Curious about custom software development? Get up to speed with this guide to team augmentation and the agile software development life cycle.
What do Netflix, Uber, and Airbnb have in common? They all use custom software to their advantage.
But custom software development can be expensive, demanding, and confusing. If done incorrectly, it’s a recipe for disaster. Choosing to work with the wrong team or doing it alone can, and will, sacrifice quality. You’ll probably also miss a few deadlines.
If you don’t have the resources, time, or expertise, team augmentation can optimize your existing software development by contributing to your current workflow and business processes.
At NaNLABS, we’ve got experience working with real teams on a range of custom software development projects. This guide will explore the benefits of custom software development and show you how to use the development lifecycle model.
Want to know how to build a strong team for custom software development? Here’s what we’ll cover:
Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We care about you.
Custom software development is the design, development, and implementation of software for individual users’ or a company's specific needs. It’s sometimes also known as bespoke software.
Unlike traditional “off-the-shelf” software, custom software is designed to meet exact user needs. Some benefits of working with custom software development agencies include:
It’s unique, designed specifically for your business to help you meet your goals.
It’s scalable and will always match your specific requirements, which means there’s no limit to what you can build.
It often costs less over time thanks to workflow automation.
It can be upgraded, maintained, and managed to meet your company's needs.
It increases productivity and workplace efficiency by helping you streamline current processes.
Custom software development is also the core strategy of many tech and SaaS businesses like Airbnb and Netflix. Without custom software, these businesses wouldn’t be the world leaders they are today.
The Agile software development methodology is based on the principles of continuous delivery, iterative development, close communication among teams, and high adaptability to evolving needs.
At NaNLABS, our team will support your organization to adopt Agile methodologies to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your project and collaborate as an augmented team.
You bring the product vision and industry insight. NaNABS brings expert developers armed with the Agile Software Development Life Cycle to consistently deliver value in a short time frame, with greater quality and predictability.
The six phases of the custom software development life cycle
Team augmentation, or dedicated teams, is a hiring method where one or more teams work together to enhance work output and quality.
Onboarding specialist talent can help an organization by filling expertise gaps without the commitment of a full-time hire. This allows you to remain on track with project goals and deadlines while receiving support from specialists who complement your workflow.
The term “staff augmentation” may be more popular than “team augmentation”, but they shouldn’t be used interchangeably. There are clear differences between the two:
Staff augmentation focuses on hiring specialist individuals to support an existing team
Team augmentation focuses on bringing on one or more development squads to join your team and deliver better results
At NaNLABS, we focus on building effective teams rather than giving you a “one size fits all” individual hire. We believe that a handpicked group of people with the right culture, team dynamics, and motivations will always deliver better results than siloed individuals.
Some other benefits of team augmentation include:
Save time by not building a team from scratch
Reduced costs compared to hiring full-time talent
Increased resource flexibility for business operations
Hand-picked talent to match your business goals
Bespoke solutions for specific problems
Next, we’ll look at each benefit in more detail.
Building a new business model, devising a strategy, and creating the sales and technology delivery teams simultaneously is already challenging and time-consuming enough.
Team augmentation saves you time as you won’t have to hire and onboard individual freelancers who aren’t used to working together. Instead, you’ll work cohesively with a team that’s already dynamic and well-oiled, resulting in fewer siloes and more project elasticity.
At NaNLABS, our team structures include a project manager and a delivery team so we can ensure effective team management and communication. With progress updates and efficient problem solving, you’ll never waste time chasing news about the status of your project.
For start-ups in the tech industry, whether developing an MVP or a more complex software solution, reducing total expenses is key.
Unlike hiring full-time talent, which is expensive, team augmentation is selective: you can access the required expertise for shorter periods with no commitment.
Skip the interviewing and onboarding process for expensive freelancers to save your business money in the long run. With team augmentation, you’ll be free to get moving on that project right away and start scaling quickly.
Recruiting people with the relevant expertise in the world of tech and software can be expensive and resource-draining.
For example, you’ll lose hours to interviewing, testing, and “vetting” the right candidates. But with team augmentation, you skip those tedious and resource-draining tasks, diving head-first into the project.
When you choose team augmentation, you increase resources. You’ll begin to work with a team of dedicated and skilled software experts, allowing you to get to the finish line on time with higher-quality work.
Software development is a team sport. At NaNLABS, we build a unique team for your project based on your exact needs. The result? A team that is always learning, challenging each other, and working toward fast-moving goals and deadlines.
The team augmentation agency’s technical leadership helps you find the right talent for your current and future tech challenges. These agencies have seen several software architectures and have years of experience with what works best and what doesn’t.
While recruitment or talent placement agencies don’t speak your language, a group of software development professionals understands what you need to build and how.
The result? Less stress, talent that matches your goals, and workflows being optimized by those who understand them best. It’ll also help you move the needle towards those overarching business goals much quicker.
If you’ve reached an obstacle in your business or software development project, then hiring a part-time or full-time developer with a more “broad” skillset isn’t the answer.
Exact solutions increase performance and save resources.
