In the age of ubiquitous digitalization, companies engaged in different fields can’t do without the IT know-how that streamlines their workflow, both boosting efficiency and curtailing expenditures. However, if your core operations have nothing to do with computer technologies or you are a startup on short commons, you can’t afford to have an IT department on permanent payroll. Setting up an in-house software development team is also not worth it when you have a one-time project in mind. How can you cope with this predicament and receive a high-end product that won’t make a hole in your pocket? The solution is simple – outsourcing.
The practice of enlisting the help of expertise outside your company has become a popular business approach in many spheres, but the IT realm benefits from it exceedingly. It is explained by both the unique susceptibility of the industry to this form of cooperation and the deleterious onslaught of COVID-19 that turned remote employment from sporadic endeavors into a mainstream tendency. Typically, outsourcing related to software development is affected through the dedicated team model.
What is a dedicated team model, and how does it work?
You will probably find many definitions over the Internet but let’s keep it simple. It’s a particular type of cooperation between a customer and a software engineering company when the latter implements the customer’s project on a long-term basis.
Usually, a vendor’s manager runs the project. However, a customer is also able to assign their own project manager. As a rule, developers work in their own offices. Traditionally, each month a customer pays a certain payment that consists of developers’ salaries plus some administrative fees for project coordination.
The central concept of this business cooperation is that you obtain a highly skilled team of developers who work as your in-house staff. Moreover, you don’t need to splurge on special software and hardware to implement the project since both are supplied by the vendor.
How is a dedicated resource model different from other engagement schemes?
The dedicated team model isn’t the only engagement scheme employed in the IT industry. What are the alternatives to it?
- The Time and Material Model. This modus operandi is chosen by customers who foresee that their projects will last for months or even years. According to this model, the project is divided into certain iterations, each having a definite duration. After each iteration, a customer gets a completely functional product. Conventionally, the budget is defined in advance, yet depending on possible shifts in the requirements, the final sum is liable to respective changes.
- The Fixed Price Model. If you know exactly what you want, a Fixed Price engagement is a perfect fit for you. According to the contract signed, the expenditures over the project budget are paid by a vendor. That is the greatest advantage of this model, making it attractive for small- and medium-scale projects with clear requirements and a limited sum to spend.
Also, organizations opt for this scheme when they lack expertise among their in-house team. For example, they may need a developer with high-profile skills in a specific programming language or consulting services from a system architect.
If these approaches are inadequate to let you cope with the assignment, the dedicated team model is what the doctor ordered.
When might customers need dedicated team support?
There are several conditions that should be met for you to opt for hiring a dedicated team.
Usually, companies that choose this model for outsourcing software development don’t have precise requirements or ideas for the project. Neither do they know how long the project will last. What they do know is how much they are ready to fork out to delegate the tasks they consider to be of top priority for their projects.
As a rule, such organizations don’t conduct any feasibility/business analysis of the future project, so they don’t know yet what demands are compulsory and which ones are completely secondary, but they envisage it to be a long-time venture with lots of tasks to accomplish. Moreover, a considerable part of requirements as well the very scope and duration of the cooperation are liable to change.
Before enlisting the assistance of a devoted team, you should take stock of the resources you possess. Do you have an adequate in-house development team to handle the task? Or you need to extend it? Do you need some specific IT skills or search for solid expertise in a certain industry? The answers to all these questions will condition your choice.
Your budget is as important as the number of technical staff you need. Surely, the best case is when your funds are sufficient to see through all requirements replacement, requests fluctuations, scaling up, etc. But since an unlimited budget is a rare thing to have, you must make sure it is at least well-planned with regard to your possible needs and wants.
Top 27 benefits of a dedicated team model
Being a seasoned stakeholder on the market of outsourcing services, DICEUS sees numerous perks in adopting the dedicated team scheme.
- A cost-effective approach. You definitely spend less than you would on keeping in-house personnel.
- Ability to fit your limited budget. You can find the best option for the sum you possess.
- Decreasing administrative overhead. You pay only the team members and save on other expenses.
- Optimized expenditures. You pay only for the actual hours required to complete a task.
- Global partnership. You have unlimited access to the international talent pool hailing from all over the world.
- Complete provision of resources. With a dedicated team, you get not only skilled staff but also all necessary software and hardware on the vendor’s side. Thus, there’s no need to buy special programs or computers to accomplish the project.
- Highly scalable and flexible resourcing. You can always engage more staff and resources (software and equipment) or dial it down if circumstances demand.
- Room saving. Office space isn’t occupied by onboarded personnel, and lots of other things needed for a comfortable environment to work on a project.
