One of the basic challenges coming to the fore while every new project emerges is ‘WHAT TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT TEAM I NEED THIS TIME?’
This is quite a typical situation even for experienced business owners. And it doesn’t actually matter how many projects one participated or managed. This mostly depends on the type and goals of the next project.
Let’s review the options for your next team. More times than not the team choice is considered only in one basic dimension (which we’ll review as well of course), and the second dimension is ‘lost in translation’:
Dimension 1. External team structure: In-house vs. Outsource vs. Outstaff.
This is only the first step in choosing the right team for your project. In most cases, business owners end their decision-making process here.
Dimension 2. Internal team structure: Functional vs. Cross-functional vs. Self-managed.
This step may seem less important for a business owner. And this is partially true: after choosing the right external team it’s quite logical to put the further organizational process up to project managers. But it’s a good idea to be acquainted (even not officially) with each team member after setting them all up.
Now let’s get deeper in both steps of choosing your next project team.
In-house vs. Outsource vs. Outstaff Team
In-house Team Type
The first thing that may pop into your head after a new project arises is probably:
‘Let’s do it! We can make it in-house. We just need a few more team members!’
Cons of Hiring an In-house Team:
- Recruitment costs may be high.
After deciding to deliver everything on your own, you’ll most assumably want to add a few team members.
This will add costs too because you’ll need a recruitment agency services to hire the right people.
And recruitment agencies may charge up to one yearly salary of an employee they’ll hire for you. Pretty much, right?
- Recruitment quality may be quite poor.
The common case is the low quality of external recruitment. And it’s not about a recruiting company is unprofessional.
It’s about hiring skilled IT employees and developers is quite a specific process and requires relevant experience.
In case a recruiter doesn’t have much experience and background he/she won’t be able to complete even the initial candidates screening to good quality.
As you know employing the wrong people may turn your big idea into a failure.
- Workforce maintenance falls on your shoulders only.
Your new team members will need exactly the same as others:
- they need performance plans,
- they’ve got feelings,
- they ask for raises,
- they may leave you for another company,
- and if you don’t develop any software on a constant basis their work intensity may vary and keeping them on ‘the bench’ will cost you a lot – fixed salaries are applied.
- Hardware and software costs may be high.
When you engage new team members in-house you need to equip them with all the necessary stuff like PC/Mac, software, etc.
This may add up to your project costs quite a lot.
- Lack of domain expertise may hinder the development process.
The most talented developer may be clueless in a specific domain and have no necessary expertise. And this will take some time to get him on the rails.
Outstaffing Team Type
Outstaffing model is quite popular worldwide. Outstaffing means you may “rent” the necessary employees for your particular tasks and needs and they should be treated as remote ones. This approach also has its pros and cons.
Pros of Outstaffing:
- Flexible and quick hiring.
With outstaffing model, you have outstanding flexibility in increasing/decreasing the number of employees you hire.
Also, outstaffing vendors have a wide choice of employees to hire, so the hiring process will be fast and smooth.
- Outstaffing vendor is responsible for payrolls, taxes, etc.
In most cases, an outstaffing company provides the official employment, taxation, and insurance for their staff, which is quite convenient.
You have no issues with this part, simply paying the fixed amount per month.
- No maintenance, hardware/software costs.
All these are on vendor’s hands.
- Easy access to any team member.
Working with outstaffing model gives you the possibility of easy access to any team member any time.
- Full control over the development process.
Also, there’s an opportunity to take full control in the overall delivery processes.
Cons of the Outstaffing
- Time-zone differences.
Sometimes it happens that your perfect fit developer has different time zone with you and your team, and this makes a lot of inconveniences.
- No full contact with the existing team.
The remote team members (as this way outstaffed ones are treated as usual) may come off as not in-house employees.
So, it happens that outstaffers may be miscommunicated, for instance.
And it’s vital to choose the right communication channels which will be suitable for all participants.
- You are responsible for the development process.
Although this point was among the pros, responsibility for the development and delivery process on your side may be also an issue.
Literally, you simply “rent” a few developers and all managing processes are within your hands.
So, this is both an opportunity and responsibility for you and your team.
Outsourcing Team Type
Outsourcing some part of your IT needs and tasks is the common practice. This is reliable, convenient and less costly than maintaining your own IT department.
