Daria Spizheva
FinTech Engineering Writer at INSART
27 February 2020

How to Work Things out When Scaling the Team

You undoubtedly know that quality processes at the company enable scaling without putting a company at risk. If you one day need to hire ten or more engineers to reach a goal, established processes are your safety net to prevent chaos. If your processes are robust, hiring a distributed team will be no problem. Nevertheless, when you start putting together a project team for augmentation, it’s worth taking into account what criteria should match your existing team structure. For example, if you are in Fintech, the decision to hire a team of freelancers would expose the company’s data security. Decisions like this can hardly be called straightforward, so you have a logical question: How can I optimize my staff augmentation decisions so that they will benefit the company?

You will be able to better understand what mistakes to avoid and what factors to pay attention to if you analyze objectives, tasks for completion required to scale the team, existing team structures, the specifics of the product your team is developing, and many more details. You certainly know all these factors well, but some could slip through the safety net. This article is to provide you a checklist to ensure you are not missing important choice criteria.

What should be the results of the team scaling? You might have plenty of reasons to grow your engineering team—for example, to speed up the implementation of new features, enter a new market, roll out a new product, or raise another investment round—but the reason to start scaling clearly defines the goal of hiring a team. Depending on your goal, the choice criteria for choosing a team’s structure, number, and qualifications can change.

Who are the people at the company who take part in or are responsible for making strategic decisions on scaling the team? One person alone never makes the decision to scale the team. If everyone has a unified vision of the future scaling’s purpose and how your company will scale, there will be fewer risks and problems later. It’s useful to compare what are the personal goals of people involved in the scaling process and what goals are associated with their roles to determine why they might insist on a certain decision.

What tasks would new team members work on? Your backlog can inspire new ideas about team structure and candidates’ requirements. Think over what tasks you’ll entrust to new people and why. This will be useful for answering the subsequent questions and gaining more clarity on the criteria of choice.

What are the minimum requirements for candidates regarding their skills? As you determine the goals and tasks, you can summarize what responsibilities each team member will have. When clearly defined, these criteria help you stay on the same page as the vendors regarding candidates’ qualifications. Also, pay attention to the time frames to hire and onboard those candidates because no one will be able to avoid a ramp-up period.

Challenges: Define criteria

How will the new team members be integrated with the existing team structure? Take time to look at what the current team structure is and what the new team should be to collaborate efficiently. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to integrate two teams who will work on the same goal. The types of tasks new team members will perform, the team’s number, and management specifics can help you determine the criteria such a structure should match.

What should a software development life cycle (SDLC) be in the new part of the team to ensure solid integration? When you expand your workforce, the team will most likely be built from scratch, and you’ll be able to choose your preferred structure and SDLC. However, if you think implementing the same SDLC that your current team uses will work best, you are wrong. Scaling the team may require changing the SDLC to help teams work together efficiently and to drive results. To better understand your current SDLC, define communication channels and flows within your distributed and in-house teams.

What security-related requirements should team members follow to keep the company’s data safe? No one can cover all potential risks. When you think about security measures to keep your project safe, don’t overestimate risks or try to implement every possible means of security. Stick to only the must-have points because following all security prescriptions can make the work completely ineffective. To ensure you haven’t lost sight of something important, follow the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) triad. The CIA model is designed to guide policies for information security within an organization. Here, confidentiality is a set of rules that limits access to information; integrity is the assurance that the information is trustworthy and accurate; and availability is a guarantee of reliable access to information by authorized people. If you feel like the team you want to hire is aligned with all three factors, you’re on the right track.

After going through the checklist points, you will probably see if you adequately understand the criteria your future team augmentation should follow. To formulate a consistent list of criteria preventing you from missing some points, we recommend you use a project charter—a document that allows you to record in one place all the information necessary for making a decision concerning how to scale. Although this document is usually used at the vendor validation stage before partnering with a staff augmentation company, you can compose it yourself to lay out the facts about your project and processes. The project charter defines the criteria that are important for efficient team augmentation, so it can also accelerate decision-making within the board.

Takeaways

The first step in identifying the criteria is conducting an overview of the existing organization. By analyzing what you already have, you can create a blueprint for what type of organization would be a good fit for your company and solution.

In our new how-to guide, we present a way to define criteria your vendor should match to organically bolster your current development forces. Also, to make the overview process systematic and predictable and ensure you don’t miss the point, use a project charter—a project management artifact that outlines the basics of a future project’s road map.