Table of content
Team extension is a necessity as your business grows. With developed countries facing tech talent shortages, many companies outsource as an alternative hiring method. Deloitte's projection that global spending in the IT outsourcing industry will hit $917 billion in 2023 shows the attractiveness of this staffing approach.
The question is – what is the best outsourcing model for your business? One of the few options is team extension, a term many business owners might be unfamiliar with. Team extension means augmenting your team with an in-house developer to provide stability and efficiency and fill glaring skill gaps.
Team extension is often confused with the dedicated team model and outsourcing. In this guide, I'll explain how team extension differs, its pros and cons, and how it fits into your growth strategy. More importantly, I'll list the steps to build an extended team for your business.
Team Extension: The Basics
The team extension model is a software outsourcing service where reputable IT companies fill the missing gap in your team with the right software developers.
How does it work?
Software team extension involves engaging external developers to fully commit their time and skills to your company. Now, this might sound like hiring a dedicated team, but they are not similar. A dedicated team focuses on a specific project and ends its service upon the agreed timeline. Meanwhile, an extended team works as if they are your permanent employees. They adapt to company culture, strive towards the same goals, and are a part of the bigger team.
Team extension structure
Managing an extended team is similar to leading an in-house team. You will be responsible for managing, coordinating, and reviewing tasks given to developers who are an extension of your team. The approach might differ depending on whether you hire them directly on freelance platforms or outsource from IT staffing providers. For the latter, you can consult with the IT outsourcing firm on recruitment, onboarding, and adapting to your company's culture.
Pros & Cons
Extended teams provide stability and fill missing technical gaps for a growing company. These developers are committed to long-term growth, professionally and individually, with your company. You get a dedicated team that builds strong bonds with your existing team.
Conversely, team extension incurs a long-term financial commitment to your business. You must pay fixed salaries, and perks like you did for your in-house teams. Also, you're solely responsible for leading the extended team in projects.
For whom it suits best
Enterprises seeking skilled IT talents to complement their team will benefit from the software team extension model. It allows them to tap into vast IT talent pools, particularly in Eastern Europe, and fill their team with the right experts. Meanwhile, tech startups might find that an extended team helps boost growth.
How Does Your Business Benefit From Team Extension?
Businesses that adopt the team extension model have seen various benefits.
It allows you to scale faster
Team extensions solve the predicament of finding the right tech talent for a growing company. Rather than going through the conventional recruitment process, businesses enlisted IT outsourcing firms to meet their staff augmenting needs. This allows companies to focus on marketing, management, and expansion, instead of being mired in the technicalities of recruiting software experts.
It is more flexible
With the convenience of digital technologies, the extended team does not necessarily report to work on-premise. Instead, your developers can work from any part of the world and still be reachable.
It allows access to niche skills
Unlike Java, some software skills are rare among developers. For example, you might need help hiring an experienced cloud security specialist or a developer who knows how to create a compliance fintech app. In such cases, team extension allows you to tap into a global talent pool and hire developers with specific skills.
It saves expenses
Companies based in developed nations pay high salaries when hiring local software developers. They can significantly reduce remuneration and operational expenses using the team extension model. By turning to developers in Eastern European countries, they can hire equally-capable developers at a lower fee.
It reduces risks
Growing companies can't afford the instability when outsourced developers juggle multiple projects simultaneously. An extended team is fully committed to the company and its vision. It helps companies to mitigate risks in building, releasing, and supporting complex apps.
The Challenges of Team Extension
Despite its viability, setting up an extended software team is challenging. Here's what you should anticipate.
Results are not immediate
The team extension model is not a short-term solution to your software development issues. It takes time for the new developers to gel with your in-house team before they produce value. If you're looking for a quick fix to software issues or have a deadline to meet, do consider other outsourcing approaches.
In return for the stability, skills, and scalability they offer, you must pay for the salaries of the extended team. Despite being an outsourcing model, team extension does not promise low operational costs. Choose team extension when long-term values are essential to you. Else, consider flexible pricing models such as time-based or fixed-price engagements.
The team extension approach allows you to hire developers from different regions. While doing so, remember that cultural differences might impact the team's performance. For example, if the extended team of developers struggles to communicate in English, you'll worry about the project outcome. Hence, many Western companies turn to Ukrainian developers to mitigate cultural differences.
It takes time for outsourced developers to blend and develop rapport with the existing team. The progress varies depending on your leadership style and communication skills. If you ensure that every developer is treated fairly, the new developers will find themselves at home in no time. Likewise, stating goals and requirements clearly help the extended team to start in the right direction.