The principle of outsourcing is simple – you refer some project or part of the project to deliver to other company and expect for the outcome.
Pros of Outsourcing
- An outsourcing vendor is responsible for the code quality, the overall project management, and its delivery.
While in-house and outstaffing models suppose the great deal of your responsibility in a project, outsourcing one offers a more advanced approach with project management, quality control and delivery in a vendor’s hands.
- Management or hiring concerns are not your responsibility anymore.
You partner with the ready-made team of experts within your domain. So, no hiring issues or everyday project management concerns.
- Reduced costs: no additional costs for hardware, software, tools, etc.
Any outsourcing company already is equipped with all the necessary for their workflows stuff. You simply give your partner team tasks and they deliver within time and budget.
- Innovative solutions.
Partnering with an outsourcing company to deliver your next project you have an excellent opportunity to involve all team’s experience and expertise and receive the most innovative solution as a result.
They’ll pick up the best tech stack and use the latest services and technologies to bring your idea to life.
Cons of Outsourcing
- No direct control of the development
This is actually a half-drawback, since you may think of it as an advantage also. While with your in-house team or outstaff members you need to take the full control, with an outsourcing company you won’t lead the overall process, only take an active part in some key phases.
|Good for small/one-time project support||Good for big and continuous projects|
|Gives you full control over the project processes and easy access to employees||Frees you from the total responsibility on project development and delivery|
|You need to formulate the Scope of Work for each employee clearly||The scope of work is usually formulated by vendor’s project managers and team experts|
Functional vs. Cross-functional vs. Self-managed team
Now let’s look at your team from the other point of view. Which team do you want for your next project: functional, cross-functional or even self-managed? What stands for these types?
The Functional team is related directly to a particular function.
For example, you’ve got a User Interface design function in your project and ready to outsource it.
Or you’ve got a User Experience design needs. In this case, you also want to engage a functional team ready to help you with these specific tasks.
In ASD team’s practice were a lot of cases when a client requested us to do a very specific part of a project:
- For instance, we partnered with one of the clients exclusively to design the frontend of his website including developing UI / UX for this. So, our dedicated Design team completed these tasks.
- Another client approached us to develop the communication interface based on Facebook chat resources.
- And the next case is also using Facebook Advertising API to manage client’s ads.
All the above mentioned are the examples of acquiring the Functional team.
In most cases, you will need the cross-functional team where multiple functional teams are combined into one to deliver the complex project effectively.
Such cross-functional teams are composed of experts from different functional areas to collaborate towards the project’s goals.
It is a cross-functional team that is involved in most ASD team’s projects:
- Another project engaging our cross-functional team was developing a comparison engine for multiple financial institutions products prices. ASD team developed the web application with 12 modules for data comparison. For delivering this app we engaged .net, ASP .net web API, React/Redux, JS, Webpack, PostCSS, Jest, MSSQL experts to work simultaneously.
The last most common type of team is a Self-managed team.
According to the definition a self-managed team consists of employees who work in the same company, have a wide variety of objectives and their key goal is reaching the common positive result.
Seems quite a loose statement, right? Let’s give a couple of examples.
The best case ever is a team of so-called troubleshooters. Have you ever heard of such guys?
You’ve got an issue, they come and ‘shoot’ your trouble. So, basically, they are capable to solve any problem or puzzle within (or even out) their competence.
ASD team has successfully troubleshot a lot of issues in its practice:
- One of the most common cases in our practice is when a client approaches us with a Big Idea and it needs further strengthening and improvement.
- Another example is when a customer wants ASD team to recover a project after unsuccessful cooperation with some other company. Basically, they delivered a non-quality product and ASD team fixed and improved it after this.
Summary or How It Should Work In Reality
In this article, we’ve listed 6 types of teams within 2 dimensions. This was pretty much a theory. Useful and applicable in real life, of course.
You may ask:
‘How it works in reality and how I should choose the right team for my project?’
And this is the most basic question ASD team answers in most of our inquiries. Here’s our simple answer:
You don’t have to know all these details and deepen into the definitions to choose the perfect fit for your next project. Simply let us know your idea or project details.
No matter which phase you currently are, we are ready to accept the challenge and provide you with the right solution or troubleshoot the existing issues.
The bottom line
Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your question and we’ll get back to you with an answer.