Jul 30, 2020

Business Insights

Right Team Right Job

Written by Nathan Johnston, Chief Technology Officer

When you have a technology need that your internal staff does not have the time or experience to execute, your company may want to consider hiring a professional services firm to assist with the task. It may seem like a simple task to “get a few developers” and get to work, but a successful technology project requires more than just warm bodies and technical ability.

There are several key questions you should ask to ensure that your project has the appropriate level of management, oversight, and resiliency to be successful.

How prepared are you to explain your vision in detail to a development team?

Any complex software project requires a committed product owner who can clearly articulate and document the detailed user stories needed for developers to do their work. This is not the kind of task that you can give passing attention to. It requires a dedicated individual who can provide the needed detail and answer questions as they arise during the development process. Does your vendor offer project leaders who can support you in this effort and ensure that the development team develops the right solution(s)?

Do you have the expertise to manage a group of developers?

If you do not have a mature development process in house, you will need to rely on your development partner to provide the process and structure – ensuring the required value is delivered by the project. Look for a partner that has an established process and dedicated staff that can take that burden off your internal teams.

Are you hiring a team or a collection of individuals that you have to manage?

If you are reviewing resumes and doing interviews, you may be taking on more than you bargained for when performance and training issues arise. Organizations that provide staffing only require you to provide the training and performance management functions that support the team. Look for a partner who will stand behind the quality of the people they assign to the project. Ideally, you should only be concerned with the output of the team, not the performance of individual members.

Does the firm you select commit to the deliverables during a sprint?

You must select a development partner that will stand behind the work that they do and commit to what will be delivered, regularly. When a performance problem or other issue arises with the team, does the software partner step up and meet the commitment, or do they charge you more to fix their mistakes?

Who will create the technical vision of execution for the project?

Select a partner that has the technical expertise and staff to create a technical architecture and detailed design that will meet your needs now and into the future. Don’t rely only on developers with a few years of experience to make the right technology choices for a project that is critical to your business.

What happens when the development is done?

When the project is complete, and the code is delivered, you will then be responsible for deploying, supporting, and maintaining the application into the future. Make sure you have all the code and documentation you need from the vendor if you plan to do this maintenance in house, or ensure that you have an ongoing relationship with them to maintain the application throughout its lifecycle.

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