suitable candidates by asking the right questions during interviews and screening processes.
Talent management software can help parse resumes for necessary information, and also conduct automated screenings in order to lighten administrative workloads for your teams. However, an in-person interview shall be the best way to gauge a candidate’s suitability for the role you have available.
While considering hard skills such as training qualifications, past work experience and other technical skills is important, emphasise on soft skills as well. These include but aren’t limited to language fluency, effective communication, organisation skills, time management, and the ability to assimilate well within a team. Soft skills are crucial for roles across any hierarchy, but they are particularly necessary for leadership roles, such as that of project manager or CTO.
Hiring dedicated developers and other specialists for enhancing the competencies of your software development team is an affordable yet effective way to scale deliverables when time is scarce. Featuring numerous benefits over conventional software outsourcing models, dedicated team members can be added into existing teams with little to no downtime, while also demanding smaller contractual commitments.
However, dedicated team members are usually sought to meet niche requirements, thereby making it harder to find suitable candidates. Many of these challenges can be mitigated by first conducting a business assessment, understanding company objectives, and then identifying the skills that are necessary to meet said objectives, thereby helping companies connect the dots between what’s lacking, and how it can be addressed.