Why in ITQuick do we avoid the term outstaffing and prefere to call our services «strengthening the development team?” Perhaps, the problem is the word outstaffing itself. It has some negative connotation, the additional meaning that it carries. Working on the mass market used to be called outstaffing, providing line staff: 150 loaders, 200 drivers, 100 cleaners. Many still perceived it the same way now. Unskilled, mass labor force.
However, regarding IT development, it requires a very high level of professionalism and expertise. We have more than 70 people working in ITQuick at the moment, more than 95% of them are of Senior level, the remaining 5% are Middle+ (We’ll talk about Junior in outstaffing a little bit later). And yet, even the professional level of developers is not sufficient to guarantee a high-quality cooperation with the customer. Another important role is played by those team members who coordinate and manage projects. We talk about project managers. It is the combination of advanced developers on one hand, and experienced managers on the other, that gives the necessary result. They reinforce each other and are an integral part of the process.
Management of outstaffing specialists
The situation in our country is that 90% of developers working as outstaff do not understand where they work at all. So, they have different questions but do not understand whom to address them. Often, it’s not even a technical question, but a soft-skills issue: inability to build a communication.
The contracting company signs a contract, provides the required specialists and considers the job as done. They think that the outstaffing model suggests that team leader and manager from the customers’s side will control the developer. What else could be expected from the company that provided this specialist?
But questions do arise. And here we have to refer to psychology: the vast majority of developers are introverts. To ask something, to clarify the task is not in their nature. If the misunderstanding occurs, it will result in dismissal and image losses not only for the IT specialist, but also for the company that provided him as an outstaffing.
A true-life story from our developers, the situation they faced before joining ITQuick. Customer managers did not set the task for 3 months and when they came were horrified: «Why do you work so badly? ».
«Therefore,»- Alexander Seldemirov never tires of repeating － » the key figures in the outstaffing model are not developers! But those who manage the projects, coordinate them.»
Marina Balkova, project manager, says that she monitors the situation on a daily basis. Collects feedback from both the customer and the developers themselves. Helps the team leader and the manager of the customer company to find a common language with the provided specialists, monitors and prevents the occurrence of difficulties, coordinates interaction with other team members.
If any developer has any questions while working on the project, he can always contact her so that she can gather specialists working on the same technology stack for consultation, while currently they are working on other projects. Thus, there is always a possibility to get consultation of specialists.
Sometimes our developers come up with ideas how to optimizing the task, sometimes they see a non-typical solution to the task. And again, it’s much more effective to convey these proposals to the customer through the manager.
In all these cases, the manager acts as a coordinator and mediator, a conductor ensuring the most successful communication and solving all possible difficulties.
Now let’s talk about expertise and qualifications.
We have already mentioned that the outstaffing model allows the customer to hire an advanced developer to perform even a short-term project. Let me explain why developers working in outstaffing have a deeper expertise and richer experience than those who are constantly employed in one workplace in a company.
One of the major values of ITQtquick is that developers move between teams and projects. A project can last, for example, six months, and when its period comes to an end, as a rule, IT developers immediately move on to another project. Everyone knows about the personnel shortage in the IT sector, so we try not to lose the specialists we found, especially those with advanced qualifications. Before the end of the project, we invite the developer to work in other projects on the same technology stack. If the developer is interested in this project, he moves from one to the other. There’s no such thing as downtime.
Seniors are well-established experts who knows on which stack they work and advance. And they are constantly learning. While Junior may theoretically assume that he knows everything (usually this is the end of his development), Senior always believes that he lacks some knowledge. Outstaffing is good because it provides you wtih constant change of projects, it does not let you get bored. On one hand, it requires the highest qualification, and on the other, it creates an environment where the developer can advance his qualification.
Now let’s take a closer look at what happens to developers when they get into any kind of established organization? They do the same thing year after year. There is no development there: they produce nothing new and do not look around. They work within a very narrow specialization frame. If a specialist starts working in a large company right after the graduation from the university and he is stuck with the only one technology, there is no development. In the best case, he can grow to be the Middle. He may never even become a Senior. Therefore, the fact that a person has been working in the same company for 15 years is obviously a minus. And it is very dangerous to hire such person. Well, you can, but you have to be very carefully.
Why is it so expensive?
The work of a developer or a tester as an outstaff per hour will cost the customer company more than a work of a full-time specialist. But it only seems more expensive. If you add up the costs that company t for a full-time employee, from paying HR and organizing the workplace to taxes, vacation, sick leave; plus, taking into consideration the qualification of a specialist and his ability to quickly get involved in the work, then outstaffing is more cost effective!
And now a few words about outstaffing geography:
Developers from India enjoy special love and recognition in America and even in Europe. Why? Well, that is too obviouse — the price. But keep in mind that the qualifications of these developers allow them to perform only the simplest tasks. They are either not suitable at all for slightly more complex tasks or you will have to break the task into the smaller parts, and oversee the implementation of each step.
According to our foreign partners and colleagues, they prefer Eastern Europe in this case. But here we have three kinds of problems: too far, unclear, sanctions.
Too far — can be solved (due to time difference the working time is inconvenient but tolerable).
The language is a much harder problem to solve. Regarding the sanctions, only large companies are scared of them. Small and average businesses basicaly do not care. In any case payments to Russia are under close scrutiny. Nevertheless, more than half of the projects that ITQuick works with are from there. Our customers are experts in serious developments, can compare and predict the result. Yes, you may say that our person-hour is not cheap. But you will not have to change horses in the midstream, pay twice and stretch the time.
We hope this article will be useful for those who need to quickly expand an IT team!