Agile software development – 4 options for the buyer
24 Oct 2022 • Trends & Signals
With digitalisation, agile software development has become commonplace for all kinds of organisations. A company may even employ as many digital specialists as a medium-sized ICT company. Let’s take a moment to consider the ways in which a company today can acquire agile development to meet its needs.
Option 1: recruit in-house experts
The traditional patent solution for agile digital business development has been recruiting. However, as industry after industry has become more modernised, the demand for digital development skills has increased. Today, many organisations are struggling with the same problem: senior experts are hard to find. Newer talents, on the other hand, may need dozens of like-minded people around them to develop. Coaching promising young people to become experts takes time, will and a mature organisation.
The days of a lone “hero coder” designing, implementing, maintaining and further developing a complex core business system on their own are also over. Modern digital business requires a wide range of skills and even the best heroes pose too great a business risk if left on their own. Recruiting experts becomes a much more sustainable option in the long term, once you have grown a community of tens of like-minded professionals within your own organisation.
Recruitment is still a good option, but much more challenging to implement in a sustainable way than 10 years ago.
Option 2: buy agile software development as a project
Is it worth buying the development of a business-critical system as a project? There are many different perspectives on the subject, and the darkest ones paint a picture of the buyer in a position where the keys to the critical system are in one pocket of the IT supplier and the licence to print money on the buyer’s expense in the other. In reality, a purchased project implementation that is sensibly procured, signed under a balanced contract, modernly executed and well managed, can be an excellent option in a variety of situations.
First, the supplier has usually successfully completed more similar digitalisation projects than companies in other industries. Second, suppliers often have very sophisticated project management, quality control, documentation and other similar practices that have been honed over hundreds or thousands of projects to serve even the most demanding clients. The people on the implementation team also often know each other well and have learned to work to the same models and standards.
Agile software development acquired as a project requires purchasing expertise and smooth collaboration with the supplier.
Option 3: strengthen your team by renting a software engineer
If an organisation has been routinely developing complex digital business development projects for years, an internal team can smoothly guide the development process. In this case, the team presumably understands both the business needs of the company and the technology solutions that fit them. However, the team might still need some additional help from time to time. The need might arise in an area of expertise that is not yet available in-house, or there might be a need to increase the pace of development for business reasons.
Whatever the reason, it is now standard practice to rent experts as part of the client’s team. The evolution of remote tools and culture has also made it possible for team members to be physically located anywhere in the world in most cases. Although, for practical reasons, the same or a nearby time zone is on the wish list of many developers.
Strengthening the team with rented experts is now an everyday practice, and in most cases even necessary to achieve business objectives.
Option 4: Rent an entire development team
A new trend has emerged alongside option two: renting a whole team. In our opinion, this is particularly due to the fact that digital projects today require a broader range of skills than in the past. Business and service design, software architecture, data and analytics, front-end and back-end development, and devops are examples of competencies that a single development project may require.
The value proposition of renting a team is the ability to utilise a group of experts who work well together while still leading the development process. The main difference with option 2 is that the client is responsible for managing the team and seeing the project through. Therefore, this option is only recommended if the company has routine expertise in managing an entire team and ensuring the final outcome.
Renting a team suits a company that wants to manage the development process itself and knows what it’s doing.
Above I described four different approaches to agile software development. All of these can be combined, and for example, an early-stage startup might be well served by a model where the founding team includes one or two highly committed developers, and the team is supported either by renting experts or by sourcing bits of the overall system as a project.
As a general tip, it is worth developing and strengthening a company’s own digital development competence. For example, take the plunge by hiring a technology architect or a UX designer for the next stage of development. An agile software development partner adapts to your needs, meaning that the market can help you in more ways than in mammoth projects or long-term leasing contracts.
Need more hands for your development project?
We are happy to collaborate with other digital business development providers or hop into your in-house team. We can provide you with experts such as backend and frontend developers, architects, designers and consultants.