SoftwareSeni team extension services help our clients do the impossible. Projects beyond their expertise, features outside their capabilities, services exceeding their budgets.
This article is going to introduce you to the team extension model (aka extended team model), show you how other businesses are using them, and get you thinking about what you could accomplish with an extended team and how it could transform your business.
Team extension in a nutshell
An IT team extension or developer team extension is a specialised form of staff augmentation. Rather than a patchwork fulfilment of roles within a business, a team extension’s purpose is to strategically target the skills and experience you need and integrate them cleanly and efficiently into your development process.
The extended team works just like the original team. They report to the same people, they share the same goals, use the same tools, and work on the same codebase as your existing team.
Pre-Covid an extended team might have been a challenge, but now with remote work the new normal, global reliance on video calls and chat, your team has the skills and tools to work with an extended team, and working with the extended team members is now indistinguishable from your inhouse team.
Isn’t this just out-sourcing? And doesn’t that have drawbacks?
You might argue that team extension is just out-sourcing. The extended team is out-side the office.But with out-sourcing you are handing over the entire production of a product, along with any control you might have, to a third party.
With a team extension you maintain complete control. Your extended team participates in stand-ups, meetings, and planning alongside your existing developers. And unlike out-sourcing, they are dedicated solely to your project. You, or your project or product manager, decides where their time is spent, just like your in house team members.
This does require that you have the ability to manage the higher headcount and the complexities that might bring to scheduling, communications and prioritisation.
So a team extension is about getting cheap programmers?
No. It is about accessing talent. Team extension often makes use of programmers in off-shore and near-shore markets. Depending on your local market and the competition for talent, they may be the only way to access the skill sets and experience you need.
The SoftwareSeni talent base is near-shore, based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a national tech hub. This provides a great time zone overlap, unlike other locations. And our talent base are all developers we’ve worked with across multiple projects. Some have been with us for years.
Having access to a pool of proven developers is an incredible advantage. The biggest advantage you should care about is time. Speed of execution. There are multiple financial advantages, which we will outline later, but the time advantage is where we think the extended team model pays dividends.
The time advantage of an extended team
When you think about adding to your head count you automatically think about how much faster work will be completed and how much more quickly goals will be reached. Mostly true, though the Mythical Man Month would say temper that vision with a grain of salt. But there are even more important ways team extension gives you time advantage.
Reduced time to productivity
Time to hire can be months, particularly for in-demand skills. Between waiting for viable candidates to apply, interviews, negotiations, resignation periods, and onboarding, you can lose a big chunk of a year making a single hire. And if you’re building a team with interlocking skills the time before the team is operating at the level you need can be even longer.
Extending your team through SoftwareSeni reduces the interview process to assessing team and organisational fit. You choose the pre-vetted candidates you want to talk to. That’s it.
Less time to integrate them
After finding a developer someone on your team needs to make space for them, find them a desk, purchase and prep a computer, get their details into all the HR and payroll systems.
You don’t need to do any of that. We provide all of our programmers with the space and equipment they need to be productive from day one. All the administration is handled by us as well. For you, they are there to help you meet your goals from day one.
At this point – team selection complete, new developers onboarded and ready to go – you’re already a couple of months ahead. With professional project management, your extended team will be completing more sprints, increasing the feature count delivered each cycle. Or you will be moving forward on the direction that had been walled off to you because you didn’t have or couldn’t afford the resources.
The cost advantages of team extension
The upfront cost advantages of an extended team were implied in the section above. We’re not recruiters. We don’t charge fees for placing our programmers in your team. That will save you five figures per team member.
Ongoing costs are set. You know how much you are paying for each extended team member. It’s a predictable number you can budget around.
Costs like office space, equipment and the like are zero. They are taken care of by SoftwareSeni.
Despite all this, we don’t think you should be thinking about your extended team in terms of costs, but instead in terms of earning potential. Focus on what you can achieve with a team extension and how that will impact your bottom line.
The challenges of adopting an extended team
Any rapid increase in headcount can be a management challenge. This challenge is magnified by the remote nature of the extended team and the communication hiccups that can result from a multinational team.
You will need to ensure you have project management capacity in place to handle the increased head count. For some businesses, this is the greatest risk to an extended team and the most common cause of reality not meeting expectations.
Finally, for a close-knit team it can take time to adjust to and integrate multiple new team members.
All these challenges can be overcome. We’ve seen it happen. We’ve helped it happen. That is another benefit of a SoftwareSeni extended team – you’re not in it alone. Hire an employee and their problems are your problems. Extending your team through SoftwareSeni and we are there to support you and your extended team through the challenges and onto success.
You’re never too big or too small for a team extension
We obviously can’t go into details, but we think these brief examples will help you get an idea of how an extended team can be structured and what you can achieve with one.
Site production and support
A major media organisation uses an extended team of 3 part-time developers on a dedicated sub-site. The developers are split between implementing new features and devops.
A startup in the energy marketplace increased their development capacity by 30%. Eight SoftwareSeni developers are currently helping them fast-track features.
Entire tech team
A two-person startup in the real estate market with a great idea and no technical skills built their entire product using a dedicated extended team from SoftwareSeni. That team continues to add features and keep the business running smoothly.
Full operation support
Another real estate services business runs their entire business with an extended team from SoftwareSeni. 75% of the team is software development and technical support. 25% of the team provides customer support. They keep thousands of paying customers happy.
What could you achieve with an extended team?
At this point we hope your brain is ticking over with the possibilities. You have some solid insight into the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a team extension. You can see the unlimited upside.
The next step is to talk to us. We can help you turn those possibilities into a plan and make that plan a reality.
If you’re thinking you might not be able to handle an extended, check out our article on the simple secrets to making an extended team work.