Extending Your Team vs Outsourced Development
Just as there's never one way to build a software solution, there's also never only one way to structure a project. With different sized projects, different resources available and different deliverables come several options to consider when setting up your next project. You might not have internal resources with the skills necessary to deliver a particular result, or you have the resources but they're fully allocated on something else. In a smaller company, you may not have any IT resources at all and even considering a software development project has you out of your comfort zone. In all of the above cases we're here to help and there's a couple different ways to engage us.
Successful IT projects often require participation from individuals with various specialized skills. Often, those skills are only required for a brief period of time. It may not be efficient for your existing staff, to learn these skills to the point of expertise, while fulfilling their already full workloads. To reach the necessary milestones during each phase of a project, successful project managers have been using team augmentation, bringing in skilled experts for specialized tasks. These are relatively short term placements of specialized resources, in an existing team. Once deliverables have been shipped and milestones met, in-house staff can be brought up to speed and the specialists are released.
Some of the benefits of team augmentation include the following:
Elevate Your Team
It is not uncommon for an existing team to deliver many projects, using the same set of tools, technology and methods. These teams are at risk of stale skillsets. The changing business needs require these teams to deliver projects using new tools, technologies and skillsets. It is not reasonable, and quite risky to ask a team to learn many new skills in the timeframe of one project. It is unlikely that they will be able to acquire the level of expertise for the quality you need. Specialized experts brought in to fill that gap in skills and experience, will find better solutions to difficult business problems than someone who recently picked up that same skillset. By adding specialists to your project team, you allow your in-house staff to learn from the experts while completing their own tasks more quickly. Your in-house staff will pick-up new skills that would have taken much longer to learn if they were left to learn on their own. Adding more depth to a project team, results in a better quality product as each team member is able to focus on their own area of expertise.
Save Time and Money
Hiring is hard. Hiring well is even harder. Making a good hire is expensive, while making a bad hire is even more expensive! Bringing in the skills you need through team augmentation removes that risk and saves valuable time. If it turns out that you need that skillset on a permanent basis, then your team has already learned some of the skills you need. You're now a lot more efficient in the hiring process, with direct knowledge of that skill within your existig team. As well, an existing team member may be trained up to the skill level you need, at which point you need to replace his old skillset, this again would be an easier hire.
Reduced Risk of Turnover
Losing staff is always difficult and costly. When people leave, they take their knowledge and experience with them. It leaves gaps in the organization that may never be filled and negatively impacts the people who remain. When a team member leaves it impacts project planning, deadlines, workload and morale. When you bring in specialists and one of them leaves, it’s up to the staffing company to find a replacement. Bringing in specialists for a project doesn’t mean you don’t trust your staff or think they won’t be able to deliver, it means you’re trying to elevate them by surrounding them with smart people. It means they have an opportunity to learn something new, or perhaps to teach what they know to someone else. It brings fresh ideas and new perspectives. We frequently see smart people, left too long on a single project, working in isolation. They stop innovating and solve every problem the same way, using the same tools. They become stagnant and out of date, missing out on better ways to work.
Project Management Benefits
When you bring specialists into your organization, it’s because they have the knowledge and experience to get things done. As a manager, it saves time because they’re up and running quickly and can contribute to a project as early as day one. It limits your exposure to the risk of a bad hire and can improve morale by elevating your team and delivering a better product in less time. Permanent team members must be given opportunities to learn new skills, grow and take on additional responsibility if they’re inclined. This is not the case with a hired specialist, where the role is what it is, and professional development is not part of your responsibility. Augmenting your team gives the project manager the ability to move resources around as needed so that each person remains focused and the team is able to reach milestones and meet deadlines.
Staff augmentation is a tool that can be used when deadlines are looming or your existing staff is fully allocated and there’s work on the table that’s not getting done. It can be a win-win situation saving the company time and money, while exposing staff to new ideas and new skills. At BinaryOps Software, we have the experience to jump into your team and be productive quickly. Call or send us an email, let's talk about how we can lift up your project.
Mark has been doing database design and building custom software for over twenty years. With a background in electronics, he quickly moved into software development and has been building database software solutions ever since, on many projects of all sizes.