The Ultimate Guide To A Digital Team
Within the context of growing needs for software development, several organizations are facing the unexpected circumstances of lacking IT talents in the local area. As successful IT projects require the contribution of a solid technical team, hiring professionals to address specific tasks that their in-house team cannot handle is worth considering.
Recently, many businesses have turned to digital teams from great software houses to build or augment their technical department due to its considerable benefits: quicker, cheaper, and easier to deploy the product. In fact, some would argue that a digital team model can actually allow companies to change the requirements and project scope, as well as scale up or down the number of software developers in accordance with the project requirements.
This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the digital team model to help you hire the appropriate one.
Table of Contents
What is a Digital Team?
A Digital Team is a group of cross-functional individuals who can either help you take full ownership of your product, scale-up your in-house development team, or simply make up for the resources you lack.
Digital Team is not merely a team of developers and testers. The team members work in high synergy towards a single goal: making Digital Transformation happen.
Services that require a digital team include Software Development, Software and Application Testing, Data Analysis, IT Management Services, and Technical Support.
Roles of Digital Team Members
For any technical-related project, choosing the team members with the necessary skills is among the biggest challenges, along with project leadership and management. Prominent roles included in a typical digital team are:
- The project manager (PM): the one who has a combination of expertise in both tech and business process consulting to make sure that practical solutions, as well as business objectives, are achieved. Since the top PMs can help businesses stand out, they should also have some specific qualities.
- The IT specialists: these software engineers are the primary workforce responsible for building digital apps and software.
- The data engineers: help provide comprehensive data analytics solutions for an end-to-end data journey as well as add analytics capabilities to the existing IT environment.
- The UI/UX designers: collaborate with developers to ensure the products are customer-centric and user-friendly.
- The QA/QC engineers: provide both manual and automated testing to ensure software functions satisfy the success criteria.
Technology Stacks needed in a Digital Team
In order to help businesses address challenges timely and effectively, each role of the digital teams is required to have sufficient knowledge in some particular technology stacks.
- Font-end: as this position will be responsible for the design and implementation of the interface, they need to know HTML5/ CSS/ JS/ React/…
- Back-end: refers to the server-side development, back-end developers should be proficient in one or more server-side languages comprising .NET, Java, PHP, NodeJS, Python, and many more.
- Project Management: in order to manage the team effectively on any scale, Jira, Trello, VersionOne, Basalmiq, etc can be utilized.
- Testing: as testers need to provide both manual and automated testing, here’re some technology stacks that help them accelerate the testing process and ensure the quality of products: qTest, Katalon, TFS, Zephyr, etc.
Benefits of a Digital Team
Building an in-house IT team from scratch is resource-intensive (e.g. salary expenses, hardware, and software equipment, office set-ups, etc.) and takes time, especially during the ramp-up phase with many hiring hassles. By cooperating with a technology partner, you won’t have to worry about many hiring challenges and risks associated with HR activities since these are all taken care of by the external vendor.
1. Team Scalability
Partnering with a trusted technology vendor allows companies to scale the team according to their requirements while reducing potential IT resource waste due to ineffective hiring.
At KMS Solutions, we can help grow your digital team from 50 to 100+ software developers and even more. Customers can entrust their digital transformation project to our 1000+ professionals offering competency in both business process consulting and software engineering.
2. Knowledge Preservation
When a digital team works on a project that is unique to your company’s business domain, they will be able to help cultivate and grow the products and project knowledge throughout the entire cooperation period.
Moreover, working with a technical team that understands your project thoroughly, even if there are some changes in the team composition, your dedicated IT specialists will ensure a proper knowledge transfer.
3. Improved Innovation and Performance
Cross-functional individuals can bring different skill sets and perspectives to the projects, encouraging new ideas to flow in. This allows knowledge to be spread evenly among the team, and team members can learn from each other, from external team to in-house team and vice versa. All of these lead to more innovative solutions that promote final satisfaction and improve team performance.
