As outsourcing services are getting more and more sought-for, you have probably stumbled on the words “team extension model” online while looking for software engineers to help you with a project.
The team extension is an outsourcing model that involves expanding your in-house development team with advanced technical skills for the short- or long-term based on your business needs.
This model enables companies to minimize costs related to recruitment and project management of specialists while receiving the best results possible.
Instead of choosing from a limited number of specialists in your region, you can collaborate with an outsourcing partner from Europe, for example, and get access to a vast talent pool and hire the best experts for reinforcing your team.
Therefore, it’s possible to say that team extension is a more efficient model to hire the right software team extension with niche skills quickly — and there is more to it.
This post will guide you through all the essentials, helping you get a clear understanding of the service, including:
- How team extension works
- How it differs from the classic dedicated team service
- Advantages and pitfalls of the team extension services
- How to choose a trusted partner
- And so much more
Now, let’s discern this new way to hire the right IT team extension specialists.
How Does Team Extension Work
Generally speaking, the process of outsourcing IT team extension is pretty simple and straightforward. This type of service is offered by established outsourcing companies all over the world. As you probably know, the top destination for outsourcing software development are several countries in Eastern Europe such as Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, and so on.
As a rule, those companies operate in the IT market for many years or even decades, therefore, they have unique access to a wide talent pool of software engineers with a diverse range of skills, knowledge of programming languages, and other competencies. It gives them a competitive advantage over other agencies and they can search for and compose a team according to your requirements pretty quickly.
Offshore team extension is not only about offering quality services but building long-lasting and trustful relationships with a client and becoming a part of their team to assist them in solving their business problems.
Team Extension vs. Dedicated Development Team
Team extension and dedicated development team are two pretty similar models that exist in outsourcing. However, not all business owners understand what the main difference between them is and how to make the right choice that will be suitable for the company.
Whereas an extended team is a part of your in-house team, a dedicated development team functions as an individual entity and is located on the premises of your outsourcing partner.
The goal of the team extension model is to fill in the skills gaps in the existing team or complement it with some unique technical qualifications missing. At the same time, a dedicated team is built from scratch and consists of all the specialists needed to work on your project from the first steps to product launch.
To sum it all up, the team extension model will be suitable for those businesses that are ready to invest in a long-term partnership with an outsourcing vendor and will be ready to expand the in-house team with external professionals. This collaboration will allow them to achieve exceptional results and will be suitable for big long-term development projects.
Speaking of dedicated teams, this model can be a good choice in case you are not ready to host a new team on your premises and want to get the job done from a distance. In addition, it will be suitable for projects of shorter duration and of less complexity.
Team Extension Benefits
Team extension has four important advantages that we will dive into below.
Flexibility in Proximity
Team extension aims to provide a client with the right developers regardless of wherever the developers and the client are, and negotiate a mode of cooperation: nearshore (in close proximity to the client), onshore (on the client’s premises), or offshore (remotely).
Here, team extension should aim to negotiate the most flexible conditions, with a developer (or developers) flying to work as an onshore dedicated team whenever needed — or work onshore or nearshore while keeping the possibility to work remotely.
When it comes to software solutions and digital products, many companies want to have an edge over the competition and cater to the demands of modern customers. In most cases, this is achieved through the implementation of the latest technologies.
Whether it is a project with augmented reality, blockchain, or the Internet of Things, team extension helps to find a loyal software developers team that consists of qualified engineers who have the combination of hard and soft skills required for complex projects.
High Scaling Velocity
As companies that offer team extension have at least five years of expertise in software development team extension management, they employ a great number of software developers on a full-time basis. They also have access to a pool of developers — a region in the world that has a very high number of software engineers with a wide range of skills.
Eastern Europe is a good example, balancing cost-effectiveness and code quality. The scale of this talent market and its regulatory framework allows the companies operating in the region to provide highly flexible team extension.
Team extension’s high flexibility also extends to the hiring process, which can be tailored to the client’s requirements, allowing them to tackle the challenges of the ever-changing business environment.
Fostering a company culture that both makes existing developers stay and always attracts new talents is paramount to team extension. Equally important are career planning and professional management.
As a result, team extension offers an incomparably low attrition level in a team of software developers, allowing them to tackle long-term projects that go on for over a year.
Pitfalls Of Team Extension & Possible Solutions
Despite the valuable benefits that extensive IT services offer, this approach is not perfect. There are a few challenges that business owners have to be aware of in order to know how to effectively overcome them. Down below you will find the most common pitfalls to be prepared for and know what to expect in case of potential collaboration with a vendor.
