The importance of a diversified development pool
Nowadays, there’s rarely an industry that isn’t trying to be described as “fast-paced”, “disruptive”, “innovative” or “rapidly growing”. This is because even in the most challenging economic times, companies and talented business leaders always try to find ways to differentiate from the competition in their offering and core ideas.
However, this ongoing demand for innovation can often be a roadblock for certain companies. They often have great ideas, but lack the software development capability or manpower to support them. And, whether they go to their internal staff—or even in some cases, to third party staffing organizations—they soon find that they’re either unavailable to work on these growth projects or otherwise unable to perform these projects due to the time and cost required to do so.
In this comes the importance of creating a diversified development pool. And the difference it can bring to your organization.
What is a diversified developer pool?
A diversified development pool is simply the ability to source technical (and non-technical) resources of different disciplines and skill backgrounds from various locations around the world. Doing so guarantees that you have the most competent talent at the best, competitive price based on the developer type you are looking to source.
This is a structure that has been utilized by many businesses already. In addition to keeping a core, internal or local developer staff, they typically augment this team with external experts they either keep full-time, or work with a staffing agency to fulfill projects on-demand. It’s a strategy that allows companies to scale up/down in development resources as they need to.
Companies willing to go global gain an even higher benefit. For example in the United States, certain companies may find it hard to compete with major Silicon Valley corporations who have a figurative chokehold on top-class local, or even national talent. In these cases, specifically leveraging remote talent and successfully integrating them into your company’s developer ecosystem circumvents this “talent supply” issue, without sacrificing quality.
The benefits go beyond just price however; having a diversified pool allows companies to be flexible in times of uncertainty as well. As we have learned over the last few years, worldwide events can and will happen—big or small—which may impact a company’s ability to deliver on projects in the time allotted. Reasons can vary: from a geopolitical event happening in that region, to simple various requirements by a client to conduct work in a specific timezone.
What are the factors involved in creating a diversified development pool?
While the basics of sourcing developers from various locations is simple, it does come with specific considerations required for a successful team integration.
First, an overall approach and understanding of your company’s staffing needs is absolutely fundamental. What coding languages do you need covered 24/7? What type of projects are you expecting to create in the short-mid term? Are there any specific disciplines your company needs more than others?
Hiring globally comes with its own challenges as well. Does that country have specific tax laws you need to consider when hiring abroad? Is it an English speaking country, or a country that otherwise uses your native language to a business-competent degree? Do you need a middle manager to oversee the progress made by your international developers?
Properly scoping out your development needs and mapping out financial, geographic and other limitations will be key to a successful staff augmentation effort.
In staff augmentation, is cost everything?
Companies may be tempted to simply hire developers from the cheapest region as their primary staff augmentation strategy. Or work with a staffing agency from that region to offload their development needs en masse, figuratively throwing projects “over the wall” and expecting a competent output.
Several companies do benefit from a simple outsourcing model and strategy like this. Going for the lowest cost and developing “at volume” can be pulled off with the right management protocols in place.
However, in many other cases, proper management is often the most overlooked problem. Many outsourced development solutions may have problems in fluctuating quality of work, lower developer retention rate and project workflow differences. Companies will expect augmented teams to create software at a level similar to, if not the same as an internal development team. But, depending on the complexities of the project and matching to the company requirements, this can be an arduous, if not impossible task that not many tech leaders are willing or able to manage themselves.
Hiring developers at a cheap cost does have an upfront, obvious benefit. But, a lack of proper resource, project, and quality management may erode any financial benefits gained by the end of the staff augmentation engagement.
What is the right approach in a diversified, staff augmentation setup?
There is no one right approach in staff augmentation. Each company has specific needs with unique environments and business requirements, as well as varying budgets depending on the importance of their projects.
But, the one common thread in successful staff augmentation engagements is having intricate knowledge of those needs, and knowing how to best fulfill those needs with the various staff augmentation models available to you.
For example, some companies may opt to have a core team of 1-3 developers in-house to handle 50% of a core project’s code base, while offloading the remainder to various developers overseas. Each of the in-house developers can specifically manage a sub-team proficient in a coding language of their choice to both review the code provided, and introduce new code in a very controlled setting.
Others may go for a more hands-off approach. A company could simply have a Product Owner or Business Analyst in-house. That person then works directly with a staff augmentation team bringing industry expertise and understanding the client’s specific needs. Together, the blended teams map out a development timeline and take the majority of the project management burden off the company’s hands. And of course, for diversification, properly hiring international developers plays a key part in ensuring the lowest cost with the highest quality of work possible.
Is having a diversified developer pool through staff augmentation right for me?
This is not a simple one-size-fits-all solution as it might initially seem to be. It ultimately depends on your company’s specific situation. At what level do you need to scale up your development growth? Do you find your growth stunted by a lack of development resources? And ultimately, will having the right development resources resolve top-priority, critical projects that cannot/should not wait otherwise?
Working with a partner company will help resolve these questions, well before any significant engagement. And, at Sphere Partners, we can help with that.