VOLO Software Development Outsourcing Company's Blog

How to Choose Between Hiring a Software Development Team or Consultants?

31 May 2024

Software Consulting

Did you know that, according to McKinsey, around 70% of digital transformation projects fail to meet their initially set goals and expected outcomes? There are many reasons why this happens but most of the time, they all come down to poor planning.

Choosing between hiring a software development team or consultants is also an important part of digital transformation planning. Your choice at this stage will significantly impact your project outcomes, budget allocations, and your overall strategic direction. Both software development teams and software development consultants offer benefits and drawbacks that need to be carefully evaluated, along with your project’s specific requirements, in order to make the right choice for your business. 

Bear in mind that while the appropriate choice between the two can drive innovation, ensure efficient project implementation, and deliver a solution that meets your expectations, the wrong decision can do the exact opposite. You may end up having to deal with frequent project delays, cost overruns, and poor results. This is why it’s vital to know the main considerations involved in the decision-making process so as to achieve the results you want and get lucrative outcomes. 

Understanding the Roles and Responsibilities 

Before we dive deeper into the criteria that you should consider for making a decision for your business, let’s first define each of these roles. What are their responsibilities and deliverables? 

Software Development Team

A software development team consists of such professionals as developers, testers or QA engineers, project managers, UI/UX designers, DevOps engineers, and business analysts. They ensure the actual implementation of your software project, from ideation to release, and post-launch support and maintenance. 

The main responsibilities and deliverables of your software development team are the following: 

   - Requirement analysis
- Design and architecture
- Coding
- Testing
- Deployment
- Maintenance and support

You can either hire an in-house team of software developers or an offshore team who will handle your projects remotely. The choice depends on your software project, budget, deadlines, and your business goals in general. 

Software Consultants

Software development consultants are usually external software experts who deliver specialized insights, knowledge, strategic advice, and solutions for your software project to address challenges. 

The main responsibilities and deliverables of a software consultant include:

   - Needs assessment
- Strategy development 
- Technology choice recommendations
- Support in the implementation process
- Training and knowledge transfer for your internal team, if necessary
- Performance evaluation against initially set metrics

Choosing Between a Software Development Team and Software Consulting Experts: What are the Key Factors to Consider?

There are multiple factors that you need to consider when dealing with this dilemma. You need to carefully evaluate them all to determine which option fits your company goals, needs, project requirements, and long-term objectives. As we mentioned before, this is a crucial part of your software development planning and will also help you ensure that you have the right resources in place to achieve your desired results. 

So, let’s dive right in: 

1. Project Scope and Complexity

First of all, you need to assess the nature and scale of your project. If it is large-scale and requires extensive coding, regular support, and numerous iterations, then you should look into hiring a software development team, whether in-house or outsourcing. A professional software development team that comes with all the above-listed specialists on deck will handle your complex, long-term project, ensuring timely delivery, integration, and maintenance. 

On the other hand, if your project requires an essential amount of upfront planning with limited ongoing development, then software development consulting is what you are looking for. Software consultants will provide you with necessary advice, helping you design the project framework, and navigate the initial process of implementation. Software consulting can be the perfect choice for short-term projects. 

Software Consulting Services

For example, a development team can help you build an enterprise or mobile application from scratch, or modernize an outdated application or software you have. A software development consulting team can carry out a technology audit, do a discovery and needs assessment, analyze your existing workflows to identify areas for improvement, develop a software development consultation strategy along with a technology and architecture roadmap, and ensure that the whole plan successfully addresses your challenges and issues. Both of them should be able to deliver ongoing support.  

2. Internal Resources

You should know by heart the internal skills and resources of your organization. If you don’t, this is a good chance to start assessing them to understand what additional resources your company needs. If you already have a big in-house team of tech experts and only need some strategic insights on how to handle different aspects of your project or a new technology, then software consulting services are the way to go. 

However, if your internal tech team is small and already overloaded, or completely non-existent, then to go digital, you definitely need a full software development team. You might even consider getting help from consultants first to guide you in the right direction in your software journey and only then delve into the software development process. A software development team can also come in handy when there is a need to scale up for a big project and your internal team is not enough. 

