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Beginners guide to integrate extended software engineers with your product team

29/07/2022

If you are reading this article, you are probably wondering about the benefits of working with an extended software engineer. Or maybe developers from outside your organization will soon join your product team and you want to be well prepared for it? You've come to the right place!

Our step-by-step guide will describe the principles of such cooperation, explain why it is worth using such a solution and help you plan everything optimally so that the implementation of external employees to the project runs smoothly and without complications. This is a large dose of tips and good practices, which is why we have also created a special checklist that will additionally help improve team management and organize everything better. The implementation of the extended team development model will allow you to supplement your team with top talents and create even better digital products. With this guide, every process of integrating extended software engineers with your product team will be more systematized and easier to implement.

Do you want to quickly acquire the best React and Symfony developers for your project? Reduce the increasing software engineering talent gap with highly competent and skilled Primotly developers who will integrate effectively with your team, focus on optimal solutions and help deliver the digital product on time. Contact us today to discuss your ideas. Just don't forget to save this article for later if you've just stopped reading and started writing a message to us. It is still really valuable knowledge!

Extended team, extended possibilities

Someone might ask, what is the difference between the extended team model and traditional outsourcing. The two terms are often mistakenly taken to mean the same thing. An extended team is more than just programmers who are paid by the hour to get things done. The task of extended software engineers is to fill the talent gaps in the organization and close cooperation. External specialists (who very often work in another country or on a different continent) become part of the project by participating in the exchange of ideas, inspiration and solutions. Just like in-house employees. In today's world of dynamically developing technologies, work based on impersonal ticking off tasks works less and less often. Organizations expect a thorough understanding of the specifics of businesses, openness to innovation, as well as the input of creativity, ideas and constructive criticism. The extended team model is the answer to these needs. Here you can be sure that a developer joining an existing team will not treat it as a side job performed after his main work hours. You gain the support of experts who take your project seriously and are 100% committed to its improvement and development. The extended team allows you to fill the gap of specific competences in the organization, while adapting to its culture and sharing responsibility for the success of the project. And with all this, you manage the in-house team and the extended team as one unit in which a transparent flow of information and knowledge exchange are maintained.

Integration that makes a difference

External resources are the best way to help to scale up your business. Scope of activities can be very different, so by choosing this model of cooperation, you gain the freedom to match specialists to the size and needs of the project. You have top talents at your disposal who can join and adapt to an existing team in a very short time. Cost optimization is another huge advantage of such cooperation. By choosing an extended team, you only pay for developers' time devoted to specific projects. A fresh look at your product can also be very valuable. External feedback presented from the perspective of competences that were previously missing in your team will allow you to gain a new perspective. The extended team is also an opportunity for the development of your in-house employees. The exchange of knowledge and experience is a proven way to create even better products.

How to integrate extended software developers with existing product teams?

Based on our many years of experience, we would like to present to you an example of the integration process of extended software developers with existing product teams. Of course, no two projects are the same, and there is no such thing as one universal template that will always work one hundred percent. However, we hope that all of the following tips will help you streamline your onboarding process, avoid common mistakes, and highlight aspects that are a little less obvious.

Think about what skills you need

The search for extended software developers should start with an in-depth analysis of your needs. Check what competences and resources are missing in-house. If necessary, companies such as ours can help with the initial analysis. Having a list of ideas, requirements, goals and methods of measuring effectiveness, it will certainly be easier for you to indicate what competencies are still missing in your product team and to what extent support from outside the organization will be needed. With this knowledge, it will be easier to choose the right top talents.

You should know that a lot is going on before our extended software engineers join the product team. We always select specialists with relevant expertise and skills in line with the project's goals and obstacles, as well as your expectations for development in the field of React and Symfony. We can pre-select people who suit the needs of your project, the field in which it operates, and the culture of the organization using a comprehensive database of top specialists. Candidates for specific projects are chosen after a complex process of vetting their talents and matching them to the organization. Final applicants are also put through technical examinations, ensuring that they are the best of the best. We present you with carefully curated profiles of the most qualified prospects. We care about transparency and we want to be honest, which is why we never present our clients with candidates that match their expectations to some extent. We respect your time, that's why we focus only on 100% match!”

Marek Krokwa, CEO @ Primotly

Scaling up the business

The great advantage of cooperation with extensive software engineers is the possibility of flexible adaptation of resources to current needs. A project can evolve or change, and you don't have to worry that there will be too little or too many developers at some point. It's always good to have a plan B that has extra elements. You don't have to use it, but thanks to it you will always be ready for unforeseen events.

Creating a well-coordinated product team

The real integration process begins after you get to know the selected candidates and choose those who will join the product team. Make sure that individual procedures and processes are clear to all members of the product team, regardless of whether they work in the office or outside it. Although some developers get involved at some specific stage, everyone should know the entire software development lifecycle. However, technical features are not everything, it is equally important to know the organizational culture and chosen methodology.

