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Dedicated Development Team, Fixed Price, Time and Material – What’s the Difference between These Models

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Let's imagine that you've got a fantastic new project to work on, but you don't have the expertise or resources in-house to complete the coding. The solution? Outsourcing to an external vendor. However, outsourcing requires thorough preparation to ensure a successful outcome. One of the important steps is to determine the appropriate billing model for your outsourced software development project. You're not alone in your hesitation! Selecting the correct approach can be challenging since each billing model has its own benefits and drawbacks. Selecting a wrong one could result in unanticipated expenses and subpar outcomes.

In this article, we'll investigate the realm of outsourced software development billing models, including dedicated development team (DDT), fixed price, and time and material approaches.

Understanding various billing models is critical for a successful outsourcing experience, whether you're a startup or a well-established enterprise. We'll examine the particular challenges connected with each model and assist you in determining which approach is most appropriate for your project. So, sit back, grab a coffee, and let's explore the fascinating world of outsourced software development billing models!

Dedicated development teams

What is a dedicated team model? The dedicated development team model entails a company employing a team of developers on a long-term basis to work on a specific project or group of projects. This IT outsourcing pricing model has numerous advantages, such as project management being on the team's side, on-demand access to talents, and exceptional focus on your project. However, this approach may also have cultural differences, budget ambiguity, and other drawbacks. Before choosing this pricing model, it's important to consider its main advantages and disadvantages. Below you’ll find other benefits and drawbacks to take into account.

Pros of dedicated project teams:

One of the key advantages of DDTs is efficient project management: with a dedicated development team in place, project management becomes a collaborative effort, allowing the company to allocate resources and time to other tasks. Moreover, you get access to a diverse talent pool of proficient programmers, with expertise in various programming languages and frameworks, ensuring exceptional development services. Finally, since the outsourcing software development team is exclusively dedicated to a particular project or set of projects, the team's focus and energy are solely on that project, ensuring timely and budget-conscious delivery.


While the dedicated project team structure offers many benefits, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. For example, cultural differences may stand between you and productive cooperation. When working with an outsourced development team from another country or culture, you may need time to understand their working style, approach, and communication peculiarities.

Another potential concern is budget ambiguity. The dedicated software development team structure does not offer clear pricing since the team's work hours and scope of work may vary. The dedicated development team pricing model is not ideal for brief projects as it necessitates a long-term obligation.

The best use cases for the dedicated development model

The dedicated development team model is most appropriate for companies seeking continuous development services for a large-scale project or multiple projects. It is also a great fit for businesses looking to expand their development capabilities quickly without incurring extra overhead expenses. Furthermore, this outsourced model is suitable for companies requiring external expertise to work on specific projects and supplement their internal development team.

Fixed price

For many businesses and service providers, fixed price pricing provides a sense of certainty and predictability. Under the fixed price model, the client and the service provider agree on a predetermined sum for accomplishing a given project or task. The model's primary advantage is the upfront payment, which provides a clear picture of the overall expenditure. However, accurate project estimation calls for scrupulous planning and project management proficiency.

Pros of the fixed price model:

The fixed price model comes with several benefits, such as:

  • Predictable costs: With fixed price, you know upfront how much you'll be paying for the project, allowing for better budgeting and planning.
  • Reduced risk: As the price is fixed, the risk of unexpected costs and budget overruns is significantly reduced.
  • Clear scope of work: The fixed price model necessitates a clear and detailed scope of work, ensuring that both parties understand the project requirements and deliverables.
  • Easier project management: Since the scope of work and project deliverables are defined upfront, project management can be more streamlined and efficient.
  • Increased transparency: The fixed price model can provide increased transparency for both the client and the development team, as the project requirements and cost are agreed upon upfront.

Cons of the fixed price model:

While there are several advantages to this model, all mentioned above, there are also some drawbacks to consider. A fixed price project requires careful planning and project management skills to estimate the project accurately, which can be a challenge if the project is complex. You might lack flexibility with the fixed price model since any changes to the project scope or requirements can result in additional costs.

When the fixed price model is the right choice

If the work scope is well-defined, the fixed price model is a suitable approach for when a project has clear, specific deliverables that can be accurately estimated, and the risks associated with it are low. All in all, small and short-term projects are the perfect fit for the model. It may not be the best option for complex projects where requirements may be unclear or subject to change. In such cases, a more flexible pricing model like time and materials may be a better choice.

In conclusion, the fixed price model is an appropriate option for projects with clear objectives, a precisely outlined scope, and minimal risk. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the project requirements to determine if this pricing model best fits the project's needs.

Time and material

Time and material IT outsourcing model is a commonly used pricing model in the software development industry that offers more flexibility than the fixed price model. What is the difference between T&M and fixed price models? Choosing between fixed price vs time and materials requires considering the payment structure. One of the key differences is that a fixed-price contract requires you to pay for the whole project once the final product is delivered, while a time-and-materials contract allows you to pay incrementally based on an agreed hourly or daily rate for the work completed so far. So, choosing the former in the time and material vs fixed price allows for changes to be made throughout the project, with the final cost determined by the actual time and resources used.

One significant advantage of this model is its suitability for projects with evolving requirements, an unclear scope, or for growing startups. This pricing model is also best when the project's complexity is high, making it difficult to determine the project cost at the outset.

The time and material model offers efficiency as well. Read on for the main advantages and disadvantages of the model.

Time and Material Pros and Cons

Advantages of the time and material model:

First, entrepreneurs value the time and material model for a greater flexibility compared to other popular software development pricing models, especially the fixed price, since it allows for changes to be made throughout the project's life cycle.

Second, it’s suitable for complex projects where the scope of work cannot be estimated upfront and the requirements are constantly changing.

Finally, with this pricing model, the team can start working on the project immediately without extensive upfront planning, resulting in faster delivery times.

Disadvantages of the time and material model:

The model's major drawback is that it can create uncertainty about the final project cost, making it difficult to predict the budget accurately. The absence of a fixed price increases the cost rapidly as more time and resources are used, leading to potential overspending. Finally, the pricing model demands careful monitoring of the time and resources used to ensure the project spending stays in control and does not exceed the client's budget.

When to use the time and material model

Overall, the time and material model is a suitable choice for projects with a continuously evolving scope, high complexity, and dynamic requirements. However, it call for careful management to keep the project within limits and avoid exceeding a client's budget.


Selecting the appropriate billing model is crucial in outsourced software development to prevent unexpected costs and inferior outcomes. To identify a suitable pricing model for a project, multiple factors must be considered, such as the project scope, duration, and risks. The following steps can help you:

  • Define the project requirements and scope to estimate the project's complexity and duration, which will influence the pricing model.
  • Evaluate potential risks associated with the project, such as technology risks, resource availability, and market trends.
  • Take project duration into account while selecting a pricing model. Project duration and budget constraints are crucial in determining which pricing model to use, with fixed-price and time and materials models being suitable for different scenarios. Fixed price models are more suitable for smaller budgets, while the time and materials model will be a better and more cost-effective choice for more substantial budgets. At the same time, a DDT pricing model is ideal for companies needing continuous development services, expanding their development capabilities, or requiring external expertise for specific projects.

Don't hesitate to seek advice from experts, and turn to our team of experienced professionals, when it comes to selecting the best pricing model for your project.

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