3. Costs

It’s a no-brainer that you need to consider the costs for both options and the approximate expenses related to both when making a decision. This will help you understand your budgetary constraints and make the most optimal choice. Overspending on software development and draining your financial resources is the last thing you want for your business at any stage of your growth. Let’s now look at the cost considerations of software development and software consulting services to help you make smart financial decisions: 

   - If you are planning to hire an in-house software development team, prepare to pay salaries, deliver benefits, training, buy software tools, and maintain infrastructure. 

   - If you want to outsource your software development to a third-party vendor, you can consider choosing an offshore company that offers affordable prices and quality. Outsourcing is usually cheaper than hiring in-house. 

   - Software consulting prices vary from company to company. You can find software consulting services at offshore software development companies too with reasonable prices. As a rule of thumb, contract-based software consultants require hourly or project-based fees. 

As you can see, your final decision comes down to your project specifics and budget, and of course, personal preferences - some business owners want to have an in-house team, always available on-site, others work just fine with remote, outsourced teams. 

4. Project Timelines and Scaling 

Your project timelines can also affect your choice between hiring a software development team or consultants. If your project is long-term and doesn’t require an urgent kick-off, you can look into in-house software development. 

An outsourced software development team is a good choice for long-term projects that need to be started right away. 

And finally, hire a software consultant if your project is short-term and needs rapid solutions and insights to address particular challenges. 

Additionally, consider the scaling possibilities too. With an in-house development team, scaling up and down can be difficult and slow, involving painful hiring and firing processes. Outsourced software development teams and consultants offer ease and flexibility when it comes to scaling based on your project needs. 

Are There Cases When Both a Software Development Team and Consultants are Needed? 

Absolutely. There are certain projects that need both the expertise and insights of a software development consultant and the technical implementation of a software development team. If you believe that your project requires lots of planning and detailed execution then you should consider both software development and software consulting services. 

So, the main scenario where you hire both teams is when you are dealing with complex, multi-phase, and multi-faceted projects. For example, you want to release a new software solution that needs consultants to create the  strategy and help with technology selection, and a development team to do the coding, testing, and release. 

The main benefits of hiring software consultants along with a software development team are as follows:

   - Comprehensive and Full-On Expertise: You receive strategic planning and insights from software consulting services and seamless technical implementation from a software development team. 

   - Risk Management: All the risks related to your project are under better control with consultants identifying them and developers implementing the mitigation strategies.  

   - Smarter Allocation and Use of Resources: With software consultants you plan the allocation of your resources more efficiently. You can get business analysis consulting and project planning in order to set your short- and long-term goals straight and have clear project requirements with reasonable deadlines. This way, the further collaboration with your software development team will also be more productive and transparent. 

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Software Partner 

Choosing a software partner can be a time-consuming process, especially if it is your first collaboration with a software company. Here are a few important questions to ask when looking for software vendors, regardless of what you need, software consulting or software development services: 

1. Do they have experience in my industry? 

2. Do they work with the technologies I want my project to be built on? 

3. What qualities do I value most, besides professional and technical skills? 

4. What reputation do they have in the market? Are they trustworthy? 

5. Do they understand my goals and mission? Are we in alignment? 

6. How does the communication work between us? Are we “vibing”? 

7. Do they seem curious about my project? Are they asking questions to learn more? 

If you manage to get the answers to these questions, you are most likely going to choose a reliable software partner with whom you can lay the foundation for a strong, lasting partnership.

Software Consultant Services

Parting Thoughts 

As you can see, software development and digital transformation is not for the faint of heart. However, it is possible to achieve your desired results with careful planning and implementation, and with the help of the right specialists. Software consulting and software development services can help you in this, with the former setting the course for your project creation and the latter executing it on time and within budget. 

If you are having second thoughts about software development consulting or if you are not sure where to start your digital transformation in general, our team is here to look into your case and guide you toward the right choice and processes for your business. 

More helpful resources:
Does My Enterprise Need Digital Transformation? 
   Do Legacy Systems Block Your Business Growth? 
   7 Strategies for Modernizing Your Business Apps
   Maximizing ROI: How IT Advisory Services Drive Business Growth
   - 8 Ways Software Consultant Services Can Enhance Business Growth 

Sona Dabaghyan

Content Writer

Sona, a content writer at VOLO, with a track record spanning over 5 years in the writing and editing industry, delivers high-quality, engaging, and informative content, including blog posts, guest posts, e-books, and case studies for the company. In addition to her writing skills, Sona also does translations from Armenian to English and vice versa.

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