Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

The success of any software development cycle relies entirely on the team behind it, and when developers don’t have enough resources to see the project through to its successful completion, it can be a costly outcome for an organization. But when too many resources are allocated at once on a project, unnecessary complexities can be introduced, likely increasing miscommunications and further hindering progress. So finding the perfect balance between talent and resources is essential for any company’s well-being, and flexibility in the size and resources of a team is key for optimal outcomes across the board.

The dilemma of scaling a team in software development: What is the best approach to keep the perfect team size?

However, the matter of team size in a development environment is no joke, and deciding whether to scale or reduce a software development team can be a complicated situation. The main thing to remember, though, is that the size of a team should be driven by strategic needs, not only organizational cost savings, so to make the best decision, it’s essential to take into account the project objectives and timeline. If the aim is to launch quickly on limited resources but find lasting success, then scaling may be more advantageous than reducing the team. But, if the desired outcome is short-term and specialized resources are not needed, reducing might be the right move. Either way, having the right approach is critical. 

But what gets involved in such a decision? Scaling or reducing teams in software development is a real quandary because you (ideally) want to find the right number of people to dedicate to development projects, yet you also don’t want to over-commit resources that you probably can’t justify in the long run. And without good and exact data on the impact of different variables on the project, decision-making will be based on guesswork, which rarely ends well. 

And all this without mentioning the most important element of this whole situation: the people. It goes without saying, but the effects of reducing a development team after a project can be huge; not only the morale of the team is affected, but there’s the risk that it may lead to lower-quality outcomes. After all, when a member leaves, they not only take with them their knowledge and expertise but also affect the very relationship between collaborators and their organization; trust is the first thing to go after deciding that a dev team is too large to keep. So, it’s up to Management to assess the impact of reducing their team and attempt to lessen any fallout as much as possible, even if it means transferring individuals over to other projects or departments temporarily or permanently. 

However, what if this is just not possible for a mid-sized company with a small IT department? How can these organizations approach the dilemma of needing to develop a technological solution but don’t have the resources to hire and let go of the software professionals as they need? It’s important to weigh the various possibilities carefully when it comes to staffing software development initiatives — after all, it can spell the difference between success and failure.

The challenge of bringing talent

The dilemma of scaling a team in software development: What is the best approach to keep the perfect team size?

When a mid-sized company wants to bring a software project to life, it often faces the challenge of attracting experienced developers willing to join these short-termed projects. These ventures (which can range from developing new platforms to introducing automation capabilities in existing programs and systems, to doing web design, building enterprise solutions, and even creating mobile apps and improving customer service through technological interventions) are often crucial to a company’s success, yet most experienced developers tend to opt for longer deals elsewhere with the idea that they are more secure. Furthermore, companies also have to compete with large corporate offers, which can seem unrealistic and exaggerated when compared to the smaller compensation packages they can provide, which leaves companies with few options other than recruiting those without less-than-adequate experience, which can be a very unattractive proposal. 

Sure, the gig economy has opened up new opportunities by connecting mid-sized businesses with freelancers who have proven skills and can step in on a project basis, finding reliable talent often requires larger upfront payments or higher premiums than they might otherwise use to onboard full-time employees, so negotiations need to carefully balance the requirements of the developer and what is expected of them with compensation that makes it worth their while. As a result, a mid-sized company must confront several dilemmas to ensure that this decision is successful and produces results: training new members of the team to be properly knowledgeable about the company’s process and demands, issuing the appropriate tools, managing organizational structure, providing timely support from senior management, and considering projections for future growth and corporate objectives without bankrupting the company, or cutting back on quality standards. In short, the challenges involved with scaling up a software development team aren’t something to be taken lightly, but solutions do exist.

If you’re a mid-sized business, achieving your software development goals may seem daunting. It’s expensive and difficult to build up an internal team of knowledgeable software developers in-house, so partnering with a Nearshore development organization can help you accomplish these ambitions without the worry of in-house management or heavy recruitment costs”, says Luis Aburto, CEO and Founder of Scio, a Nearshore development company located in Mexico. You’ll get access to talented developers trained across the stack that are just as effective as hiring your own team of engineers, and a company like Scio provides full project management support should you need it. So instead of going through the process of building a fixed team, you can easily adjust and tailor your talent depending on the progress being made. Giving yourself the comfortability to tune your team size at any given moment guarantees you won’t be hindered by slowdowns or lagging projects due to issues of manpower.

Flexibility as your best decision

The dilemma of scaling a team in software development: What is the best approach to keep the perfect team size?

It’s a big step for any company to choose to scale up its software development teams or start it from scratch. Finding the right balance between cost-effectiveness, training, and onboarding new employees to ensure success is one of the many challenges that a mid-sized organization faces, which often needs to hire top talent while making sure the personnel is not too expensive for the size of its resources. 

That’s why the option of flexibility offered by an external partner, such as a Nearshore company, can be such a critical difference for mid-sized companies looking to accelerate their technology goals. It enables businesses to access top tech talent without the overhead of recruiting and maintaining a large onsite team, and the flexibility to scale up or down depending on the project goals and resources at hand with speed and precision. With access to a wide pool of experts, you get immediate access to the right combination of skills and experience that your business needs — all while keeping your budget under control. These external companies also have access to higher-quality tools, equipment, and technologies, which will ensure the success of your project in far less time compared to hiring in-house developers. What’s more, these dedicated teams are focused on specific project goals and are incredibly flexible, capable of scaling up or down as needed, giving businesses a tremendous amount of control over their software investments.

In short, for mid-sized businesses looking to take their operations to the next level, Nearshore providers offer an ideal staffing solution. Not only do these services provide access to high-skilled and experienced professionals, but they also offer substantial scalability and flexibility in terms of staff numbers. So, instead of having to employ specialized IT resources on a full-time basis, a Nearshore provider means that businesses can benefit from well-trained professionals on demand, meaning staffing levels can be easily adjusted based on need. This not only helps with cost savings initially, but it keeps staffing and project costs down more generally too – allowing your mid-sized business to truly maximize its opportunities in the modern digital economy.

The Key Takeaways

  • Nowadays, software development is a common component of almost any business, but that doesn’t mean that is easy to do.
  • For mid-sized organizations, acquiring talent for a software project is quite a task, for many reasons (costs, onboarding, requirements, etc.)
  • Competition, costs of development, and the finicky nature of the software industry means that these organizations might require alternatives.
  • Nearshore development, for this reason, might be the answer, offering talent, flexibility and expertise that any organization can access, regardless of size or the challenge of the project.