What We Learned About Scaling Top-notch Engineering Teams

So, it’s fair to say your startup has been a success and now you’re looking to scale your business? And you get that familiar feeling of anticipation and nerves that you had when you first went out on your own. The question is, how do you scale your business successfully without risking what you have built so far? The answer is in keeping your team small to ensure you maintain tight control and maintain agility within your organization. And the way to do that is to use outstaffing to ensure you add dedicated teams of industry experts without the additional cost and admin of recruiting and employing staff.

How do we know that? Because we’ve helped hundreds of small businesses and entrepreneurs from all around the world to scale up by doing just that.

Adopt a remote first approach to build a team with the best talent

A remote first approach provides access to top industry talent from anywhere in the world. Following significant investment in the tech industry in recent years, Ukraine, for example, is home to some of the best emerging software engineers on the planet, and wherever you are on the globe, hiring remotely allows you to access that talent.

Remote working and hybrid systems are now established ways of operating. The digital transformation has broken down communication barriers and these days you can just as easily collaborate with co-workers in another country as you can with those in the office next door.

We have helped numerous businesses looking to scale by recruiting and building distributed teams. Such remote teams have given small and developing businesses access to top talent and  provided distributed team members with the chance to be part of a successful enterprise. As your business develops, they feel part of something big and good. And happy workers remain engaged and stay with you longer.

Outstaff to stay small, move fast and be cost-efficient

Your business is ready to scale up when you are turning away business or have already achieved your initial goals. But it’s important to recognize the difference between growing your business and scaling your business.

Growing your business means substantially increasing the number of team members, adding a new site or relocating. In short, growing your business requires capital investment. And that brings risk.

Scaling your business, on the other hand, is about increasing productivity and profit while staying small. It requires you to increase the number of clients and amount of revenue exponentially without incurring the costs initially associated with such an uplift. Scaling your business means working smarter, not harder.

When you grow a business, you add extra layers of admin and communication. These can be a barrier to agility and actually slow down the process of developing your product or service.

Over the years, we’ve seen many examples of how outstaffing has allowed businesses to remain small and keep a tight rein on product development, marketing and costs, while leveraging the best talent and maintaining the ability to implement change fast.

Implement knowledge sharing culture to scale your team as you go

Knowledge is power. Sharing knowledge powers up your team to make it perform more efficiently. In large organizations, it can be a challenge to get some individuals or teams to share information. That situation cannot be allowed to happen in a startup – particularly one that is looking to scale up.

As the business leader, it is for you to instill a knowledge sharing culture to get maximum output from your team as you expand your operations. With everybody focused on a single goal, your team will work together and you can continue to scale it as you go. If you allow your team to become divided, you will see a deterioration in culture and a downturn in productivity.

Outstaffed teams differ from outsourced workers in that they are dedicated to your company and work solely and continuously on your product. That’s why so many of our clients say they prefer outstaffing to outsourcing. Outstaffed team members are effectively part of your organization and do not feel like outliers or temporary workers.

Culture is just as important in distributed teams as it is in teams based in a single location. Communication is perhaps more important when working with distributed teams. Modern technology provides numerous methods of communication suitable for distributed teams. Identify the one that suits your business best and make it part of your company culture. Encourage input from every individual. Provide feedback. Demonstrate that you value comments and suggestions from all team members regardless of location. You never know where that next great idea will come from. But most importantly, start developing documentation as early as possible - this will help you onboard new team members in future in the most efficient way and scale fast. 

Finding ways to develop a culture in distributed teams is one of the challenges of scaling your business. And it’s one that requires planning, preparation and consistency on your part.

Choose your tech stack wisely to scale product and infrastructure

When choosing your tech stack, it’s crucial that you consider the impact of continually scaling your business. How will you implement upgrades and maintenance? If your tech stack cannot cope with scaling up or if updates are going to take months, you may well find that your attempt to scale your business up does the opposite.

Whether it’s end user tech or your own internal systems you need to upgrade, speak to a software engineer and discuss what you need it to do now and what it will be required to do in the future. Getting your tech stack right from the outset will prevent cumbersome tech and unexpected delays further down the line.

This is where our software engineers have proved vital to the success of many of our clients. Often, when looking to scale their company, our clients know what they want their tech to do, they just don’t know how to implement it - and in some cases whether their vision is even able to be turned into reality.

With small teams, often with no great technical expertise, and the high costs associated with IT consultancy firms, many clients have come to us to deal with this initial issue, but remained loyal due to the vast benefits of outstaffed software engineers and developers in helping to refine their product or service. We are excited to see how Agile Fuel’s office that houses multiple remote teams of engineers has become a power plant of experience exchange driving agile and flexible infrastructure deployment for multiple startups in the world. 

Stay small while finding product-market fit

Depending on your aims and expectations, there may come a time when you need to grow your business and invest in more staff, large-scale equipment or bigger premises. Hardware startups in particular will expect to reach a level where production needs to be moved to ‘factory mode’ to meet demand. This is an exciting time for any startup, including all software companies - but also an expensive one. 

It’s important you don’t try to run before you can walk. And that means that before you take that next step, you need to be confident that your product-market fit is spot on. Outstaffing can help you remain small while you get your product-market fit right. By remaining small up until that point, you can ensure you, as a business leader, are able to focus your time, and that of other team members on perfecting and testing your offering as you scale.

The paradox is that perfecting your product or service requires the top talent, but while you remain small, trying to attract the top local talent is likely to be particularly challenging. Many of our clients got the benefit of top global talent at a fraction of the cost so they could balance risk and reward until the time was right.

About the company

Agile Fuel can help you build a successful dedicated team of engineers who will focus on efficient product development and innovation to help scale your business. Outstaffing gives you access to the top talent without the increased hassle and worry that comes from recruiting, training and employing staff. It’s the ideal solution for businesses who are ready to scale but want to maintain tight control over budget and development.

Find out how outstaffing can help you scale your business quickly and efficiently. Get in touch today.

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