Searching for a short-term solution
The biggest mistake that companies make while choosing team extension services is to perceive it as a short-term solution to temporarily close the gap in the team. This approach won’t make this partnership successful.
The main way to avoid disappointments and poor results are to build long-lasting relationships and integrate an extended team into your in-house team on a long-term basis. Only this will help you to achieve their peak performance, complete alignment with business objectives, and top-notch results.
Prioritizing costs over value
Despite the fact that outsourcing is a perfect way to reduce software development costs, each engagement model is based on its own pricing. Usually, companies might put the cost over the value that would be potentially offered by a team.
Instead of focusing on expenses, try to shift your attention to the value that an extended team will bring to the table along with their tech skills and competencies.
Setting unclear expectations
Extending a software development team means you will have to put some extra effort into making your partnership. No matter how professional your extended team will be, they need you to set clear goals, expectations, and deliverables and explain your core business objectives so they can deliver the best possible results.
Take your time and define what exactly you expect from each of your new team members, and develop detailed documentation that will serve them as support while working on your project.
Treating your extended team differently
Extended team members are a valuable part of your company. However, not all business owners remember the fact that they are part of a team and they have to be treated the same.
In order to ensure their peak performance, it’s important to make sure they have the same working conditions as other team members, they are involved in some extra office activities like corporate parties. Your attitude will define the level of their engagement and by motivating them you will ensure quality results for your business in the future.
Not embracing cultural differences
If you decide to extend a software development team it’s paramount to remember that your new software developers have a different cultural background which you should also take into account.
However, rather than paying the low cost for and inviting specialists from Asia who have a different mentality and language barrier, you can pay a bit higher price but invite professionals from Eastern Europe who have a more similar mindset and with no exceptions speak English fluently. It will enable you to minimize a cultural gap and find understanding with your team more easily.
Team Extension Structure
Team structure depends on your business needs and objectives, although you should determine the exact reasons why you hire each specialist in your team. In most cases, the effective inclusion of an extended team works when you have urgent, complex tasks and limited resources for hiring new in-house professionals to complete them. In this wide definition, hundreds of smaller reasons and nuances can be your case, such as:
- You need to develop MVP really quickly,
- Your in-house team doesn’t have free resources to manage critical project tasks,
- There’s a need to address the growing scope of the project ASAP,
- You have ambiguous goals you cannot achieve with your current team.
The key principle for hiring an extended team is to turn it into an integral part of your current project team. In practical terms, that means smart empowerment and supplementation.
If you can identify all the problems and gaps, try finding each specialist on a freelance platform. However, it’s always easier to hire an online vendor who will do all the necessary audit, hiring, and management work over your dedicated team.
If you need the checklist to start, here’s the typical structure of a dedicated team that we advise our clients:
- Front-end engineer,
- Back-end engineer,
- UX/UI designer,
- DevOps engineer,
Is This Dedicated Team Model More Cost-Effective?
As team extension offers immense flexibility, the client has a lot of space to be efficient with their budget. Opportunities include hiring an engineer with niche skills to work as part of an existing developers team solely for a short-term task (or solving a particular problem).
Ultimately, there might not be a great difference in budget costs between the usual dedicated team approach and team extension for most projects. Still, that is not what the service aims to achieve in the first place.
The key difference between team extension and the classic team extension services lies in higher efficiency at key stages, and the focus on loyalty.
Who Would Hire a Dedicated Team with Team Extension?
The key industries that look for this new dedicated team approach are healthcare (among them a lot of pharmaceutical companies) and hospitality and tourism. The first needs reliable partners to deliver near-faultless software for patients and internal usage, as well as implement new technologies.
Meanwhile, hospitality and tourism companies need to continuously deliver highly streamlined software solutions. For example, today’s guests expect mobile to be part of the hotel experience and expect a hotel’s level of comfort extends to its mobile app.
At the other side of the reception desk are the employees, who need effective digital tools to deliver the services efficiently. Interestingly, a lot of startups also seek team extension services, to succeed with large-scale projects.
How to Choose a Trusted Team Extension Partner
Since the task of hiring a dedicated team becomes harder with the extra requirements for a team extension, switching to higher speed and effectiveness requires proper knowledge. We recommend referring to an expert who has access to all the valuable resources on the market and can assist you in finding true specialists for your task.
There are 4 basic principles for hiring a dedicated team with team extension. In short, you should check that the new team members are an ideal project fit and possess deep expertise in their field. For you, there are requirements for total control over the situation and a clear definition of the project goals.