Many businesses decide to partner with NaNLABS for solutions to their exact problems. For example, we previously brought Back-end and DevOps expertise to CyberCube for migrating a Java monolithic solution into a state-of-the-art Cloud-based platform, as well as building brand-new front-end experiences for different stakeholders in their industry.
One of the biggest obstacles companies face when considering team augmentation is creating a productive environment where good cooperation is fostered and encouraged.
Cooperation is a key concern when two teams come together. Your team may like to do things their own way, using a certain piece of software to manage workflow, and communicating using established methods.
But there’s no reason why team augmentation needs to be complicated. And your software development team's velocity doesn't have to be negatively impacted.
At NaNLABS, we follow a few best practices to ensure seamless integration:
Every team member should know what goals they're working towards and the steps required to get them there. Having a shared board allows every team member to be fully aware of the project stage they’re in, which direction the project is taking, and what they can do to meet their end goal.
Make sure that the project’s goals are clear and well-defined for every team member so everyone can be perfectly aligned. Not only does this help team members understand what they’re working towards, but it increases motivation and fosters a sense of ownership.
Be open with team members, encourage transparency, and ensure all team members know they are on the same team (help is available—it’s our superpower at NaNLABS).
Learn and work together
Help each other understand the purpose behind the project and how it works. If you encounter a problem, work together to solve it. This continuous integration allows for a united team spirit, better problem-solving, and improved productivity in the long run.
Clear business objectives
Every team member should be able to answer the following questions:
Why are we doing this project?
Where are we going with this?
What do we need to finish this task/iteration?
Being able to answer these questions is what makes a team more than the run of the mill dev shop.
Many companies follow a set custom software development framework. But, often, things get a little more complex than the standard development life cycle model.
For example, if you decide to enlist help via team augmentation, then balancing workflow and onboarding a new team can be challenging.
That’s why communication and initial meetings are crucial when tackling this sort of project. And your first meeting should set the tone.
“The idea is to introduce the team and meet the client, understand the different stakeholders, key roles, responsibilities, and how we’re going to interact through the whole project,” says Margarita, a project manager at NaNLABS.
Quote about team augmentation by Margarita, Project manager at NaNLABS
But it’s not just about onboarding either. Communication is essential throughout the project. Esteban, Co-Founder and Head of Engineering at NaNLABs, says “it’s important to stay in contact with the team and to work as closely as possible, participating in as many ceremonies to get the best results.”
Margarita also mentions the importance of implementing a “blended workflow''. She explains that you should view team augmentation as “one whole team” working towards the same objectives, aligned with the clients’ needs for maximum scalability.
At NaNLABS, we’d never opt for a quick fix and leave you to it when solving complex problems. The NaNLABS team will support your software development process with an actionable roadmap for the entire project.
Julian, Co-Founder and Principal Software Engineer at NaNLABS, recommends tools such as Gitflow to help you better control, manage, and define how you’ll push the code. Julian says, “you want to have your code published as soon as possible, and done in a smart way that doesn’t create conflicts with the rest of the team.”
Quote about team augmentation by Julian, Co-Founder and Head of Finance at NaNLABS
Other best practices you may consider:
Decide at the beginning of the project if you need to hire talent
Choose a preferred method of internal communication and update all team members regularly to keep them in the loop for better workflow planning
Communicate the client's goals, objectives, and vision for the best results
If you do require help, begin the search sooner rather than later
Every custom software development project is different: it needs to be tailored to the client, the product, the timeline, and the audience.
For example, you might have excellent in-house talent, but you’re working towards a tight deadline and may need additional support.
Maybe you’ve struggled to work with an external team in the past. If so, you need to spend more time at the beginning of the project aligning goals and objectives and mapping workflows for better results.
Working with expert consultants at NaNLABS will help you evaluate your tech and analyze the feasibility of reaching your goals. With NaNLABS’ consultancy services, you’ll get a clear vision of whether to move ahead or refocus your project—and how to hit your next milestone.
If you’ve never worked with another external team before, then team augmentation can be overwhelming at first. But there are several reasons why you should consider contracting a custom software development agency to grow your team andmeet your business requirements.
Working with an agency like NaNLABS team allows you to bring on expert talent to your project, create long-term and elastic solutions, double your delivery times, and create impressive software without the commitment of a full-time hire.
With a good process in place, you can get to the finish line of any project. No project is too big or too small when you expand your team and talent, take your project to new heights, and remove any barriers preventing you from creating something incredible.
Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We care about you.
The agile software development life cycle consist of the following four stages:
Ideation and discovery
Planning and strategy
Build and iterate
Maintenance and scale
Custom development is a step above regular, off-the-shelf software. These software development packages are custom-built and designed for the exact needs of a company, designed to increase efficiency and workflow.
Custom software development services involve creating a piece of software specifically designed for a business to meet the needs of the user. The goal is to improve workflow efficiency and to solve problems an organization may be facing.
Custom software is designed to meet the exact needs of a business or product. For example, a golf course may develop a membership portal for players to record their scores, sign-up for weekly competitions, and redeem tokens to be used in the pro shop.
There are many types of custom software, but some examples include content management systems, operations management, e-commerce software, enterprise resource planning, and others.