Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez
Running a software development company has never been an easy task. It requires a unique blend of technical knowledge, creativity, and problem-solving skills to create high-quality products, with developers constantly building up their skills, handling many priorities at once, and carefully planning and organizing every step of the process to meet any client’s expectations. And because software development is so labor-intensive, it can be costly to do it improperly, so organizations must consistently evaluate their approach and make the appropriate adjustments, introducing new frameworks and techniques frequently to keep up with a rapidly changing landscape. Ultimately, a rigorous execution is essential for software organizations hoping to succeed in this highly specialized field.
However, how do these challenges compound for an organization whose business approach is to act as a third-party developer for a variety of clients? How does a software company juggle between projects with such technical complexity? In today’s fast-paced world, development organizations need to be able to efficiently manage multiple projects at once to remain competitive, with success critically dependent on the ability to keep the focus on several projects at once, using their personnel and resources efficiently, and be constantly in the lookout for new opportunities without over-extending their capabilities or burning out the people who make this projects happen. And, of course, this is not an easy task.
Keeping your talent at hand
Why software development companies often need to juggle multiple projects instead of working on just one at a time is not a mystery; it helps them better capitalize on short-term opportunities while effectively managing long-term projects of differing sizes and levels of complexity, thanks to the vast number of customers searching for innovative and cost-effective solutions to their software problems. For this reason, taking on multiple projects concurrently demands that a company is more than able to respond quickly and efficiently, producing a steady stream of quality work while meeting tight deadlines and even tighter budget constraints. So, it’s no wonder multitasking is so essential for software companies, not just concerning technological capabilities but also in terms of business strategy; with its emphasis on agility and flexibility, juggling several software development projects at once has become an invaluable asset for many modern businesses, allowing them to smoothly transition between phases of a project, and using resources most effectively, helping them leverage their strengths and stay ahead.
However, with so much pressure to deliver high-quality work in an efficient amount of time, there can be a strain on the resources of a company. The organization must have a flexible and coordinated approach to ensure every project is given its due attention before submission. Moreover, the team needs to be diligent without becoming too distracted by tasks from other endeavors, but striking a balance between pushing employees too hard or not utilizing them to their full potential can be difficult to maintain. In other words, the challenges associated with having multiple projects active simultaneously are nothing trivial, but if handled correctly great results can be expected from careful oversight and a dedicated team.
But what is the biggest challenge at the heart of this?
“It’s all about the engagement”, says Luis Aburto, CEO and Founder of Scio. “This kind of work revolves around engagements. An engagement is a contract where you are looking for expertise, and a company does resource allocation to ensure you have the people with the necessary knowledge, skill, and experience to successfully bring an engagement to a conclusion. Of course, these engagements vary widely from one client to another, and in the case of software development, you want to have a healthy mix of experts, like Front-Ends, Back-Ends, UX/UI designers, architects, QA, and so, matching with the goal you want to reach.”
However, this “resource allocation”, as Luis points out, happens at every level of the project, and it’s a constant effort to get right. Making sure that the right people are assigned to the right tasks is key to efficiently completing the project because, in theory, the right mix of people can bring the variety of skills, experience, and ideas necessary to quickly assess possible solutions to any encountered issues and determine the best solution. With the scheduling of tasks thoughtfully carried out, each member of the team should be able to collaborate effectively and focus on their responsibilities, underlining that correct talent management is the core component of a successful technical project. But for a Nearshore company like Scio, this kind of management brings an additional challenge when clients are looking for very specific expertise on their side.
“For a company that does software development for external parties, it’s not enough to say that they have the expert on, say, iOS development that their clients are looking for, but also that he or she is available to join the project at a moment’s notice. And here is where things start to get more complex”, says Luis. “If a company has the portfolio to show their experience at developing applications for iPhone, but all of their resident iOS experts are currently busy, then grabbing new projects can be infeasible. The obvious answer might be getting the right people ASAP so the opportunity is not lost, but you need to make sure those people are trustworthy, can join the team seamlessly, and can contribute to a positive outcome. And as a company that provides Nearshore support, that’s what we do.”
After all, a software development company’s success often hinges on its ability to take on more projects, prioritize client needs, and maintain quality control. And while the best approach for a company to do this is to create a streamlined workflow with clearly defined tasks and deadlines that can easily scale up or down according to the specific project, this is not always doable. Is at this point when bringing talent through a trustworthy partnership is the best way to reach a client’s expectations, but what does that look like?
The balance between risk and opportunity
Talent is the lifeblood of every software development project, and having the right people for the job is what guarantees a successful outcome. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to manage multiple development projects with limited resources in both small and large organizations. Nobody wants the team feeling overwhelmed, resulting in burnout, or developers having to take on more roles than they should to keep up with the workload, which often means that the organization has lost sight of the larger picture, leading to less-than-desirable results that affect the business as a whole. As we said before, balance is difficult to achieve.
In consequence, finding that sweet spot of having a productive team without overworking them, and allowing for the freedom to take on more projects, is what makes a Nearshore partnership such an attractive option to software development organizations that need to keep moving forward with projects. Striking a healthy balance between what can be encompassed in a finite amount of time while keeping developers motivated and ready to take on challenges is no easy task, which often requires efficient task management and adaptation tactics to succeed.
“But what does it mean to have available people?”, asks Luis Aburto about the need to have wiggle room when taking on projects. “In the industry we use something we call ‘the bench’, which is a bit of a necessary evil but allows an organization to take on new projects with less friction. Otherwise, you would need to tell a client to wait for a couple of months to find and onboard the developer they need, and depending on the type of client, that might not be a realistic ask. You risk that business relationship, and that’s a position no organization ever wants, so managing the talent so you have enough free hands to help, but not so many that your overhead costs skyrocket without any productivity from them, is critical. So a software company should always have a bench of, let’s say, 5% of the total developers, available to take on new engagements, sometimes with internal projects that help people exercise their skills while a new opportunity arises. Because another cost of the bench is that people sitting on it for too long can feel wasted, or stuck, which is never a good mindset to have. So managing the bench and giving the team enough space to operate without burning out people, or leaving them behind, is the mark of a good organization.”
In short, working with Nearshore partners is the most effective way for software development companies to juggle multiple projects without sacrificing quality. It allows teams to keep their focus and maintain oversight on multiple projects at once, which increases efficiency and helps to ensure that each project reaches its completion deadlines on time. The added convenience of aligning time zones also means that there is always time for code review, debugging, and other support tasks, allowing clients to be more certain of the end product’s quality and reliability since it will have been tested on the same platforms as their own systems.
By leveraging the power of Nearshore teams of developers with expertise in different technologies, companies can effectively spread out their workload while taking advantage of time-zone proximity and cultural similarities to drive faster results. The continuous delivery models used by Nearshore partners such as Scio can also minimize complexity and help accelerate production readiness, which all but guarantees a positive outcome on every project where having talent on hand is critical. It just needs the proper management to ensure everyone is ready to take on a new challenge.
The Key Takeaways
- For any kind of software development organization, having the right amount of people ready to take on new projects is always critical.
- However, managing people and resources needs to hit a delicate balance between breathing room to expand development, and keeping people productive at all times.
- In these cases, expanding the number of people involved in a project through a development partnership might be the best approach.
- After all, the idea is to keep moving forward with projects, but trying to cut down on everything that might get in the way of a positive outcome, like delays, absence of the appropriate expertise, budget, and deadlines.
- With a Nearshore partner like Scio, having access to this expertise is easy, seamless, and guarantees room to always keep a project going.
Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!