Operational Flexibility: Scale IT Projects with Team Extension

Mikołaj Brach - Business Development Manager
7 minutes read

Have you ever found yourself in a position where your project demands suddenly increased or declined and you needed to quickly adjust the number of hands on deck?

It’s a perfect question to realize how hard it is to manage a group of people involved in any task.

The decision to adjust team size is a common occurrence in IT project management, and what can help you here is operational flexibility.

That's why today, we'll discuss its importance and what it has in common with the team extension model. Stay tuned!

The Challenge of Scaling IT Projects

One thing is certain: the market is not standing still, but rather shifting and evolving. This can either be an opportunity for you to grow or a potential threat if you don't adapt accordingly.

The truth is that your company has to react somehow.

The best way to do so is by scaling your IT projects accordingly, but this may pose some challenges. So, what are the difficulties that we’re talking about?

The Time Involved in Hiring

One of the main hurdles is the time it takes to recruit new team members.

Here, the issue is finding someone with the right skills who will fit well within an existing team and understand your work's specific needs. Nevertheless, you may find that by the time you hire and deploy someone, the market requirements have changed again and you have to restart the whole process.

And what if after all this effort, the market shifts or the IT project scope reduces? Suddenly, you might find yourself overstaffed and facing high layoff costs. That doesn't sound good at all.

Lack of Flexibility

Another issue is the lack of flexibility in traditional hiring.

Once you commit to a new employee, scaling down quickly isn't easy without incurring significant costs or impacting morale. The challenge here is how to manage such fluctuations without overcommitting resources.

Many C-level executives, project managers, and IT directors get stuck in this situation because they don’t have a solution that both offers flexibility and efficiency in this area.

Searching for Niche Skills

There is also a need for niche skills.

As technology evolves, new tasks might require unique proficiencies and talents that your current team doesn't possess. So, when starting a project, you may find that your team lacks certain expertise.

However, by then it will already be too late. As a result, this skill gap can delay development and increase the risk of failure.

Complicated Onboarding

You may encounter problems with onboarding new employees.

Even when you identify the right talent, integrating them into ongoing projects can be fraught with even more challenges. New team members need time to adjust, essentially to understand the workflows and company culture.

But often you don’t have that time, so then what should you do? Wait and jeopardize the task completion time, or act quickly with the thought that somehow it will work out?

We certainly wouldn’t recommend the latter, because if the integration process fails then you could end up with miscommunication, errors, and the resultant negative impacts on both timelines and quality.

Problems with Resource Allocation

And what about resource allocation?

Determining how best to allocate resources for fluctuating project demands can be like trying to hit a moving target. You may find it tricky to balance the workload among your team and ensure that everyone is engaged but not overwhelmed.

And over- or underutilization of resources can lead to burnout or inefficiency.

These difficulties are especially critical for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that work in the dynamic tech industry, where rapid adaptation is necessary.

Yet this issue also applies to those companies looking to optimize their resource allocation and upgrade their service delivery capabilities without increasing overhead costs.

So what can they do about these potential problems?

Exploring Team Extension

What if there is a way to address the above challenges of scaling IT projects without the usual headaches?

Yes, here we introduce the team extension model.

This a strategic approach where companies augment their existing workforce with skilled professionals from outside the organization on a flexible basis. It is particularly appealing because the complexities and long-term commitments of traditional hiring practices are avoided.

The team extension concept offers a practical solution for maintaining competitiveness and agility. It enables organizations to adjust their team sizes and skill sets dynamically.

Also, thanks to team extension, you can work with tech experts who bring fresh perspectives and specialized skills on an ad hoc basis.

Moreover, this method accelerates project development and allows companies to operate effectively without worrying about the size or quality of their team.

But there are many more advantages to talk about in more detail.

Benefits of Team Extension for Operational Flexibility

Among the next most important benefits of using this strategy for operational flexibility, we have identified three areas:

  1. Access to a wide range of skills and expertise on demand.

  2. Enhanced ability to scale IT projects up or down with market demands.

  3. Significant cost savings over traditional hiring models.

Here they are:

Access to a wide range of skills and expertise on demand

Team extension is essentially a flexible approach to expanding your team's capabilities.

  • A talent pool at your fingertips – complement existing staff with skilled professionals from a talent pool on an as-needed basis. Imagine not having to commit long-term to every new hire but still getting the expertise your work requires.

  • No skill gaps – team extension can fill those gaps efficiently and bring in people with the exact skills you want, just for the duration you need them.

  • Quick integration – this concept also allows you to integrate new talent quickly with minimal issues, as the professionals you add are accustomed to jumping into diverse environments and scaling with the task's scope.

Enhanced ability to scale IT projects with market demands

Moreover, with this model, you're no longer tethered by the slow-moving gears of traditional hiring. It sounds like the key to enhancing IT project management, doesn't it? Let’s check why.

  • Dynamic scaling – scale IT initiatives up or back smoothly based on the market's shifting preferences to stay agile in a competitive landscape, adapt quickly to new challenges or opportunities without delay, and reduce the burden of time-consuming hiring processes.

  • Aligning with project needs – the ability to fine-tune your team's size and skill set in real-time to match your current requirements perfectly is invaluable, whether ramping up for a major launch or winding down post-project completion.

  • Resource optimization – ensure that every team member is utilized effectively and, as such, enhance overall IT project management and delivery.

So, isn't this a smarter way to organize your resources while keeping pace with the market?

Significant cost savings over traditional hiring models

And what about the financial advantages offered by team extension? Well, this tactic offers cost-effective scaling compared to standard hiring.

  • Reduction in HR overheads – recruitment, onboarding, and administrative tasks are handled by the service provider, so you are free from significant resources within your company.

  • Cost-savings in training – no reason for extensive training periods typically required for new hires, as the professionals you engage are already experienced and ready to integrate into your work immediately.

  • Flexibility to scale down without facing redundancy costs – when a project ramps down or shifts direction, you can adjust your team size accordingly without incurring penalties or severance expenses. Consequently, you can manage your budget more effectively.

Just imagine: How much could you save by eliminating the usual recruitment fees, onboarding costs, and the time it takes to get new hires up to speed?

➡️ Want to know more about how to save money, for example, on software development? If so, listen to the recording from our webinar here.

As you can see, the team extension strategy is not just about adding numbers to your team. It focuses on enhancing your capability to execute efficiently.

Conclusion

With team extension, you're not just managing resources but strategically enhancing your team to meet specific project goals. This means you can maintain a lean core team while still having the flexibility to bring in specialized talents as your needs and requirements evolve.

Doesn't this seem like a smarter way to stay competitive in a rapidly changing tech landscape? If you agree, consider team extension as a strategic solution for operational flexibility and scaling IT projects.

Get in touch with our consultants to see how team extension can help scale your IT efforts.

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