How to hire a dedicated software development team?

11 min read
July 12, 2022

According to recent data, there’s a 40 million global shortage of skilled developers.

Unfortunately, it’s a serious problem that won’t go away soon. In fact, by 2030, the shortage is predicted to reach 85.2 million.

That means you’ll have a harder time putting together an in-house team.

To get around this issue, you can embrace the dedicated team model instead.

The idea is that you partner with a tech vendor or agency to form a remote team that works for you. Hence, you skip the tedious hiring phase.

Here’s how the process works:

Start with a clear product vision

Before you even start looking for developers and app agencies, the first thing you should do is to define your project clearly.

Every project manager knows this is essential for any aspect of software development because it gives the entire team a single direction and a blueprint to follow.

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However, it’s arguably more important for a dedicated team. The reason is that they’re an external entity with zero knowledge of your processes and company culture.

Nor do they have the luxury of onboarding to your team as a new hire.

Thus, they need as much input from you as possible to get the project off the ground.

Setting a clear vision for your app is also crucial for estimating its total cost.

The truth is that many factors contribute to how much money and other resources it will ultimately take to build an app.

Laying the expenses out early allows you to define a rough budget to find the right dedicated team that fits it.

how much does it cost to make an app components that determine app development cost

Source: Do It Software

So, what do you need to determine at this step?

First, decide on the requirements of your app. What features do you need? And how much time and resources are required to implement them?

A good tool to use here is the software requirement model. It helps you determine the needs of the project in three key areas:

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Business requirements are the why of the app project. What is it trying to achieve, and why is it important?

This is where you relate the app’s goals to your business objectives, such as increasing revenue or creating brand awareness.

The next is user requirements. This is the who of the app—its users. Here, you determine the user’s problem that the app is trying to solve and how they interact with it.

For Uber, the user requirement might be to allow people to book a ride anywhere they use their mobile phones.

Last is the software requirement, or the what of the app. Here, you should list the app’s specific features and functions or its functional requirements.

It’s also important to include non-functional requirements that define how a system operates, such as its expected performance and portability.

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A good example of a non-functional requirement is an app must open in less than 1 second or it must run in real-time even with hundreds of concurrent users.

Once you know the project’s requirements, you can define its scope. These are the deliverables of the project that must be completed in a specific timeframe.

The scope can also tell you the necessary resources, including the development team.

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By listing everything this way, you’ll know exactly what kind of employees you need and the tasks you intend to give them. That makes the next step—market research—much easier.

Research the market

After you know your requirements, the next step is to scour the vendor market and look for a potential fit.

Note, however, that you’re not hiring your team yet. You’re merely looking for a partner firm to help you assemble one.

Admittedly, there are plenty of options here. This makes the clarity you gained from the previous step (defining your product vision) all the more important.

Here are the things you should consider when shortlisting potential candidates.

First, consider the location of your development team. There are three choices here: onshore, offshore, and nearshore.

Here is what each of them entails:

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Now, note that these are just benchmarks and not absolute truths.

For instance, an American company hiring a U.S. agency won’t necessarily produce great work, while a cheap developer from a developing country can lead to exceptional output.

That’s why, once you’ve screened their location, it’s best to look at their project history and portfolio to gauge their quality further.

For example, if they worked on a similar app as yours, it’s a good sign that they have the experience and skills you need.

Case studies are especially effective. They give you insights into an agency’s successful projects and the methodologies and work philosophies they used to achieve them.

This lets you see if the agency will be a natural fit with your team.

Group 6060

Source: DECODE

Be especially mindful of an agency’s security measures. Cybersecurity is always important in app development, regardless of the niche.

A reputable app agency will always showcase its security certifications and methods, so be on the lookout for those.

security certifications and methods

Source: DECODE

Testimonials are, without a doubt, a powerful factor.

If the agency is getting many rave reviews from happy clients, then there’s a good chance that your experience with them will also be positive.

Reviews can also give you insights into a vendor’s work ethic.

William Skannerup quote

Source: DECODE

If possible, check reviews on third-party sites such as Goofirms and Clutch. You can also check employee reviews on Glassdoor to gauge an agency’s professionalism and work culture.

Lastly, check on an agency’s pricing model. Budget is always a crucial consideration, so best to get it on the table as early as possible.

You can pick from either a fixed price or time and materials setup, depending on your needs:

time and material vs fixed price

Source: DECODE

If you’re not sure if a vendor can fulfill your app requirements or not, it’s best to set up an initial consultation.

This allows them to determine if your scope is doable at your desired quality, budget, and timeframe.

Many agencies, like DECODE, do this at no extra cost.

Select your team

Once you’ve picked your vendor and signed a contract, the real work of putting together a dedicated team begins.

Remember, at this point, you don’t have a team yet. The vendor company will merely help you create one.