Training and communication

Choose transparent communication and create conditions for the exchange of ideas, comments and praise. One open online communication channel will work very well here. The team should speak a common language, so it is worth investing in appropriate training. People responsible for project coordination, business development and product development should understand each other. The point is not that engineers create a business plan, but it is worth using compatible plans and similar measures of success. The space for the exchange of thoughts not only influences the creation of better software, but also allows you to build closer relationships and integrate employees.

The essential tools you need

The product team should create the most coherent ecosystem consisting of tools facilitating work organization and communication. They are especially important when you work with extended software engineers. Get started with task management software. Thanks to it, you monitor progress and you can keep track of deadlines. Based on the progress of the developers' work, you should schedule a status meeting every day or week. Examples of platforms that you might want to look at are Trello, Jira, or Linear. You also need to ensure a fast flow of information. You can use the usual messaging services (such as Google Hangouts), but solutions such as Slack or Rocket.Chat may prove to be a better choice when it comes to transparent communication within the team. When working within a product team, you will also need space to exchange files - documents, inspiration, prototypes and resources. [Google Drive (https://www.google.pl/intl/en/drive/), Box or Dropbox are some of the options available. When billing hourly with extended software engineers, it will also be important to use time-tracking tools such as Clockify, Toggl, Everhour or Harvest. They will help you control the time you work on specific tasks, as well as keep an eye on your budget.The last very useful tools to think about are applications that allow you to share your computer screen with others (eg TeamViewer, Zoom or Screenleap). They will allow team members to always be on the same page as the person presenting the results of their work or sharing some doubts.

Traps that can be avoided

For the guide to be complete, we couldn't ignore the risk that sometimes comes with working with extended developers. If you decide to use such a model of filling the skill gap for the first time, knowing about the threats that may arise is especially important. Depending on the duration of the projects and the stage at which someone from the outside joins the team, you can face various challenges just like working only with an in-house team. Below we present ways to prevent situations that could have a negative impact on the project.

Data safety

An external programmer who joins the product team usually gains access to sensitive data that should not leak outside the organization. These can be company secrets, confidential information or access data. A minor mistake or neglect can bring more or less damage, so it is worth preparing crisis procedures and protecting yourself in the event of data leakage. Make sure that all accesses for the extended software engineer are revoked when they finish working on the project. It is also worth including confidentiality clauses in the contract. The developer should be familiar with the security rules, procedures and contractual provisions that protect the interests of the organization.

The length of the cooperation

Work on a digital product is usually divided into different stages with scheduled deadlines. Of course, when bringing a complex project to life, you cannot predict everything and it often happens that the support of an external software engineer will be needed for a longer time. In the case of outsourcing, the high risk is that the specialist will already have work planned on another project and will no longer be able to support the product team. The extended software engineer will likely be available for as long as needed. At Primotly, we always work with hourly rates. This allows you to flexibly modify the duration of cooperation and extend or shorten it depending on your needs. When choosing a cooperation based on a fixed price, you unfortunately have to plan in advance and carefully watch any gaps in communication.

Relations with the in-house team

Already at the stage of verification of candidates, it is worth spending some time on the usual introduction to each other. Competence is one thing, but there must be chemistry in the team. Thanks to this introductory meeting and casual conversation, you can quickly see if future relationships will be going well. Integration of extended software engineers with the product team is usually of concern as employees may be divided into in-house and non-organizational. However, it is enough to treat each other as a partner and not to underestimate the issue of building relationships. Extended programmers working with the product team become part of it. It is worth starting with a proper introduction and enabling employees working in the office to get to know the person who is not physically with them. It is worth exchanging ideas and experience frequently. If extended software engineers feel that they have an impact on making the digital product even better, and others take their opinion into account, they will definitely find themselves in the team faster and become 100% involved in the project.

Precise selection of specialists

At Primotly, we attach great importance to offering you carefully selected React and Symfony specialists who perfectly match the needs of your project - both in terms of experience in developing similar products and knowledge about specific technologies. We conduct specific competence tests and thoroughly verify the candidates who will be introduced to you. However, it may happen that you have to recruit extended developers yourself. Then pay attention to the transparent rules of employee availability (watch out for different time zones!). The contract should include the method of settling the working time and reporting the performed tasks. Clear rules of cooperation make it possible to effectively account for the duties performed, and the initial verification of competences makes it easier to reach the right people.

Download the FREE checklist for successful extended team integration

Now that you know the value of integrating engineers with your product team, how the process of verification of specialists is carried out and how to provide them with effective conditions for adaptation - it's time for a summary. We have created a special cheat sheet that organizes the knowledge in the form of a checklist. Thanks to it, you will not forget about key activities and good practices. Save the PDF file to your computer or smartphone, print it, and have it always at hand when you prepare for collaboration with the extended team. Thanks to this, the process of integrating specialists will certainly be much easier. We wish you good luck and even better projects!

Ma

symfony developer

Marek Krokwa

CEO

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