Large-scale IT projects: Reinventing the way you build development teams
The information technology industry is moving, and it’s moving very quickly. For this reason, large companies with growing and fluctuating needs for IT expertise often feel that they lack the time and means to make informed choices when solving certain challenges. When allocating resources to IT mandates, you tend to stick to the methods you know. That’s normal. Has the scale of your projects become too overwhelming to see clearly? Your IT business partner can help you untangle this mess.
Traditionally, there are three distinct methods of staffing a project. Large companies know them well, but may not always use them in the most optimal way. Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of these three solutions.
Hiring new employees internally
Hiring your own employees is always a good option, of course. When a new employee joins the organization, you pass on your corporate values as well as expertise that is specific to your needs and your knowledge and that follows the best practices in your industry. You want this person to really care about your projects, and that is often the case. However, the company must absorb the cost of onboarding each new hire, which means an investment of time and money. On the other hand, the company can control its costs because it is less sensitive to the interplay of supply and demand from external providers. For some roles, the investment is worthwhile for reasons of knowledge continuity. However, despite the addition of capacity through your hires, significant fluctuations in workload can be a real problem for an IT team. The company loses money when the volume of work is too low for the size of its team, and conversely, employees are asked to do too much when projects suddenly ramp up. In the current reality of large companies, it is unrealistic to think that everything can be done internally for all types of projects. Organizations need more flexibility, agility and responsiveness.
Staffing services are the traditional way of outsourcing IT resources. For a large company, this very common method consists in using the services of a partner who sends them the specific experts needed for a project. These external resources come to work on site, in the company’s offices, for the duration of the mandate. This approach has its advantages: you receive specialists in specific fields of expertise, usually ones the internal team does not master. With the help of specialists, tasks are performed more quickly, resulting in increased productivity. You can also adjust the size of the team according to the scope of the tasks in order to save time while gaining quality.
Companies generally like to have people on site with them to feel in control, especially for critical, high-visibility projects. However, this method can be costly if the company does not have an appropriate onboarding plan in place to quickly get external consultants working. Although the costs associated with the onboarding process are higher than for an employee, this option remains one of the most flexible for responding to variations in internal workload. It avoids the recurring costs of hiring permanent resources, such as benefits, employment insurance or union-related expenses.
Projects with a clearly defined scope and requirements are those that can most easily be outsourced to a development centre. The key advantage of such a delivery method is essentially access to an agile work philosophy, with all the advantages that this practice offers: faster time to market, better quality of the delivered solution and better control of project risks. In this way, the company can focus on its core mission and allocate internal resources to its essential activities. Outsourcing provides access to cutting-edge technology and expertise, combined with the speed of a custom-tailored development centre for this type of initiative. The cultural transformation of a company towards agility is also a major challenge; it is a long and often arduous process. It requires major investments and a temporary slowdown, which means that few companies are really ready to make the sacrifices required for this transition. Outsourcing projects to a development centre is thus one of the best ways to keep up with the market’s pace of innovation.
But of course, when a project is managed outside the company’s walls, there is concern that there may be less control over the governance and day-to-day management of initiatives. It is important to choose a trusted partner. Success depends on exchanging information in real time, at each sprint.
A fourth, hybrid method?
None of the known methods seem ideal to you? It may be time to look beyond what’s already being done! Some IT business partners are beginning to offer a hybrid solution that combines all the traditional methods and their advantages. We are talking about a customized solution that is tailor-made to the needs of each project and each company. As this way of delivering a project is completely flexible, there is no pre-established formula. Thus, a mandate could bring together a product owner and internal analysts at the client’s site, with developers and DevOps at the partner’s site. Part of the team is located at the client’s premises, the other part at the partner’s. And why not add specific specialist developers temporarily for some sprints?
This unique combination, specific to each project, is beneficial for many reasons. The company maintains the desired level of involvement, because there is often better synergy between people and more efficiency. Employees are no longer assigned to tasks they are less familiar with; each role is now occupied by a specialist. You benefit from everyone’s expertise precisely where it makes a difference. In this way, you avoid possible mistrust or barriers between internal and external people by creating a single united, dedicated team.
You benefit from the expertise of a development centre that integrates agility into your projects and your organization while using the best specialists, selected according to the requirements of each project phase. The hybrid method minimizes wasted money and reduces risk by giving more responsibility to the partner. The model allows for short delivery times with the involvement of only specialists, and projects are delivered in line with your real needs. This gives you peace of mind to stay focused on your business objectives.