Hiring a remote software development team is a cost-effective way to bring websites, apps, and online platforms to life… but only if you do it right!
Real talk—the remote team you choose could make or break your business, so do not rush the selection process. You could have your hands on the next big idea, but if you hire a software development team who can’t think strategically, understand your vision, and/or future-proof your digital products? You’re starting behind the eight ball.
The good news is that countless organizations have found success hiring remote development teams around the world. Here at Net Solutions, we’ve worked with major brands like Nike, Unilever, Yahoo, and the Harvard Business Review, along with countless startups that have gone on to do great things.
If you approach this strategically, you can hire a remote software development team that delivers superior products, quickly, for less than you’d spend on an in-house team.
Thinking about hiring a remote development team? This guide tells you, step-by-step, how to set up a software development team.
Advantages of Dedicated Software Teams
What is a dedicated software team?
A dedicated software team is an outsourced team that typically works full-time on a specific project. The relationship might wrap up after launch, or it may continue for years with the dedicated team performing maintenance and improving the product based on customer feedback.
What does a remote software team do?
Dedicated software teams may include Business Analysts, Designers, and UX professionals who work alongside the front-end and backend Software Engineers. As a client, you will typically interact with the Project Manager who oversees everything, providing regular updates, incorporating your feedback, and keeping your vision on track.
Of course, the exact software development team structure you employ will depend on the project’s needs, since modern software development team structures vary from one organization to the next.
The following are some advantages of hiring a dedicated software team.
1. Hiring a Dedicate Software Team Saves Time and Energy
Hiring a dedicated software team is much easier than forming your team in-house because you don’t have to interview candidates, hire each member individually, or handle all those HR and compliance issues (vacation, sick leave, benefits, unemployment insurance, etc.).
Plus, you’re freed from the burden of managing each employee’s day-to-day work. The agency that manages your dedicated team will handle all that, so you can focus on what you do best.
2. Cost-effective Pricing
Outsourcing is incredibly cost-effective, assuming you hire the right team. Hiring an incompetent team could cost you more in the long run because you’ll spend money and waste time fixing their mistakes.
That said, a credible team with a solid track record can save you money because:
- You aren’t responsible for payroll taxes, benefits, etc.
- Hiring, firing, and other HR responsibilities take time, and time is money.
- Many highly professional agencies operate in parts of the world where the cost of living is lower, which translates to lower operating costs and more competitive pricing.
3. High-quality Products
Working with a dedicated software team often results in higher-quality digital products than those built by newly formed in-house teams. This is because an experienced, dedicated software team has worked on many projects together. They have systems in place, methodologies they follow, and they know how to work with clients to translate ideas into superior products.
A good remote development team will also advise you on your strategy. For example, if a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) makes sense for your first release, a solid partner will float that idea and discuss the pros and cons.
Where to Find a Remote Development Team?
Okay, so you’ve decided to use a remote development team to build your digital product. Where do you go to find a good team? The following resources will help you get started. Be sure to read the sections that follow to learn how to select your candidates and thoroughly vet them.
Perhaps you’ve heard of a small, fledgling search engine called Google? Kidding, of course.
There’s a good chance you found this post from a Google search. Google is a great place to start your search, and if a development firm’s content shows up on the first page, they at least know a thing or two about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Developer Review Websites
Review sites like G2 and Clutch feature independent client reviews for development firms around the world, with objective information about each firm (e.g., company size, portfolio, location, major clientele).
You’re probably familiar with freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Toptal, and you can find some excellent talent there.
Upwork helps businesses hire freelancers all over the world, for all kinds of projects (not just tech projects). It can plug you into a wide network of talented software developers, and when you work with Upwork you’ll benefit from their legal protection.
On the downside? Just about anyone can sign up for an Upwork seller account, and some developers might not have all the skills they claim to have. Be sure to read customer reviews before hiring someone on Upwork.
Toptal is usually more expensive than Upwork, but they rigorously screen their candidates, giving you access to only the very top talent (hence the name). This is a very different business model from Upwork and other popular freelance marketplaces.
Keep in mind that these websites only work well if you want to hand-select each member of your outsourced development team—rather than hiring an agency that already has a team in place. If you’re trying to figure out how to build a software development team on your own, Upwork and Toptal are good places to start.
That said, choosing individual team members can add to your workload and might not turn out to be a cost-effective solution, unless you’re outsourcing one or two specific roles.
It wasn’t long ago that LinkedIn was the boring social network nobody cared about, but times have changed. Today, LinkedIn is a powerful resource not just for full-time job seekers, but for salespeople, hiring managers, entrepreneurs, and HR professionals.
LinkedIn has extensive tools for finding freelancers as well as full-time employees. You can also access discussion groups that might put you in touch with good freelancers. You can do a fair bit with your free account, or you can access additional functionality with paid subscriptions designed for recruiters.
Ask the Community
A great way to find remote software developers is to reach out to others who have hired them before. We mentioned LinkedIn groups above, but you can also join Facebook groups, ask questions on Quora, attend online and offline events, and ask people you’ve done business with in the past.
Best Countries to Hire Remote Software Developers
Okay, full disclosure: Net Solutions is headquartered in India, so naturally we’re big fans of outsourcing to India. It’s a country with an extremely high level of English fluency, which virtually eliminates communication errors. Plus, Indian firms can offer competitive pricing.
