IT Team Extension Target
You strengthen your own team with the help of external IT specialists who fill in the gaps in the missing expertise.
Area of Responsibility
You manage the development yourself. You are responsible for setting goals, deadlines, budget and quality of work. The vendor is responsible for the quality and availability of engineers, grade compliance and scaling.
Development Team Extension Advantages
You can freely distribute responsibility between developers from the internal team and external specialists. All strategically important competencies remain within the company. You quickly and efficiently complement your team with the right experts. Possibility to connect Smart services: Agile Software Management, Technology Architect on Demand and others.
Outsourcing IT Team Extension Flaws
There may be problems with communication between internal and external developers due to differences in the cultures of their companies. Developers need more time to onboard.The Team Extension model can be costly for short-term projects.
Lots of Projects
When another product needs to be developed in parallel with the main product, but it is not possible to separate or scale the internal team, the possibility of hiring an external team should be considered. The constant switching of the internal team between two projects can lead to a drop in productivity in the development of both software solutions.
It happens that a new project lacks certainty and it is not entirely clear how exactly the requirements will change in the process. In this case, you need maximum flexibility with the possibility of operational scaling. If your HR department is not ready for a rapid increase in the staff of developers, the ideal option would be to expand the internal team with external specialists using the Team Extension model.
Early identification of the problem is very important. When it becomes clear that the project will not be completed within the originally planned time frame, and internal developers cannot cope with the scope of work, you should resort to expanding the team.
Lack of Development Management Experience
It happens that a company has an IT department that regularly performs its duties, but does not have experience in developing software products. Some companies lack a development management infrastructure or have their own HR department to motivate developers. In such a situation, there is nothing left but to involve external experts in the project.
It is recommended that you choose a vendor such that your time zone intersection with the developers is at least four hours per day. But it takes a lot more time to fully interact.
If you have extensive experience in managing a distributed team, the difference in time zones can be large. If you are not used to working in a flexible mode, be sure to include a manager in the team of external specialists who will be responsible for the effectiveness of communication planning.
The most important thing in a distributed team is proper communication, but any communication is broken by the difference in time zones. Issues are resolved for a long time, requests are processed slowly and changes are accepted (pull requests). A task that would be solved in an office in an hour can be solved in a distributed team with a large hourly difference in two or three days.
Get to know the vendor better and start with a chief technical officer
Arrange an introduction to the service provider's CTO. On the one hand, the CTO is the decision maker; and on the other hand, the chief technology specialist. If you find a common language with him, you will be able to understand much better how the development of the one you work with is built.If you plan to build a long-term partnership with this company, it will be useful to communicate with other key figures of the company before making a decision on choosing a contractor.
Be sure to ask the vendor for a competency matrix, which describes what grades are inside the vendor and what they mean. With this matrix in hand, you can build an idea of what to expect from the people who will be working on your projects.It is also worth clarifying how the vendor has built the transition from grade to grade and how many people he has in each of the grades.
What you need to do when hiring external IT specialists:
Properly built communication is an important component of the success of the project. We encourage our clients to meet with the team after the completion of each sprint to discuss the results of the work done. You should also conduct regular retrospectives to see the full picture of what is happening and optimize the development process. Do not forget about interpersonal communication and team building activities.
Every Role Matters
You should not skimp on accompanying roles. For example, analysts (decomposition) and testers (quality assurance). Communicate with the contractor, provide him with all the information on your project and specify how this or that need will be fullfiled.
You have to be as foresightful as possible. Some clients, for example, refuse testers in order to save money, but in the end they overpay heavily for software development.
The analyst is able to highlight in advance a large number of risks associated with work breakdown, budgeting and schedule planning. The tester will ensure the desired quality of the final product and reduce the number of bugs. If you can to some extent neglect the final quality of the project, then, of course, you can do without additional roles. But, as practice shows, it is better not to save on these roles.
In distributed extended teams, Soft Skills play no less a role than the professional characteristics of developers (Hard Skills).
Today, it is important for technical specialists to develop the following Soft Skills:
Does your project need developers to have specific expertise and immersion in a complex subject area? Keep this in mind when choosing a contractor. Does he have an understanding of business processes in your industry? Wouldn't it be necessary to additionally teach developers something new and spend precious time on this? Be sure to check with the vendor for cases on projects similar to yours.
try to fix the agreements in the form of a charter or other document at the start. It is important to write down things like:
Emergencies happen on every project. Suddenly, additional requirements arise, the conditions for working with the repository change, or the test server crashes. If you have a written project charter or other document that regulates the resolution of emergency situations, you will always have a pre-prepared plan of action. This will allow you to deal with crisis moments and save time when solving daily project tasks. Such, for example, as coordinating time, providing reports and many others.
In any team, even remote, it is important to maintain a healthy atmosphere. No need to get too carried away with micromanagement and try to control absolutely everything. You have to trust the developers, not follow their every action. Listen to them in retrospectives, motivate them with challenging tasks, learn to accept their mistakes and work through difficult situations together.
Extending a team using the Team Extension model is not for everyone. To successfully integrate developers into an existing team, you need to have management experience, provide high-quality onboarding, be able to set tasks correctly, and accurately estimate deadlines and budget.