They’ll do this by either assisting you with hiring or sourcing developers from their internal talent pool.

Deciding on the roles you need in the team is crucial. These commonly include the following:

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Note that the exact composition of a development team will vary from project to project.

For instance, you might already have an app prototype created by your in-house UX designer. At this point, your team might only need developers and QA engineers.

If you want a cross-platform app, then you need both iOS and Android developers.

Additionally, some projects might need further specialized roles in their team. This can include animators, UX copywriters, graphic designers, and cybersecurity experts.

Some niches like fintech would also need subject matter experts to assist with compliance.

Whatever roles you need, it’s a good idea to get involved in the hiring process. Review their CVs for their skills and expertise.

It would be best if you also interviewed them to verify their experience.

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Hiring for roles is, arguably, the most critical step in forming your dedicated development team. Hence, it’s vital to be as involved as you can.

Don’t simply rely on your partner vendor to do it for you. After all, no one knows your project and company more than you.

Define work procedures

With your team in place, it’s time to define how they will work moving forward. And in app development, the most critical consideration is the methodology.

The development methodology refers to how the team tackles the project. The goal is to create an app in the fastest and most efficient way possible.

software development methodologies

Source: TatvaSoft

By now, you should’ve already determined the methodology that your vendor prefers or espouses. That means they should have no problem adapting to yours.

However, Agile development is the most common (and arguably most effective) methodology for most app projects.

Agile methodology 1

Source: DECODE

The Agile methodology divides a project into individual sprints, which go through mini-rounds of reviewing, testing, and planning.

At the end of each sprint, the app is delivered to the client for testing. Any changes and fixes will be incorporated in the next sprint.

This approach is powerful because it keeps everything moving rapidly while tracking bugs, features, and fixes.

Nevertheless, while Agile is the preferred methodology, others like waterfall and prototyping also have their place.

The crucial part is that you communicate this with the vendor beforehand to determine if they support your chosen methodology.

Setup the infrastructure

At this point, the dedicated team should already have everything they need to execute your app project.

However, remember that a dedicated team works for you during the project duration. Thus, it would be best if you managed them directly.

That means you should have a way of communicating with them effectively, especially if they’re remote.

It might be worthwhile to assign someone from your company as the coordinator or liaison for the dedicated team. Having a single point person can make communication much more efficient.

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A critical consideration here is how you want to be updated on the project’s progress. First of all, how often do you like to receive it?

This will often depend on your chosen development methodology.

For instance, our team at DECODE often does daily check-ins with clients to keep them in the loop. And based on our sprint methodology, we present app progress every two to four weeks.

As for the tools that you’ll use, they should cover three major areas: communication, issue tracking, and version control. Examples include the following:

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Any of the above tools are fantastic, and you’ll undoubtedly develop preferences. But what’s more important is that everyone agrees on which tools to use.

Some platforms, like Jira, might have a learning curve for developers who haven’t used them, so make sure to account for this when hiring your team.

But the best vendors and development team can adapt to your existing tools.

That makes it faster for everyone because it’s easier for the remote team to transition to your systems than to do the reverse.

Teamwork, in this case, is all about coordination and flexibility.

Agree on quality assurance

Quality assurance is the final step to consider before you launch your dedicated team. Specifically, who will be responsible for it, and what testing methods will they use?

Clearly defining the key app testing methods is crucial to ensuring a quality, bug-free output from your dedicated team.

At the minimum, it should include both functional and non-functional tests. This allows you to spot as many errors as possible.

software testing types

Source: DECODE

Performance tests are also vital to ensure that your app performs properly in various conditions.

For example, load testing can determine the failure point of your app so that you can measure its reliability. Or you can test your app on various devices to check for compatibility issues.

But usability testing is the fundamental method that every dedicated team should use. It can detect UX issues, which can be detrimental to your app’s retention and engagement.

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Source: Nielsen Norman Group

To ensure that your dedicated team does proper testing, assigning a quality assurance (QA) role to a specific member is best.

This person can be instrumental in ensuring the quality of your app at every development stage.

Ready to hire your dedicated team?

As you can see, hiring a dedicated software development team is straightforward. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy and risk-free.

The truth is that forming a flexible, qualified, and cost-effective team is challenging. You can make many mistakes along the way that will inevitably affect your app’s quality.

The best approach is to partner with an agency like DECODE, with plenty of experience and expertise in creating award-winning teams.

Want to know how we can help? Get in touch with us today!

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Written by

Marko Strizic

Co-founder and CEO

Marko started DECODE with co-founders Peter and Mario, and a decade later, leads the company as CEO. His role is now almost entirely centred around business strategy, though his extensive background in software engineering makes sure he sees the future of the company from every angle. A graduate of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, he’s fascinated by the architecture of mobile apps and reactive programming, and a strong believer in life-long learning. Always ready for action. Or an impromptu skiing trip.

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