Of course, you have plenty of choices when it comes to outsourcing. The following countries are some of your best options when it comes to balancing price, talent, and quality.
Software Development Hotspots
One thing worth considering, regardless of which country you choose, is whether your development team is willing to shift their work hours to better meet your needs. We do that for our clients here at Net Solutions when they need it.
Of course, some of our clients prefer to have us work while they sleep—especially when we’re doing something like QA testing for products built by an in-house team. It all comes down to your individual needs, so wherever you choose to outsource your software development, make sure you find someone who can accommodate you.
How to Hire a Software Development Team (7 Steps)
Don’t get married on the first date. If you talk to a sales rep at a firm and you connect well, that’s a great start! However, you’re going to end up working with your team for months, years, or maybe even decades. You can’t rush this process.
Systematically work through the following seven steps to ensure you’ve got a team who can think strategically, translate your vision, manage your projects properly, and future-proof your business.
Step 1: Do Your Homework
What do you want to accomplish? Don’t just think about the app or platform or website you want to create. Think about your ultimate business goals and how you want to go about achieving them.
Do you want to create a bare-bone MVP to see how users respond before you sink money into developing a more robust product based on their feedback? Do you have a target audience in mind? Who are your competitors?
You might not have an answer to all these questions, and that’s fine. A good firm can help you clarify your vision. Just do your best to flesh out your idea, and then build a Request for Proposal (RFP) outlining everything. When you send a thorough RFP to potential partners, they’ll be able to provide a more accurate quote.
Step 2: Create a List of Potential Software Development Companies
Use all the resources at your disposal to come up with a list of potential tech partners, identifying the pros and cons of each candidate. You can gather intelligence by:
- Studying each company’s website
- Reviewing their portfolios (paying special attention to similar work)
- Reading client reviews on websites like G2 and Clutch
Once you come up with a list of candidates, send out your RFP and see who responds and what they say.
Step 3: Conduct the Initial Interview
A live interview is an absolute must, preferably via Zoom or some other type of video chat. Does the company contact seem easy to talk to? Do they openly answer your questions? Does this feel like someone you can trust as a partner?
Here’s a short (by no means exhaustive) list of qualities to look for during the interview:
- Curiosity (asking probing questions to really understand your vision)
- Communication skills (including language fluency)
- Rapport (how easily does the conversation flow?)
- Big picture understanding (do they really get what you’re trying to accomplish?)
- Software development methodologies they employ. For example, do they think an Agile approach (working in sprints) would be ideal for your project?
Step 4: Narrow Down Your List + Additional Interviews
As you narrow down your candidates, you’ll want to schedule additional interviews with the top picks. This means speaking with various team members (e.g., Project Managers, Business Analysts, Designers, Developers) to understand how they work and whether they’re a good fit. Don’t be afraid to ask technical questions to test each member’s knowledge.
This is an exciting time, since you’ll likely have narrowed it down to one or two front-runners, but don’t jump the gun and sign right away. It’s due diligence time!
Step 5: Perform Due Diligence
It’s time to ask for references—past clients you can chat with and learn about their experience. Naturally, anyone the firm would list as a reference is probably going to be a fan of the company’s work, but if you dig deeply and ask some tough questions you’re likely to uncover valuable information.
Was there anything they could have improved upon? If the client is no longer working with them, why not? Try to ask open-ended questions and get them talking. That’s when people open up.
Step 6: Get Information about Service Quality & Security
Ensure that whoever you work with has thorough systems for handling data and server security, which includes defined processes for coding and QA testing.
Specifically, you’ll want to ask about:
- Coding standards
- Coding review practices
- Code refactoring
- Server administration infrastructure
- Security practices
- Data storage and how they protect vulnerable data
- Information management within the organization, such as access levels for different employees, regular password update requirements, etc.
Step 7: Negotiate and Sign the Contract
Once you’ve found your dedicated software development team, it’s time to sign the contract. Since this could be a lengthy engagement, there will be quite a few details to outline. With this in mind, be sure to have an attorney review the contract to ensure your interests are represented.
How to Manage a Remote Software Development Team
Ever since Covid-19 changed the way we work, we’ve all become much familiar with the benefits and the challenges of working on a remote team.
If you’re working with a dedicated development team, you won’t have to worry about the day-to-day operations—your project manager will take care of that. Still, you’ll want to develop regular communication with that project manager. Plus, there will be times when you’ll interact directly with team members, from Business Analysts to Designers, so they can receive input and direction from you.
Now, if you’re building your own remote team using contractors you’ve hired yourself, that’s a different story. Since you will be managing their day-to-day work, you’ll want to:
- Define their roles and responsibilities clearly
- Establish effective communication, with regular meetings and check-ins
- Build rapport by occasionally connecting beyond work-related matters
- Build trust by paying them on time and addressing any concerns they mention
The Journey of 1,000 Miles Begins with the First Step
Answering the question of how to organize a software development team will depend on your specific needs. Those needs will determine whether hiring a software development company is right for you, or whether you’re better off organizing a software development team yourself.
Are you interested in exploring the dedicated software development team model to bring your digital product idea to life? At Net Solutions, we’ve worked with everyone from start-up founders with big dreams to Fortune 500 companies.
Contact us to learn more and get the ball rolling.