4. Extra flexibility with Digital Team
The digital team collaboration model is incredibly flexible, which allows you to acquire additional IT resources through staff augmentation, or to delegate the project in its entirety to the external team. Project change requests can also be considered and applied at any project stage.
At KMS Solutions, we work closely with customers to understand their needs and offer the best option for their business requirements. For example, some clients only need a mid-size team of Software Developers and Senior QC Engineers to join their projects for a certain period, while others require a large team to take full ownership of their product development, and we can provide both.
How to Set Budget for a Digital Team?
When you have decided to hire a digital team, the next step is to identify your budget. To avoid overspending, creating a reasonable but flexible budget is needed. There’re 3 steps that you can go through when evaluating the estimated costs for outsourcing a development team:
Step 1: Establish Context and Set Expectations
It’s essential to understand the business’s primary needs and targeted customers. Moreover, considering elements that might cause cost variations will enable you to establish whether the intended outcome is feasible within your financial constraints. From that, you can work with service providers to make necessary adjustments.
Step 2: Estimate Budget
Based on the duration and number of sprints, as well as the size and costs of the team, you can estimate the entire time and resources needed for the project.
Step 3: Request Price Quotation and Balance the Budget
After estimating the required budget, you’ll have the visualization of what digital team model that needed and, based on that, request price quotations from potential IT service partners. By analyzing the quotation from partners, you can balance the budget perfectly by identifying which functions are needed and which can remove.
How to Successfully Hire a Digital Team?
Prior to hiring a digital team, you should have a clear plan regarding the traits required for your “dream team” and the critical activities that will be conducted by them. This step is especially important in helping you find the A-players with the appropriate culture and tech skills to augment your internal IT team.
Characteristics of a High-performing Digital Team
As the majority of the high-performing digital teams share particular characteristics, when looking for a team that can improve your company’s performance, you can pay more attention to the following criteria:
- High level of professionalism
- Clear and effective communication
- Apparent goals and expectations
- Clear roles and responsibilities
- Ability to apply Scaled Agile Approach
Project Estimation Methods
Any project requires a schedule. In a digital team environment where things change and evolve constantly, you need to plan for the time and resources that would go into each task to deliver on-time outcomes. Thus, with project estimation, your digital team can allocate their skills and resources better, as well as prioritize the right functions and features.
- Planning Poker: for precise estimations
Planning poker is a gamified technique that digital teams use to guess the effort of project management tasks. These estimations are based on the entire group’s input and consensus, making them more engaging and accurate than other methods.
- Dot Voting: for remote teams
Dot voting helps development teams improve decision-making, ensuring every voice is heard and taken into account. A dot voting method is also a prominent tool when teams need to prioritize what action to take first when presented with many distinct options.
- Affinity Estimation: for teams in the same location
This is a method used by many agile teams to estimate a large number of user stories in narrative points fast and efficiently. Affinity Estimation is an excellent strategy for newly-started projects with unestimated backlogs or in preparation for release planning. It is beneficial when the team size and number of members are small.
- Bucket System: for a large backlog
This technique is used for estimating a massive number of items with a medium to a large group of staff and doing it quickly. The Bucket System Estimation approach offers the team a consistent way to size stories by discussing each story in terms of pre-defined buckets of complexity before deciding on the final points.
Where To Look For Your Next Digital Team?
The Asia Pacific region is an emerging region home to millions of skilled software engineers. Also, businesses often choose to set up or hire a digital team in this region due to its reasonable hourly rates for IT services.
Taking a closer look at various APAC countries, Vietnam is a promising destination for software development, in terms of tech education, skills of the Vietnam IT professionals, and more.
Vietnam IT Services
The ICT sector is increasingly becoming one of the most important service industries for the country, with total estimated revenue reaching USD 112.35 billion in 2019. The government has realized there are many opportunities in the IT sector and offer favorable business conditions (e.g. tax relief) to attract foreign clients’ investment as well as working closely with domestic firms to accelerate digital transformation, ultimately making Vietnam one of the leading IT nations in the region.
According to the Vietnam IT market report 2020 by TopDev, on average, there are about 50,000 IT graduates annually from 153 IT institutions across Vietnam.
