What Does The Development Team Of The Future Look Like?: Remote & Gig-Economy

March 16, 2021

Creating apps, websites and digital platforms requires incredible product development teams. That’s product managers, business analysts, quality assurance managers, and ofcourse a range of engineers to cover front-end, back-end, mobile, and systems development. 

The makeup of these teams and how they look/operate together has changed somewhat over the past decade, but recent world wide events have meant that businesses, both large and small, have needed to take a critical new look at how they build their development teams. 

So what will the future of these development teams look like as startup founders, Fortune 500 managers, and everything in between adjust to build new digital products? Let’s take a look.


What development teams of the past look like:

  1. Difficulties finding and employing people
  2. Large permanent costs for staff and office space
  3. Challenges in quickly scaling teams when required

What development teams of the future will look like:

  1. Remote teams
  2. Gig-economy developers

Let’s break this down so you can understand how teams are changing, and how you should look to build your development team moving forward.

What development teams of the past look like:

Development teams up until now have some critical issues. Businesses have worked on improving these, through agile development techniques and employee incentive schemes, but there are inherent issues with the current makeup of these teams. They are;

1. Difficulties finding and employing people

When you set up a new product, team or business line, finding new team members to help grow it is a constant challenge. One contributor is the large difference in the quality of developers now available (ie. anyone with a laptop can take an online course and learn to code, that doesn’t mean they are all just as good), but the main contributor is the limited potential employee pool you have from being based in one location.

Requiring employees to be in a single office means you are limited to the talent pool in your local area, OR large costs to relocate someone to your area. This is not only costly but time consuming, and digital products don’t have the luxury of time - if you don’t build and execute someone else will and you will lose your market position. 

2. Large permanent costs for staff and office space

Another issue currently facing those hiring development teams is the large permanent costs for hiring new staff, and the office space they require as your teams grow. 

Central city office space is a huge cost to new startups and can literally break them, whilst with large existing businesses it is a huge part of the burn rate they would be happy to reduce if possible - after all, why spend money on space when you could spend it on R&D?...

Another thing that can break startups and larger companies alike? Permanent staff. With every new employee comes exponential costs, management requirements, contracts that can note easily be ended when business needs change - in general a reduction in the ability of a business to remain agile, which is critical for digital product companies.


3. Challenges in quickly scaling teams when required

When you employee your entire workforce permanently, scaling is a big challenge. If you get a big investment as a startup, or if you are a business and the board approves a new product line with a large budget, suddenly you need to find new people to fill all of these new permanent roles and actually start delivering.

Currently this causes startups to miss opportunities, and large enterprises to spend exorbitant amounts slowly building teams so that they can finally build what they require. Either way the lack of speed results in lost revenue, large costs, and giving the advantage to a competitor.


What development teams of the future will look like:

The future has to be different. Technology and startups have sent so many other industries through a digital transformation era, and it is about time the core functions of these startups catches up. 

I’m not talking about flexible hours and video meetings. I’m talking about meeting the ever changing demands of modern digital businesses in a world where epidemics and global stay at home orders are a real risk to every organisation, where scaling to meet customer demands that change every month can make or break a business, where finding the best talent no matter their location is a must because your local talent pool has run dry.

So what does that all look like?

1. Remote teams

It seems obvious, but yet so many businesses are still reluctant to go remote. Remote has to be the way of the future. Why? Because resource requirements demand it, and your burn rate and finance managers will thank you for it.

Local development employees, or even agencies, in the big cities will cost you an arm and a leg. There is so much more competition to hire the local developers you're looking for that they can justifiably drive up their price. Simply allowing developers to base themselves remotely, even in smaller cities (if not the wilderness, although there is no problem with that!), means you can find incredible talent and save dramatically on costs.

It also means that large office space costs become a thing of the past. You can get rid of those extra floors you were looking to expand into and instead increase your budget to build new products or attract new customers - it just makes solid business sense.


2. Gig-economy developers

If you aren’t familiar with the term “gig-economy”, think Uber drivers. I know that sounds strange but take a moment to consider it. Developers that can be hired on a task by task basis, that can be scaled as particular projects require them (as many or as few as and when you need them), and that don’t need permanent employee contracts that put a toll on your burn rate and add risk to investors looking at your business. 

This isn’t a pipe dream, dozens of companies exist doing a version of this, from Upwork to Fiverr, Top Digital Agency to Freelancer, and more. These platforms will continue to become more and more a part of the standard development team in a business. 

My prediction is that in the next decade a majority of businesses will entirely outsource their development team to scaleable gig-economy solutions ensuring they get great talent, specific to their individual product needs, all whilst reducing risks and costs.


Wrap up. 

It’s simple, as more businesses become digital first and require their own development teams, we need to move to a completely digital development/product workforce. 

That means remote teams and gig-economy developers, that can remove all the current difficulties of finding employees, paying for large office space expenses, adding risk and costs to business burn rates, and making scaling difficult in an agile product world.

Here at Na:gne Studio we are leading these changes and helping businesses build products with modern development mindsets. Our focus? Helping founders, startups, and SMBs turn ideas into apps with a remote team, lower costs, lower risk and fewer internal requirements.

If you’d like to take your business into the modern age of remote and scaling development teams we can help, just get in touch with us at hello@nagne.studio or check out nagne.io to learn more.

More blogs from the Na:gne Studio team

Want to discuss your idea? Get in touch.

Free Consultation >