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Business continuity in IT during insecure times
Scaling IT departments is a real challenge right now! Tough employee market, business and time pressure, disruptive technologies – that’s much. To make matters worse, the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent economic slowdown have arrived. If your IT project absolutely cannot wait for better times, check with us how you can ensure development continuity by using a nearshore agile teams model. Read more about a successful case of providing 60 software developers in 6 months and taking over the full project responsibility for a big Telecom company.
When the pressure increases, you need proven solutions
Let us tell you a story about our most impressive project of delivering remote, high skilled software development teams. It began in May 2015 when our key client came to us with a challenge:
‘We immediately need to optimize one of our projects. We have a problem with developing and scaling it with a low budget. We can’t afford the long recruitment and onboarding process. Preserving the quality and, above all, keeping business continuity is crucial for us.’
Our answer was: Let’s do it! The solution we suggested was a nearshore agile team model.
The requirements of that client seemed to be ambitious because they assumed no compromises in the project management triangle: time – quality – price. A few years ago, when the project had started, body leasing models were still dominant, big IT projects were managed by waterfall and nearshoring was perceived as a solution for simple cases.
In fact, many IT Directors still face this kind of problems and challenges. But even today nearshore agile team leasing is not a solution they would consider. We want to show you why it is the key to solving current challenges of IT departments and how to proceed. But first, let’s see what we achieved in the described case:
- The client entrusted us with full product development responsibility;
- We designed and carried out a knowledge transfer process and ensured that the business continuity was maximized;
- In 6 months we delivered 6 agile teams ready for effective work;
- In 4 years we more than doubled the number of our remote teams working for that client, and delivered 20 teams in total;
- The client improved the cost efficiency of that project at its various stages up to 40%.
Why did it work?
The answer seems to be a truism: it worked because it was (and is) the most effective solution on many levels. Let’s look at it point by point:
1. Why whole teams?
For many companies, when they need to scale up their software development quickly, ‘quickly’ means ‘with no recruitment process involved’. On the other hand, the decision about your own team extension by recruitment is risky in the insecure times we are facing today. A standard hiring process is an expensive and uphill battle. That’s why companies used to reach for body leasing solution instead. It worked for a long time, but it changed when the demand for such kind of experts exceeded the supply.
There are many drawbacks to this approach:
- The administrative cost of buying the services of individual consultants.
- The key-person dependency that is disadvantageous to an organization.
- The hidden costs of forming and managing a team.
- The difficulties involved in responding to changing needs with regards to volume and skills over time.
- The weak sense of belonging for an individual consultant, a risk that could lead to an increased consultant turnover, resulting in costs and a loss of expertise for both the client and the supplier.
- The low productivity in existing agile teams – any time the staffing in an agile team is changed, the team needs to be re-established which means a loss of productivity.
Through buying teams rather than individual consultants, you can focus on continuity in your core business activities; at the same time, your supplier makes sure that added teams gain productivity as fast as possible. In the case of our Telecom client, we delivered teams of about 8 people, one by one, in iterations. Every team could be effectively deployed in the project in order to ensure the business continuity for the client. When the first team was fully adopted, the next one arrived in short slots. Of course, this is not the only way to implement larger numbers of teams. The client trusted us and bestowed upon us the responsibility for the whole process of finding and engaging the right people for the job.
2. Why agile?
When shifting to agile or strengthening your delivery capacity with agile teams, it is important to understand agile software development and how agile works. Agile software development is based on cross-functional teams of 5-10 people, where the members share the responsibility for taking business demands to delivery. This means that all skills required for the delivery need to be a part of the team. Team members should be able to take on more than one skill in order to avoid key-person dependency and enable flexibility. The business side is represented by a Product Owner responsible for prioritizing the business needs, so that the most important needs are met first.
An agile team normally assumes responsibility for a product or an application throughout its lifecycle. Hence the team is responsible both for development and maintenance. In a DevOps team, operation of the product or application is included as well. It is important to avoid unnecessary handovers in order to enable an efficient workflow, avoiding waste.
Agile work organization is based on iterations and aims at a fast deliverance of closed parts of the product. That makes it a highly effective way of working, allowing to keep quality and business continuity.
The transfer to an agile way of working with our mentioned client gave us much control of how successful the process was and we could make sure that we were going in the right direction.
3. Why nearshore?
One of the success factors for our client was the cost optimization and to deliver an excellent product with a low budget. They discovered that engagement of local resources is too expensive in comparison to the estimated effectiveness.
Our Polish software house department came to aid. Polish programmers are at the forefront of the best-skilled experts in the world. At the same time, the cost of life and employment in that region is still lower than in western and northern European countries and we remain in a common cultural framework. It means that communication and cooperation go smoothly.
In time, when remote work becomes a new norm, and we have to get used to dispersed teams, the nearshore model is a huge chance for many companies.
Secure solutions in an insecure era
At Cybercom, we have a long, documented history of working with clients with different types of models. We develop products on demand, provide single consultants when clients need it, deliver supervision of their projects. But when we implemented over 7 remote teams for our key clients in 6 months (20 over 4 years), we discovered that this is the most effective way of bringing high value for customers. It’s safe for them – because it helps decrease business risk of team extension – and comfortable for employees who are more motivated to work and stay in projects for a longer time.
Business Development Director
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