Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

When it comes to great software projects, the number of developers involved is incredibly important. Too few developers will lead to an insufficient amount of work being accomplished in a given timeframe, leading to delays or a rushed-feeling product at the end, whereas too many developers can lead to an over-complication of the project and end up costing a lot more than necessary. Therefore, it’s critical to carefully consider how much talent is needed for any project, but finding the ideal number of developers may be challenging for a small IT department that might not have access to all the resources necessary to make it happen.

How many software developers do I need to get my project off the ground?

After all, IT departments that traditionally don’t do software can face a multitude of challenges when attempting to get an ambitious software project off the ground, and a major one is limited resources and personnel. Having not enough people on the team, for example, could result in a long project with a hit in quality due to the limited oversight that this development process can have, and the department size may limit their knowledge base and expertise, presenting a lot of difficulties when finding solutions to the issues that will arise along the way. And let’s not forget that finding adequate funding can be challenging if budgets are strict. Ultimately, a small IT department needs to be smart when dealing with these sorts of circumstances if they wish to be successful with their goals, and having an exact idea of how much talent will be needed to bring it to fruition is key.

Now, we understand that, for a small IT department, estimating the number of outside developers needed to start a project can be a tricky task, so the best first step is for the existing team to evaluate their own skills and capabilities before bringing in any external resources. Finding the right balance between what they can do themselves, and what they need experts to help with. The trick is to anticipate the technical challenges of a project early on, rather than waiting until there’s an issue that can’t be easily solved in-house. Also, it’s a good idea to have someone in the department with experience overseeing development from external parties, which will streamline both communication and collaboration when managing an external development team. The best way to approach Management to get the necessary support is by evaluating the size and complexity of the project, ensuring you understand its scope to come up with a good plan. That way you will have enough resources on board once you bring an external team on board. In the end, having an effective plan in place will give your small IT department greater peace of mind when it comes to resource and talent estimation.

Consider Nearshore

How many software developers do I need to get my project off the ground?

If a small IT department finds itself in a situation where completing a software project is beyond its capability, hiring an external team is a wise decision. Not only will you benefit from having experienced developers specialized in the technology you need, but you’ll also have peace of mind knowing that your project is being handled by experienced professionals in completing tasks quickly, efficiently, and on budget. What’s more, getting outside help gives smaller teams access to world-class development approaches without having to staff up and purchase expensive software licenses themselves. That’s why outsourcing a project is almost always the course of action for many of these departments.

Small IT teams usually don’t have the manpower or financial capacity to tackle a large-scale project on top of their regular duties, and outsourcing can help them focus on what they do best and provides access to expertise that they might not have in-house. In theory, it also saves time; with an outside team just focusing on the job at hand, it usually takes far less time than an internal team managing everything from start to finish. However, there are some things to have in mind when it comes to outsourcing, so smart budgeting and research are always necessary.

Choosing the wrong partner, for example, can put an organization’s reputation and bottom line at risk, as shoddy programming jeopardizes timescales, data security, and overall cost-effectiveness. Additionally, there’s always a risk of communication breakdowns when dealing with an external team far away, due to various cultural or language barriers you usually find when outsourcing. It’s also important to remember that small departments often lack resources to independently evaluate and verify the quality of code being provided by external vendors to safeguard against substandard work or a cybercrime threat of any kind, and without a dedicated team to support any issues, it can be difficult for small-scale businesses to get necessary updates and troubleshoot problems as they come up. With all these in mind, it would be smart for any IT department considering outsourced software development to extensively research their potential partners before signing on the dotted line.

This is why collaborating with a Nearshore team is often the most sensible choice for a small IT department tasked with getting a big project off the ground. After all, if you have to find the right team and resources to handle the project, and ensure that those same resources make sense and adhere to time constraints, this is where nearshore collaboration shines. By bringing together teams from remote geographical locations within reasonable distances who have a mutual agreement in terms of language, political/legal systems, and time zones. Nearshore allows small IT departments to get global access to experienced talent that will fit any strategy you have in mind, which can be a huge boon for small IT departments looking for a quick and cost-efficient way of taking big projects forward.

Nearshore development is quickly becoming the most popular choice for businesses seeking assistance with software development without an internal team”, says Rod Aburto, Service Delivery Manager, and Partner, at Scio. Working with a nearshore partner not only allows businesses to tap into a whole new talent pool of high caliber, who can provide resources not otherwise available, but companies also benefit from working closely with people who bring cultural competency as well as insight into best practices and processes that could potentially streamline and improve their workflow. From faster problem resolution to minimizing communication issues, Nearshore development offers everything you need while saving on costs and providing peace of mind in knowing that tasks are getting done efficiently and effectively.

Getting the numbers right

How many software developers do I need to get my project off the ground?

So now that you have a Nearshore partner that you trust, how many developers do you need to ask for to get the project started? There are a few baselines that are a good idea to follow, but every development cycle is unique, so you’ll need to discuss with your Nearshore partner flexibility options and their insight to be sure how many people will need to participate. According to this blog, it’s a good idea to start with a team of 3 to 4 developers and 3 to 4 IT specialists, divided into the following roles:

  • One full-time Project Manager
  • Two full-time developers 
  • One full-time backend developer 
  • One part-time UX/UI designer 
  • One part-time DevOps specialist 
  • One part-time QA engineer

In the context of Nearshore, “part-time” developers may simply mean people rotating between projects because their input happens at specific moments of the development cycle, so make sure to talk to your team to discuss all the details necessary to ensure you have the talent you need. Also, remember that this estimation is very basic; considering what kind of environments you will be developing for (desktop vs. mobile, Android vs. iOS), as well as your user base (purely internally used vs. a front-facing customer application) can change these numbers dramatically. Nevertheless, with enough staff flexibility, these issues don’t matter: what matters is starting a development journey that can be a turning point for any business harnessing the power of software and technology to make a change for themselves.

In the case of Scio, home to some of the best developers in Mexico and Latin America, the close cultural ties, its Agile philosophy, and the expertise it offers after two decades of collaboration with US-based companies that needed expertise, they could only find here, the Nearshore choice is always the best one. If you want the most seamless experience as the Head of a small IT department, then this is the opportunity for you. It’s time to make a change and begin a partnership that can only lead to success.

The Key Takeaways

  • Implementing new software solutions in business is always a good decision, but for a small IT department, it can present some serious challenges getting it off the ground.
  • If the department has constraints in terms of staff and budgeting, developing their own software can be a non-starter; the expertise and skills necessary might not be there.
  • Having a good plan is key to ensure any project can take off, and one of the main questions is the number of developers necessary to make an idea into reality.
  • Nearshore, for these reasons, might be the best option for an IT department, offering the flexibility necessary to work with all kinds of resources and objectives necessary to reach a positive outcome for everyone involved.