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Extended Team Model: A New Alternative To Outsourcing?

  • A fully staffed in-house bench is great but too expensive…

  • An outsourced team is cheap but not reliable enough…

  • A local talent pool suits your needs, but it’s not so easy to catch a golden fish…

Do these dilemmas sound familiar to you?

You’re not alone! A great many of startup CEOs and CTOs have been scratching their heads over this recruiting issue. Let’s see how we can deal with it!


What Is An Extended Team Model (ETM)?

Gone are those days when software development tasks were entrusted exclusively to in-house or offshore teams. Why?


Because, fortunately, today’s businesses move towards establishing effective connections within the team in the long-term perspective, which results in delivering greater products and meeting the needs of all the parties involved. Taking special care of the product and the people who work on it conditions searching for newer and more effective solutions. An Extended Team Model (ETM) is among the latter.


An Extended Team is a team, the core part of which is located in-house and which is extended by a virtual team of developers. Both parties are working in close cooperation with each other. In this way, the main team is augmented with the lacking skills or experience, and an overall cohesion provides a highly effective collaboration.


What Are The Specific Features That Differentiate The Extended Team [ ET ] Model From Other Team Models?

  1. An extended team is aimed at complementing an in-house team, but not substituting it. It is supposed to fill in the skill gaps of the main team and augment its overall potential. An ET is to a certain extent a part of the company, sharing the visions and being customized to the needs of the latter.

  2. The responsibilities and tasks are evenly spread between all team members, both in-house and offshore. The company has a full control over the process, because the personnel on the vendor’s side is fully incorporated into a client’s team, and the collaboration implies all levels of recruiting, training etc.

  3. Unlike virtual teams, extended ones are not disbanded after the project is completed. They are aimed at long-term collaboration practices, that’s why the motivated team players don’t feel the need to disperse their attention to any side projects.

  4. The company’s project management team can breathe more freely because they are released from a great part of the management load and can focus on things that really need their attention. At the same time, they are still able to control the key points and decisions.

  5. ET model can help companies with significant cost savings. First, you choose from the international talent pool in all its versatility of skills and rates. Second, you won’t have to spend much time and efforts on endless recruiting and training in the future since your labor relations are not supposed to base on an “easy come, easy go” approach.

  6. The process of hiring developers locally can stretch for months, and the success is not guaranteed since the holy place is never empty and the big fishes in the competition may have already taken almost all the brightest talents. Conversely, with an ETM, you can assemble a team much faster — it may happen that in a couple of weeks you will be ready to move on.

  7. The members of extended teams have a great possibility to establish friendly connections with each other. As we know, emotionally colored activities are those in which people can unlock their potential to the most extent. Folks start to share what is important for them, and a shared vision on core mission is a key to success.

  8. Whilst in classic outsourcing models of software development an offshore team relies on the home office as little as possible, an extended team actively interacts with an original startup team. They maintain a continuous and direct communication throughout the whole development cycle. In this process, not a small part is played by relevant communication and project management tools.

  9. What does “the further” mean in the previous statement? It’s about the extended maintenance and support you can rely upon after the project is finished and launched. This is another goodies you can receive from the cooperation with an extended development team.


When to Use the Extended Team Model?

Still thinking whether to choose an Extended Team model? Consider it a safe pick in cases when you want to have a massive control over the all-level processes, when you seek to integrate the team with the company’s internal processes, and when you lack some important skills in-house.


Alternatively, if your focus is implementing best practices and going beyond core competencies, if you are ok with delegating a great weight of responsibilities outside, or (this also happens) you don’t have any IT department or staff at all, sticking to traditional outsourcing would probably meet your requirements.


What to pay attention to when crewing up an extended team?

Well, the potential gotchas are similar to the ones you may face with the traditional outsourcing. We’ve already touched upon this topic and gave some tips for the most common possible issues. You may check it out here.


Overall, Extended Team model is often truly comfortable for all the parties of the process: the company enjoys holding the keys, the team members get used to each other and establish emotional connections with each other, which can’t bring anything but the benefits to the client, eventually. The whole process is marked by transparency, flexibility, mutual trust and valued contribution.




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