09-18-2017, Team Augmentation
by Antoni Zolciak
5 Most Popular Team Building Challenges Startup Founders Face
Team-building in startups is a tough task. It may take months, if not years, and it never seems to be complete. What can you do to address the issue when you have strict deadlines?
There’s no debate about this fact: team-building is an ongoing process whose sole goal is to make a workgroup evolve into a cohesive, complementary unit. And it’s not our idea, either.
Also, there’s no debate about another fact: it needs to be done. A team should take on a life of its own. That life has to be nurtured and properly maintained, both on a team, and on the individual level.
What goes for business applies to life, too. The best sports teams win because they work well together. In business, though, you can supplement some of the issues and address them differently.
A big job that requires twice the workforce
Let’s say you just received a task that will take your 10-person team two months to complete, and your clients need it to happen in just a month.
You can, of course, try to launch a recruitment process—but you probably already know that there’s little to no chance of wrapping it up before the deadline.
Another solution is to outsource the whole thing. You find a company that will do the whole job for 50 percent of the price, and pocket the difference. This solution isn’t perfect, though. Chances are the quality will suffer.
Keep the quality
Team augmentation and managed services are one of the best ways of keeping the quality top-notch, just as if you were to do it yourself.
Preferably, choose a provider that knows your industry. Just as you would hire a mechanic to fix your car, hire a team that supplements you and your particular challenge. You need to speak the same language and keep the communications clear and efficient. Responsivity and creativity are crucial.
Prepare an MVP quickly and work on it on your own time
While the idea is only 1 percent of the job, an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) may very well be the remaining 99 percent. Speed matters. In this rapidly changing ecosystem, speed trumps perfection every time.
First, launch your product. Then polish it. When Jeff Bezos was building Amazon in India, he reportedly said:
Engineers should be fast acting cowboys instead of calm clear-headed computer scientists
At its core, the MVP philosophy is simple. It doesn’t require any overthinking or extensive preparation. It’s all about experimenting, failing, experimenting, failing… and experimenting again. The most significant advantage of this approach is the rapid feedback you get from every possible side.
You’re not a corporation. Startups and enterprises differ in a million ways, starting with their needs and ability to scale and implement changes, and—in the end—their financials. As a company that’s just starting out, you can make mistakes and learn from them.
Keep the product scope to a minimum. Think long-term, act short-term.
How does that apply to building a team at your company? Well, you don’t need to have all the employees in-house.
Costs: team augmentation is cheaper than having full-time employees
Let’s break down the cost of a full-time employee. According to LAC Group, the cost of a computer and office supplies can reach about $200 per year for each employee.
It can be twice the amount when you go for a more advanced Mac or PC. No t-shirts, mugs, and other gadgets are included in this figure.
Total cost so far: $400
Then there are software licenses. Developers and designers use pricey apps such as Creative Cloud or PhpStorm, which can cost several hundred dollars a year per user. For the sake of this article, let’s say it’s about $1,000.
Total cost so far: $1400
The salary of a .NET developer in San Francisco is about $93,429.
Total cost so far: $94,829
Health insurance is yet another thing. Multiply the wages by 1.25 – 1.4, and you get your result. Let’s use 1.3 in this example.
Total cost so far: $123,217.7
Also, you may need a recruiting service or an HR agency to help you find these people.
Just as you have your accountant, you can have your quality assurance, maintenance, or any other division augmented. You need sound engineers to supervise and create the right tests, and possibly to have some degree of automation in your QA process.
If you decide to outsource your QA offshore, you can save up to 40 percent of the costs compared to those in the United States. And that’s just one example.
Building companies is hard.
While we won’t make any decisions for you, we can help you see through the ones you’ve already made.