The Extended Team Model: How to Make it Work

The article was updated on January 25, 2021.

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.

We at Eastern Peak have successfully set up a number of extended teams for our clients. To help you navigate the most common pitfalls and make an extended team work for you, we would like to share some of our best practices and tips.

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.

extended-development-team

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.

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.

benefits-of-an-extended-development-team

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.

Read also: The Hidden Power of a Multinational Team and How to Capitalize on It

 

How do you make it work? A guide to extended team integration (as used at Eastern Peak)

There is of course a learning curve when it comes to hiring offshore developers for your startup, and the same is true for making your core team and extended team function as one. Therefore we would like to assist you in this endeavor by providing you with some useful advice.

eastern-peak-team

When you hire an extended development team with Eastern Peak, we make sure it works for you. Here is our typical workflow for setting up and project management with team extension:

1. Pre-planning

To start with, consider the scope of your project and define the main roles it requires. Do you have the expertise to fill them in-house? Which skills should be sourced externally?

You can perform the initial analysis by yourself or request assistance from a professional technology consultancy, such as Eastern Peak. If you turn to us for advice, we will first analyze your development needs and internal processes in order to put together a suitable team for you.

Typically, the first stage in our analysis includes discussing your ideas and turning them into clear requirements, project goals, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The main pitfall that a team extension can lead your developers into is getting sidetracked and accumulating misunderstandings that lead to errors. Clear objectives and methods of measuring success allow the company to avoid unnecessary mistakes and help boost the employees’ motivation and job satisfaction.

2. Screening candidates

Based on your requirements and project specifications, our recruiting team will conduct in-depth candidate research, and select and pre-screen the most suitable candidates. In order for a candidate to be able to become a valuable addition to your team, we verify that they have the technical and the soft skills necessary for the job.

You can personally interview the best candidates and choose the ones you deem most appropriate for hire.

3. Team onboarding and integration

While the previous steps were preparatory, the integration of a remote team into your workflow starts here. Namely, here’s how your extended development team works with Eastern Peak.

extended-team-integration

  • Accountability and reporting

The extended development team that you hire with Eastern Peak becomes an integral part of your in-house staff. They follow your internal processes and take direct orders from you or your project manager on-site.

Please note: We can appoint our own representative to provide additional support. For example, our project manager can step in at any time in case you need help solving an issue or setting up efficient collaboration within the team.

 

  • Transparency

The extended team model provides you with constant control over your project. You can track the time/effort ratio in real time and optimize it as you see fit.

  • Direct communication

The ability to directly communicate with the appointed PM as well as the developers leads to transparency and clarity within your team. Keep your communication channels open and available at all times.

  • Tight-knit and invested team

We help you allocate responsibilities within your team so that your developers feel more involved and, as a result, more invested in the project. In addition to being responsible for certain tasks and parts of the project, every team member is familiar with the complete cycle of development.

  • Complete sync-up

Your extended development team will be up to date with your methodologies, practices, management style and corporate culture. We help you in setting up an efficient workflow and choosing the best communication and collaboration tools which your core team and extended team will both be comfortable working with.

  • Easy kick-off

Having on-site training and planning sessions with your extended team can be a great headstart for the project. We usually set up several company meetings so that your core team and extended team members can get to know each other.

development-team-extension

4. On-demand scaling and support

Using this model, we can provide more developers to your extended team on-demand, as well as dissolve the staff you no longer need. For example, you can hire a dedicated specialist to perform a certain task or implement a specific feature. As soon as you no longer need his/her help, we can terminate your contract with them and you continue working with the rest of the developers.

Our recruitment team will provide constant support and help you tackle any challenges you may face down the road.

An extended development team with Eastern Peak: Your on-demand dream team

We at Eastern Peak have a vast track record building scalable and efficient development teams for startups and businesses worldwide. Using our expertise and direct access to a vast talent pool, we can help you set up your own extended development team and fine tune your operations in accordance to your needs.

To learn more about the extended team model at Eastern Peak, drop us a line using our contact form.

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