Ensure that the people hired fit your project perfectly
Since team extension works on a project with the maximum speed and effectiveness, careful preparation for its inclusion is critical. Before hiring, ensure the chosen specialists can dedicate their full attention to your tasks, without switching between several projects.
Moreover, we recommend meeting each new team member in person. Since you’ll be working side by side for several hot months, mutually pleasant integration is a must.
Check the professionalism of a dedicated team
During the project implementation, you’ll face many times how things go wrong. But you can reduce the level of uncertainty and pressure by finding the right people who possess deep expertise. They can address all these challenges and bring your overall project's effectiveness to a new level.
Establish direct control over a dedicated team under team extension
Never transfer the reins of power to your team situated in another office! The team extension model presupposes that you are a full owner of the project still. Thus, be ready to manage the constant flow of technical improvements, edits needing your attention, and various types of strategic and tactical decision-making.
Moreover, your responsibilities will include possessing control over the development process, effective team communication, and performance evaluation. In short, the team’s increased effectiveness doesn’t mean you’ll have less work — and you should embrace that responsibility.
Clearly define project goals and criteria
To measure the speed and effectiveness of a dedicated team under team expansion, you need a clear vision of your project and where it leads. Moreover, determine the roles of each team member to avoid ambiguity and their low effectiveness. In practical terms, that means setting milestones for the project and creating the assessment plan for each new project member. Don’t hesitate to use the SMART approach to goal-setting and direct discussion with your extended team members.
For the best result, look for software development companies that have been working in IT for well over five years. Many of them offer the team extension model. The service offering might slightly differ from company to company, but the main promise should be the same.
In general, team extension has the perfect structure to fit a startup with several ambitious projects, an established business that manages long-term projects with complex tasks, and a digital agency that aims at expanding. And it doesn’t work that well when you have limited funds, small project scope, or high quality is not your priority. In these cases, you won’t be able to maintain the extended team management and enjoy the advantages of its speed and effectiveness.
If you are looking for some extra workforce for your business to implement your ideas and develop innovative software to boost your growth, find out more on our Team Extension page to get familiar with the full list of services and benefits you might get while collaborating with Intellectsoft.
If you are ready to hire and lead a team of developers, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Our software engineers have been helping startups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies for over 10 years.
How much do software development team extension services cost?
As we have mentioned above, team extension services are a very budget-friendly option for those companies that want to outsource their software development tasks.
Speaking of the price, it all depends on a few crucial factors like the length of your collaboration with an outsourcing partner, the number of developers you want to hire, and their skills and experience as well.
In addition, the level of complexity of your project is also another factor that will form the final cost. Therefore, in order to get the more specific figures, it will be recommended to get in touch with our team so we can advise in your particular case.
If you want to know more about the prices then don’t hesitate to read more in our materials. In our ebook, you will get an extensive overview of the main engagement models while outsourcing your software development as well as main pricing models that will help you understand the price of the services and choose the best option that fits your business needs and requirements.
How to manage your extended team effectively?
Usually, when outsourcing, companies face a few challenges while managing their offshore teams. These challenges include time-zone differences, language barriers, lack of clear communication, cultural differences, and so on.
Speaking of team extension, since this model involves relocating specialists so they can work on-site on the client’s premises, some of those challenges lose their relevance. However, managing an extended team differs from managing your in-house workers.
Among the top tips, we can share to make the management process as smooth as possible are the following:
- Sharing a clear product vision and explaining a final goal so your new temporary team members understand them and are on the same page with the rest of the team
- Building detailed documentation on your project so they can get familiar with all the business and technical aspects and start working effectively right away
- Setting KPIs and deliverables so you and your extended team know what is expected and what they need to achieve in the certain period of time.
Check out this article that will give you more valuable information on how to manage your team effectively and get the most out of your collaboration.
How to hire the most qualified developers?
Before you even consider hiring software developers, you have to understand clearly what are your skill gaps and workforce needs. Define how many specialists you need to finish your project and what professional knowledge they need to complement your in-house team.
Once you are ready, you have to prepare the job description to rely on. The next step will be to find the matching outsourcing partner and check out what professionals they can offer for your company. You have to carefully revise all the applications and choose the candidates that match your expectations the most.
After that, be ready to conduct several interviews, and don’t forget to prepare the relevant questions for the candidates as well as the right technical test to evaluate their skills in practice. If you want to save your time on these processes, check out if your outsourcing partner can do that for you, and be prepared to accept your new team members shortly.
In case you are interested in knowing more about hiring the most skilled developers, feel free to flick through this blog post on this topic.