The global software market continues to grow by leaps and bounds every year–the industry brought in over $480 billion in revenue in 2018 alone. However, despite the importance of software for future corporate success, 33% of tech managers rate finding the right talent as their biggest challenge in 2019 (https://medium.com/sfl-newsroom/software-development-in-2018-monday-afternoon-stats-61eed2e7bf7b).
Businesses have responded to this challenge by partnering with staff augmentation companies to expand their in-house development capabilities https://www.bairesdev.com/software-development-services/it-staff-augmentation/.
These outsourcing firms provide companies with experienced developers during key stages of the software development cycle. This allows companies to invest in custom software without committing to a large, permanent development team.
However, before agreeing to a staff augmentation arrangement, it is vital that you thoroughly vet IT staffing services and set your project up for success. Learn how to make the most out of these services with this guide.
Determine Your Requirements
Before choosing an IT staffing service it is important to have a focused idea of the type of software you want to develop. What kind of problem will your software solve and how will it do this?
This process often begins with stakeholder interviews. If you are developing software for enterprise use, contact managers and key employees in the departments that will use this technology. Ask for feedback on existing software and for a wishlist of features that stakeholders would like included in this project.
If you’re interested in developing software for consumers you may take a different approach. Consumer focus groups and surveys are frequently used to gather this type of valuable data on customer pain points and wishlist features.
Once you gather this information, it’s time to figure out what type of resources are necessary to complete the development cycle.
Do you have a core group of software engineers in place or do you need to hire additional programmers? How many software security specialists, quality assurance testers, and user design experts do you need?
A quality outsourcing partner will be able to help you narrow down your staffing requirements. However, you will save time and improve your odds of success if you complete your due diligence before opening a dialogue.
Choose the Right Staff Augmentation Partner
Choosing the right staff augmentation company is by far the most important part of the outsourcing process. An experienced and well-regarded outsourcing partner can help your business develop custom software and gain new customers–all while remaining lean and ready to respond to future developments.
On the other hand, a poor staffing firm can lead to cost overruns and missed deadlines as they struggle to write usable code. Even more troubling, all of this hard work and frustration may be for nothing if they fail to produce a piece of software that resonates with end users.
That’s why it’s so important that you thoroughly research potential staffing agencies before signing a contract.
Take a close look at each staff augmentation company’s reputation within the technology industry and their online presence. The best companies will prominently display their past work and major clients.
They’ll also empower potential clients by demystifying the development process and explaining their work in clear language. Look for resources, such as how-to guides, white papers, and an active blog, on their website. You should also find their executive team on major websites and publications in the tech industry.
Set Clear Expectations
Once you’ve determined your software requirements and selected an IT managed services partner, it’s time to work with your new team members to set expectations. Document everything–including their expected work hours and project deliverables.
It’s extremely important to be clear about what you want. Make sure that you both understand what they are expected to deliver, what their deadlines are, and how their job determines success in the larger project.
Many companies opt to complete a formal scope of work agreement to ensure that expectations are set in writing. This document can help your augmented employees stay focused and serves as a useful benchmark during performance evaluations.
It is important that you regularly follow up with your augmented team members. This is particularly true during Agile development projects, where requirements and goals might change rapidly. These check-ins can be informal but should occur after every iteration and when the project’s scope changes.
Once you’ve selected an outsourcing partner, it’s time to go over your project’s goals with your new staff members. Pay special attention to their role in the project and how their work will contribute to overall success.
Create a Communication Plan
It is also important that you outline a communication plan from the outset of the project. A written communication protocol increases the odds of success by increasing collaboration and helping clients resolve concerns quickly.
A strong communication plan should include:
- 1) A plan for you (or the project manager) and your team to communicate with augmented engineers on a daily basis. Determine how long contractors have to respond to queries and requests.
- 2) A check-in schedule with your point of contact. They should regularly contact you to ensure that you are happy with their developers. Ensure that there is a plan if one or more of the contractors does not work out.
One of the most important elements of a well-thought-out communication plan is response times. If augmented staff members are working remotely, it is vital that they commit to responding to all calls and emails the same day.
In addition, workplace communication tool like Slack and Flock help make communication instantaneous–keeping your team on track and your project on deadlines.
Lastly, it is important to designate a single point of contact at your IT staffing service. This will help you resolve concerns and emergencies quickly–a tremendous advantage in the fast-paced tech world.
Staff augmentation companies can be wonderful resources for businesses interested in developing custom software. They increase the odds of success in these projects and help managers focus on their company’s long-term growth and core business.
The key to success is determining your requirements before you contact any potential staffing partners.
Lastly, you should always set clear expectations with your new staff members and insist on clear and regular communication from the outset. By following these steps, you can set your business up for success and make the most out of your staff augmentation arrangement.
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