How to manage extended teams in the enterprise model

Adrian Kasprzak, Mar 22, 2019

Having the right people on board is a crucial prerequisite for the success of any enterprise project. But recruiting exceptional talents is often challenging. Organizations often operate in locations where hiring skilled software engineers is difficult and time-consuming. That's why they turn to outsourcing opportunities such as dedicated teams or team extension.

While some organizations are fine with hiring a dedicated team and outsourcing software development entirely, others prefer to have more control over the project by combining their in-house technical staff with the specific skills and expertise brought in by external developers.

That method of cooperation is called the extended team model.

Over the years, it has proven itself as one of the most successful collaboration strategies between organizations and outsourcing technology partners. At ARC, we have successfully set up a number of extended teams for our clients.

To help you avoid the most common pitfalls and challenges, here are some best practices and tips to show you how to make the most of the expanded team model.

Let's start with the basics

An extended team is a specific form of outsourcing. That type of development team continues to work even after the initial project for which the developers were hired comes to a close. It's an ongoing operation between your in-house core team and the offshore extended team.

It's hard to define extended teams because it's all down to individual companies that their diverse approaches to this model. But there are three things all extended teams have in common:

  • The focus is on complementing the skill set of the in-house staff, not replacing it. Principal business and technical competencies are located in-house. The extended team operates externally to bridge the skill gaps in your staff.
  • You have full control of the project. Expect constant and direct communication within the team composed of your in-house staff and off-site developers.
  • Distribution of responsibilities – in the extended team model, responsibilities are distributed across all the team members, including your in-house staff and the external team. Every team member will be equally invested in the success of your project.

Why organizations hire extended teams

This model of cooperation comes with benefits that allow organizations to gain a competitive advantage and bring the product quicker to market. Here are some of them:

  • You get access to top talent – in this model, you can expect to take part in the hiring process by screening and interviewing potential team candidates yourself. You'll be able to ensure that the developers you hire have the skills you need and have the right cultural fit to merge with your in-house staff easily.
  • Full-time investment – the developers assigned to your project will be working on it full-time. You can be sure that they're not going to be juggling multiple assignments. All their attention will be on your project and its success.
  • Common objective – the members of the extended team become an integral part of your company, aligning with your culture and working toward a common goal.
  • Easy management – managing resources is very straightforward in extended development teams. There are no intermediaries between you and developers (like a project manager employed by your provider). You'll be able to communicate your requirements directly to everyone and solve any issues that emerge quickly.
  • Transparent payment model – when hiring an extended team, you'll agree on a fixed monthly fee that will cover the developer's salary, bonuses, operational expenses, and other costs. That's why the extended team model is so practical – it helps to plan your budget and keep track of your expenses.
  • Easy setup and operations – when expanding your team, the provider will take care of all the operational tasks and make sure that your developers have the best working conditions to deliver amazing work.

Ultimately, organizations hire extended teams because they offer a smooth start with the project combined with high scalability.

The provider can assemble an extended development team quickly and start working on your enterprise project immediately. You won't have to waste time on sourcing, attracting, and hiring, and onboarding developers. Instead, you'll be taking advantage of talent which is readily available.

Here's how to make the extended model work

Just like any other type of outsourcing, the extended team model comes with a learning curve. Accommodating a team like that into your company is always a slight challenge because you'll be dealing with some cultural, language, and organizational different.

However, these best practices ensure that the team blends into your company and takes your productivity to the next level.

Take a closer look at your project

Your first step considering the scope of your project and defining the primary roles the project will require. Now is the time to consider whether you have the expertise in-house or you need to seek it externally. Which skills do you need to be sourced outside of your organization? Perform the initial analysis or ask your technology consultants to help you assess your internal core team and evaluate the skills needed.

Note that an experienced technology partner will first analyze your development needs and evaluate your internal processes to create the best team. Once you develop project requirements and specifications, the provider will carry out candidate research and screen the best candidates before showing them to you.

The software development consultancy has the staff on board to verify the skills of the team members, ensure that they have the right technical and soft skills, and check if they're a cultural match for your organization. Most of the time, you will be able to interview the best candidates personally.

Team onboarding

The next step is integrating candidates into your workflow. Don't forget that the extended team will become an integral part of your core staff. These developers will follow your internal processes and take orders from your project manager on site.

Note: Some technology consultancies appoint their own project manager at a process guardian to provide extra support. For example, the project manager may step in case you need help in setting up efficient collaboration within the team or solve a problem.

One of the best ways to start an enterprise project within the extended team model is carrying out the initial training and planning sessions on site. It's a good idea to set up a few company meetings to enable your core team and extended team members to get to know each other and ensure smooth collaboration.

Assigning roles and responsibilities

The provider should help you to assign roles and responsibilities in your team to make sure that every team member is a match for your project. Developers are responsible for specific tasks in the project, but they also need to become familiar with the complete software development lifecycle at your organization. That type of contextual knowledge allows for delivering fantastic work.


The extended development team will be fully synchronized with your internal processes, methodologies, practices, and management styles. We also help in setting up efficient workflows and adopt the best collaboration and communication tools to enable the core, and extended teams work together efficiently.


It's a good practice to keep your communication channels open and available at all times. The transparency of the extended team model provides organizations with full control over the project. As you track the work of your teams, you may easily optimize the extended team. Over time, you can scale the team up or down depending on the needs of your project.

The takeaway

The extended team model is a practical approach that combines the best of outsourcing and in-house resources. Organizations gain full control of the team, but at the same time remain nimble and flexible because they can scale their resources up or down.

When setting up an extended team for our clients, we always take extra care to find candidates who not only have the best technical skills but are also an excellent cultural fit.

Are you looking for a technology provider who knows how to set up an extended team? Get in touch with us; we have ample experience in supporting our clients with different outsourcing cooperation models.