- Time and effort saving. Investing in a dedicated team model, you save your time and efforts you spend both for the assignment implementation and the search for competent staff, channeling them rather into activities that can add value to your business.
Communication benefits of cooperation with the dedicated team
- Daily interaction and regular (weekly/monthly) reports. Set communication frequency as it is comfortable for you.
- Variety of channels to build meaningful relationships without any communication difficulties.
- Easy collaboration through such tools as Trello, Basecamp, Atlassian JIRA, Slack, etc.
Some social advantages of cooperation within this model
- Multicultural work environment. Hiring an offshore dedicated team is a unique chance to get in touch with representatives of various cultures and work ethics.
- Enhanced team unity. Employees learn to get along with a more excellent gamut of people with various backgrounds and working styles, which eventually brings them together.
Engagement and management advantages dedicated teams provide
- Alignment with your business strategy.
- Fast response to clients’ needs.
- More control. The client oversees the selection, management, and motivation of the dedicated staff.
- No need to set clear specifications. All requirements may be created within the process by in-house and onboarded teams.
- Opportunity to upscale or decrease your project when it’s necessary.
- Highly efficient and structured workflow involving agile practices.
- The transparency and visibility of project implementation.
- Quick replacement if an employee calls in sick or quits.
- Total concentration on one project only.
- A quick-paced development cycle. Since developers are engaged with one project full-time, its progress is quite impressive.
- Eliminating artificial dependencies between projects.
- Lowering context-switching that tends to hamper the efforts of an in-house team.
- Refining domain knowledge. Your regular personnel will hone their existing skills and acquire new ones in the process of collaboration with outsourcers.
Alongside undeniable assets, working with a dedicated team is fraught with some challenges that must be addressed.
Major challenges of a dedicated project team and how to eliminate them
We at DICEUS believe that most challenges appear through the lack of valuable experience so, they can be overcome if you are armed with a deep awareness of how to build needed cooperation. Let’s consider all pitfalls of hiring a dedicated team that may await you as a novice in the field.
- Uncertain product development costs make financial planning pretty hard
- Communication issues with new team members
- Security risks
- Cultural differences
- Team motivation is harder to achieve
- Time zone discrepancies may be an obstacle to your cooperation
- Neglecting legal aspects
What can you do to deal with possible bottlenecks and make the most of your global partnership?
First of all, implement analytics tools to track return on investment. It will help you to ensure that you spend your money wisely and this cooperation is well worth the expenses.
Then, compare your virtual management with the leadership of global tech leaders. Such juxtaposition will let you identify problem zones and outline a strategy of refinement. Experts recommend implementing meritocratic team management approaches to improve resource allocation. Another tip introduces innovative disruptions that are aimed at changing the way you used to handle things and trying new approaches, experimenting, and testing innovative ideas.
Thirdly, invest time and effort in growth opportunities. For instance, big data techniques are rapidly becoming a propellant for many businesses, so consider how to incorporate them into your business strategy.
A coal-and-ice summand of success in the venture is to establish a requisite level of cooperation via boosting knowledge flows among your augmented personnel. It is vital to focus on the two-way communication between the in-house team and the outsourcing vendor to stay informed about the strengths and shortcomings of your employees. Such monitoring will bring you a vision about possible resources of new knowledge within your staff.
Knowledge transfer helps refresh your business strategy and recognize each team member as a leader and influencer. To ensure free knowledge flow, make use of state-of-the-art tools for collaboration to achieve mutual understanding and enhance customer experience.
Compromising security when letting outsiders join your in-house team is unavoidable. Yet, steering by rigid NDA regulations, you will be able to have better control over data safety and lessen hazards of data leaks and penetration attempts.
If you onboard employees located in a different time zone, you must focus on offsetting possible inconveniences caused by diverse schedules and try to harmonize your joint efforts by adjusting timetables. Or try to shop for dedicated teams closer to your home country.
Legal concerns are one of the most problematic issues, what with the comparative novelty of the business model in question and inconsistency of national legislations in this sphere. Typically, the dedicated team provider is responsible for handling legal procedures and receiving necessary permits. In any case, signing a contract between the client and the vendor where all duties and liabilities of the parties are stipulated is a must.
Three lifehacks to make dedicated team model work
There are three valuable tips for companies to successfully embrace the dedicated team model.
To eliminate possible setbacks of outsourcing, you need to carefully evaluate the scope of the project and create a list of required professionals. In this roster, tick off the roles that may be filled in-house and those that will demand outside expertise. These vacancies should involve detailed descriptions of responsibilities and an approximate number of hours for each role. Once you have created the job description, look for a reliable software development company.
