Everything You Need to Know About the Dedicated Team Engagement Model in Software Development

The dedicated team engagement model combines substantial control over the project with great flexibility. Part 4 of 4. (Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)

In the previous instalments of this series, we presented the three most common engagement models, and we analyzed the fixed price engagement model and the time and materials engagement model. Today we are going to look at the dedicated team engagement model, which, along with time and materials, is a great model for the development of complex solutions in a rapidly evolving environment.

What is Unique about the Dedicated Team Model?

With this model, you hire a team of professionals that might include more than developers — designers, QA specialists, project managers, etc. You decide how many team members you need and what their qualifications and skill levels must be. The supplier takes care of issues relating to infrastructure, recruitment (including handling substitutions in case of vacations, sick leaves, resignations, etc.), and administrative support, but other than that, the team is, for all intents and purposes, yours.

What Does this Mean in Terms of Scope, Time, and Cost?

Scope

The scope and the workload are entirely up to you. As the team works as your own employees and you communicate with them on a constant basis, this is the most flexible model in terms of requirements.

Time

Again, this is a hugely flexible model and you and the vendor can agree on how you’re going to handle deadlines. Usually, you hire the team for a specified amount of time, with the option to talk about renewing the partnership after that time expires.

Cost

The dedicated team model is a very simple one to keep track of in terms of price. You pay monthly, and the sum is based on the monthly salaries of the involved team members, plus the set provider’s fee, which covers administrative and infrastructure expenses and overhead.

How Does a Dedicated Team Project Pan Out?

As you will see, the process involved in handling a dedicated team project stays true to the theme of the previous section — simplicity and flexibility.

1. Discover

You clarify the high-level requirements and main development directions for the project. You determine the number and type of employees you need, and then you and the supplier of your choice work out the terms of the contract that’s going to determine your partnership.

2. Development

You work with the team as if they were your own employees while following the terms of the agreement. The exact specifics will differ according to your project. (Note that you or your representative remain very involved with the project, working directly with the team throughout.)

3. Monthly payments

Payment is made on monthly basis (again, it consists of each team member’s monthly salary plus the supplier’s fee).

4. Option for scalability

If scalability becomes a necessity, you have the option to discuss expanding or shrinking the team to suit your project’s needs.

As you can see, there’s very little that’s common for all dedicated team projects. You have an enormous margin to adapt and negotiate with the provider the exact terms that would be most beneficial to your particular undertaking.

When is a Dedicated Team Model Right on Target?

Big, complex, long-term strategic projects.

By definition, you need flexibility for projects like these. As we already covered in the article about the time and materials engagement model, our market is ever-changing and lack of flexibility can be the death of an otherwise good idea if the circumstances change. This is even more so the case with strategic projects that will form a cornerstone for your business. The control and adaptability that the dedicated team model provides are perfect for making sure that the final product suits your needs on the completion date, and not on the day of initiation.

Projects that you understand well.

You need to understand the complexity of the project and any possible issues in order to be able to actively and productively take part in its realization — which you or a member of your in-house team needs to do on a daily basis. If you have the necessary resources to devote that time to the project, and if you are comfortable retaining responsibility for the success of the project, then the dedicated team model poses no risk for you.

Projects with a constant and substantial workflow.

While a great model for long-term collaboration, the dedicated team model is wasted on projects with a wildly fluctuating workload. You are paying for the team to work for you on a monthly basis, and if you have weeks that are as silent as the desert in a cowboy film, you are paying for time that is not spent working on your project.

Businesses that have expansion in their plans or in the foreseeable future.

If you plan to take your business to the next step any time soon, the dedicated team model is the most viable option. Not only will you have access to trans-border knowledge, expertise, and skill through the process of growing your business, but if you decide to hire an in-house team to work along with the dedicated one (or vice versa), you have people already familiar with the specifics of your case — people who can help bring the newcomers up to speed and collaborate in order to achieve greater efficiency, productivity, and success.

Pros of the Dedicated Team Model

  • High level of flexibility. Scope and priorities can be adjusted at any stage, giving you full adaptability. You can also decide what project management method you prefer to use and how many team members you need at any point (which directly influences the cost as well, thus giving you budget flexibility as well), without having to worry about recruitment, infrastructure limitations, or administrative support.
  • Accountability and transparency. You can check the progress of the project in real time as often as necessary, according to the terms of your agreement with the vendor. You communicate directly with the team, dramatically lowering the chances of a misunderstanding arising and increasing the transparency and collaborative nature of the process. Collaboration also allows for accurate evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the working process, adapting the latter as needed or prudent, and effective and sensible planning.
  • Predictable budgeting with a flexible scope. This is a “best of both worlds” combination of the two models we looked at previously. You still get the ability to budget ahead, since you know exactly what you’ll need to pay if the team stays the same, but you don’t box yourself into a rigid and unchangeable scope of requirements.
  • Deep knowledge and commitment. Total immersion in the project allows the team to get intimately familiar with your company’s business needs, culture, values, corporate policies, practices, preferred methodologies, management style, and other particularities of your enterprise. That has two very important implications. First, the team is highly focused and thus more efficient and productive. Second, they have the chance to align themselves with your business and understand in depth the needs they are working to meet, allowing them to find the best solutions tailored to your project and suggest ideas that could give you even more of a competitive edge.

Cons of the Dedicated Team Model

  • Necessary resources on your side. With the dedicated team model, you retain the biggest amount of responsibility for the success of the project. You need to invest time in communicating with the team and controlling processes and scale. Furthermore, you need to understand the intricacies of your project very well in order to manage it effectively.
  • Inefficiency in short-term projects or project with a fluctuating and unpredictable workload. The dedicated team is a great model for long-term collaboration, but it’s less sensible for short and simple web projects, which could benefit more from a fixed price engagement model.
  • Time zones and culture gaps. Organising regular meetings could prove difficult if you are normally sleeping during the team’s working hours. Of course, arrangements can always be made, but this is something that needs to be kept in mind. Furthermore, it’s better to work with a team that’s already familiar with the values and culture of your company (or similar), but in case you have your eye on experts with wildly different habits, you need to devote some time for bringing them into your way of working, while remaining flexible and allowing them to adapt and adjust to suit their style.
  • High cost. Because you are practically renting the team, the lump sum might be substantial. Usually, the price per unit of work will still be lower than the same metric in a fixed price project, but this is something that needs consideration.

Summing up

The dedicated team model is perfectly suited for outsourcing big and complex projects because it provides an optimal balance between flexibility and predictability. It gives you the most control over the resources and the process, but that also means that you need to dedicate more time to its management and coordination. The main thing to keep in mind is that you should view and treat the supplier as a partner rather than as a contractor. Focus on effective communication and collaboration and you will give your project the best possible chances of success.

If the dedicated model doesn’t seem like the right fit for your project, refresh your knowledge of the fixed price engagement model and the time and materials engagement model.


About INDUSTRIA

INDUSTRIA is an award-winning global consultancy and development firm that creates web, blockchain and fintech solutions, helping both companies and ecosystems significantly reduce the costs and complexity of doing business. Official partner of R3.

INDUSTRIA is experienced with the dedicated team engagement model and can deliver quality fintech, blockchain technology and web development solutions based on it. To talk to us about realizing your idea, contact us here or follow the links below.

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