Romancing the Distributed Team

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Image Courtesy: http://theagilehorizon.wordpress.com

Distributed teams and demand for unbundled services will be the next big trend in Business Process Management (BPM). Outsourcing is nothing new and has been around for many years now. In software development it has been the ‘art of the game’ for more than three decades. This trend will not slow down; it will only grow and become more sophisticated. If there ever is a debate on nurturing staff functions in-house vs. outsourcing it, it is highly probable that the companies will prefer outsourcing provided managing distributed teams does not seem a daunting task. This is so because outsourcing and unbundled services for BPM makes organizations more agile, and business agility is an important factor, which cannot be ignored in today’s fast changing marketplace.

Businesses can be agile and competitive in such fast changing marketplace only when they have deployable methods that are sustainable to derive the advantages of distributed teams or ‘single global team’, if you will.  Information Technology (IT), being the most common staff function across industries, has seen a surge in demand for temporary staffing for short development assignments and long-term employee leasing for longer projects, simply because companies do not want to increase their own costs by putting the developers on their pay-rolls.

There are two very common situations which demand temporary staffing of developer teams, but with the ability to track the progress and hold full control of the project:

Use case #1 – Start-ups:

Consider a tech start-up which needs to develop a prototype to test it with the target market. Naturally, it will be fool hardy for the start-up to hire the entire team as full-time employees and add to the cash burn. Instead, it will be beneficial to outsource the project but still have the facility to control the team work and monitor developer productivity.

Use case #2 –Temporary staffing by groups within larger organizations:

Many projects within larger companies may have temporary developer requirements purely because of one-off situations like a specific request by an important customer. Such needs can be fulfilled by recruiting or leasing employees from an outsourcing vendor a “provider”.

The scope for this market is huge. These are just two use cases that I have highlighted. There are many such situations where companies prefer to lease developers and let the “provider” handle all the complications of employee management. The companies can have more time to focus on their core businesses. Of course, a hidden advantage of leasing developers is that it leaves the companies agile and they can cut-down on the developer resources more quickly than if the resources were on their own pay-rolls. The only reason why this niche would not grow further is due to lack of proper automated and intelligent SDLC management tools that give full control to the project managers over the distributed developer team.

Quoting from the website of India’s leading temporary staffing company, TeamLease, which started its services as a start-up in employee leasing and have grown phenomenally:

TeamLease assists corporate clients in their staffing requirements by providing contractual or temporary manpower. From a client base of just 1 and an outsourced employee base of only 40, in less than a decade; we have come a long way to emerge as one of India’s largest temp staffing companies, with 1400+ temporary staffing clients and an outsourced employee base of over 70,000 associates.  

We work with our clients in hiring or identification of temp resources and take on the selected resources on our payroll for providing services to the client. Alternatively we also take on our payroll, resources pre-identified by clients or existing through some other arrangement. TeamLease takes complete responsibility for all HR Administrative activities, statutory employee benefits and compliances for the outsourced resources. The operational and performance related aspects are monitored by the client and the client retains complete control of the same.

Romancing a ‘single global team’ would surely mean being able to bring about cohesive team collaboration with intelligent automated collaboration platforms such as SDLC Management platforms or ALM tools. Why hire developers, when you can lease them from a provider and still have complete control on the SDLC and/or the ALM of the project?

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