Digital product companies need talented developers to create unique customer experiences that overcome competition. But it is quite difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to find and hire highly qualified developers. Before we start looking for a new team member, we need to consider what our goals are, what we expect from developers, what tools are going to be used for growth and what we want to achieve as an outcome. The market has a wide range of contractors of various rates and expertise in the field of IT services: from beginner freelancers to large IT outsourcing companies with an excellent track record.

Commonly, you will consider one or several options on how to build your dev team:

  • build an in-house team,
  • hire freelancers
  • engage with an outsourcing team.

In this post we have collected some tips on building an in-house team or engaging with an outsourcing partner, depending on the varying business needs for the short and long term perspective.

Normally startups, scale-ups or established businesses consider building an in-house team or engaging with IT outsourcers or freelancers when dealing with one of the following challenges:

Challenge A. Start of the project

The first one is the most simple and hardest at the same time - you want to create a project from scratch. This is the case for most of the startups as well as many existing businesses. Startups usually have budget limits and want to reach their goals fast, so they often consider outsourcing. Established organizations considering some new IT projects can choose between building a remote dedicated team or extending an in-house IT department. But in many cases, bigger companies opt for the core team to be in-house, and then scale their capacity with remote developers.

Challenge B. Extension of the product team

Another common challenge is to find additional tech talents because of project growth. When choosing between an in-house or outsourced team you will have to account for the different needs and expectations of your business. The initial product team gets extended with remote engineers and other specialists most often in the following cases:

  • when there's a shortage of specific specialists locally (some rare or brand new technology or approach),
  • when the available budget provides a higher level of expertise in outsource locations (like Ukraine) than locally,
  • when product growth requires global representation, covering more time zones, languages, support centres, etc.

Challenge C. Meeting certain timelines

Another challenge in this dynamic and aggressive world is to offer your solutions/products/services at the right time. Sometimes you will need extra talent to follow your timelines, for example, to release the next version of your product in time, to fix the critical issues, or to be ahead of the competition with the innovations. In this case, the majority of the companies choose to outsource, as the speed is the key to success. Outsourcing resolves main obstacles on your way to meet the deadlines, and providing benefits like fast team allocation, cost-efficiency and necessary expertise. The temporary nature of the engagement is often decisive when opting for either in-house team extension or outsourcing.

How to choose between the extended in-house dev team and outsourced development?

When thinking about an optimal way of building a dev team, you will need to take into account your goals, priorities and constraints. Here are some of our tips in support of either in-house or outsourced development.

In-house team is optimal in cases, when:

- Intense communication is needed

Intense communication is needed, when the project under development has many open questions and requires daily brainstorming and decision-making, and also when there are many external factors influencing the shape of the software product. This is often at the stage of the product ideation.

- The know-how is extremely sensitive

Most startup founders consider their product ideas as innovative and useful. And they need to decide how sensitive their know-how is to be able to engage with external developers. Some founders choose to keep their know-how between the walls of their company. Others go for outsourcing, making sure to sign all necessary NDA and IP rights agreements.

- The goal is to build the core of the team

In certain cases, businesses choose to have the core team locally, which will be in the long run responsible for major decisions and strategy of product development. The extension of the core team is then provided with the help of external resources.

- There are sufficient time and resources to increase the team gradually

Under these conditions, it will be easier to work with people in the familiar and traditional face to face scenario. An in-house team makes the established squad you can count on in the years that follow.

Outsourced development is optimal, when:

- The project is growing fast

In cases when your project is growing fast and you need to increase your team rapidly, IT outsourcing is a viable option. Usually, recruitment in outsourcing destinations like Ukraine takes way less time, then in the US or EU. So you can skip the lengthy recruitment process and focus on product development needs.

- There are no specialists with the necessary expertise locally

You can employ top tech talents from around the world when outsourcing, and not be bound to your physical location. Competent interviewing and evaluation of the tech skills can provide access to the developers worldwide.

- It is necessary to complete a certain stage of the project in time

When you need to complete some scope of functionality, and you do not see a longer need for development, it is wise to consider outsourcing. It will save you time, otherwise spent on local recruitment, and cost, as IT outsourcing is often rather cost-efficient.

- There is a budget/time limit

In case of working with the outsourced development teams, you just pay for the time that developers spend on your project, and don't have to invest in costly equipment and office space. Many startups choose to outsource when building their pilot products, PoC, MPV, or prototypes.

So, if any of the reasons to consider outsourcing are valid for you, take a look at our tips, which will help you find the best IT partner for your business

Tip #1. Enquire about the technical stack specialization

When choosing the IT outsourcing vendor you need to make sure that the candidate company has expertise with the tech stack of your product. IT outsourcing opens access to worldwide talent, and you will be able to find specialists that match your requirements way easier than locally.

Tip #2. Time zone and location

Time zone is also important for productive communication and collaboration. Make sure that you have at least 2 and ideally 8 common hours to have live conversations. Also, check the location of your potential IT outsourcing partner, and learn about their IT ecosystem. Obviously, the more active the ecosystem, the easier it will be to find the needed talent, scale the team, and have a long-term collaboration. Other things like developed infrastructure, airports, and office spaces will add up to the comfort of your common work.

Tip #3. Similar previous experience

Similar previous experience is always an advantage, and it will help you omit some obstacles. When choosing a development partner, you will obviously want to opt for companies having similar product experience, who have expertise in the tech stack that you consider for your product, and share your development approaches.

Tip #4. Reviews from other customers

Reviews from previous customers will reveal the strong and weak sides of your potential IT partner. Knowing those will help you decide if the company is a good fit.

Tip #5. Values and approaches to work

Make sure that your approaches to work are consistent with your outsourcing team. This is best addressed by a manager whose task is to organize a competent work structure.

Where to find development partners?

  1. There are numerous websites providing matchmaking services for the customers and IT outsourcing companies. You may also find it useful to check Clutch, Goodfirms, LinkedIn Jobs, etc.

  2. Recruiting agencies will be relevant if you are looking for in-house team members or freelancers.

  3. References are probably the most common and reliable way of finding IT partners.

Summing up,

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of advice for building a dev team, but we hope that it is helpful in understanding your situation, circumstances, goals, and options.

We at Bitcom would love to discuss your dev talent needs, and see if we can be of any help to you.