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Denis Grankin Head of Sales Department
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Extended Development Team: why should you have a software team extension for your project?

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Extended Development Team in 2022

We believe you have a great in-house team in place whose knowledge and skills allow you to successfully cope with complex tasks and achieve success in meaningful projects. So why should you be concerned about custom software development extended teams? The fact is, investing in hiring an extended software development team can help you fill skill gaps while scaling your business and increasing revenue. By hiring an extended software development team, you are always prepared for new challenges from the market, partners, investors and customers. Yet another advantage of an extended team is that it saves money and time, because it is cheaper to hire extended software engineers than to hire in-house ones, plus the task of hiring is done by your IT partner. All you have to do is take advantage of working with an outsourced team of technicians.

What Is a Software Team Extension?

There are different models of cooperation between the customer and the IT service provider, each of which has its pros and cons for you. What about the extended team?

It is not easy to define it clearly and precisely because it is a very flexible collaboration model.

In the extended team model, technical experts from overseas are brought in to work with your in-house team on shared projects, augmenting existing skills and knowledge with their expertise.

An extended development team can be "nearshored," meaning your technicians are in neighboring countries, or "offshored," where the IT partner is on another continent.

When it comes to hiring an extended team, you might wonder how an extended team differs from the typical outsourcing model. At first glance, there are no differences, but there are differences.

With outsourcing, all of your IT-related tasks are outsourced to a contractor, resulting in less control and transparency for you.

The extended team works closely with your in-house team, sharing common goals and being partners for each other. With an extended team, the entire process is transparent, you are in control, as well as aware of the work progress and any other operational issues.

But please do not think that we are trying to talk you out of outsourcing as a separate service. On the contrary, we want to let you know that outsourcing is more suitable for a one-time collaboration, whereas an extended team is more suitable for a long-term partnership. If this sounds like what you're looking for, give us a call and we'll discuss it.

It's safe to say that an extended team is the next step in outsourcing. But it's not the same as an engineering team working on a project. Collaboration between your in-house team and the offshore (extended, dedicated) team continues on a variety of projects for as long as it is needed.

What Is a Software Team Extension

Don't worry about how internal and external specialists will interact. With common goals and shared domain expertise, each team member is equally responsible for meeting deadlines and quality compliance. Communication between your internal team and the extended one is direct, with no middlemen, which allows you to achieve results quickly and solve problems just as quickly if necessary.

At the same time, the extended team does not replace your full-time team but rather strengthens it by filling in competency gaps that will still arise from time to time due to the variety of projects and tasks.

Benefits of Hiring an Extended Software Development Team

There are plenty of compelling reasons why you should consider hiring an extended team. Let's list the most significant ones.

Benefits of Hiring an Extended Software Development Team

Highly Skilled Technicians at Hand

The initial idea of augmenting your team with dedicated software developers is to gain access to a large pool of qualified specialists in the field you need.

Finding such talent locally is not always the case as they may not match your skill set, experience or rates. Extending the team, on the other hand, allows you to get the expertise you need in a short time and at a reasonable cost.

Cost-effectiveness While Working with Custom Software Development Extended Teams

Hiring an extended team seems to be more advantageous in terms of saving money. After all, what's better than saving money, right? The extended software developers' salaries are 50-70% lower than those of their full-time American counterparts. If you're looking for engineers to hire internally, keep in mind that it takes up to 1 month to find one technical talent, while the cost of such hiring is up to $5,000. And that's not to mention the taxes and benefits for in-house developers. As Codementor says, if your developer's annual salary is about $112,000, you, as an employer, will have to pay about $150,000.

That's why hiring an extended team truly saves you money. And frankly, it saves your nerves, just take our word for it, because one of the key benefits of extending your team with developers from overseas is reduced overhead. Issues such as payroll, benefits, calculation and payment of taxes are the concern of the extended team provider, not yours.

Hassle-free Team Setup

Since we started comparing in-house hiring with an external one, it's worth mentioning the following:

  • With an extended team, you don't need to buy equipment;
  • You don't need to rent or buy office space;
  • You don't have to worry about your workplace's safety and suitability;
  • You don't have to worry about providing technical support, etc.

Your only concern is finding and hiring the proper extended team.

Faster Time-to-market

When you extend your software development team, you get the chance to scale your business, especially if there is a need to release updates and new features quickly. Unlike pure outsourcing, your expanded team will be fully involved in your projects without being distracted by outside projects. Even with a lot of challenges, the workload will be distributed intelligently and the team will have time to get results. Consequently, with reliable technical expertise, you can accelerate your time to market.

