In my experience, enhanced teams can deliver significant value to clients, but only if a nearshore provider has a clear understanding of how the teams are built and deployed. To do that, it is critical to have a deep understanding of how a team’s capabilities match a client’s requirements.
In the case of Simpat Tech, where I am Managing Partner and COO, we take the time to find gaps in our clients’ skill sets and how we can add value. This spans from Project Management and Q/A all the way to the specifics of software development.
With this level of understanding, the goal is to enhance the client’s teams with the right mix of junior, senior and principal consultants. It is important to understand that when we look at the various experience levels, we are committed to ensuring that every professional can shine. This is critical. No one is struggling, and every team member is meeting the challenge. They are executing at the highest level and committed to the success of the project.
This approach requires a strict and clear-minded method to hiring. At Simpat Tech, our hiring ratio from interview to hire is less than 3%. Discipline is key, as well as an acceptance that onboarding can take time. In my view, it is irresponsible to hire simply for the sake of adding headcount. This is unfair to all involved.
There is, after all, a cultural component to this: we want to gather a group of really smart people, who excel within their seniority levels, so that they can operate in a cohesive fashion and take pride in their work. Cultural confidence and affinity in an enhanced team help to strengthen and build confidence in business and technological decisions. Simpat Tech’s team in Monterrey, for example, is a tightly-knit group that is closely identified with US culture, which provides common ground with client teams when making critical decisions.
Integrity is Core
A respectful approach is part of an honest and transparent model that extends to the client relationship. When an enhanced team is built with integrity in mind, then that approach is reflected in a frank assessment of timelines and requirements. Within a contract, this results in flexibility, wherein clients are only billed as projects scale.
For example, in a job that may ultimately require 10 people, a properly organized enhanced team bills in accordance with the specifics of the actual work. At Simpat Tech, we will start with the project manager and the architect, who will put together a project plan, adding one or two developers at a time until the team is fully built. This way, the client pays for the actual work and gets the most value.
A respectful approach is part of an honest and transparent model that extends to the client relationship
Without this level of flexibility, providers will sometimes begin a contract while billing for the entire team. Developers often end up spending hours or even days waiting for tickets to be generated. This is inefficient and, frankly, unethical.
Well-enhanced teams need to be sympathetic to extenuating circumstances that can result in changes on the client-side. When something unforeseen happens, a client may need to offboard some developers. Within the culture of the enhanced team, there has to be an understanding that these realities exist. Providers have to lead with a sympathetic view, without knee-jerk defaults to legal remedies or an insistence that payment is made for any work that the client no longer desires.
This is Not Staffing
Broadly speaking, there are two types of delivery strategies in consulting. In the first, a provider is assigned a project, and an internal enhanced team is built to deliver. In the second, capacity is built via staff augmentation, and the project ultimately resides on the client-side.
In the example of staff augmentation, there are plenty of nearshore staffing companies that say, “Let me get some recruiters to find 15 people to start a project in a month.” And what happens? Those 15 people show up; after all, these businesses are good at staffing and recruiting. But the client has to deal with these new people on a project. Sometimes the candidates aren’t well-vetted for either skills or ethics, and ad hoc training is required. And sometimes consultants drop out, with new people added mid-stream.
By contrast, in our company, a client who engages a properly staffed enhanced team can be assured that the team that starts the project will be the team that finishes it. If for some reason we cannot deploy the ideal candidate, then we are honest. We are not going to expose a consultant, or our clients, to that level of risk. And we certainly are not going to charge an hourly rate for something that we know will fail.
This is important. To get the most out of an enhanced team –both for the client and the team itself–, it is crucial that people are not set up for failure. After all, when a team member shows up to work for a client, both parties should be confident that the engagement will be successful.
Taking One For the Team
Teams can have contradictory functions: they require leadership and a degree of risk-taking, but also can only succeed if members defer to those who are senior or who have other abilities.
In the case of Simpat Tech, from day one, we have hired smart, skilled people who are bilingual and who reflect our core values. Our first hire, Jesus Flores, is someone I went to school with and someone who always helped me and other peers elevate our coding skills. He”s now our chief architect and keeps on top of what’s coming next, how to adopt it and how to use it appropriately. Since Jesus’s hire, we have added 75+ more people, and the whole team is still with us. This is a remarkable achievement. It speaks to the bond that exists among our team members, as well as the repeated and continued success of our enhanced teams.
To get the most out of an enhanced team –both for the client and the team itself–, it is crucial that people are not set up for failure
At Simpat Tech, my founding partner Ashish Patel and I come from technological backgrounds. We know that team members –no matter their level– want to be challenged and that enhanced teams add value when the provider is committed to understanding client needs and expectations. To do this, a provider has to be committed to technological change. From the perspective of Simpat Tech, this includes being on the forefront of Microsoft Azure and early adopters of Maui and other technologies.
Keeping all this in mind, it is evident that nearshore providers with the most effective enhanced teams are hiring skilled, fully bilingual consultants with strong ethics. The best team members are smart and curious. They can adapt to new technologies. They are confident. And they know they will be rewarded for an honest and transparent approach to each engagement.