Dedicated development team: the what, the why and the how.

It can be challenging to hire a good engineer, so when there’s a need for an entire development team, the prospect looks discouraging. It does not have to be so. In this article we explain when you should use this model, benefits of hiring a dedicated team and factors to increase your probability of success. But, first let’s start with…

What is a Dedicated Development Team?

The Dedicated Development Team is a team of software developers employed who work on a single client project at a time. They are usually remote and often work as an extension of a client’s in-house development team. The roles are usually divided as follows: The outsourcing company is responsible for contracts, salary, office space, insurance, leaves, and so on. The client may actively interact with the team members, monitor daily activities, and overall progress of the project. Think of it as IT outsourcing.

When should you use the Dedicated Development Team model?

Some of the common scenarios where this model is suited for is as follows:

  1. For products that require periodic technical upgrades
  2. Large development projects that are complex and/or time consuming
  3. When the development effort involves third-party servers, multiple tools or technology frameworks

What are the services provided by the Dedicated Development Team?

Some of the common services provided by a dedicated development team are:

  1. Custom development of mobile / web apps
  2. Testing and Q&A
  3. UI/UX Design
  4. Product engineering services
  5. Analytics (including Big Data)
  6. IT Infra & remote hosting
  7. IT maintenance and support
  8. Data backup & migration services

What are the major benefits of hiring a Dedicated Development Team?

  1. Access to Global Talent pool: The remote nature of the model allows you to access talent the world over and optimise the mix of costs & tech capabilities.
  2. Flexibility: By outsourcing tech requirements, companies can keep their in-house teams small, limit long term cost commitments and still have the advantages that an internal team has.
  3. Control: Unlike a contract offered to a third party vendor for a project, the clients usually maintain a strong level of control of the Dedicated Development Team the hire.
  4. Cost: Custom software development is usually expensive, especially in developed countries. However, with a Dedicated Development team, companies can get the right skill set at a lower cost. E.g. Engineers in India are available at a lower cost for a similar level of competency vs. many other parts of the world.
  5. Comprehensive solution: Most vendors which offer a Dedicated Development team offer end-to-end solutions of product development. Therefore, there’s no need to engage with multiple vendors for the various aspects of the development cycle.
  6. Competitive Market: In the last few years, due to growing demand, there have been a large number of vendors offering Dedicated Development teams. This has meant choice of vendors available, competitive costs and ease in switching providers if needed.
  7. Ease in Scaling up: Setting up a state-of-the-art development team is both difficult and expensive. A dedicated development team allows clients to ensure development of tech products, above the levels of their current capacities or capabilities without significant infusion of cash.
  8. Technical support: If you’ve had experience of dealing with tech support, the experience probably involves a large number of pending tickets. While dealing with a Dedicated Development team clients can ensure one of the core KPIs of the team is tech support. Further, they can also use the team for training your in-house team. This adds the much needed extra bodies often needed in tech support.

Key Factors to make a Dedicated Development Team work

In our experience, here are some of the factors which gone in for a successful implementation of the Dedicated Development Team model:

  1. Clear Goals and KPIs: In our experience clients who have spent some time defining clear goals and KPIs are able to extract far better value from a Dedicated Development Team vs. when a team is hired due to shortage of in-house manpower and then used on an ad-hoc basis.
  2. Expectations: Clients who have done some research, checked for references come with a clear idea of what to expect and what not to do. This groundwork plays a big part in ensuring there isn’t a big gap between expectations and reality.
  3. Communication: When not done right, communication can be a large part of things going wrong. Frequent communication not only ensures that everyone’s on the same page but also helps in creating a much needed rapport. Also, look out for facts such as cross-cultural understanding, working language and time zones as these can trip you up later.
  4. Treat it like your extended team: A Dedicated Development Team is an extension of your team and therefore aim to treat them as you would with your employees and not as a vendor or a service provider. Some things we’ve seen be helpful are: allowing flexibility in working hours, streamlining payments, maintaining transparency in expectations and ensuring commercial balance when additional work is added in a project.
  5. Test & learn: Given the cost savings, while it may seem tempting to offshore a large part of your tech development, we suggest to start small. A one-off project helps you get the experience and understand the dynamics of your organisation and create the necessary buy-in from various stakeholders. A larger partnership which follows is then sustainable in the long term.

Closing thoughts

A Dedicated Development Team offers the benefit of hiring a high quality engineering team with end-to-end services at low costs. Further, this model is workable for one-off projects as well as for a long term engagement. To make the most of it, businesses should ensure they pay attention to the nuances which ensure the outsourcing arrangement is a success. This will help them focus their time and resources in other areas while ensuring you don’t have to compromise on build quality.

At The Data Duck we have experience in working with some of the world leading organisations at various stages of their product cycle. To discuss how you may use some of these ideas for your organisation, send us an email on ritu@thedataduck.com.

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