Improve Retention by Outsourcing?
By: C. Ray Harvey
It may sound counterintuitive, but outsourcing development projects in the right way can actually be a huge investment in the people you already have on staff.
Outsourcing is often seen as a stopgap, a way to maintain momentum until you can hire enough people with the right skill sets internally. It can also easily morph into a long-term bandage, a supposedly low-cost way to quickly staff up or down that incurs a great deal of hidden cost over time. Whether due to issues of quality, communication, or perception, many companies have an understandable stigma around outsourcing software development work.
The long-term benefits of outsourcing the right way
In reality, outsourcing the right way can be a great long-term investment in your full-time development staff, who are increasingly valuable in today’s market. Here are just a few benefits of outsourcing the right way:
Get your internal staff above water
Adding temporary staff, or complementing your internal staff with strong consulting developers can help them get ahead of problems by sharing workload. This not only allows your developers to overcome fatigue and make smarter, higher quality decisions on the job; it can allow them to spend time researching new technologies or methods of implementing solutions. This can result in opportunities to implement more long-term solutions instead of firefighting.
Increase your staff’s skill with new tech or DevOps practices
By bringing in consultants that have experience working with newer technologies or practices, you can improve your team’s capabilities. Better yet, they can learn on real projects in your business without sacrificing speed to market. Not only do you increase velocity by adding hands, but your team improves their skills. I probably don’t need to tell you that investing in your team’s abilities has long term benefit on employee retention, or that engineers like working with new tech in environments that don’t slow them down. The additional benefit to you is that you don’t hire staff that specialize in current gaps while leaving existing staff behind, providing you more flexibility for staffing future projects.
Improve performance and sustainability
By partnering with the right consulting expertise, your products and environments can benefit from experience that crosses industries. By implementing best-in-class approaches, new technologies, and modern practices alongside your staff, your products and development environments will often improve in terms of performance, stability, and sustainability. The long-term benefit is decreased cost to keep your ecosystem not only running, but improving.
Outsourcing can still be demotivating and counterproductive…
Ifyou want to to take advantage of outsourcing to see the benefits discussed above, you need a partner that understands your goal. They have to understand that you aren’t hiring hands to perform a set amount of work and disappear until the phone rings: you’re looking to move faster both today and tomorrow. You’re not filling a temporary gap, or merely augmenting your resource pool; you’re investing in your employees and the environments they work in. You need a partner that engages with this shared mindset and incorporates:
- Skill to wield modern development tools
- Modern development practices for quality in terms of performance, stability, and sustainability
- Experience working alongside and teaching internal development teams
- Tools for remote collaboration or willingness to co-locate with your team
- Purpose-focused mindset for long term success and sustainability
Without these qualities, you’ll struggle to realize the benefits discussed above. Given the current workforce challenges, finding the right partner to boost development and invest in the staff you’re working to retain is the best way to maximize your investment.
About C. Ray Harvey
C. Ray Harvey is the Director of Strategic Services at Aptera, overseeing the Business Analysis and Marketing departments. He is also a novice music producer and songwriter.