Software development can be essential for any company, even one without in-house developers. This means you’d either need to spend a lot of money to get a whole new department or hire dedicated team. The latter is a more affordable and, arguably, modern choice. It involves finding skilled developers in other regions of the world who can handle the work at a fraction of the cost.
Usually coming from Eastern Europe or Asia, these teams can be set up according to your project needs. It means you can skip hiring a designer or project manager if you already have one, as well as pick members from different regions. Thanks to this flexibility, you can use dedicated devs to supplement your regular staff, increasing your company’s output.
In this article, using our 7 years of experience in the market, DigitalSuits will show you how to get the most out of your dedicated developers. We’ll cover the benefits of hiring dedicated developers and collaboration strategies and provide examples from our cases. Let’s dive into our guide.
Understanding dedicated development teams
The dedicated model is just a type of outsourcing focused on handing over the development to outside professionals. This can mean a full-stack team with QA specialists and project managers or just a core selection of developers. Either way, the model implies direct collaboration with a vendor and, as the name suggests, total commitment from the team.
So, why is hiring dedicated developers a good decision? Other outsourcing models may offer teams that might be splitting their time between a variety of projects. Meanwhile, dedicated ones provide an advantage from the start: these specialists will only work on your tasks. Regardless of the structure you set, each team member should be a hundred percent committed to your project only.
If you’re thinking of how to speed up software development, a dedicated team may be the answer. This model results in much higher productivity, faster time-to-market, and better adherence to your standards. After all, a team with its focus split between multiple projects might struggle to adjust their practices when switching from one to another.
In addition to that, you get benefits like:
- unlimited talent pool
- reasonable pricing
- total control
- full-stack development.
The first two are directly connected, as hiring a full team from Eastern Europe, for instance, will always be cheaper than an equivalent team from North America. Plus, with no regional restrictions, you can find the right professionals wherever you want. As for the control point, dedicated teams will always follow your ideas and leadership, resulting in complete oversight.
Challenges in maximizing productivity
A lot of factors can influence productivity for dedicated developers. While it may be tempting to assume fault on the collaborator’s side, many of these aren’t really direct failures of anyone. Things like cultural differences can slow down your project, as corporate culture varies greatly. Some teams will thrive with fewer calls and check-ins, while others will expect regular full-team gatherings.
One challenge that does stem from poor planning is the lack of transparency and the resulting tangled processes. This ends up wasting everyone’s time, as the absence of structure results in lower report rates, slower development, and overall confusion. It’s important to remember that some hands-on oversight can be vital in any collaboration model.
Another problem, though a circumstantial one, is time zone differences. If a US-based business hires a team from India, the 10-hour difference will impact your communication. After all, this complicates call scheduling, as what may be an afternoon for you will be nighttime for the team.
Similarly, being in contrasting time zones makes it impossible for certain issues to be discussed as they arise. Being unable to provide rapid feedback on progress or bugs will impact the time-to-market.
Lastly, if you’re planning to run a short-term project, productivity will certainly be a challenge. With a dedicated team, you need to onboard and get them acquainted with how your company does things. That time wouldn’t be a big deal when working on a long-term project, but it could cut into development deadlines on a shorter one.
With these issues, you need to focus on planning. If you want to know how to make your team more productive, let’s discuss some of our practical strategies.
Strategies for maximizing productivity The things you can do to boost productivity in a dedicated model can be categorized roughly as follows:
- defining expectations
- streamlining communication
- choosing tools.
In other words - planning. State the objectives immediately, define deliverables, and provide an expectation of what the result should be. The team must understand what quality they’re striving for and how they can satisfy your particular needs. By setting and communicating your expectations, you set the team up to follow your leadership.
It’s also important to adjust your expectations to the team’s specifics. If you go for a pricey team of veteran developers, expecting higher quality than average is not unreasonable. But you may need to compromise if you opted for a more affordable but less skilled agency. Remember that your expectations should line up with your reality.
Streamlining Communication As the client, you should establish clear priorities for the team, as well as a reporting structure. These allow team members to focus on the tasks that matter while also letting you know how they’re progressing. This, in turn, will let you spot problems early on, as well as adjust the team’s processes to boost productivity.
Make sure to set up communication conveniently for both you and the team. This includes the tools you choose and the frequency. For example, while many companies use Slack for communication, others may have custom-made tools. Also, determining how often you really need to sync is essential and should ideally be decided by both sides.
Remember that communication works both ways, and you must also listen to the team’s input and feedback. If a challenge is brought up, it needs to be addressed with your involvement. Wondering how to improve dedicated developer productivity without making sure that you’re on the same page with the contractors is a management mistake.
