January 08, 2024

The Future of Workforce: Blending In-House and Augmented Teams – Hybrid Model

Rodion Salnik

CTO and Co-founder, Brocoders

14 min

The idea of integrating an internal workforce with external software developers isn’t new, but today it’s flourishing more than ever. Companies combine their in-house staff with augmented teams to boost the speed of delivery, improve work-life balance for their employees, and achieve cost-effectiveness with the flexibility to augment the engineering team during workload surges and scale it down as needed.

The hybrid approach is especially beneficial during uncertain times like today when geopolitical tensions threaten financial stability.

While there is no doubt it brings strategic benefits to any organization, building a hybrid team is a bit more than just plugging in external developers and expecting them to automatically deliver great work. You should develop a smooth and efficient method for your in-house developers to collaborate seamlessly with external experts. This might be a real challenge for any CTO, especially for a newly appointed one.

As a CTO of Brocoders, I have real-life experience in building hybrid teams, and I must say it requires careful planning, effective communication, and the right tools, and it might be quite a headache when handled by yourself. So, let’s start with the bottlenecks you should be prepared for.

Building a Hybrid Team? Get Ready To Face the Challenges

Picture this ‒ a recently hired CTO is given a task to set up a hybrid team. Will things go smoothly on the first try? Trust me, they won’t. A person with such responsibilities should roll up their sleeves and get prepared to fulfill a great number of tasks. I’m not going to burden you with all the pitfalls you might encounter as a CTO, but I will still mention some challenges you have to overcome when establishing a hybrid team:

  • Auditing available IT resources. Who knows whether your existing team members have it all to succeed with your project? You need to assess their capabilities, so auditing your existing IT resources is a must.

  • Defining the core roles. Think of what specific experts you need to have in-house, and which ones you can outsource. Don't forget about QAs, DevOps, and data architects. Should they be in-house employees or external experts?

  • Structuring a team. You have to thoroughly think of how to structure a hybrid team and appoint responsibilities. Who is going to be responsible for what? How will dependencies be distributed among various teams?

  • Setting up a collaboration process. In this case, you should come up with a communication plan that is convenient for everyone on the team, as well as manage schedules, coordinate meetings, and more.

  • Reporting and performance tracking. From leave policy that doesn't interfere with release schedules to workload management and performance tracking ‒ it’s all on your shoulders.

As a CTO dealing with all these issues, your head might turn into a buzzing beehive. So, let me show you how we've helped our clients deal with these challenges at Brocoders.

How Brocoders Helped Our Clients Succeed With a Hybrid Model: Real-Life Case Studies

At Brocoders, we’ve got some interesting cases that might help you find answers to your questions. You are welcome to use our experience when setting up a hybrid team for your company.

Case study 1: Scaling development with 3 hybrid teams

When a client came to Brocoders, the company already had a software system with the core functionality implemented. However, they didn’t have enough people in their development team to improve the software as most developers were laid off because of the pandemic.

That’s why our client hired a Chief Technology Advisor (CTA) to set up a new team to finish product development and add new functionality according to the project timeline. Along with hiring some full-time developers and other experts, the client also opted for outsourcing, choosing Brocoders to seamlessly integrate with their internal team and address the project development needs.

We were asked to provide our top-tier experts for their Head of System to vet them. Plus, the client needed a strong project manager or technical architect capable of establishing a mature development process. Finally, all the candidates were required to work within a time zone that aligns with Malta and demonstrate proficiency in English.

The CTA developed a project implementation document, established a timeline, and outlined the team structure. Recognizing the pivotal role of assembling a strong development team in securing funding from the Board of Executives, we drew in the most skilled engineers from our ranks who precisely met the client's requirements.

Let's dive deeper into the team structure.

Frame 6265807.png

Our hybrid product development team consisted of two parts ‒ full-time employees and outsourced specialists. All team members were also distributed into four teams: Support & Maintenance Team, Product & Pricing Team, Booking System Team, and Groups/YL Team.

The Product & Pricing Team was working on the existing functionality along with the Support & Maintenance Team whose role was to keep that functionality running. This part of the project was a priority, so it required fewer external resources, mostly relying on the internal staff, whether existing or newly hired. The company had a full-time Development Lead, QA tester, and Product Owner, and planned to hire a full-time Technical Business Analyst. Plus, they needed two developers from Brocoders.

Two other teams, the Booking System Team and Groups/YL Teams had to implement new functionality, so they needed an outsourced Business Analyst to document business processes and requirements, as well as two developers and one QA for each team. The company had full-time Product Owners for each of these teams and planned to hire full-time senior developers to ensure quality and an in-house DevOps expert to integrate new functionality into the existing product.

The Head of Systems was appointed to lead the development processes on the client's side. One more leadership role belonged to the Technical Architect on our side. His responsibility was to oversee the technology and our external team.

As a result, we helped our client create a productive hybrid team capable of providing quality results while sticking to deadlines. Thanks to strong English and other soft skills, the collaboration between the in-house and external members was smooth and hassle-free.

