A key decision when outsourcing software development work is whether to hire freelancers or acquire the services of one or more managed remote teams. Your hiring criteria should be based on your project requirements, but it is essential to have a clear understanding of what both options have to offer in order to make the right choice.
That said, if both of these kinds of workers are remote, what are some of the differentiating factors between them? Let’s have a look at how remote development teams compare to freelance software programmers.
Hiring Managed Remote Teams versus Freelancers
The resources, time and effort required to hire is much less for a managed team as compared to a team of freelancers. Hiring a single freelance developer can be easy, but building and managing a team of freelancers can be a very difficult and time consuming task. Bringing together and forming a team out of freelancers is going to cost more resources, precious time and valuable effort than the returned value of the team in terms of productivity and deliverability.
Whereas managed software development teams are comparatively hassle free due to their well-organized management systems already in place. This means that all you need to do is find the right development intermediary; one that can give you access to structured remote programming teams. This fine-tuned management system allows ease of talent access for prospective clients, while providing an exponential reduction in the time it takes to hire developers.
A development project of significant worth to a firm needs to be handled by senior level developers with ample experience and expertise. This allows for nearly flawless development and progress acceleration for time constrained projects. Freelance developers, in this regard, cannot be fully vetted beforehand, as their expertise is tested more so along the duration of the project.
In order to offer development expertise of the highest grade possible, managed development service providers put their developers through a series of rigorous personality tests, technical assessments and interviews. Initially, they make candidates go through a screening interview where the agenda for evaluation is the capacity to think outside the box and present quick solutions for brief development problems. Shortlisted candidates are then tested for technical know-how and proficiency, followed by a final interview to test their communication skills, work ethics, and ability to deliver within deadlines. Competence becomes key from the inception of the development process.
Support and Legal Framework
One of the more significant legal matters in an outsourcing contract is the matter of confidentiality. The hiring company does not prefer information about their project to be published, posted or distributed in any way. For this purpose, non-disclosure agreements are signed as they prohibit any information disclosure. But such confidentiality and expansive legal framework is unavailable or very limited in freelancing. While some firms may prefer outsourcing to freelancers, avoiding important legalities may risk data security.
A managed remote team with support staff, and preferably a physical presence in the hiring firm’s region, can be held legally accountable via full enforceability of confidentiality agreements. From development communications related support to imposable contracts and documentation, a managed team offers much more sustenance and legal protection.
A majority of freelancers will keep their own hours and work at their own pace, providing deliverables on their own time rather than to the client requirements. There is often also a time zone difference between the outsourced freelance developer and the client if the freelancer is located in a different country. This causes a break in real-time collaboration; an essential aspect of outsourced software development.
Managed remote teams can be setup in a way that includes a working hours overlap, allowing them to communicate instantaneously with the client. This allows for a very productive amount of real-time collaboration. This approach is much more useful than exchanging back-and-forth emails and waiting hours on end to receive a reply.
Development Process Optimization
While it may be true that in freelancing the project, the client may experience a short-term blissful state. But in the long run, they fall victim to managing the tedious processes involved in project management. Freelance developers have little to no experience with optimizing those helpful project management processes, and when given the task to do so it may hinder their coding assignments.
Managed development teams are more structured and therefore well prepared in this regard. They believe that it is important to optimize every step in the project delivery process. Ideal remote teams will have client liaisons to ensure that all necessary steps are taken, nothing is skipped and everything is done right throughout the project duration and afterward. The client liaison will communicate directly with the client and the remote developers to increase efficiency and collaboration.
Error Checks and Reduction
Time and cost are two elements that cannot be wasted in a development project. It is important for the purpose of conserving these two, that a firm must be able to trust the expertise and experience of the remote developers that they hire, or the group of freelancers that are acquired for the task. Granted that both sources of development expertise have a certain rate of errors and corrections with reference to development tasks, both should also have systems in place for monitoring the actual occurrence and ensuring reduction of such trial and error.
It is imperative to set up performance monitoring systems that allow for optimum progress with the least amount of setbacks. Unfortunately, there is a lack of any such procedural system for an individual or a group of freelance developers that may be hired. They work independently, unhindered by any form of automated error checks. When a chunk of code is sent to the client, they must take time to check that code for errors, send it back, and wait for a response. This takes up an ample amount of precious time, thus increasing the cost eventually. Whereas managed remote teams not only keep hours that are suitable for direct client interaction, they also have error reduction systems in place in order to ensure on-the-go code optimization.
Long-term Staff Augmentation
Software development projects are usually long-term projects, and therefore it is important to ensure that the staff being hired for the purpose of development is capable of a lasting commitment and performance sustainability. Freelance developers may not be entirely suitable for such projects since long-term commitments are usually not part of their forte. Freelancers move from job to job, seeking the ones that are simple and quick to complete.
Managed teams have the advantage of being recruited, trained, and employed under a structured system. Whether their projects range over a 6 month duration or last 4-5 years, commitment holds high value at the workplace, and there is total integration in terms of their involvement in the client’s vision for the project. These remote teams can be augmented as an extension of the client’s onsite team and handled according to the complexity and length of a development project, with the freedom to hire and relieve whenever required as per a flexible outsourcing contract.
Skill Stacks Development
There is a learning curve involved when dealing with software development talent that just keeps on rising with the fast-paced changes in development technologies. With every task, job or project that a developer performs, they are introduced to new ideas, methods and possibilities. It is not enough for a developer to be an expert at let’s say PHP development. Other requirements that would be expected of the individual would include, but not be limited to, knowledge of mobile technology, industry trends related to say a SaaS development project, strong communication skills, business ethics, other programming technologies like Python, Ruby on Rails and much more.
These skill stacks are a necessary part of the developer’s portfolio as they collectively make up their expertise level. Managed remote development teams are trained to combine and build upon the individual learning gained from separate projects. Their skill stacks alter and improve over time as more and more complex projects are completed. Freelance developers may not be able to integrate everything that is learned from different projects at the same pace or scale of expertise. On top of that, managed teams are trained in international business cultures and communication norms by their support staff.
A group of expert-level freelance developers can be converted into an organized team over time with a significant amount of talent hunt efforts, dedicated testing, training and monitoring measures, and figuring out a hassle free working environment. But a more realistic and feasible option is partnering with a managed software development staffing partner that provides all of the above benefits without any of the usual concerns with remote staffing or outsourcing.
Sound too good to be true? Schedule a free consultation with one of our remote software development experts and learn how you can scale your software projects by utilizing one of Ekipa’s vetted, expert-level remote development teams.
Today’s post is brought to you by Ali Naqvi at zep-com.net, one of Ekipa’s preferred software development team providers. To learn more about working with him and his team, contact us with your proposal.
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