How to Make Team Extension Effective?
You can't expect an extended team to be immediately productive once hired. Instead, you must have a solid plan in place to empower them. So, here's what you need to do.
Define your goals
Consider why you're setting up an extended team in the first place.
- Do you need additional help managing an existing app?
- Do you need to personalize features for different markets?
Stating your goals helps in shortlisting suitable candidates. It allows developers to relate their aspirations with what your company does. This is important because team extension requires a long-term commitment from both parties.
Define the scope of the tasks
Just like regular employees, members of an extended team need to be aware of their roles. Specifically, what the company expects of them from day one. With a clear definition of their roles and responsibilities, the extended team can live up to their potential.
So, pen down the job scope in detail and leave no room for misinterpretations.
Determine your technological profile
Developers come with different skill sets. To hire the right one, identify which technological stacks are important for the job. For example, you'll need a software developer with Python, Django, and a good understanding of API to build backend applications.
Writing a request for proposal (RFP) comes in handy here. Check out my recent article with tips on writing RFP and get a free template.
Establish transparent communication
Clear and concise communication is key to a mutually-beneficial working relationship with the extended team. Decide how you will share information, coordinate projects, assign tasks and receive feedback before hiring the developers. More importantly, ensure you're reachable if the new hire stumbles into problems.
How to Hire a Reliable Team Extension Partner
Hiring developers as a part of team extension requires thoughtful deliberation because they are pivotal to your growth journey. Follow these steps to onboard a reliable partner.
Step 1 : Identify your needs
Every company and startup has unique technical and business needs. Go into the subtle details, such as what types of app you aim to build and what tech stacks it requires. Do you need someone to hop onto the team and get started with little handholding? If so, a seasoned developer is a better option than one relatively new to the industry.
Step 2: Search for the company based on your needs
The next step lies in searching for the right candidate. There is various avenue to do so, including websites, forums, and professional comparison sites like Clutch. Regardless of your option, do your due diligence by checking what other customers say about the respective software companies.
Step 3: Check the cooperation conditions
Only some candidates will fit the terms you've set. This includes rate, qualifications, skills, and mode of communication. It's also crucial for developers to adhere to privacy and non-disclosure agreements. Go through the checklist in detail and proceed if you find one who ticks all the boxes.
Step 4: Set Up the Intro Call
Chances are, you'll be working closely with the new hire for years. So, take the time to call up the candidate, preferably on video, to get to know each other better. Discuss your project in detail, and convey your expectations to the candidate. While doing so, evaluate their soft skills, which might come in handy when they join your team.
Step 5: Ask to Do a Test Task
Finally, assign the candidate a paid trial task to ensure their capabilities match the credentials on paper. It prevents hiring a candidate who falls short of their stated skills.
The Cost of Team Extension Services
Setting aside a budget before hiring developers for your extended team is wise. The budget size largely depends on the region that the developer is based. For example, a US company augmenting its team with US developers pay an average of $101,792 per year. Meanwhile, businesses pay £43,040 per year on average when they hire developers from the UK.
Meanwhile, the salary for developers in Asia varies. Indian developers make $8,603 annually, and their Chinese counterparts make $9,832 per month. However, you'll need to anticipate cultural differences and language gaps when hiring developers from these regions.
Your best bet is to hire developers from Eastern Europe, where the annual average price for their services is approximately $95,589. Moreover, they are fluent English speakers.
Uptech as a Team Extension Partner
Your search for team extension in Europe ends with Uptech. Uptech is an award-winning international app development app design and development company. With a sizeable team comprising 90+ members in 12 countries, we have been helping global startups deliver value-added solutions to the market.
Our team provides an all-comprehensive approach when in app development. We believe understanding users' needs and addressing them is pivotal to the app's success. Our philosophy and multidisciplinary teams have helped startups release engaging apps in their respective niches.
For example, we revamped Dollar Shave Club's existing app into a sleek, modern-looking app with engaging features.
Our team also built Yaza, a US real-estate startup, to turn their ideas into a fully-functional app. With app development experience for companies in different regions, Uptech is best positioned as your team extension partner.
At some point, outsourcing is a sensible option for growing companies, and team extension provides the stability that they need. It allows you to bring in new skilled talent to work synergically with your existing team. In other words, the extended team is no different from your in-house developers, who are committed to the same long-term goals.
I hope I've clarified my points about how team extension works, benefits, costs, and how to build your extended team.
Drop me a message to learn how you can scale your business with Uptech as your extended team.