The Extended Team Model: How to Make it Work

It’s no secret that having the right people around is one of the key ingredients for the success of a startup. Yet, finding and hiring the best resources is one of the most challenging tasks you as an entrepreneur will need to face, especially when considering the limitations of your local talent pool.

Of course, you can always find an offshore team and outsource software development completely. But what should you do when you already have some technical staff in-house and simply need to augment it with specific skills or expertise? Here’s when the extended team model comes to the rescue.

What is an extended team?

An extended development team is not project-based and is not discontinued after the project ends. It is an ongoing cooperation between your core team and the extended team offshore.

There is no single extended team definition. Different companies can offer different variations of the model. However, there are certain specifics that distinguish it from other cooperation models:

  1. An extended team is aimed at augmenting the in-house staff, not replacing it. In this case, the key competency, both business and technical, is located on-shore and the extension team operates offshore, bridging the skill gaps in your core staff.
  2. You have complete control over the project. Additionally, there’s constant and direct communication within the team (between your in-house staff and off-site developers). They all function as a single tight-knit unit.
  3. As a result, the responsibilities are distributed among all team members (both in-house and offshore). All of them are equally invested into the process of building the product, and all of them are equally responsible for its success or failure.

Why should I hire an extended development team? Key benefits to consider

Before diving into the benefits of extended teams, let’s look at the situations when this model can be the most advantageous for your company.

When to use the extended team model and when to outsource

An extended development team can resemble traditional outsourcing, yet several distinctions can make it a significantly better choice for some businesses.

Team augmentation will work best for you when

  • you plan to expand your project in the future, and the original team will remain to support it and release updates;
  • the project is unusual for your company, and you don’t want to shift the focus of your in-house teams;
  • you need expertise that is absent from your local market; and
  • the local market doesn’t offer reasonable prices for the skills you seek.

Overall, your company can extract the most benefit out of this model if you already have a development team that you would like to enrich with talent for long-term projects. Alternatively, you can use software team augmentation if you don’t even have an on-site team yet, but you’d like to take full control of the development process and communicate with the engineers directly.

However, in cases when having the management reigns in your hands is not a priority, outsourcing can present a better solution. Unlike it is with team extensions, outsourcing allows you to delegate the control over most operations to your service provider and simply receive a quality product in the end.

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The benefits of extended teams

The listed specifics of the extended team model result in a number of competitive benefits:

1. Access to top international talent pool

The decision to extend your team releases you from the necessity to choose from local developers. You can survey the top tech talent on the international market and spot brilliant engineers while also potentially lowering the development cost. For companies in countries like Israel, where tech talent is wildly lagging behind the business demand for it, staff augmentation is the best way to get quality and stay within the budget.

Eastern Peak offers more than 200 developers from all over the world to satisfy the specifics of your project. This cultural diversity, combined with the highest level of skills, helps you find the best fit instead of being locally confined.

2. Control the hiring process to match your desire

You can take part in the hiring process by personally screening and interviewing potential candidates. Thus, you can ascertain whether or not the developers you hire have the required skills and will be able to assimilate into your core team.

At the same time, you don’t need to work from the very bottom to hire tech talent. Eastern Peak conducts the initial recruitment for you and subsequently assembles a pool of the best candidates for your project. Instead of losing time on rummaging through all the applications, you only need to examine the cream of the crop and make the final decision.

3. Motivated and invested developers

The developers are assigned to your project full-time – they don’t need to juggle multiple assignments and can focus 100% of their attention on your project. As a result, your extension team members become an integral part of your company, align with your corporate culture and vision, and work towards a common goal.

Team augmentation also results in the increased shared responsibility of all developers. When the members of your remote team contribute to the same extent as your in-house team, collaborating on solving arising issues and improving the product, the motivation to do well grows on both fronts. Your teams also start adapting to working as a single well-oiled machine, covering each other’s gaps rather than simply doing their assigned tasks.

4. Flexibility and transparency managing your resources

You can manage your extended development team members as you see fit. There will be no intermediaries between you and your developers: you can communicate your requirements directly to them and solve any issues that may arise along the way.

The extended team model dictates transparency at all levels, which builds loyalty and also helps you monitor each developer’s performance. Most frequently, your management will be able to smooth out any discrepancies by catching them timely. If a particular person still cannot assimilate into your company, replacing a developer is a quick and painless process due to the flexibility of the staff augmentation model.

5. Transparent and efficient payment model

With an extended team, you agree on a fixed monthly fee that covers the developers’ salary, operational expenses, bonuses, etc., enabling you to not only plan your budget further in advance but to keep track of your expenses better.

You also don’t need to worry about managing the payroll for your extended development teams, since, normally, the service provider covers that responsibility for you.

6. No-hassle setup and operations

When you expand your team with Eastern Peak, we take care of all operational tasks, and provide your developers with all necessary conditions so they can perform at their best. Your developers work from a well-equipped office with a comfortable working environment.

To further cut the troubles and time involved in setting up a team, we offer

  • the recruitment process with as much control as you prefer;
  • an office space;
  • all the necessary technology and devices your developers will need for work;
  • management services to handle the team on-site; and

payroll and accounting for the extended team.

7. The key benefit: an easy start with high scalability

With Eastern Peak, your own development team can be set up in a couple of weeks (as opposed to months when hiring locally). Moreover, after your extended development team is assembled and starts working, you can further improve its efficiency and can easily scale up or down depending on the project requirements.

The augmented team model, unlike hiring locally, allows for much greater scalability in employment decisions because it works on the current need basis. Since you only pay for the developers you hire, you can calculate precisely how many staff members you will need in the future, and either supplement your team with new engineers or remove those whose qualifications are no longer necessary. With Eastern Peak handling the operational side of staff changes, this process becomes fast and efficient.

About the Author
As a CEO at Eastern Peak, a strategy and technology consulting and development company, I ensure top quality and cost-effective services to our clients from all over the world. I am a founder and technology evangelist at Ubertesters, Ubertesters is the best of class mobile testing platform and crowd-sourced beta testing solution ensuring flawless application development for our customers around the world. I am a founder and adviser at Maximum Education. We develop Maximum Education as an innovative education and technology company, delivering educational services and products to our students and partners in Russian Federation and throughout the world. Previously, as a CEO of the GetTaxi (Gett) technology company, I was in charge of developing the revolutionary GetTaxi (Gett) service from ground up and deploying the operation across the globe from London to Moscow and Tel Aviv. Graduated with an MBA from the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania, double majoring in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management . B.Sc in Computer Sciences from the Ben-Gurion University.
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