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Three Options for Adding Custom Software Development Capacity

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What do you do when you have a need for custom software, but your internal team doesn’t have capacity? If you need the project done in a time frame that’s not feasible for your existing resources, you look at other options for expanding capacity.

The three options we see organizations consider most frequently are 1) hiring another developer (or developers) to join the existing internal team, 2) outsourcing development to a freelancer or contractor in a staff augmentation or per-hour arrangement, or 3) bringing in a software consulting and development partner like us. As with any business decision, each option has positives and negatives. Here are some of them to help you narrow down which option might make the most sense for your situation.

Hiring Internally

If capacity is your organization’s main concern, one way to increase capacity is to bring in another resource. This can be structured several ways: integrating the new resource into the existing IT team structure, earmarking the new resource solely for the custom software project, or some solution in between. This option is worth considering if you anticipate needing the resource(s) for the long-term, not just to address a short-term capacity issue.

Pros

Cons

Work stays within your organization’s walls

Recruiting developers is difficult and costly

Can work on other internal projects

Lack of flexibility to ramp up or ramp down resources quickly

They’ll build whatever you ask for (we don’t actually see this as a positive, but many stakeholders do)

If the new developer is focusing solely on the custom project, they exist in a silo and are the only team member trained on the system

  

Outsourcing Development

Another way to add flexible capacity to a development team is to integrate temporary resources by bringing on freelance developers or contractors in a staff augmentation capacity (typically through an outsourcing development company or staffing service). In these situations, the resource typically works on-site with the internal team and is paid for the hours worked.

Pros

Cons

Flexibility to add and subtract resources fairly quickly as needed

Premium hourly costs

Only pay for the hours put in

Oversight (HR, management) of and communication with the resource may lie outside your typical processes

You can find a resource with the appropriate skills for your current needs

If you outsource overseas, the time difference can affect workflows

 

Partnering with a Software Development Company

When the internal team lacks time (or even technical knowledge) to implement a software solution, many organizations look for an established external team to make the project happen. In fact, that’s why we’re here. We help solve problems and seize opportunities with custom software when the internal team isn’t available for the job, for whatever reason. 

Pros

Cons

Flexibility to increase, maintain, or decrease ongoing investment

Takes the partner time to learn your business

Access to an experienced cross-functional team of designers, developers, product owners, and testers

The process of getting estimates and finding the right fit in a partner requires time and coordination

Can transition the system to your internal team for support if appropriate

Building a custom software system right takes time, and partners like us won’t sacrifice quality for speed (we don’t see ensuring quality as a negative, but some stakeholders value time over quality)

An outside partner who will push back and ask questions helps you build a better solution

 

Full transparency into your investment in the system and the ability to iteratively make decisions based on your budget as the project progresses

 

 

Other, less common, options we see for increasing development capacity include using a mix of an internal developer with an external partner, choosing an out-of-the-box software solution instead of custom, or waiting until the existing IT team has capacity. The right solution depends completely on the organization’s circumstances and needs. We hope weighing the pros and cons above helps you determine what’s right for you.

Do you want to talk about working with a custom software development company for your project? Let us know.

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