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Team Extension vs Dedicated Development Team — Which Model Fits Your Company

Team Extension vs Dedicated Development Team — Which Model Fits Your Company

Talent shortages are preventing IT leaders from transforming and innovating at the pace and scale they’d like in order to keep pace in the race to digital-first business. 

In order to achieve success they need to place software at the heart of their business — but that isn’t possible without top-tier engineering talent. 

So, put simply, CTOs need new ways to build their software teams beyond just hiring from the local market, where the largest companies have a monopoly on the ‘creme de la creme’ of developers. 

Two of the new ways, or new models, that we’re going to explore are the offshore team extension and the offshore dedicated development team. While there are some broad similarities, there are also some key differences in their application. 

So without further ado, let’s explore both as well as their pros and cons and how they can help take an organisation’s engineering operations to the next level.

What Do Team Extension Model and Dedicated Development Team Mean?

With a fierce battle for elite development talent engulfing North America, the UK and Western Europe, as well as Australasia — outsourcing and offshoring have come to the forefront as a way to navigate the skills shortage epidemic. 

Put simply, in most cases an offshore dedicated development team is itself an extension of a team you already have at home. Only, part of it is composed of engineers in a different geographical location. 

Often these terms, such as development team extension, are used interchangeably with solutions like ‘offshore development teams’ and ‘offshore development centres’. It ultimately means building an aligned team of offsite engineers in a talent-rich location that will be aligned to your team at home and wider engineering operations. 

Done properly, this forms a large, global engineering team working together seamlessly and collaboratively.

Which One Should You Choose?

Just to dial it back a second, offshoring — which includes both a dedicated development team as well as a team extension — isn’t the only option. Many organisations opt for outsourcing. 

The perhaps more traditional route, it involves working with a third-party vendor who allocates engineers to you on a project-by-project basis. Sometimes these vendors are known as software houses. 

While great for supplementing existing resources on a project here or there, it’s not known as a sustainable alternative to local hiring because the engineers aren’t bought into your culture of long-term vision.

Alternatively, you can go offshore. This means having a more long-term team that is aligned to your vision and mission, and engineers who are passionate about your business and products. To implement this you can do it yourself, or you can partner with an expert on the ground. This is something we’ll explore in the next section.

Both outsourcing and offshoring — including the extension and dedicated team application models — have a litany of pros and cons. For short-term support, outsourcing can be a great way to augment your team for a singular project that doesn’t require cultural buy-in, and is very cost-effective. However, this model can often prioritise speed and cost over quality. 

The offshoring models presented above are perhaps not as focused on cost but instead on acquiring niche skills and finding genuine colleagues as opposed to external support. This means that knowledge, expertise, and capability are kept in-house. 

With outsourcing, any of this expert knowledge can be lost permanently should you sever ties with the outsourcing provider. And, should you need long-term delivery of products, you’re back to square one and having to initiate complex and time-consuming recruitment drives yourself. Or, finding an alternative provider. 

Steps Before You Make a Decision

If you decide to offshore on your own then you’ll have to navigate local legalities and hiring conditions unique to Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe — basically, anywhere that you choose to base your offshore team in. However, there’s another way. 

That is to partner with an offshoring expert based in the location you choose. In fact, in the process of finding such a partner — that may drive your decision on where to go. Alongside talent availability and the depth of the talent pool possessing the skills you require to innovate in the niche(s) you need.

For example, Bangalore in India is often touted as having a talent pool unmatched by other destinations in Asia. The sheer numbers of available engineers means a business can obtain and retain developers proficient in a range of different programming languages and tech stacks. 

How to integrate a team extension or dedicated development team into your company

It all comes down to alignment — culturally and operationally. Your chosen offshoring partner will assist in both of these areas. 

Often, by assigning a Chief Happiness Officer (or similarly titled job role) to your offshore team, they help you engage your engineers on a day-to-day basis and help to cultivate and instil the broader company culture to the new team. 

It means you have a group of developers who deeply care about the products they build and are invested in the success of your business over the long term. 

This is opposed to the traditional outsourcing route mentioned earlier, where the developers are working for multiple people at once. This can also be a concern when it comes to the security of your code and IP. Not because of anything malicious, but simply because of the nature of working across multiple projects for multiple organisations simultaneously. 

Working with cross-team project management tools like Asana and Teamwork are superb ways of helping to integrate an offshore dedicated development team into your wider engineering setup. 

This means that managers and CTOs have an overview of daily tasks and development deliverables while allowing engineers to have the autonomy of working independently in their respective location and team. 

Team extension vs dedicated development team: in conclusion 

As discussed, the offshore team extension and dedicated development team are solutions that ultimately provide the same thing. That is, a fully aligned augmentation of your engineering operations. 

And, a solution that tackles the long-term sustainability concern that many IT leaders ponder when assessing long-term alternatives to local hiring. This is achieved through holistic alignment and a focus on people and culture over cost. To do it the right way, it’s best to thoroughly research a range of offshoring partners who can help facilitate this for your organisation.

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