DEV Community

loading...

Project Management Hacks: When and How to Scale the Development Team

sophiezoria profile image Sophie Zoria ・6 min read

Whenever things go well in a company, there is a strong will to take more orders, build more software, and develop new features. Sooner or later, all those tasks get so overwhelming that the idea and even the need to scale a software development company becomes unavoidable. For almost a decade, the community believes that about 70% of startups fail due to inefficient scaling, which only proves the point – scaling is a must, but it must be done in baby steps. That is why this article focuses precisely on the signs when scaling is essential and how to approach it wisely.

When?

Multiple signs in the software development life cycle can hint something is not working: slips in release times, requested features get lost in the backlog, QA team have all or nothing kind of work schedule, etc. And even if you have already reorganized people and repurposed the assets, the process would not get better; this is definitely the time to switch to agile software development and scale-up at least a bit. Below are some other the common reasons when you should consider scaling up.

The Project Is Growing

It is the most common case.

_You have a startup.
_It works good and shows good numbers.
_The KPIs grow.
_Users grow.
_The client base grows.
Constant improvements get tough to track and/or deliver.
If anything from the list above sounds familiar, then it is the time for the new and scaled software development services to take over.

Horizontal Expansion

That is the case when your initial product stays the same, but you add more supplementary apps, like Messenger or Ads Manager Facebook. While people consider new add-ons a part of the same product, your software development company understands that this would be a standalone project that requires new task force. As a rule, this happens when a platform is great, but you need a mobile app or an offline solution.

You Just Can’t Handle It

It is the case for custom software development companies that create new solutions for clients. For example, you had seven people for one product at the beginning. Now you have the same seven people to develop and maintain seven products. While this scenario is plausible if those products are not being developed rapidly, most probably the team would not be able to handle it anymore and need help. Urgently! The same case would be for teams who just got a new order for an app, for instance, and the current skillset lacks an AI-expert. Both scenarios are exactly the moment to scale.

Everything is Behind the Schedule

That is a point to the previous sign – if your team cannot handle everything, your sprints get longer and longer while not bringing the right functionality. You either need to review the strategy or to scale your software development services.

The Product Is Not Cohesive

If you spot that the same functionality in different parts of the product looks different, it means that development teams do not cooperate. It frequently happens if the request was for quick and cheap web development software. This software works, but it is not unified and so creates lousy user experience hence low loyalty. If you have teams working independently and using no common ground, you will face these discrepancies which might eventually lead to a complete failure. Scaling the management teams would help in this case, more than increasing the number of workforces.

Good Marketing and Poor Software

It happens when the marketing team does the job well while the software development services are left to flow their own order. A customer reads about an amazing app, its features, and benefits, gets the app, disappoints in it, and never comes back. You can track this problem even by reading software reviews on listings, in the Google Play Market or App Store. If the reviews are low, there is definitely something wrong with the software, and most likely you need to scale.

How?

Carefully. Rapid scaling without a system will only cause more losses because the teams will not be synced, and it will create even greater confusion on all levels of your software development company. Always put strategy for development first, then consider the steps, and only then begin scaling up. Here are a few tips that can help you get it right.

Scale in Sync

Scaling comes as a consequence of a greater deal of work at all times. So carefully re-evaluate your current team and find the weak spots that need filling in. Then search for the people that can fit the shoes and smartly enlarge your team hiring of individual and further consideration of who goes where is a dead end. Always be clear about the big picture, big goals, and significant steps your software development team is planning to take in the upcoming year to scale in sync with those plans.

Think of Dependencies

When you scale a dev team, remember that it is also connected to the design and research departments, the analytics, the management, and even support. Whenever your company consists of more than one department, consultation with the rest of the folks who will be affected by your scaling is a must. You need to clearly establish the dependencies and consider them when bringing new people on board. Moreover, design or analytics can also be of great help in determining which exact part of your team needs enforcement.

Implement Peer Review for Applicants

While HR departments do a superior job, especially in the COVID times, the new team members will end up within the development teams so it is essential you’re your current force approves of the newcomers. In this respect, before you scale a team, ensure that the senior members review the applicants and point out to the best ones. In this way, you can scale smart – by actually providing what the team needs.

Be Flexible

Whether you operate in the realm of luxurious or cheap software development services, flexibility is the key when it comes to scaling. Agility helps to get through the transformational process when new team members learn about the product and begin participating in the company’s processes. It allows changing priorities on the go, adapting your software development life cycle to the changes, and hence promotes faster release new features to generate ROI.

Outsource a Software Development Company

Hiring always involves a lot of effort, especially when your hands are full. That is why outsourcing a software development team to scale up can be a very smart and easy solution, especially when your priorities and daily work change or you need to scale temporarily. Moreover, with the outsourced scaling, you can also plan the budget better because you can hire and fire the team weekly or monthly ensuring that you pay for the development of the particular features without overpaying when the workload is low.

Software Development Company Scaling Readiness Checklist

And before you go and start considering your scaling possibilities, here is a shortlist of tips that will help you do it smarter and more efficient:

  1. Set the clear common goals
  2. Use metrics
  3. Plan the architecture
  4. Resolve any insufficiency in managerial skill
  5. Set up proper communication channels
  6. Adopt development procedures (prioritization and planning)
  7. Decide on the standards
  8. Prepare the hard- and software for new team members
  9. Go for automation as much as possible

Now you are ready! You can spot the moment when scaling is essential, have a plan to do it right, and a checklist to prepare for the new team. Go ahead and scale your team!

Discussion

pic
Editor guide