What Are the Disadvantages of a Dedicated Development Team?
Risk is an inherent part of business and life in general. And the extent to which we can assess and pick the risks to mitigate is what often divides success from failure. It’s simply impossible to tackle all of them. One has to pick and choose between the likely and the catastrophic. Outsourcing software development is no different.
Carrying development to a faraway land is a risky proposition, with clients often encountering incompatible business cultures, language barriers, and many other hurdles. Generally, they don’t land their projects on unfamiliar shores just for the thrill of it, but to fit the budget and make a profit. That’s why at GBKSOFT, we suggest getting a remote Dedicated Development Team in Ukraine as a golden mean measure between lower price, reliability, and quality of service.
What’s the appeal of a Dedicated Development Team?
With a Dedicated Development Team model, a vendor offers a whole ready team tailored specifically to the project and clients’ liking. It can be supervised either through the management team on the vendor side or with a combined vendor\client project management. This arrangement allows for better control over the development from the client-side and potentially higher cost-efficiency, provided that all-important bases are covered, more on it later.
Dedicated Development Teams also avoid some of the trappings of Fixed Price — where the client often ends up with a typical off-the-shelf-like product with a premium price tag. It also isn’t as susceptible to feature creep and project bloat as Time & Material. However, together with control, it puts more responsibility for the success of the project on the client. As this model adds a layer of complexity, it also adds failure points.
How Can It Fail?
For convenience, we’ve gathered the most common modes of failure under 6 categories. Each one of those can be a significant issue for a project, and several of these combined can bring it down to ruin. Here they are:
Wrong company for the job – everyone is going to promise you the world, check their resumes well.
Planning failures – changing your design goals and software stack mid-project is rarely a good idea.
Communication problems – ranging from menial miscommunications to complete communication meltdowns.
Lack of competent management – while technical competencies might be there, lack of sound management combined with the human element can create a unique disaster.
You can get duped, sometimes – some outsourcing companies employ dirty tactics, and every customer should know what they are to avoid them.
Lack of QA or external audit – a problem easily solved but too frequently neglected.
Wrong Company for the Job
With plenty of companies from all around the world competing for the spotlight, few are communicating clearly where their competencies are. Make sure the company's portfolio fits your project and that their devs are who they claim. It isn’t uncommon for a team of web developers that is fully capable within their parameters to get buttered up to high heaven by an overzealous marketing crew. Also, there’s nothing wrong with going for a smaller startup to save money if you can gauge their capabilities correctly, otherwise defer to more seasoned vendors.
It's often said that no plan survives contact with the enemy. However, the correct translation is – the plans rarely go past the contact with the main enemy force unchanged. Good planning should account for steps you might want to take down the line, both in the Solution Stack and in the type of extra resources that might be required. That’s why a good vendor should provide you with a good enough plan, from the point of pre-sale and with the better one soon after.
Many companies avoid making suggestions or critiquing the idea before the sale is stuck, or a good working relationship is established, but this approach tends to kick the can down the road.
These can range wildly in scope and severity. A couple of missed meetings and a misunderstanding that has led to good work being wasted is nothing special in the grand scheme of things, but it has a compound effect on the timeline of the project. There are, however, more pernicious issues – like when client and vendor-sides talk past each other. Or, what’s even worse – when one doesn’t want to tell, and another – to listen. That's a recipe to build hostilities and frustration – these are always bad for business.
Lack of Competent Management
Also, developers, as technical people tend to be, can be a pretty self-absorbed bunch. They avoid explaining much of what they do to the client to save time on ‘unnecessary’ back and forth. And too often, therein are some business-critical decisions that should be put in front of the client. That’s why having a project manager that is well versed in both development and business aspects and can voice concerns up and down the chain is critical for success with a Dedicated Development Team.
You Can Get Duped, Sometimes
One of the most common ways an unscrupulous outsourcing company may scam their clients is using several devs with good resumes that they do have to sell you a cat in the bag – a bunch of ghost-coders and their cousins, submitting lines they found with Google instead. This scheme, while common in the developing world, is relatively rare with Eastern European outsourcing companies.
Security concerns aside, even if such development effort results in a functional product, it would likely be subpar and cost extra to update or maintain. And there is a simple way to avoid it – independent quality control and external audit.
Lack of QA or External Audit
If the customer lacks the necessary expertise to judge the quality of work, setting up an independent QA or audit procedure might be a worthwhile expense to consider. It’s also true in case they suspect some type of shady business or even notice a sudden change in quality. Since GBKSOFT also provides independent audits, we can say that at least with the latter, work-crunch and poor planning are way more likely culprits. However, shenanigans also happen now and then.
Also, breaking the contract for the clause might be significantly cheaper than doing it for the wish, and it requires some level of proof. And besides the aforementioned nuclear option, setting up external checks on your projects would help keep your partners honest and transparent.
Best Ways to Mitigate All of These Failures
Building a product with a Dedicated Development Team is a more involved cooperative process that can be extremely rewarding if done right, but it offers some unique and spectacular ways to fail, too. However, as you can hopefully see, most of them are easy to avoid, by:
Selecting a vendor that fits the scope of the project;
Building a detailed development plan together with your partner;
Setting up good communication channels and feedback mechanisms;
Making sure that you have a competent management structure that is going to communicate well up and down the chain;
Keeping an eye out on quality;
And always having a plan B.
But most importantly, try to find a reliable and transparent partner that you would trust to point out some of the shortcomings and propose solutions for them. And that’s the kind of partner GBKSOFT always strived to be.