Modern technologies allow business owners and employees to be more flexible and mobile. How big is your office? – Usually it can fit into a bag or sometimes even a pocket. Laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices let us connect with our colleagues or partners from anywhere and at any time. Share reports, approve strategies or business plans, work on presentations, discuss wireframes, and take part in conference calls even without leaving your house.
Such mobility has left its mark on business operations, HR processes and work approach. Dedicated developers, and remote or distributed teams are nothing new these days. Why are organizations of all sizes routinely using outsourced dedicated development teams? Benefits are:
Access to global talent pool can easily expand your technology stack capabilities and removing a necessity to re-hire or re-train your entire staff. Modern tools enable in-house developers to seamlessly collaborate with outsourced workers and get your project completed, tested and deployed in less time.
Moreover, a dedicated development team (DDT) can co-build applications while coaching your local employees. Such a business model is mainly adopted within larger projects to gain lacking knowledge and let on-site specialists to acquire a necessary skill set.
Agility is one of the core advantages that an offshore team can provide for startups, mid-sized companies and enterprises. In most cases the bigger the team, the harder to stay nimble. A DDT should be seen as an extension of your internal team members that is fully engaged in your tasks. Outside specialists help to deliver projects on time and within a budget, especially in the context of changing requirements and priorities.
Such a process model is often applied for seasonal or recurring tasks when additional resources are needed. In this case we are talking about new releases with short deadlines, startups, tech migrations, etc.
The remote staff is interested in contributing to your project and best solutions are built in close interaction between the client and the team. Opting for an outsource model you get absolute control over the project through daily/weekly communication and management with the use of tools such as: AceProject, Basecamp, JIRA, Slack, Skype, GoToMeeting, and other tools.
Regular brainstorm sessions help to enhance overall workflow, get transparent results and become more productive. Full commitment to the project’s success is a proven model to guarantee reliability and efficiency for the long term.
Top 7 reasons to hire a dedicated developer team:
- Shortage of IT talent or lack of particular tech skill set in your area;
- Cost savings, in terms of infrastructure and overhead expenses, as compared to increasing your onsite IT staff;
- Shorter starting cycle, in contrast to putting in place an in-house team;
- Ability to focus on core strategies and services, handing the development work off to an external agency;
- Minor effort from your end to set up a team;
- Risk minimization with competent project management and trusted operating processes;
- Cyclical or seasonal workload with strict deadlines.
What to consider when choosing a service provider?
Analyze business requirements and define goals. Start with assembling a team responsible for the vendor selection process. It should include employees from different departments like developers, testers, project managers and team leads. Clearly define the scope of tasks, benefits and desired final results of the outsourced relations.
Check on vendors’ experience, references and portfolio. Verify vendors’ experience of delivering services and performing tasks similar to yours: number and types of projects, types of clients, sector or industry expertise and technology stack. If you plan a long-term agreement, it is recommended to get acquainted with the proposed team members, conduct skill tests or hold interviews prior to signing a contract.
Assure yourself of good communication, account management practices and cross-cultural specifics. Transparent communication or lack of it can establish or break your outsourcing relationship. Consider time zone, working language, communication channels and tools, dedicated person for concerns and feedback, and presence of common positions.
Building trust is an essential component of any outsourcing relationship and core focus for both parties involved. Considering the fact that this process takes time, it is imperative to set the wheels in motion even prior to inking a deal. Success of the project depends not only on the vendor or the development team, but also on providing required information on time, as well as on flexibility when working, fair estimates, streamlined payment process, etc.
Starting small and mitigating risks is a key tip for startups and small organizations. Such an approach makes it easier to manage outsourcing costs and offers more flexibility in terms of engagement models. If you hold an interest in a particular technology stack then it is advisable to opt for smaller providers. They will innovate at a much faster rate delivering custom services.
How to actually make your dedicated team work?
Teambuilding – is it an art or a science? How to create a healthy culture and make your virtual team successful? If we talk about assembling and motivating, then it is a blend of both science and art. However, there are lots of fragile parts and loose components that make team-building look complicated and sometimes unattainable.
There are any challenges that offshore teams face, such as: lack of personal contact that has an adverse effect on productivity, conflict management and establishing a trust relationship. So how to build team culture when you are thousands of miles apart? Here are 5 ideas:
- Daily/weekly updates with the entire team make it easier for all the teammates to stay updated and to keep everyone on track. Schedule hangouts to share demos, celebrate completed tasks, coordinate shared work processes, and discuss future plans or initiatives.
- With monthly one-to-one talks you can ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength and achieve results towards targeted goals. The scenario can be as follows: ask one thing that the team member is excited about, one thing that he is worried about, one thing the company can do to improve his performance, and one thing that he can do to enhance his job.
- Offer fun team occasions like hiking, joint colleagues’ birthday celebrations, have lunches together, play virtual party games after work, etc. Hold monthly/quarterly meetings, sponsor dinners and share photos. Kira M. Newman, founder of The Positive Psychlopedia project, states that “remote teams have freedom and flexibility, but they are also at risk for disconnection and discontent.”
- Celebrate company successes together. Buy your team members similar t-shirts or hats, exchange gift certificates, present everyone with personalized corporate merchandise, etc. Here you are confined only by your imagination.
- Try to meet in person, especially if you plan long-term partnership or involving larger teams.
Popularity of IT outsourcing is easily understood, as it combines low-cost software development and highly-skilled employees. It is a beneficial choice for long-term agreements with larger projects and a constant workload. This Dedicated Development Team business model works well for those clients who are in the know of the ins and outs of project workflow, possible pitfalls, and those who have a good mind to invest in successive and continued development of a quality solution.