Smooth onboarding is critical
When you start cooperating with a specific IT provider, present the task to employees who will best address your needs. Moreover, feel free to interview them as well to find not only a skilled tech specialist but a cultural fit also (aka checking hard and soft skills). Then, create a preliminary contract to specify the expectations for the roles and needed outcomes. Include salaries and other software development cost based on the discussed issues. Also, involve the desired scope of the project and provisions for scaling.
Signing the contract is the final formal step in the workflow to build a dedicated team. But the informal processes require monitoring and support. That’s why you need to ensure that every employee, in-house or remote, is engaged.
Adopt a product-oriented organizational structure
The way your company is structured affects how you handle and run projects. To exploit the advantages of dedicated project teams to the maximum, organize IT resources around products to achieve the best results. Your end-to-end teams need to pay attention to reaching business results.
With this end in view, many organizations practice an agile-at-scale environment where products aren’t just commercial offerings. They can be a mix of offerings or services or an IT system shared by multiple product teams. So the company and tech actors need to identify the units of delivery. And once your end products have been recognized, the company needs to define an agile team that will work on software development and maintenance.
The first step to introducing a product-oriented organizational structure is shaping a strategic vision and allocating resources to reach the goals defined in this perspective. Then, consider required activities to stimulate employees and exercise control needed to ensure that you move towards achieving business goals.
Another asset of the project-oriented structure is its aptitude for cross-functional cooperation and engagement, where employees report directly to a team leader or project manager. Plus, this structure helps cinch a high degree of productivity. All goals are aligned with the entire business strategy and decision-making becomes more efficient. It provides higher creativity, integrated work activities, and facilitated problem-solving.
How to start working with a dedicated team model?
What aspects should you pay attention to, initiating cooperation with a dedicated team service provider?
Many software development vendors offer this type of engagement. However, it doesn’t mean you will easily find the needed set of skills immediately. The first thing you should do is to find a perfect match between the project specifications and a technology stack offered by a potential vendor.
Another important aspect is the level of motivation of a dedicated team. Your future developers must not only understand the task they face but also be self-motivated and enthusiastic about what they are doing.
Your next step will be asking about the core and accompanying services your vendor provides. The former typically include bug and problem tracking, source code and repository management, code review system, and release management. The latter may vary in scope and encompass business analysis, quality assurance and testing, maintenance, technical support, etc. The answers will help you understand how far you can move with your team in the future once you need to increase scalability or develop some add-ons.
While enlisting the services of a dedicated team, it is also necessary for you to have a clear vision of what specialists you should include in it.
The composition of a dedicated team: A closer look
Before you learn how to put a team together, you should know that there are two options. A team may include software engineers plus a project manager or only software engineers. In the latter case, a customer provides their in-house project managers to assign and monitor tasks. To choose between these two options, check what circumstances you have.
Developers only is a good option under the following conditions:
- You have an in-house project manager
- You/your project manager have a clear understanding of specifications
- You/your project manager can monitor the progress and assess the quality
- You have all the necessary means to communicate with developers
Developers + project manager works well if:
- You are not experienced in running projects
- There are no concrete demands for development
- You are likely to get all the information about the work progress from a project manager
- You need an expert who will manage the entire software development life cycle
Once you know what team composition model to opt for, it is time to decide on the range of specialists your team will contain. There is a universal roster of developers relevant for a software project of any complexity, be it an app, CRM, or e-store.
- A front-end developer. They are responsible for the look and the feel of the future product as well for its functionality. They choose, install, and test all interface components.
- A UI/UX designer. Being also in charge of the client-side of the interface, they rather focus on shapes, hues, surfaces, consistency, and other aspects of the visual appearance of the product.
- A back-end engineer. Their scope of responsibilities encompasses web services, APIs, data store, and all other server-side logic elements the product will contain.
- A DevOps engineer. These cooperate with other members of the development crew to enhance coordination among all operations and testings the project needs.
- A QA engineer. Their span of control is the quality of the finished product before it is launched. They look for and deal with bugs and flaws in it.
- A business analyst. They serve as a link between IT specialists proper and the business side of the project, identifying requirements, evaluating processes, and submitting data-driven insights and reports to the stakeholders.
DICEUS offers all the mentioned experts as a part of our dedicated team that can handle any project you have in mind without forking out an outrageous sum.
Running a business nowadays is a quite challenging task that requires offbeat ways to improve quality and reduce costs. The global practice of outsourcing helps broaden your pool of talents and capture the best tech specialists. Being implemented in the form of the dedicated team model, such cooperation brings many perks to your organization, among which time-saving, high scalability of resources and flexibility of workflow techniques are the most significant. By introducing effective onboarding strategies, a product-oriented structure, and relevant pre-planning, you will avoid possible pitfalls and leverage all benefits of the dedicated team model to the utmost.
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