A talk about collaboration with our VP of Engineering
For most people within the computer software, internet, and IT services industries, finding a company that offers to “bypass your hiring process” with an outsourced developer or team is a matter of checking our inbox or SPAM folder.
“Save yourself the HR hassle…” “I heard you’re hiring – wanna hire us instead?”
And even worse:
“Blah blah COVID-19, blah blah tough times, blah blah remote work, outsource your work to us.”
Similarly, anyone working in the Sales field within technology services is accustomed to the same sort of answer: “We already have an in-house team.”
Sure, we’re all familiar with the differences between having a team under one roof and working with a development partner. Without playing tug-of-war on “which is better” we can safely say that, on a grand scale, each has its ups and downs. But why, after decades, do we continue to treat them as black and white?
Can’t we successfully mix the two models and reap the advantages that each offers without resorting to unnecessary bureaucracy, playing telephone, and finger-pointing?
A quick Google search will reveal that working with a mixture of in-house and external resources is nothing new. Microsoft has been outsourcing its technical support for decades. Messaging giant WhatsApp is said to have outsourced its software development to Russia since its beginnings. Companies like Google, GitHub, Alibaba, and Slack, all known for their strong trend-setting internal engineering culture and suite of products, are also on the list of high profile companies engaging in some sort of outsourcing.
“There’s a common mentality among entrepreneurs and technologists that building a close-knit in-house team and working with a scalable external team are mutually exclusive, but if both parties share maturity and methodology that couldn’t be further from the truth”, says Raul Escobar, Teravision’s VP of Engineering. “If integrated correctly, internal and outsourced teams can complement each other very nicely, filling gaps created by their counterparts while highlighting the advantages of each model.”
Looking at things in black and white, it doesn’t take mental gymnastics to envision conflicts associated with such a mix. At first glance and taking into consideration the difference in both the business and personal objectives of the different parties, one can quickly picture a tedious cycle of bureaucracy, finger-pointing, and playing telephone between them.
Through Raul’s experience managing nearshore projects over a wide range of industries and technologies, he has learned a thing or two about how to get the best out of each party and avoid blockers.
“Our work with Live Nation was a great example as far as how team integration and collaboration should work. There was a clear expectation of what the final functionality of the tool was to be and how it was supposed to integrate with third-party services.” He added.
“In addition, we had a clear idea about the estimated work-load that the final application needed to handle. This could only be done after a series of conversations, technical meetings, and frequent get-togethers to see where we were at and make sure we were still aiming for a common desired goal, keeping business objectives in mind. In other words, the ability to integrate with the client, understand the business, and develop a comprehensive vision of the backend and interfaces from an early stage was definitely one of the key factors in accomplishing success and final satisfaction.”
Anybody who’s been involved in a software build can recognize that there’s nothing quite like a well built in-house team. A person or group of individuals that have chosen to advance their career with you provides a valuable contribution to your company culture and the wholesomeness of your product. Being able to express your thoughts to them using hand gestures and facial expressions, shake their hands, look over their shoulder and take them out to a working lunch or coffee adds authenticity, trust, and comfort to your product development practices. Going through ups and downs under the same roof and sharing space are inevitable and memorable parts of the journey.
If integrated correctly, a nearshore team should only complement and optimize this in-house team.
Diversity of skill sets, practices, protocols, and methodology may help team members gain perspective and learn from one another. A nearshore partner can tackle side projects, support tickets, bugs, and tricky integrations so your internal team can keep their eyes on the road ahead and preserve your long-term core product vision. Most importantly, having an external team will provide you with the scalability you need in an ever-changing environment of resources, technologies, and business needs. In Teravision’s case, the Bench Concept allows us to ramp up teams for our clients within days or even overnight.
Chatting with Raul or any other member of Teravision’s leadership about the dozens of nearshore projects we’ve completed with mixed resources, one can summarize that the key to integrating teams lies in methodology, communication, and maturity.
– Agile: Simply put, the implementation of methodologies allows for outcomes to rely on systems rather than on people. In Teravision’s case, Agile is the methodology that can be partially accredited for successful team integration. Building small and iterating often, a team properly practicing Agile will avoid the same inconveniences that one would imagine in a mixed internal and external team.
– Communication: John Powell once said “Communication works for those who work at it.” As one of Teravision’s pillars of success and as Raul detailed above, communication allows us to create and manage expectations, solve problems at their root, and mimic the benefits of working under one roof. Time zone is often a significant factor in this.
– Talent: In areas left untouched by methodology and structure, individual competency, maturity, and understanding make the difference. High standards, strong engineering culture, and aggressive career development programs help Teravision be a nearshore partner that you can trust with your internal software team and with your product.