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In-House or a Dedicated Team? That Is the Question!

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In-House or a Dedicated Team? That Is the Question!

Depending on the size of your project and your wallet, you may decide to either hire a dedicated team or begin developing an in-house team of your own.

· Agile Zone ·
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Every startup must choose their approach to software development in order to deliver a good product to their customers. Should you build an in-house team or hire a dedicated one? There are points in favor of each choice.

Every business is a software business, as software is become more pervasive, just as Marc Andreessen has told back in 2011. In order to succeed with your products or services, they must be available around the clock through a convenient and user-friendly web or mobile apps. These apps must run on an efficient IT infrastructure to exclude the chance of downtime and customer frustration.

These apps must be also developed over time, to include new features and functionality based on customer feedback and expectations. This being said, having a decent software development and operations team is a must for any company operating online. The only question is: do you need to hire this team full-time from the very start? This question is deeper than it seems.

Pros and Cons of Running a Full-Time In-House Team

Of course, IT is a vital part of any company, as we stated above. You will need the developers to work on product improvement and the Ops engineers to ensure the systems work smoothly in production. However, hiring a full-scale in-house team of software engineers is not feasible — or even possible — from the very start.

Once the product or service is launched, and the company passes the sustainability point, you need to think of the further scaling up. By that time you will either secure the next round of investments, or the revenues from the product will start rolling in, and you will be able to devote some serious time and money to screening and interviewing the candidates and finding a good software development team. There are some points to consider about this:

  • The in-house team is employed full-time. It is great when the product development is going full steam ahead. But what about when only maintenance of the product is needed? The workload is not adequate — but the wages must be paid monthly. Unemployed developers are a burden for a growing business.

  • New teams have to form the bonds. The team members need to know each other and learn to cooperate, they need to form the team culture on the go. It is a prolonged and highly fragile process, with multiple underwater reefs that can sink your business.

  • Building the in-house team takes time. It means that while some parts of the software development might be rolling, some modules will be put on hold until you find the needed talent. This can pose a serious danger to the whole software delivery schedule. Outstaffing a required talent from reputable Managed Services Providers might be a solution allowing you to accomplish the MVP development in time, while the core of the team should be kept in-house.

  • Startups can’t afford to have 2 people on the same role, so the skills are spread pretty thin usually. This means that if one team member wants to go on a vacation, takes a sick leave, or quits the job, their part of the job will not be done on time. Outstaffing can help with this, too, but it is merely a temporary solution, as the talent must be nurtured and retained within the company to ensure long-term success.

On the bright side, opting for the in-house software development team provides many tangible benefits for any business:

  • Company loyalty and long hours. When the team is composed of passionate individuals who work to reach the common goal, working relations result in friendship and trust, empowering company loyalty. This helps a lot in everyday operations, and especially in case of issues, when the team has to work long hours to rectify the situation.

  • Product expertise and development continuity. The transition from an external contractor to another one or to an internal team can lead to a significant slowdown of the operations if the documentation is not thorough enough. This is not the case with developing the product in-house from the start, so all the expertise remains within the team, and new employee onboarding is much faster and seamless.

  • More skills mean more value. When the talents are correctly motivated, they earn the new skills for self-development and professional growth. This is an essential part of long-term company strategy, as housing a skilled team of professionals is a huge benefit in case of merger, acquisition, or a successful exit. Alternatively, the team might follow you to a new startup, making the fresh start a much easier venture.

As you can see, there are both pros and cons of having an in-house software development team. We firmly believe that such team is a valuable business asset, but it must be built once the startup surpasses the initial struggle phase, and is ready to scale. Until then, delegating the tasks to dedicated teams from reputable outsourcing companies is a viable alternative.

Working with A Dedicated Software Development Team: Yes or No?

The hardest part of gathering a good team is that real professionals are always employed. The demand for DevOps engineers and skilled software developers usually surpasses the market capacities by far. The talents that are present are usually employed by big corporations or by companies specializing at outsourcing various parts of operations for such corporations.

Why? Because the variety of tasks performed for different customers ensures the IT talents have different challenges to solve and a plenty of opportunity to grow and improve, increasing their value. What are the benefits of working with dedicated teams from startup’s standpoint then?

  • Cost savings. The budget can be estimated in advance and only the hours actually worked are paid. Once the project is developed, the payments stop and everybody is satisfied.

  • Polished work practices. The teams that work at MSPs have accomplished many projects together and they know the best ways to deal with any kind of situation. To put it simple, they work at 100% efficiency from day one and you can monitor the progress with ease.

  • Access to top talent. Top-notch specialists are never unemployed. The chance of finding one available on the market are low, and the salaries they expect are usually too much for a startup. On the other hand, MSPs have scalable teams of such specialists and can lend their expertise to any company willing to outsource their tasks.

  • Team collaboration and management. When the team works together for prolonged periods of time, they grow trust and understanding to each other. This helps with task delegation and correct workload assignment, which are very important for the success of software development.

  • Scalability. As there is usually more than one specialist of each type available to MSP, replacing a talent on a sick leave or vacation is quite easy when working with a dedicated team.

  • Dedicated teams know how to pass knowledge. They have completed multiple projects and have written developer documentation for them. They will be able to help with product onboarding, so transition to a new team or onboarding a new team member will be seamless.

Looks shiny, yes? There are some disadvantages of working with a remote dedicated team, of course:

  • Broader estimates. The dedicated software development and DevOps team will not be idle at the start of your partnership. They will have the tasks from other projects to finish, most likely. This being said, a somewhat broader estimate of time might be needed, but the choice is quite obvious between finishing the development a week later or not finishing it at all.

  • In-depth control. Hiring a remote team does not signal the chance to slack about. Be prepared to constantly monitor the project progress via project management tools, daily sync calls, and reports, etc. The team is ready to discuss if the customer is willing to listen. Keeping a close eye on the development of your product never hurt anybody.

As you see, working with a dedicated software delivery team has some substantial benefits, though you must be aware of certain underwater reefs.

Should You Choose the Outsourcing Route or Decide to Build the Team In-House from The Start?

To wrap it up, both variants are quite viable for a startup. After all, if your idea is backed by significant investments, you can start building the team first, the product next, and it is the best way to ensure you are ready to scale when the time comes. However, quite often securing the investment is the big challenge, and minimizing the expenses is the best roadmap. Hiring dedicated software development teams and DevOps engineers from a trustworthy contractor helps achieve your business goals in this case.

What would you decide? Please let us know in the comments below!

Download the free agile tools checklist from 321 Gang. This guide will help you choose the right agile tools to position your team for success. 

Topics:
startup ,hiring ,workflow ,dedicated developers ,software developent ,business

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