Moreover, the client got all they wanted in the external team under one roof, eliminating the need to partner with other outsourcers and invest more resources.

Case study 2: Closing the gaps with a full-size outsourced development team for Dokka

Our next client Dokka is an accounting automation platform that helps reduce manual work in all accounting functions, from bookkeeping to payroll. Using a proprietary AI-powered technology, the software automatically processes invoices and speeds up payroll operations.

When they turned to us, their internal team included four departments: Maintenance and Support, Product, Development, and Sales & Marketing. The CEO and Product Owner were both responsible for the product. The development team led by the VP of R&D and CTO, also included a DevOps expert, several AI engineers, and a Backend Lead. In this configuration, they lacked software engineers, QA experts, and UI/UX designers to complete their work on the ongoing project.

To ensure successful planning, execution, and completion of the project, we recommended our client engage our Project Manager to oversee the project and provided two frontend developers led by our Frontend Development Lead, and three senior backend engineers led by our client's Backend Lead. We also added a four-member QA team led by our QA and Test Automation Lead. To fulfill ad-hoc design needs, we proposed to our client the option of engaging our UI/UX designers on a flexible, on-demand basis.

This project had a broad scope of tasks, which required a full-fledged team of developers and other related specialists. Our client played the role of a Product Owner with us filling in the missing positions by hiring software developers and QA experts. We also brought in leaders like a front-end development lead and a QA lead and provided a project manager to make it easier for the client to control the progress of our team and manage our workload.

Frame 6265789.png

Case study 3: Building a hybrid team using the Spotify model for iFit

The next story is about iFit, a health and fitness subscription platform. It provides personalized fitness workouts and sells fitness equipment. When iFit came to Brocoders, they had an in-house CTO and Director of Tech Operations, but they lacked a development team. They decided to hire external specialists for the project duration and reached out to us to get the needed talent.

Inspired by the Spotify model, iFit divided our workload among two teams: the Vulnerability Issues Team and the Integration Team to handle security and integration challenges.

The Vulnerability Issues squad included a Project Manager, a Team Lead, and four senior developers. As for the Integration squad, it also included a Project Manager and a Team Lead, plus two senior software developers and a QA engineer.

Let me tell you briefly about the Spotify approach to building development teams. Spotify divides teams into squads, tribes, chapters, and guilds. The squad is the smallest unit of a company working on a specific feature, while the tribe includes several squads. Chapters consist of people with similar skills or competencies (e.g., developers, testers) across different squads, and guilds are self-organized groups of people from different tribes who come together to share knowledge, best practices, and common interests.

Using this approach for iFit, we improved communication, accountability, and quality within teams. What’s more, it’s scalable, so if we need additional squads or tribes, we can add them when necessary.

Frame 6265806.png

Case study 4: Providing a 13-member front-end development team to speed up TTM for Wagepoint

The last case I want to talk about is Wagepoint, a payroll SaaS. It provides payroll services to small businesses, helping companies send money directly to employees’ bank accounts, view payment details, generate records of employment, and more.

To build their payroll software, Wagepoint had several roles each responsible for their designated area such as Product, UI, QA, and backend. But while their backend development team was fully staffed, they lacked frontend developers and QA experts to be able to finish the project on time. Wagepoint approached Brocoders to accelerate their delivery, seeking React engineers and several QA specialists to operate under the guidance of their Frontend Lead and QA Lead, respectively.

We invested our time to understand their requirements and in just a couple of weeks, assembled a team led by an experienced leader to kick off the project. This initial team consisted of five specialists, including a Project Manager, three React developers, and one QA specialist. After some time, our team increased to 13 Brocoders: 10 React developers and three QA specialists, who helped our client address technical debt and improve the scalability and maintainability of the system.

With our Brocoders’ help, Wagepoint successfully developed a top-notch solution within the specified timeframe, allowing them to launch their product to the market as planned.

Frame 6265791.png

All these cases demonstrate that a hybrid model fits various project needs, whether it involves assembling an entirely external team for software development or supplementing the existing in-house development team with missing expertise. By strategically blending in-house and outsourced resources, organizations can leverage the strengths of both models to enhance productivity, efficiency, and innovation while mitigating potential challenges.

The crucial aspect lies in orchestrating teamwork while navigating the remote nature of such projects and ensuring the effective distribution of responsibilities. This requires meticulous planning and the support of an external partner capable of addressing these challenges.

Build a High-Performing Hybrid Team With Brocoders

At Brocoders, we provide top-notch tech talent on demand and help our partners effectively mix in-house and augmented models.

Brocoders has a team of 87 strong software engineers, with 60% being senior developers, well-prepared for any project. Additionally, we have access to a pool of 10,000 pre-vetted candidates for rapid scaling.

If you're looking to boost your team with external tech experts, contact us to discuss your project!

Contact us to know more about our expertise and work process

Hire top AI engineers

Contact us
Thank you for reading! Leave us your feedback!
5465 ratings

Read more on our blog