Anyone who knows Haneke Design knows that we pride ourselves on keeping our core project team onshore and in-house. It is extremely important to me that our multidisciplinary team of designers and developers to be able to meet in the real world and on a regular basis. This allows for small issues to get resolved in real time with the help of a white board and ensures that those problems don’t snowball into larger ones. It is also important for our UX and Dev leads to be able to work first hand with our clients and their end-users in ways that allows us to use visual and emotional cues to drive our recommendations for engaging and delightful user experiences.
So, what I am about to say may seem at odds with our approach, but here it goes. We have successfully found a very positive way to utilize outside software developers while maintaining complete control of the quality of our deliverables. While most competitors use this approach to save on cost, we did not go down this path for that reason. We have found the most successful use of our outside developers is simply for when we need to “surge” our development efforts.
One challenge we were often faced with was aggressive deadlines set by our clients. Our in-house team could not scale beyond a certain number of hours simply based on headcount, which put us in a situation where we could not confidently commit to a more aggressive deadline. This is when we ran some trials and discovered our surge process. In this scenario, we reach out to our outside resources and expose them to our process in which they can be assigned user stories from our tracking system and execute on specific features of any given application. These outside resources check-in code on a regular schedule which gets reviewed by our dev lead and then merged into the project. For the duration of the surge, we are simply able to add hours and developers and have all the work fall right into our standard software development process.
In addition to the code reviews that are happening in real time by our dev leads, our lead UX designer on a project has milestone reviews assigned to them that ensures the development work of both internal and external resources are in alignment with our high standards for design. Lastly, everything goes through iterative multiscreen testing and QA while the entire project is being overseen from a budget and timeline perspective by our Project Solutions Manager.
We interviewed and tested a large number of outside resources and selected the ones that met, first and foremost, the level of quality we demand. We did not use cost as a criteria for this evaluation aside from being comparable to our internal development resources.
In summary, we see the opportunity in outside development for when we need to accelerate the release of a software product. In that regard, it is a positive and essential tool for a professional services company that needs to help clients get to market in accelerated time frames.