Teamwork makes the dream work. Surely you’ve heard this saying before. It’s a perfect example of how a well-coordinated team can accomplish anything. And “well-coordinated” is the key here. With software development outsourcing, ensuring proper management in temporary crews can be even more complicated. Unless you bring in the dedicated project team model, with all its advantages and disadvantages.
The main criticism of IT outsourcing has always been the lack of long-term cooperation and communication mishaps. This one-and-done work mentality scares off some potential customers wanting to have a more stable relationship with the IT service provider. The dedicated team model has been created to remedy precisely that.
So what’s so special about these dedicated teams? Their level of dedication? What does that have to do with anything? In this article, we’ll explain what exactly a dedicated project team is and the pros and cons of organizing the projects as dedicated teams. You can also check out this article next to find out about the cost of a dedicated development team.
What is a dedicated project team
A dedicated project team is a type of long-term business relationship model where the software development company (service provider) offers a client a team for full-time continuous cooperation. It’s similar to outsourcing, but not quite. The outsourcing model delivers you a third-party provider with its rules and structure that has complete control over the project.
However, with the dedicated team approach, the team and its work are solely managed by the client and fall more into the staff augmentation or outstaffing categories. The term dedicated doesn’t mean other types of teams are not committed to their work. It means that this crew has been hand-picked for you, and your project has its full and only attention.
For the dedicated team, the team members are chosen following the client’s demands and requirements for expertise and experience. The client then has two options - either manage the team by themselves or delegate it to the project manager that’s more familiar with the team.
Just like with outsourcing, dedicated teams work remotely from the provider’s office and are a somewhat separate subdivision of the customer’s actual employees yet with less dependency or outward supervision. A dedicated team structure is entirely customizable to your project’s needs - one or several developers and designers, with or without PM, etc.
There are three pricing models for IT outsourcing:
- Fixed-price, where the payment amount is established at the start, and each sum is scheduled. Best for short-time projects with a fixed scope and development cycle.
- The time and material pricing model has the payment dependent on the time and resources spent. In this case, the budget is more flexible, requirements can be changed, and the client has more control. Best for Agile projects with evolving requirements and more extensive scope.
- Dedicated model. Also suitable for Agile, a dedicated pricing model has room for ever-changing requirements and possible growth of complex long-term projects. It’s a mix of the fixed-priced model (you pay predetermined salaries) and the second one with its fee correlation on time and materials.
Advantages of the dedicated team model
The dedicated team approach works best for rapidly growing startups with malleable project outlines and requirements and focuses on long-term collaboration. Besides IT, such a model can benefit companies in medicine, communications, banking, cryptocurrency, and other industries related to commerce and finance. Technically, almost any business can make the most of a dedicated team thanks to the following advantages.
Lower project costs
One major benefit of dedicated teams is cost-efficiency. You get a full-time staff for less than what you should’ve paid if you were to hire in-house developers. Now, you get to employ a just as (or sometimes even more) skilled team from countries with a lower rate since the cost of living there is lower too.
The salary gap is not the only cost-reducing aspect. You also have a chance to cut costs on hiring HRs, other administrative hassles, employee workplace maintenance, etc. The service provider will take care of all that. You only pay for the amount of work done and time spent on it.
One of the biggest flaws of standard outsourcing models is their lack of transparency when it comes to team management. Either you or your project manager has complete control over the remote team and its tasks and priorities. Constant accessible feedback allows you to quickly make changes to the project without significant delays.
The daily use of the modern variety of task and time management software (Jira, Trello, Notion, Basecamp), along with the popular communication tools (Slack, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp), make the distance between you and your remote team less noticeable and bring even more clarity about the project’s progress.
Flexible project scaling and adaptability
A dedicated development team is flexible enough to allow easy project scaling while having a pretty structured workflow as per the best practices of agile development. The dynamic nature of the team (meaning quickly adding or reducing staff when necessary) brings another layer of flexibility into the process.
Apart from scaling up or down, adaptability also means the potential to introduce any change at any stage, be that of the technology stack, budget limitations, new functionality, etc., and it would still result in a much faster development process than if you stick to the standard outsourcing approach or an in-house team.
