The next work revolution is Elastic Teams
20 Apr 2022
Building great teams takes time. Requirements can change fast. What if there was a better way?
Recruiting and retaining talent while keeping the focus on delivering your product road map can feel like building a bridge as you’re crossing it.
CTOs face incredible challenges. Project timelines can contract or contort. Recruitment processes are so time-consuming that the state of play when they are begun is seldom the same as when talent is finally onboarded. And it’s a seller’s market: good digital talent is like gold dust in today’s market, where even huge companies with prestigious brands like Amazon and Google are struggling with retention.
Meanwhile, running in parallel to this trend and in many ways reinforcing it, the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic fell have seen the most radical, far-reaching and very likely lasting revolution in how we work that any of us are likely to see.
That said, many companies are still approaching this new reality with the tools and processes built for the old one.
Agile working, for example, has been touted as the solution to meeting these new challenges in this new context.
However, many CTOs find it in fact exacerbates their problems, committing developers to spend up to 20 hours a week in meetings – time they could otherwise spend being productive. Agile allows leaders to adapt projects with some flexibility, which sounds great in theory but in practice often means a changed project staffed with the same team. This results in colleagues being assigned work that’s not in line with their skill sets, resulting in inevitable compromises on technical decisions – and compounding the retention issues that characterise the entire industry.
However, Distributed’s Elastic Teams model offers another way.
Our AI-empowered digital platform connects companies like yours with the global talent you need, and it does it efficiently, flexibly and at scale.
Let’s break down some of the key benefits of Elastic Teams.
The conventional catch and release system for recruitment is a black hole for time and resources.
You need to find, recruit and train talent before they can even come close to being productive.
Then it can take up to six months – and under current trends, the team members you have invested so much in will start thinking about moving on in barely a year. And so the whole process begins again.
And this doesn’t just sound bad – the stats back it up.
Tech firms have an average annual employee churn rate of 13.2%, rising to as high as 21.7% for software engineers.
Meanwhile, replacing an employee has been calculated to cost an average of 50-75% of their annual salary.
Elastic Teams, however, eliminates all this.
Offering instant access to a vast talent pool of contractors, it allows you to construct teams ‘off the peg’ – and do it fast
According to Boston Consulting Group, 90% of business leaders believe an on-demand workforce will be a core element of their ability to compete in the future.
Elastic teams have a significant flexibility advantage over agile teams.
We’ve discussed already how the latter can create as many problems as they solve,
Elastic teams, however, can be constructed from the ground up on a granular basis. You can break up projects into their constituent parts and access the talent with the specialised skills for any particular unit of work.
As CTO you can keep a central team in-house who act as guardians of your core practises, processes and IP. These are your core colleagues, responsible for the ideation of your product and acting as guardians of the core idea’s integrity as it is brought to market. This group then passes the development work to an elastic team, a fluctuating and evolving group of individuals with varying specialism depending on what the project requires at a given moment.
As your product moves through the development pipeline, you can adjust the composition of the team working on it to make sure the skillsets of the team members are in total alignment with taking it to the next stage.
The team evolves in tandem with the product, rather than rigidly sticking with one range of skill sets – making sure your core team can keep its focus on the high-level strategic work that matters, keeping costs down, and keeping turnaround times short.
Much of the conversation around the new remote or hybrid working practices that have recently taken root have sounded pretty parochial to us.
Yes, permanently working from home when the office is still a 45-minute train ride away is new.
But given the capability of today’s technology, doesn’t that seem unambitious? Expanding the talent pool beyond your own country, let alone area, seems a no-brainer to us.
And it’s a more serious question than Slack enabling collaboration between Californians and Keralans.
Between the US and UK, there are today 1.5 million vacancies in software development. This is anticipated to grow by 20% every year for the next five years, but these markets are together graduating only 50,000 software developers from university.
The only way to make up for this shortfall is to develop new ways of working and to broaden our lens to take in a global talent pool.
Traditionally, outsourcing development overseas has been known for its patchy quality.
Elastic teams solve this by ensuring specialists only focus on their specialisms – and that when they’re not working on your projects, they’re honing their skill sets on similar work.
A state of the art platform
Today’s working practises are often only as useful as the platform they’re delivered on.
Distributed’s proprietary platform automatically connects employers with the team members they need, streamlining the whole process with standardised security, documentation and coding practises
It takes the hassle out of building a team from scratch – and then having to do it again, and again.
Build a talent pool calibrated to your precise needs at each moment in time, balancing the best of both in-house agile working and outsourcing and executed via a platform that surfaces only the most dedicated, motivated and creative talent.