Working with extended teams is a popular outsourcing alternative. When you’re running a company that promotes a digital product, you probably employ a team of software developers responsible for maintenance or making regular product updates.
Growing over time, you have decided to invest in an in-house team of specialists that know the product thoroughly and are committed to making it even better.
But every once in a while, you may need a bigger team, say, to develop a new feature. For this, your in-house team wouldn’t be enough, but hiring a software developer specifically for this job is just as unviable in the long run.
When you need to quickly add more people power to your core team for such a one-time job, it’s better to go with an extended team. It is a convenient and accessible outsourcing alternative.
In this article, I will briefly get you through this concept. You can also check our latest ebook to learn how to work with IT companies.
Managing an extended team in 3 easy steps
Planning is the cornerstone of every project. When starting a project with an extended team, it is crucial to think of every possibility first, make a detailed roadmap of the project, mark the milestones, etc.
Why it matters is because depending on your plan — you will be able to hire and schedule software developers acting as support for your project. Answering the right questions will also help you remove potential roadblocks, which could even stop your project.
Reviewing this plan should be included in your project management process for the entire project. This way, you can recognise mistakes or alter the project in response to actual development, maintaining the right flow of the scheme.
Project kick-off is a meeting at the beginning of a new project, where all team members get to know what it is all about, what the goal is, and how to achieve it. During this meeting, the team can come to a shared understanding of what they need to accomplish.
It is this meeting, too, where team members can get to know each other in terms of roles and responsibilities. Working with an extended team will especially require this, as this is the first-time when different people work together. Hence, make sure everyone knows who to contact for different things.
Communication and feedback
Working with teammates based in a different location, like with remote employees or extended teams, you have to make sure you maintain constant contact and feedback.
Make it easy for everyone to get in touch via a group chat, preferably, as emails are not the best way to have longer, group conversations.
Remember that written feedback can be sometimes misunderstood, as it may not always convey emotions the way we intended. If you want to make sure your message gets across, get on a Skype call, for example.
Pitfalls and Opportunities
You should avoid certain pitfalls when managing an extended team, like miscommunication and project management issues.
For miscommunication, besides what I have already mentioned about keeping communication open and friendly, avoid deadly silence. The lack of contact may kill motivation and productivity in both your team and the extended one.
Project management issues may be a result of changes to the scope that haven’t been appropriately addressed, technological issues, or product integrity issues. Make sure that there is a project manager assigned to the project that is experienced in managing remote or extended teams, who will check if the work aligns well on both ends.
Although working with an extended team has its drawbacks, these can be avoided by following project management best practices. When you do this, you can benefit from easy access to specialists that can support your project flexibly when you need them.
Hiring an extended team is a great way to reduce burn rate and better allocate the resources you have, like time, money, and of course, your own, in-house team.
Modern workplaces offer remote work possibilities to their teams more and more frequently.
Some companies even decide to go fully remote.
To maintain productivity and ensure the quality of the products or service these companies offer, they start to implement project management practices commonly used in working with outsourced teams.
In this world of teams working together from different locations and time-zones, investing in an extended team is no different. If you offer remote work possibilities to employees yourself, chances are you have already the right processes set for this kind of collaboration.
Either way, managing extended teams is easier than you think and can be an effective way to deliver your new project.