Extended Team Onboarding Is Fast

What's the best way to get new employees involved in your in-house team? Setting up processes takes time, and as you know, time is money. A lot of precious time will pass until the new specialists get into the specifics of the project. It's quite another matter to have an extended team whose experience will allow them to get to work right away, which means that you can count on getting the results you want more quickly.

The Control Is on Your Side

By empowering your internal team with external developers, you gain control over the entire process. You can assign responsibilities, suggest ideas, influence the outcome and other aspects of the development process, thereby actively participating in the creation of your project. This allows you to stay informed, track progress, see what time and budget is being spent on, and change what you think needs to be changed.

You are also responsible for the task list, project roadmap, deadlines and scaling tasks. The extended team members will try their best and use their expertise to provide you with the right product, but it is still useful for you to know the mechanics of working with the extended team as well.

Managing a Team Is Up To You

The extended team can be managed by you personally or by someone on your internal team (consider the project manager in this case). When you augment your team with an extended team, you get external experts as full-time employees, who will, however, work from the IT service provider's office. In other words, your internal team and the extended one are combined, resulting in one large team that now has all the knowledge and skills needed to deliver your project.

Transparent Costs

As a client, you are not paying for the creation of the product itself, but for the specific specialists involved, so if you are working with an extended team, your costs will consist of the following components: the salary of each specialist involved as part of the extended team + a fixed contractor fee and some administrative costs.

Only the Best Are On Board

The extension team model means that the customer is involved in the process of hiring the technical team, so you influence which developers will strengthen your team. In turn, your vendor provides you with the strongest developers you can select as members of your extended team.

Access To the Wide Tech Talent Pool

The number of developers in the world is expected to reach 29 million by 2024. Imagine the choice you have! Extending your software development team gives you access to the expertise of highly skilled IT professionals, greatly increasing your chances of a fast and successful launch. When it comes to a startup that has just received investment and is not yet ready to invest in an office and other administrative costs typical of a traditional business, it makes much more sense to bring in an expanded team first.

Increased Market Share

With a large team of experts, you have more opportunities to be present in different markets, attracting more and more customers. Moreover, having experts from other countries on your software development team gives you access to industry-specific insights on the local market and mentality, which also helps strengthen your business footprint in that market.

What To Consider When Hiring an Extended Development Team

When it comes to why an extended team might not work for you, two things are worth mentioning. First, an extended development team is more suitable for long-term projects, whereas it is not so convenient for short-term ones. On the other hand, hiring an extended team of programmers makes sense, not for a single project, but a long-term collaboration on many projects.

Another aspect that may not suit all customers is the need to keep in touch with the extended team, to keep them informed of current project tasks and goals, and to make them feel that they are full-fledged members of your project team. Such a job will require a lot of time and effort on your part.

When You Might Need an Extended Team Model

when to hire an Extended Dev Team

The most typical reasons for team extension are:

  • Lack of specific expertise within the company, as well as a lack of the required expertise in the local market. Imagine that a customer asks you to implement a certain technology or complex feature, but your internal team does not have the appropriate expertise. In this case, external expertise comes to the rescue.
  • The core team is dealing with a high-priority project, and you don't want to take an experienced team away from that task. This is where the extended development team comes into play.
  • If the core team is skilled enough, you can load it with additional tasks, and for less important tasks hire an extended team and thus attract more customers.
  • An extended team is especially helpful in cases where your core team is busy with an urgent assignment and a regular client comes to you with an equally urgent request. That's when the extended team gets to work.

How To Manage an Extended Development Team

How To Manage an Extended Development Team

Managing remote teams is not without its difficulties, since those engineers are both new and far away from you. But it's not all bad. As time goes on, an extended team will become a full-fledged part of your staff, and you'll treat them like old, tried-and-true friends. To make this possible, it's helpful to stick to the management principles you're already familiar with, it just might take a little more effort and time to put things on the rails in the case of an extended team. Here's what the basic principles of building a cohesive team look like.

Consider the Time Differences

Unlike your in-house team, which is at arm's length, the extended team is far away, there is a time difference between you, and you have to wait until the extended team's office hours to get your question answered. To get the communication process up and running, you need to arrange call times and schedule meetings in advance.

Keep Employees Engaged

There may be differences in culture and mentality between your in-house team and the extended one, and this must be taken into account when trying to bring them together. However, it is your job to introduce the new employees to the established corporate culture and to resolve any differences that may arise.

