Determining the ideal team size for a custom software development outsourcing project not only helps optimize costs but also improves project performance. And of course, you cannot simply pick a random number of team members for the team. So, how can you determine the team size? The answer is in the article below.

A recent study by ResearchGate has revealed that there are 3 key factors influencing the effectiveness of software development: the platform, programming language, and team size. Among these, having an appropriate team size is considered the most critical factor.

You cannot complete any IT project without a team. However, having a larger team doesn’t necessarily translate to higher efficiency. In software development, quality is more important than quantity. If the team is too large, it may impact individual and overall productivity.

So, how can you determine the optimal team size for your custom software development outsourcing project?

How to decide the team size for your custom software development outsourcing project?

3 Important Factors that Help Determine the Team Size for Outsourcing Custom Software Development Project

1. Project scope and complexity

The first factor you need to consider is the scope and complexity of the project. By determining these aspects, you can outline the necessary tasks, required resources, and the number of specialists needed for the project.

The bigger the project, the larger the team you need. In some cases, you may need to hire multiple specialists to handle different separate roles. However, the necessity of this depends on the project’s complexity.

For example, a Software Development project (or a customized package) will require a larger team with more specialists than a Software Testing or Maintenance project. Additionally, the complexity of the project is influenced by the industry and type of software involved.

2. Budget and timeline

The next important factors to consider when determining the team size for a custom software outsourcing project are the timeline and budget.

The number of team members in a group also depends on your budget.

Be EXACT about the time and budget you can allocate for your software project. Avoid setting vague goals like “faster and cheaper the better.” Having an unclear budget may lead you to fall into the trap of “cutting workforce to save money,” resulting in project delays.

On the other hand, knowing the precise time you want to release the product and the exact budget you can invest in will help IT outsourcing companies advise on the appropriate team size for the project.

3. Available resources and skills

What tools do you need to complete the project? Do you already have any tools in place? What skills does your team require? Do you have any team members with those skills yet?

These are all important questions you must answer when building a team for a custom software development outsourcing project.

When determining the size of the software development team, you need to ensure that the skill gap between team members is not too large. Specifically, each member should have their strengths and roles, avoiding stacking individuals with the same shared skills in one team to prevent affecting the productivity of each individual.

Ideal Software Development Team Size and Roles

You won’t be able to find an exact answer to the question “How many members are needed for a custom software development outsourcing project?”. Larger projects often require a larger team, but sometimes smaller teams, which are easier to manage, can be highly valued in software development.

So, is there a way to determine the ideal team size for your project?

1. The formula for determining the ideal team size

Speaking about team size, in an interview, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos once shared a humorous observation that if you buy two pizzas for a team and there’s not enough to go around, it means the team is too large to work efficiently.

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The “2 pizza rule” of Jeff Bezos

Of course, this is just a lighthearted way of talking about the size of a working team. However, Bezos’s statement holds some truth in a certain aspect. Because in software development, having a large team doesn’t necessarily guarantee efficient work.

When establishing a development team, it is essential to consider the team’s needs rather than just random numbers. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Expertise: Each team member should have specialized skills that align with the project’s goals. For each skill set, there should be an expert and a person with basic knowledge to support each other.
  • Stability: Team members should focus on one project and have the ability to commit long-term, as the technology industry requires regular maintenance and updates.
  • Diverse Experience: Rich experiences serve as a foundation for new ideas and foster more flexible and diverse approaches to work.
  • Openness and Willingness to Learn: Project participants should be open to learning new technological knowledge, such as new programming languages and technologies, and even outside the technology domain. Understanding other industries is crucial for developing technology products for those fields.

Increasing team size and interactions can affect productivity. Therefore, this formula serves as an important communication load calculation to help you identify the appropriate team size.

2. Roles included in the team

When determining the team size for a custom software outsourcing project, you need to have a clear understanding of what the project requires to outline the distinct roles and tasks of each team member. Every software development team needs a combination of roles, and here are some specific roles:

  • Project Manager: Manages the team, monitors project progress, and ensures the set objectives are achieved.
  • Business Analyst (BA): Build goals, document, and evaluate core processes and systems, ensuring technology aligns with the business model. BA proposes development directions for the business after assessing what is effective and what is not.
  • Backend Developers: Write web services and APIs, and manage server-side logic.
  • Frontend Developers: Implement software designs, responsible for user experience and interactions.
  • UI/UX Designers: Create visually appealing designs, icons, backgrounds, themes, and banners to make the product engaging and user-friendly.
    QA (Quality Assurance) or Tester: Conduct final testing to ensure the software is ready to use.
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An example of a software development team structure.

IT Outsourcing – An Advanced Solution for Custom Software Development

Low cost and timesaving are just two of many reasons why businesses nowadays prefer using IT outsourcing rather than building an in-house team. So, what benefits can IT outsourcing bring that businesses are so fond of?

1. Benefits of IT outsourcing

Cost savings

When deciding to hire IT outsourcing, you won’t have to worry about additional costs such as recruitment, training, equipment, storage, etc. After completing the project, you also don’t need to be concerned about the idle costs of personnel and invested machinery. This is why this approach is much more cost-effective compared to operating an in-house IT team.

Improving work efficiency, optimizing processes

IT systems often have operational errors that can impact the productivity and progress of a business. IT outsourcing companies are experts in their field. Therefore, they are adept at quickly identifying and resolving issues for businesses while investing significantly in tools and solutions to enhance service quality for their clients.

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Having a professional team

The larger the projects, the more they require a specialized and professional team as professional teams can commit to project results and speed. Outsourcing IT is a way to quickly own a team of experts without the hassle of searching for individuals or managing a team as in building an in-house IT team.

2. The basic models of IT outsourcing companies

Currently, there are various models for IT outsourcing, but below are the 2 most common ones:

Project-based model

In this model, you will assign the entire project’s responsibility to a third-party provider. Beforehand, you need to provide complete project requirements to the IT outsourcing company’s team members. Subsequently, these outsourcing companies will form their team and oversee the project until completion.

Team-based model

The team-based model allows you to hire developers to work for you remotely on a full-time basis and report directly to you while remaining within a dedicated team. These developers can either build a development team for you or collaborate with your in-house developers.

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You can either fully outsource the project to a third party or hire developers to work directly for you.

With nearly 20 years of experience in software development and IT outsourcing solutions, Luvina can assist you in consulting and building a team that fits your company’s project.

Since 2004, Luvina has been providing services and development support to numerous businesses across various industries. Luvina understands the needs and expectations of businesses when using IT outsourcing services, thereby advising the most optimal solutions to help businesses achieve their goals.

>> See more: IT outsourcing models: Which one is the best choice for your business?

Final Thoughts

You certainly cannot determine the team size for a custom software development outsourcing project by randomly choosing several team members. Instead, you need to carefully analyze all factors, from budget to project complexity, timeline, and more. 

The most important lesson you should learn from this article is that when building a software development team, quality is more important than quantity. If you don’t want to spend too much time researching how to build an IT team and prefer to focus on developing the core values of your organization, then hiring IT outsourcing is the optimal solution.

Please contact Luvina now for a consultation on IT team outsourcing services for software development.

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