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The real strength of Agile teams: When 2 + 3 =7
When listening to the market, we ask a question about the advantages of body leasing and reasons why some companies choose that solution. The most often arguments are the feeling of having full control over a project; the employees’ commitment who treat the client as an employer; or the possibility to precisely select the missing competences. It is hard to disagree with those arguments – the experts entering the new structure are committed and determined to deliver the quality expected from them.
Hiring individual specialist through outsourcing is a purely transactional model of co-operation: you need competences, we deliver them, and after everything is done everyone goes back to their business. And yes, it works – if a company looking for developers has a very precise vision of the project they want to develop. The growing market does not make planning easier; the technological and business reality is changing rapidly. The expectations of the end customers are changing and growing. Many projects developed by using classic work methodologies are not getting finished. Is it possible to prepare your project for changes that are not yet visible on the horizon?
One for all
Body leasing, despite its success, is not free of flaws. One of them is indeed its… popularity. The transactional employment model, swapping employees between projects has a negative impact on their sense of belonging, and in consequence – on their loyalty to the employer. The industry landscape is changing, its image being shaped by the infamous Millennials and the generation Z, who are entering the professional activity stage. If anyone thinks it has no impact on the business, he or she should revise their convictions.
Another important (and easily overlooked) risk stemming from the body leasing model are the administrative costs connected to obtaining competences from various providers, as well as the hidden costs of creating temporary teams within the customer’s structures. The growing market absorbs all available resources, any number of people with technological competences. The recruitment processes take long and searching for technological experts (as well as staff who will be able to manage processes in such teams in an Agile way) devours great amounts of financial means, time and energy.
Speaking of risks, we can’t overlook the recurring mistake of making the project’s development depend on the skills of one key person. The silo perception of a team’s competences often puts the assumed rate of a project development at risk. If we connect this with a knowledge that an Agile team achieves full productivity within four to nine months of working together, the risk becomes real and the initially predicted time frame turns into a memory.
This is now
How to tackle that issue? How to secure the smoothness of working on a project and put it amongst the 70% of those that become a success?
One of the answers to those questions is changing the outsourcing model from body leasing to the leasing of whole Agile teams. Agile teams are perceived in the IT world as elite units with exemplary effectiveness. They usually consist of 5 to 10 specialists with overlapping and complementary skill sets, and their main task is to transfer business needs to production. Team leasing outsourcing model presents a few additional benefits that should be considered in the early planning stage:
1. Collective mind
A mature Agile team is something more than a randomly picked group of people with a complementary set of skills. A true value of a team is its synchronicity, an ability to work in a synergy, the combined experience, and something called a collective mind. The four to nine months mentioned earlier are a timeframe for the whole process through which a forming Agile team should go. A rotation of the employees, adding new people to the team – it makes the process significantly longer and postpones the moment in which the team achieves its maximum productivity.
2. A fixed squad
Working in a team has a beneficial influence on the professional life comfort, which helps with increasing retention. It’s a crucial aspect, which is too rarely discussed in the context of body leasing. Nothing strange about that – after all, in IT outsourcing is supposed to, among other things take the weight of a burdensome expert recruitment process off an organization’s shoulders. However, it’s worth taking a look at the issue in the context of smooth project running. A decreased employee rotation means less time spent on onboarding, implementation and adaption to the new working environment, as well as reduced administrative costs involved.
3. Securing competences
A multifunctional and cross-functional Agile team is a guarantee of an ongoing access to competences that are crucial for the project. A reduced employee rotation, profound knowledge of guidelines and documentation, a team working on a product’s development in focus and synergy – all those things are marks of an ideal situation, in which one can expect the project assumptions to be developed as planned.
4. A set of perspectives
There is one more way to look at the technological projects outsourcing, no less important than the rest of them. Cross-functional teams complementing customers’ industrial competences are a diversity which helps companies around the world avoid the basic mistakes of designing. Homogenic groups of people designing services, processes or projects have significantly lower chances to see their own projects from different perspectives. Introducing different points of view and creating a space for exchanging views and experiences allows for a diversification adjusted to the end customers.
In the most recent Tech Trends 2020 report issued by Deloitte we can find a list of nine factors that, according to the experts involved in creating it, will contribute to business optimization, increase in innovation and the general benefits of the macro forces (as the authors call these phenomena). Those factors overlap with each other and interact to such a degree, that it’s difficult to isolate the ones that are especially important for the business in general. Among them one can find three aspects crucial from this text’s perspective – agility and speed of action, the employees of the future, and work management and culture.
Speaking of agility, today, on the threshold of year 2020, no one should need more reasons to appreciate the value of this approach. Adaptability and flexibility of an organization are crucial for the development and innovation implementation in every field of business activity. The changing market realities cause profound changes in the task profiles and in challenges faced by the ICT industry employees. Technological competences have to go hand in hand with soft skills – such as an ability to work in a team, willingness to acquire new qualifications, or an ability to establish a relation with the customer. All of that won’t happen if an organization lacks a sustainable management that is oriented on supporting its employees, as well as a friendly organizational culture which is an invaluable tool to support the recruitment processes, the employees’ development and to inspire their creativity.
Agile teams are a product of all of the above forces; they are ready to help the hiring customer win the innovation race. The implementation of Agile methodologies in business is still presented as one of those factors that speed up the digital transformation. Even if our own organization is still not ready for an Agile revolution, perhaps it is worth to take a look at Agile teams at work and use their (not only technological) experience for our own gain. Team leasing is a phenomenon that bring a potential not yet appreciated on the Polish market. There is no doubt that the organizations who first notice it and use it for their own development are going to have a unique opportunity to establish a competitive advantage, regardless of the industry.
Business Unit Director
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