Hybrid Teams

I saw a lot of demand for additional developers a while ago and in an attempt to help, I wrote a potential way to expand the company's talent pool. It didn't fit the company's business approach, but I thought more people might like to see my thoughts. Feel free to critique it politely.

There is very strong demand with .NET technologies in the Columbus area. It seems that many consulting companies face very tough competition when hiring skilled developers. I have a few ideas on how to supplement that process. I expect it to be less cost effective than our normal approach, but that may be acceptable with current levels of demand.

There are a couple assumptions I make:

  • There are clients in Columbus who need a project team to create a product. This includes PM, QA and developers.
  • Clients want to frequently interact with a few team members. Usually just 1 person from each area of responsibility.
  • Once a project is planned in enough detail to start a team, a few people will be working on-site. This will likely consist of a PM, QA member, lead developer and possibly a BA. It is very important that these members excel in communication.

The defining factor of this is a hybrid team model. In addition to those working on-site, there will be team members (Dev and possibly QA) working remotely. Client interaction will happen with the on-site team members. The remote consultants will need to clarify requirements and get tasks from the on-site team. This demands strong communication. The on-site team members are responsible for delivering a quality product on time. Limiting the number of on-site employees doesn’t give this approach an advantage. The advantage comes from an increased pool of available consultants. There are 2 approaches to hiring the remote team members that I think should be considered.

It may be possible to get local developers to work additional hours. I am not limiting this to our employees. I have heard from several developers in the area who work reasonably consistent 40-45 hour work weeks. They would like to work an additional 10-15 hours per week in the evenings and weekends. This approach could facilitate that. All of their interaction would be through digital means such as email, IM and Skype calls. In person interaction is important and one of the reasons that clients don’t just hire remote teams. Because we would have people on site, the client should be comfortable with some team members assisting from out of state. These could be full or part time consultants. Working from home is often an appealing factor for developers. Nationwide, we could find quite a few skilled developers who desire that. This should give the largest consultant pool increase. Once again, communication goes through the on-site team. I hope this idea has some merit.