This is less about manually setting priorities and more about methodology. If you’re trying to apply Agile to a project and it’s not working out, it could be that the team needs more hands-on management. Try to consider the differences between your regular work and the dedicated model, seeing if maybe you should prioritize different goals with your methodology.
As for task prioritization, there are different approaches to determining which task is more important, depending on the type of project. It may be tempting to label everything urgent, but focusing on core functionality is likely to be healthier in the long run. Using something like Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) can help, especially if you’re operating on a sensible budget.
Consider whether integrating the project’s framework into Jira or similar tracking services may be worth your time. These could help automate smaller progress reports, as you’d be notified about closed tasks. Similarly, a Notion knowledge base could speed up onboarding and get the dedicated team up to speed in regards to your standards.
It also helps to decide collectively which tool you prefer for direct communication, such as calls. While you may expect Zoom or Teams, the team could be more used to a different platform. Keeping track of your Slack channels and structuring them to streamline conversations is also a nice time-saving trick.
To sum up, these strategies hinge on establishing clear and streamlined communication with your team. You might like the model's affordability and quality, which are the primary benefits of using a dedicated project management structure, but they’re only achievable with good planning.
We’re basing this guide on DigitalSuits’ own dedicated development team services, so it only makes sense to show some of our examples. Throughout the years, we’ve worked with various businesses using the dedicated model, and we’ll highlight a few top picks.
One of the more extensive projects was for Claim Technology. This insurtech marketplace required us to create and unite multiple custom applications in an ecosystem. Smooth communication allowed us to set clear-cut goals for the project, covering all client needs, including, for instance, the creation of a no-code data management interface.
Another case that challenged us was creating a headless e-commerce site for Namza using Shopify and Instant Commerce platforms. Thanks to seamless communication, we discussed the design in depth and realized it required more than the platform’s standard design set offered. Our team worked around it by contacting the Instant Commerce representatives to create custom features that the client requested.
This was a teachable moment for us, as we faced a technical challenge and had to take an unconventional route to solve it. It also gave us an example of stellar client communication for future reference and highlighted our flexibility in problem-solving.
Measuring and improving productivity
It’s important to track both qualitative and quantitative metrics. So, while meeting deadlines is an essential factor, you also need to keep testing results in mind. A team that hammers out code but doesn’t refine it can’t be considered productive. Your KPIs should be based on the project type and include realistic targets—those tested in practice.
Improving productivity is a matter of changing processes and spotting gaps in performance. Track your team’s tasks with Jira or Trello and note which types are getting done quickly and which take extra time. Consider reassigning the workforce to the more challenging tasks, as solving them may free up team members for future tasks.
Above all, listen to your team’s concerns and feedback. Some members may feel underutilized, and some could offer alternative solutions to challenges. After all, why hire a dedicated software development team? It’s certainly not to just give them a task and wait for the deadline. If you’re paying for experts, make the most of them. Source their opinions and ideas to boost productivity.
Selecting the right partner
While we described all the tips and strategies that show how to improve dedicated team productivity, they won’t be too effective if the team isn’t willing to listen. In fact, the very first strategic choice you can make is picking the appropriate partner to work with. Let’s talk about what that means within the dedicated team framework.
First and foremost, you want a team with experience, as no ambition can replace years on the market. This time helps developers hone their skills as well as learn the best ways to collaborate with clients. DigitalSuits has been doing this for eight years, and we can confidently say that every day of work has brought meaningful changes to us.
Second, don’t chase the cheapest rates. While many vendors from India may offer incredibly competitive rates, it’s vital to look at reviews and history first. You want to check the company’s website for a list of their case studies to verify that their low rates don’t affect the quality.
Third, conduct extensive interviews focusing on how the team structures their work. It’s important to know what tools they use, which methodology they’re comfortable with, etc. These details will influence your collaboration, and you need to use them for further planning. DigitalSuits doesn’t start working without a full consultation because being informed is crucial.
As you can see, with the right approach and a well-picked partner, dedicated developers can be a huge help for your project. We’ve told you how to choose a dedicated development team and which strategies will maximize the quality of the output. All that’s left to do is pick an agency to partner with and see how you can apply our tips in practice.
With many teams to choose from, you might feel a little disoriented. We suggest you skip the search and get in touch with DigitalSuits. Our 8+ years of experience in the industry mean your dedicated project will be in expert hands. So, if you are ready to hire a dedicated development team, message us now.