8 Signs You Need to Bring in a Software Agency
The role of a CTO is a tough one. Not only are you the operational leader for all technical aspects of the business, but you’re also beholden to the ambitions of your senior colleagues - all while managing projects that drive the company towards growth.
This demand can stifle a CTO’s ability to drive innovation in their team. It can become easy to get into a routine with your team where they become experts in their roles and responsibilities but rarely experiment or test new methods.
This makes new projects a tough challenge for everyone. As the CTO, you need to foster innovation and get your team enthusiastic about a new challenge. For the team, it often means leaving their comfort zones, learning new code, or having to lessen their current responsibilities. For the business, it may mean hiring new staff.
What about a software agency?
This is where outsourced software agencies truly shine. By allowing a CTO to access a specialist resource pool that doesn’t require the same commitment as hiring and training new staff but gives access to expertise and flexibility.
But when it is time to bring in an agency? What sort of thing are you looking for and what choices should you make to enhance your current team rather than eclipse it. Here are our top signs for when it’s time to hire an agency (yes, an agency like us - we realise the slight bias here.)
When capacity is stretched.
Your internal team only has a set capacity - in terms of both hours and knowledge. For them to expand, you either need to train new skills or hire new staff. This in turn means their current project may take a back seat and that is rarely an option.
For a CTO, a software agency acts as an extension of capacity in a way a new hire at your internal team never could. You gain access to an immediate pool of talent that is available straight away
When you need to innovate.
An outside team brings with it a raft of new ideas and processes. Unlike your own team, which will be specialised in the languages you need for your day-to-day business, an agency brings an array of different coding knowledge and new processes. At Komodo, for example, we are Agile development specialists who bring this methodology to your project and, if required, to your team.
By giving you an outside perspective through activities such as Discovery workshops, an agency can help you see other sides to a project that you and your internal team wouldn’t be able to spot.
When you are faced with a tight deadline.
You’re at work and your CEO requests a new product launch. You wave it off, telling them your team can’t meet his deadline. But the launch, according to your boss, MUST go ahead when needed as the customers or shareholders are expecting it.
What do you do? You have two options: force your team to change focus, abandon current work and reframe themselves to work on this new product - or hire a software agency that has the capacity to do it for you.
When considering the agency’s price, remember that if you don’t use them, you’ll have to pull your own team into the project which may actually end up being more expensive.
When you need new skills or languages.
If you have a unique need for a project that won’t be your team’s main focus, appointing an agency may be more cost-efficient than a full-time hire. For example, if you’re launching a mobile app and your team is concentrating on iOS, it may be beneficial to have an outside resource coding the Android variant rather than hiring an entirely new team.
This is even true of ongoing management, as it’s often more cost-efficient to outsource product management and development to an agency that could look after the Android variant. Alternatively, you’d have to hire a sizable team to establish the coding expertise of an agency and the flexibility needed to manage an app.
So all of those examples are signs it’s time to hire a software agency, but what is it you should be looking for in the agency itself?
Capacity to meet deadlines.
First and foremost, can the agency meet the deadline you have for your project? The agency should be able to estimate the time it’ll take them to carry out work and tell you whether they can meet your deadline.
As a CTO you’re no stranger to development headaches that can occur with buggy code and sub-par developers delivering subpar projects. An agency should be able to offer the technical expertise required to get your job done. If you’re appointing an agency to help build an app, they should demonstrate great technical ability in a language like React Native.
An agency should also be able to deliver code that your own team can work on and iterate from, which means it should be delivered with documentation and tests as standard. When interviewing your agency, ask them about how they document and test to see if they’re a good choice.
Reputation and portfolio.
Why take a chance in an age of digital immortality? Every agency has a track record that can be investigated to ensure you’re choosing a reliable company. In addition, an agency should also have a portfolio of work they can demonstrate to you to show they’ve worked on similar projects.
Hiring an agency helps plug gaps in your team - but it also brings the opportunity to benefit from an outside eye. When considering agencies, ask them what they bring to the table and how they’ll help expand the skills of your existing team. At KOMODO, we offer discovery workshops and help develop an agile methodology that can help your entire team learn new ways to work.
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