Additionally, Vietnam also ranked Top 8 on OECD’s PISA chart 2018 on 15-year-old students’ abilities in maths, science, and reading comprehension, above developed economies like Korea and China.
Most of the software developers in Vietnam self-assess their English level as Intermediate level, capable of communicating effectively in English with clients.
How To Choose A Vendor To Help Building Your Digital Team In Vietnam?
The success of your IT project depends heavily on the technology vendor you partner with. So, here are a few general steps that can help you to find a trusted partner to take ownership of your project:
- Short-list a number of potential vendors based on their past project experience, technology expertise, cyber-security standards, etc.
- Enquire about the potential vendor’s reviews and/or references from previous customers. This information can be accessed from many public sources, such as Clutch.co, GoodFirms, or other B2B directory sites.
- Analyze business requirements such as types of technical functions the company plans to outsource, tech stack currently used, estimated deadlines, etc., to find the right digital team with suitable solutions.
Moreover, it’s also essential to choose the digital team willing to work closely with you to understand your needs, set up extra calls with you, and follow-ups promptly, etc., to ensure successful long-term collaboration.
Dedicated Digital Team Models
The next challenge after successfully building your own digital team is to manage the team to ensure success effectively. Generally speaking, customers will get to choose the level of responsibility for project management according to the team models.
There are three options: IT staff augmentation, Digital Team As a Service, or a Digital Technology Partner. Let’s take a look in more detail.
1. IT Staff Augmentation
Under this model, the customer company is still fully responsible for the tasks of product development and team management. The technology vendor helps to scale up the development capacity, taking care of administration and providing skilled IT professionals, making up for the roles and skill sets, and tools required to get the project up and running. This model allows you to retain maximum control and set up policies and processes over your task.
In-house team augmentation is ideal to acquire additional development resources, working alongside the existing team.
2. Digital Team As a Service
With this option, your technology partner is in charge of the technology alignment and overall team management. Nevertheless, you still call the shots on the critical decisions concerning the project and share the product vision with the digital team. You delegate more responsibilities to the technology partner compared to the IT staff augmentation model.
The model of Digital Team As a Service is a good fit for companies that want to build a fully functional team dedicated solely to the development of your product, at the same time minimize management overheads.
3. Digital Partner
You’ll have a technology partner who accompanies you through every stage of your digital transformation, from road mapping to execution and maintenance.
Ultimately, a trusted technology partner will ensure that the work is being executed as planned and that the team works effectively as expected, regardless of the chosen digital team model.
Apply the Agile Approach
Agile methodology plays a vital role in the effectiveness of the project and digital team management. Many leading technology companies adopt Scaled Agile framework for their product development, as well as boosting team morale and productivity.
With Agile, the team gets together frequently via daily stand-up/meetings to discuss challenges and project statuses, enabling them to collaborate better. Also, because the team size is limited, Agile offers an environment where teams are close-knit and can have flexible team structures.
Evaluate a Digital Team’s Performance
While a project manager is there with essential qualities to ensure things are running smoothly, many of their team members cannot pinpoint exactly what they perform. Thus, in order to effectively evaluate the performance of the digital team, there are some key performance indicators (KPIs) that may be used:
- On-time delivery: this involves managing the timely preparation of all deliverables and ensuring that the plan's budget is sufficient.
- On-budget: when it comes to budget management. PM should keep an eye on these areas: availability of resources, resources for development operations, and resources for network operations.
- Relationships and Communication: by ensuring clear communication between team members, you can enhance their work toward a common business goal.
How KMS Solutions Can Help You Build A Strong Digital Team?
KMS Technology has over 12 years of experience providing IT services. We have delivered a variety of successful projects helping enterprises across the globe grow and achieve more.
You can entrust your digitization to our 1600+ professionals who draw on combined expertise in both technical engineering and business process consulting; We provide technical tools and infrastructure, encourage continued education, and invest in the growth of your digital team.
If you want to learn more about our Digital Team services and would like a meeting, contact us now.