Why Your Organization Should Include an External Development Team

In a market where technical expertise has never been more important, yet never harder to find, spinning up an internal development team is a daunting task. You may consider it a “necessary evil” if you recognize the value that new technology and programming can bring to your company, though. After all, cutting-edge software development is becoming a linchpin for competitive businesses these days, regardless of industry. Every industry could benefit from better internal processes, external appearances, and enhanced efficiency that is associated with strong development.

But building and maintaining an internal development team is difficult. The field of software development moves rapidly and often technologies change out from under you, or projects become too challenging for the in-house development team to take on, if you even have one in the first place. To keep up with changing demands, you could try to expand, hope your current team can keep up, or turn to an external team.


What is an External Team?

Including an external team in your development process is not the same as just outsourcing.

An external development team provided by an organization such as Calavista Software includes a complete, managed team of developers, testers, DevSecOps experts, Scrum Masters and more.

With teams like this, you really are getting an entire team, or, as we like to say, a Development Group in a Box™. Turning to an external software development team can supplement existing development teams, complete a short development project, provide management overhead, or be an on-call resource for projects. In short, external teams can provide your organization with reduced cost, better scalability, expertise, and all-around peace of mind. 


The Benefits of Including an External Team

It may sound better to keep all development and management internal to your own organization. By hiring your own team, you may think that you will have more control over them than an external team, that they will be completely devoted to your own company’s mission or culture. But internal teams can be costly, both financially and in terms of opportunity – and frequently do not provide the staffing stability you’re looking for. In fact, external teams can often provide greater consistency than internal teams. It’s worth taking a second look at some of the benefits of an external team. 


Reduced Cost

Up front, the price tag of an external team may seem large, but when you consider everything that you’re paying for, it can be a bargain. Effective software development requires collaboration of multiple experts – developers, yes, but also scrum masters, testers, architects, etc. To build out an internal team, you would have to recruit, hire, and manage all of these individuals. Not to mention, it is difficult to recruit new talent and retain existing talent in this market. Once you have the talent, it is challenging to provide continuous specialized work for them full time. When a project is over, you still must pay their salaries, even if there is little development to be done, or risk losing them to competitive companies who can provide them with better work. Then you risk being understaffed when the work picks back up. That is a lot to worry about. With an external team, you only pay for what you need, when you need it.

Calavista builds custom development teams for each project with just as many talented and specialized individuals as needed, no more, no less. Then, when the project is done, the team members and your company can both easily go their separate ways. This brings us to the issue of scalability and flexibility. 



Hiring and maintaining talented developers and team members internally is not only expensive, sometimes it is extremely difficult. Even if you already have a team established, new challenges may mean you suddenly need more manpower to complete things on time or different skills for new projects. Most companies find it takes weeks or months to hire and onboard a new team member or engineer. In that time, the project could be lost completely.

As the name implies, an external team will already have all the necessary roles filled. This means that when they sign on, they can get started right away, losing no time in the hiring process. Additionally, external teams like Calavista have a network of talent that they can pull from, a deep bench of trusted developers and partners. If the project grows, so can the team, calling upon already vetted and experienced professionals, without any headache to you.

Scaling down is also easier with an external team. Since they get employment from multiple projects, team members are not discouraged when a project starts coming to an end, and when the project is over, you don’t have to worry about them.

In addition to scaling up, and down, an external team can scale “sideways” – that is, keeping a constant headcount, but changing the skill sets. For instance, a project may initially require a lot of backend work to get the desired functionality in place. However, once that’s done, attention may turn to the User Experience, which will require a lot of front-end work. The right partner can change skill sets without even requiring a new statement of work – just reacting to your needs, giving you the people you need, when you need them. 



We have already established that an external team could reduce costs overall, but that does not even account for the added value they bring in terms of quality of people and expertise. External teams have partners that are experienced in the industry overall but have also worked on many different types of projects. They can bring a new perspective to the project while adapting to your company very quickly.

Such perspective not only comes from extensive background in technology and software development, but also experience in business and working in different industries. They have someone for everything.

