How High Growth Businesses Accelerate Development Using Team Extension

TEAM EXTENSION | 03 Apr 2020

When it comes to remote software development, the team extension model is often used as a way for businesses to effectively scale their development resources with the skills and expertise they need. By bringing in developers who have the exact experience and know-how to deliver the work, team extension allows businesses to scale the size and capabilities of their development teams, ensuring output is delivered on-time and to the necessary quality. 

These external developers typically bolt-on to the internal team, providing support where needed and filling knowledge gaps. In doing so, they enable startups to avoid delays in development and help to ensure critical milestones are achieved. In many cases, these time sensitive objectives are essential to overall business success and so avoiding any form of delay is fundamentally important. 

Why The Team Extension Model Is Growing In Popularity 

The value of the team extension model is clear and companies are quickly coming to this realisation. By offering the opportunity to ramp up fast and avoid time wastage, companies are able to hit the ground running and supercharge their development efforts. This helps them stick to project timelines and avoid slippage. 

Beyond speed, the team extension model also offers much greater flexibility, helping companies avoid contract ‘lock-ins’ by hiring full-time staff. This is particularly important when certain skills and knowledge are only needed temporarily. With the team extension approach, individuals are only involved when they are required. 

While the benefits of team extension are obvious, many companies are being forced to rely on the approach to fill skill gaps in their teams. With a lack of skilled developers on the market, it’s often difficult to find the right talent and so businesses have no choice but  to improvise and bring in temporary developers through the team extension model. 

Why Scale-ups Choose Team Extension Over The Project-based Model

Choosing a remote software development model often comes down to the requirements of the company. If there’s a self-encapsulated project that can be effectively cordoned off for a remote software partner to develop, then it makes sense to take a project-based approach. However,  in most instances, scale-ups need to ramp up their existing team with additional support to help achieve a range of deliverables. 

More often than not, scale-ups choose to go with the team extension model as they require the additional man-power to deliver on their already defined product roadmap. In many cases, this roadmap is subject to change based on the business’s evolving circumstances and the team extension model allows for real-time adaptation with minimal disruption.  

How Team Extension Empowers Scale-ups

Using the team extension approach, scale-ups tap into a range of  unique benefits, turning their development capabilities into a major competitive advantage. 

Saving Time and Money by Speeding up Developer Integration

When bringing developers into the fold who are used to hitting the ground running, it’s often very easy to onboard them with the internal team and tap into their capabilities quickly. Once they’re up to speed on roadmap objectives, expectations and their role in delivery, they can start contributing to the project. This low barrier to entry ensures they can start working on delivery fast and limit disruption with the internal team. Armed with years of experience, the external developers know how to quickly and effectively integrate and start contributing to the project. 

Improving the Quality of Development Output 

With external developers joining the team, companies can work to radically enhance the quality of the development output they produce. This jump in quality can largely be attributed to freelancers bringing their own experience to the table, helping internal teams cover their weaknesses and the maximise their strengths. In addition, with a scalable workforce, developers can focus on delivering to the very best of their capabilities, avoiding the need to rush in order to meet deadlines.  

Maintaining the Control of the Project While Still Tapping Into the Benefits of External Teams

In most scale-ups, development output is often extremely important to the overall business’s capabilities, potential and success. With such high stakes, most do not want to hand over control to an independent freelancer. Fortunately, the team augmentation model allows startups to access all the skills and knowledge they need, without sacrificing any level of control. Each external developer brought in-house is overseen and managed by the client. The external team of dedicated engineers are at the disposal of the client and ready to take orders based on their needs.

Unlocking Full Flexibility in Scaling the Team to Reflect Requirements 

One of the greatest advantages of the team extension model lies in its scalability. With few limitations, scale-ups using this approach can adapt, as and when required. This flexibility is key, enabling scale-ups to agilely change the headcount of developers when necessary. With total flexibility to ramp up and down the number of engineers required, scale-ups can adapt to the workload in real-time. This helps control costs and maximise efficiency. 

Removes Limitations in Regards to Skill Accessibility 

Different phases of a development project require different skills, and the team extension model allows companies to adapt accordingly. This is highly valuable when it comes to managing costs and ensures optimal usage of external developers. Once their role in the project is complete, they can be swapped in for individuals with the skills to deliver in the next stage. 

Why Team Extension Will Grow To Become The Default Remote Development Model For Scale-ups 

While it’s probably fair to say the project-based development approach remains the default when it comes to external engagement models, this is likely to quickly change as companies look for more flexible arrangements. With hiring challenges set to grow over the next decade, scale-ups will increasingly have to improvise to find the technical talent they need - and team extension will play a major role.  

Evolving working culture on a global scale is also encouraging the adoption of the team extension model. Companies are becoming increasingly open minded to remote work and distributed teams, and this is helping them acclimatise to such approaches. Accessing the right talent is no longer restricted by location and this is creating new opportunities for forward-thinking scale-ups. Such flexibility is also highly regarded by the talent too. Many developers desire the flexibility to work remotely in a space they feel comfortable, and the team extension model enables this, without compromising their contribution.   

With a need to move fast, hiring internally is a difficult challenge for many scale-ups, particularly as finding high quality developers can be so difficult. As such, the team extension offers a highly convenient way of quickly sourcing the skills necessary without the need to extensively evaluate their fit and onboard them rigorously. 

In the same way the freelancer landscape is changing, offering more ‘spot work’ than ever, the field of remote development is likely to follow. High growth startups are likely to shift towards a "Rental Economy" by engaging with strong external partners that can provide reliable and quality engineering talent for short or long-term engagement, blending in with the already existing internal team.

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