As a non-engineer, I am always trying to understand what might trigger software companies to consider working with teams beyond their office walls. And I now realize that there is never a single specific reason for this.
Here are the basics you need to consider.
Not Just a Numbers Game
There are several reasons why a software company may consider a remote development team. Including,
- Optimizing budgets and costs.
- Gaining access to expertise.
- Freeing internal resources.
- Increasing efficiency for time-consuming tasks.
Beyond the financial benefits, there are many other reasons for working with a remote team. Leading technologies and practices, accelerating time-to-market, and adding the expertise that high-quality development teams bring to the table. And then there’s the quality of the results.
Beware when a company boasts mostly about “the lowest rates in the industry.” That might be true and their main competitive advantage. But how will they perform? Will they deliver the results you need? Will their work hold up in production? How much rework will your local team have to do?
You may have to pay a lot more than originally expected just to clean up the mess.
Everything You Pay For
Total Cost of Engagement (TCE) includes everything you pay for, beyond the hourly rate.
For instance, when a company is hiring its own in-house developers the TCE includes their salary, taxes, retirement, etc.
On the other hand, when you have a remote team your TCE includes visits to your partner offices, usually in a far away place. This includes the cost of traveling, accommodations, and meals for every person who makes the visit: key developers, project managers, etc.
Building the Team
A significant part of your investment goes towards hiring people for your team.
For real savings, make sure that the company you work with does all the heavy lifting of sourcing, interviewing, and finding people with a culture fit to your needs. It’s not easy to do, but it’s ultimately worth it.
You don’t want to end up reading through piles of resumes and doing all the recruiting work yourself. Might as well hire direct in that case.
Instead, make sure that your remote partner understands your company values and the profile of your team. Only then can they save you money, time, and effort when it comes to growing your team.
“Years of experience” is overrated. A dev with 10 years of experience is not good if he is also a jerk to everybody in the team. A 20-year veteran who grew up with and still loves Waterfall is going to clash with your Agile team no matter how “experienced” he may be.
Rather than years of experience, look for fit. Make sure your partner is going to build your team with developers who are going to add value from the get go. And not just on the technology side. The Moneyball approach works for software teams, too.
Companies which can point to happy, long-term customers will more likely make you happy, too. Even more so if they already work with companies like yours or in a similar industry.
Length of Engagement
Are you doing a project or building a product? This is a very important distinction you have to be very clear about.
If you are building a demo or a prototype then you best handle this as a project. There’s no long-term impact and the quality of the code itself is not important.
Even if you are doing some User Experience (UX) research, it can also be handled as a project. The results are important, but you don’t need a permanent team for this.
On the other hand, if you are building a product, then you want a team that’s signed up for the long ride ahead. Everybody must be committed to its long-term success. Don’t make the mistake of doing this as a series of short-term projects. It will cost you more in the end, in more ways than one.
When looking to grow your development team, these points in mind,
Clarify your company’s goals and objectives.
Concentrate on your partner’s values and ethics; make sure that these will be aligned with your own.
Be sure to find out what technological innovation and expertise your technological ally can bring to your project.
Make sure that everyone single person involved in the process is truly happy and enjoying the ride.
Most importantly, make sure that you hand-pick a partner that that you can trust and work with for the long term.
Would you hire you?
If you would like to learn more about Nearsoft please send me a message to [email protected].