External teams like Calavista with deep resource pools will also have access to experts. They can call upon PhD-level resources with specialized skills in areas like UX/UI, data science, AI/ML, and DevSecOps that can work as long as you need them. These specialized individuals would be quite difficult to hire on an internal team (especially for short intervals) and expensive to maintain, but a good external development team can essentially provide cost-effective experts to you by the hour, day, week, or month. 



Some of the expertise discussed above also comes from management overhead that some external development teams can provide. Outsourcing workers, or bringing on “Staff Augmentation” personnel, requires a significant investment of time in terms of management.

Calavista, for example, mitigates this by providing teams complete with leadership who can act as Director of Development, Development Manager… even VP of Development… we actually take work off your plate, rather than just adding more.

One of our customers had 17 staff augmented personnel, all with separate contracts, and all reporting in to the VP of Development. Calavista took 17 direct reports off that VP’s plate and replaced them with one senior leader who managed a team of a dozen people for him. Not only did the workload go down, but so did the headcount and costs as the smaller, well-coordinated team was more efficient and effective than the previous larger team. 



You may feel that an external team would be volatile and may prefer the stability of your own employees working on projects, but the truth is, no matter how loyal they are, it is impossible to predict where life will take an employee. They’re real people and go through real things. The benefit of partnering with an external team is they are made of many individuals. They will also have turnover, just like any other company, but there are some key differences to how they manage it and how it will (or really, rather, won’t) affect your workflow.

At Calavista, we mitigate this in a few ways. Firstly, our deep network of partners are less likely to want to just wander off to the next challenge because of our long-term relationships forged over years, or even decades. Second, we provide teams. We don’t build your team around 1 or 2 heroes, who do all the work themselves and therefore become irreplaceable. That’s bad business, not to mention bad engineering. We provide a stable group that is designed to manage the loss and replacement of individuals over time.

This isn’t a universal truth, though; if your external partner treats its people like cannon fodder, working them long hours, with minimal pay, on boring things – certainly they’ll have a high turnover. Just as you would, if you treated your own employees that way. But if they treat developers well, pay them fairly, and give them interesting work to do, they tend to stay.

Finally, if your team is offshore, there’s another important cultural aspect that comes into play. If you’re one of the Big 5 Tech companies (GAMMA – Google/Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Meta/Facebook, or Amazon), your employees are more or less already at the top of the job pyramid. If you’re not, they’re not. Which means you’re in danger of having your best people leave for a company higher up on the pyramid, unless they are well and truly locked up. Contrast that with an offshore team. The top of that pyramid is generally to work for a reputable American company that pays well and treats them right. That’s not to say that none of them want to work for a GAMMA. But members of a remote team are likely to be happier – to feel more successful and fulfilled than US workers would – simply working for a solid American company. So offshore teams, when properly treated, are often more stable just by virtue of the culture.

In short, engaging the right external team can significantly stabilize your work force, providing a consistent and reliable source of talent to meet your needs. 


Conclusion: The Right External Development Team Can Bring Peace of Mind

If you choose to work with an external team, and you take the time to identify one like Calavista that’s been doing it for decades and knows its business inside and out, you can operate with the peace of mind knowing that your project is in the hands of seasoned experts. Not only do they know what they are doing, but they have spent decades developing and refining best practices. With the agility that being on an external team provides, developers are exposed to new technologies, methodologies, tools, and metrics regularly. They are constantly picking up the best approaches from each project and updating their own practices, making them more cutting-edge than in-house development teams.

This all comes together as overall peace of mind that comes from providing minimum oversight. You can hire a fully functional team. This means they not only oversee development, but also management of the project. They become invested in the product and the project’s success, not just following directions but leading the project on their own. You’ll be able to focus on what is most important to you, while getting regular updates about the project from Solutions Directors. 


Hiring an External Team

Everything mentioned in this blog should be true of a strong external team, but you can only be sure that’s what you’re getting through a thorough vetting process. The next blog in this series will discuss the best questions to ask potential developers and development teams to make sure you are setting yourself up for a successful partnership. You can also email info@calavista.com to learn more about partnering with us for your next development project.

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