Agree On Work Styles

Often your company's work style differs from that of your offshore partner. It may be that the technicians involved turn out to be too picky, a perfectionist, too silent, or, for example, will only turn in work when they are sure their code is flawless. Sometimes engineers' favorite principle of "either perfect or nothing" can slow down the overall workflow, so you need to let outsourced software developers know that they can report intermediate progress and possible difficulties as well.

Build a Shared Communication Language Working with Extended Development Team from Ukraine

Often that language is the English language. Your extended team must be proficient in English so that there is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the same term or task. If we are talking about an extended team of software developers in Ukraine, you can rest assured that you will be able to get along with them. Ukrainian software developers speak fluent English, which will help you stay on the same page with them, avoid misunderstandings and speed up the process.

Continuous Communication Within the Team

How closely do you want to keep in touch with the development team? To stay in touch with your development team, you need to use the right tools for seamless communication. This will allow you to solve problems at lightning speed and discuss critical issues without delay, but with significant time savings. You can use any software to communicate between team members, but the most important thing you need to know is that with such tools, messages will be correctly translated and therefore interpreted (which is important, given the international composition of the team), agreements and small details of communication are kept in the correspondence.

Another way to stay up-to-date with your extended team is through daily calls - both stand-up calls as part of team meetings and so-called catch-up calls to further discuss or clarify a specific issue.

Backlog Refinement

This is necessary to clarify the situation with the work progress, analyze the completed scope of work and determine the upcoming one. In addition, during backlog refinement meetings, you can find out what constraints, bottlenecks or other constraints are holding your development team back. With backlog refinement, you can keep your team up to date on what tasks are more pressing right now, and whether the team is moving in the right direction.

Face-to-face Meetings

Another effective way to manage an extended development team is to meet them in person one day. Yes, it is not always possible, but face-to-face meetings mean a lot for the success of your collaboration because this way you will establish trust between you and your team. What if you meet some great people in your extended development team who are not only fun to work with, but also to drink wine or beer while discussing a soccer game or the next bitcoin rate?

Roles Assignment Within an Extended Team of Professionals

The process of managing an extended development team can be done through the Product Owner. This is a position on the team that can be an intermediary between you as the customer and your team. Usually, the Product Owner shares your point of view so he or she can make decisions and make business recommendations on product development. However, if you prefer to play the largest role in managing a remote team that has become a full part of your internal team, then you should take on all the management tasks.

You may also want to contact the manager of your extended software development team to clarify work issues and understand how things are going. This can be done for different reasons and in different situations. For example, your collaboration has just started and you need to clarify organizational issues, there has been a change in the team, you want to share feedback, discuss team extension or downsizing, plans, work issues, etc.

Keys to Successfully Managing an Extended Development Team

Although externally hired software engineers are highly skilled, some difficulties may arise when managing an extended software development team. Below is what these difficulties may be and how they can be resolved.

Motivation

You have to motivate any team, both in-house and outsourced. Specialists brought in from abroad want to know that they are valuable to you and that they deliver real value to your company. Motivate them, encourage them, be there for them, and let them know that you are moving in the right direction together.

To do this, you can hold regular video conferences or spend time in front of a camera having a cup of coffee; also video training in which experts share their experiences, explore a new topic or conduct an experiment is helpful. Engage more with your team, reducing the barrier between you and encouraging extended team members to feel more open while communicating.

Make Them Loyal

To get the extended development team involved in your business, talk more about your business, share your values and vision, be open and constantly introduce the extended team to your company, your plans and your culture. In turn, learn as much as you can about your remote workers, such as asking about their customs and culture, hobbies and travel experiences. This exchange brings you closer together, which in turn increases trust and engagement.

Software and Project Management Methodology

The software used by the in-house and outsourced teams should be the same to avoid a communication gap and thus simplify the workflow. Also, decide on a common methodology. For example, for European teams (including the extended development team from Ukraine), the Agile approach with its ability to make changes to the process is suitable.

Bottom Line

Extending your team makes it possible to strengthen your team with external software developers, fill skill gaps and accelerate time to market. These are just some of the benefits of bringing in an external software development team to meet your business needs.

In addition, as you've already seen, an extended development team also saves you a lot of money and time because, unlike in-house hiring, with the outsourced staff you don't have to hire developers yourself, handle the office, pay taxes and benefits. You are free from all of these hassles. The management issue is also solvable, as there are specific steps to watch and manage a dedicated team. So, is it beneficial to augment your development team with our technicians? Definitely. If you still have questions related to this collaboration model, please let us know, we will be happy to help you clarify the situation.

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