Another example of dedicated team advantages is the opportunity for continuous integration. It’s a so-called life-saver for long-term projects constantly evolving and needing another feature or modification added to it. You propose a change you need, and then it’s only a matter of supervision.
However, when you find a team that’s a perfect match, there’s no need for excessive oversight and online monitoring from every corner. The dedicated development team model envisions partial to complete autonomy of your team. The assigned PM or any other type of team leader only has to regularly provide you with thorough reports on the project’s progress.
When you work with freelancers, it’s hard to maintain a tight collaboration mode. It takes lots of time and effort. And the more people you collaborate with, the more chaotic it is and challenging to relay your requirements.
On the other hand, by being located in the same place and under the same provider, a dedicated software development team can keep in touch with you more often and keep up with the tight scheduling.
Not to mention the benefits that come from the fact that the team members have probably worked with each other on previous projects, making them even more suited for group work based on their expertise and soft skills.
Loyalty and exceptional focus
Another advantage you get by engaging with dedicated team services is loyalty and maximum focus on your project. With freelancers, you cannot guarantee that they will give you their undivided attention. They will definitely have another project currently on the go.
When you build a dedicated team, you pick individuals that’ll show commitment. There can even be a point in the written agreement stating that the team members are not allowed to work on any other projects besides yours. Over time, this will ensure a more meaningful partnership and positively impact the team’s efficiency.
Disadvantages of the dedicated team model
Before you joyfully go for it thinking that this model is surely the best option for you, let’s check out what are the disadvantages you may discover along the way.
Communication issues mostly pertain to finding a software development team in your time zone or at least no more than a couple hours of difference. When a dedicated team from, for example, Eastern Europe starts their working hours, their clients from the United States might still be sleeping, or vice versa.
Not to mention all the organizational difficulties one might face, including lots of paperwork, to set up a dedicated team model partnership - a myriad of calls, virtual meetings, and negotiations before you and the team can even start the project itself. To make it work, you’ll have to organize a tight schedule and workflow, taking into account both parties’ convenience.
Company culture mismatch
Apart from different time zones, hiring specialists from another country might lead to a company culture mismatch. It’s not just some differences in work styles. Business practices can vary from country to country, and those practices have always been deeply rooted in cultural and mental attributes.
Way back when remote work was not possible, it wasn’t an issue, but now it’s the pivot of international business relations. The differences in mentality involve the power statuses, communication peculiarities, language and wealth barriers, and attitudes toward the work itself.
Not suitable for short-term projects
Theoretically, dedicated teams can be used to participate in shorter-term projects. However, in that case, their efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. Nearly all the benefits, mainly regarding loyalty, tight collaboration, focus, and determination, do not usually unfold straight away.
Them gaining ground takes time, which is one of the things you don’t have when you need a relatively small product and you want it done fast. A quick one-time job will benefit from other models of software development, for example, freelancers or outsourcing development companies that don’t specialize in dedicated projects.
Onboarding requires quite an effort
Establishing an exceptional team tuned in to your project’s needs takes much more time than hiring people for a single fix-up or a small product. First, the recruitment process will require you to be involved as much as possible to guarantee you hire the right specialists. Otherwise, you might regret some of the choices, and mitigating them will mess with the project’s timeline.
Then, the onboarding process. It’s easier to bring in an in-house developer than it is to manage the remote onboarding for people from other countries. The remote employee integration will also require you to take extra care with security risks.
The last major drawback of hiring and managing a dedicated project team is that you’ll have a hard time estimating a fixed budget for the work. The correct estimation will need clear answers on how long this project might take, how many, and what tasks or changes will be required during it, all of which are nearly impossible if the project has a continuous and dynamic workflow.
This development model might not be for you if you have a limited budget. However, if you can regularly calculate the costs for at least a week or a month by planning the changes and not deviating from them, then you might have a semblance of a clearly estimated budget.
And there you have it! Thanks to our list of the most prevalent pros and cons of dedicated project teams, we hope you can now confidently say if this approach is right for you. By keeping in mind both the benefits and the shortcomings, you’ll be able to see a bigger picture of any business relationship model you’re considering.