Game on! Dedicated offshore development teams vs freelancers, which is better?

Are you ramping up a software project and considering dedicated offshore development teams versus individual freelancers? 


Maybe your local team has had a shake-up and you’re looking to fill the skills gap, quickly.


The shake-up may be more relevant if you’re a tech organization in 2021.


The Great Resignation (or Great Reshuffle) is causing all kinds of existential unrest around the globe with an unprecedented tsunami of resignations being recorded in the U.S. 


Unfortunately for the technology industry, resignations are highest across technology and health care.

The Great Resignation is expected to hit Australia soon as COVID-19 restrictions ease, with almost 40% of workers planning to change jobs in the next 12 months according to research conducted by PwC and Deloitte.


So, yes, let’s hope you’re in the first camp; winning new customers at an astounding rate and/or securing a major funding round and in need of some extra hands on deck to help you scale fast.

But whose hands are better? A team of dedicated hands used to working together or a team of individual hands working in silo.


In this article, we’re going to dive into the key considerations for each.


Single point of failure

Let’s start with one of the most important factors in project management: continuity.


According to Wikipedia the definition of a single point of failure (SPOF) is a part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working. 


A single point of failure is something you want to avoid if you are to ensure reliability and continuity without interruption. 


This principle also applies to the deployment of human capital in a project. 


Let’s look at how this applies to the two different hiring models: dedicated development teams vs freelancers. 


Dedicated development teams vs freelancer team modelling

Dedicated development teams offer an additional human security layer with the Project Manager (PM) often assigned as the project lead, tasked with managing the project from beginning to end. 

It’s worth noting that in some scenarios the project overseer is the lead developer, solution architect, or CTO.

DevHero agency project team structure
Typical dedicated development team structure

A SWAT team is also assembled at the outset to oversee the project. The SWAT team consists of leaders from key internal departments with technical expertise relevant to the technical requirements of the software project.

The Project Manager, with the support of the SWAT team, is assigned a team of highly-skilled developers which they manage for the duration of the project.


A Quality Assurance (QA) team member is also assigned to the project to test quality during the final iteration phase to ensure the project is delivered to expectations. 


In the case of a single point of failure, the project manager takes care of the development resources assigned to the project. If any developers are not performing, new developers can be reassigned from the pool of highly-skilled talent available at that agency.


The project manager can be replaced in the same way by the agency should there be any unforeseen interruptions or challenges with his or her assignment.


The dedicated development team model addresses points of failure organically through its structure, which provides you with the greatest level of confidence around project delivery.


By comparison, hiring individual freelancers means the onus of project management falls on your team to manage with each individual freelancer a potential point of failure.


In the instance a freelancer is unavailable due to other work commitments or unforeseen circumstances, it’s up to you to fill the gap and sourcing high-quality freelancers is an art in itself.  


Cost efficiencies

If you choose a dedicated development team for your Australian software project, you might assume costs are higher due to the additional resources required to run the project.


Freelancers may appear tempting at first when it comes to cost, however this appeal only makes sense if you are looking to complete a small-scale project in a short timeline within a limited, minimal budget. 


For larger projects with multiple development phases, you could end up paying more to hire a team of freelancers in the long run due to the inefficiency associated with managing a siloed team of freelancers who are simultaneously balancing your project against other, potentially higher priority client works. 

DevHero cost efficiency with dedicated development teams

When you source dedicated offshore development teams  through DevHero you save time on the recruitment process and, in the long run, the cost savings of having a dedicated project manager offshore managing the continuity of the project factor heavily into the overall cost savings of this approach. 


There’s also the lost opportunity cost to consider. If your local team is busy micro-managing a group of freelancers to keep a project on track, they are losing valuable time that could be spent working on new client projects or business improvements. 


Quality you can trust

Most freelancers work on short-term, remote engagements, require no training, juggle multiple client projects and are expected to make defining technical decisions alongside fitting in culturally with the onshore team.


Each client has their own expectations of high-quality, prioritised work from the same freelancer and they often entrust sensitive data and access to freelancers with limited vetting or security processes, relying solely on marketplace agreements and goodwill to protect the project’s intellectual property. 

There are no doubt quality freelancers available however, the  proliferation of options can make cutting through the vast sea of options difficult and costly. 


This article in Forbes sums it up, “without the right processes, you can waste your time training freelancers who don’t stick around, or whose client-facing work doesn’t represent your core values and best practices.”

DevHero trusted offshore developers

At DevHero experienced developers are our business. Our development agency partners are strictly vetted to ensure we are providing our clients with quality developers they can trust. 

We build deep, trusted relationships with our development agency partners and profile their teams for areas of strength and weakness both in technical capacity and project delivery. 

The most important asset on your project is your IP. That’s why we choose development partners who ensure your IP remains with you.


We understand the role we play in providing Australian companies with a trusted introduction and monitor client-agency engagements on an ongoing basis to ensure the highest standards are being delivered.


How to find the right offshore talent

With a pandemic fuelled talent supply shortage we’ve put together some best practices on how to find the right offshore talent in 2021 regardless of whether that’s freelancers or a dedicated offshore development team.


Game over

In the battle for who’s better, dedicated offshore development teams come out on top for mid to large scale software projects and freelancers win the small project game.


In our view, there are simply too many risks associated with hiring individual freelancers and the cost-benefit analysis favours augmenting your onshore team with a dedicated, professional, experienced offshore development team. 


DevHero agency partners provide quality, assured by reducing the potential single points of failure, creating cost efficiencies in the long term and providing trusted software services pre-vetted to Australian standards.

Get in touch with the team at DevHero today.