Introduction
Since 2006, SPD Group has been a trusted technology partner for innovative companies providing software engineering and product development services. Our team consists of 400+ in-house Engineers, Project Managers, Product Managers, Business Analysts, and Quality Assurance Specialists that help to build products for clients all over the world. SPD Group serves businesses across various industries including Finance, Retail, Banking, Agriculture, and Logistics. The range of expertise includes Product Development, Unification Solutions, Cloud Migration, QA Automation, and custom Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions.

Some partnerships turn into long-term collaborations, like the impressive 13+ years with PitchBook. How can your business become one of the SPD Group’s success stories and benefit the most from our expertise and experience? Finding the right approach to the partnership is crucial for great results. Every case is unique and requires different services to cover all business needs. You may also need a specific level of control and responsibility for the project, which is why we offer the following IT engagement models to ensure the best performance from our solution-driven team. Each model follows the Agile development model and Continuous Integration practices for the most efficient and transparent delivery.

In this article, you will learn about possible collaboration scenarios from SPD Group and, hopefully, will be able to choose the most suitable engagement model for your business project!

Managed Product Model

If you want complete control over the development process and maximum predictability, this model might be perfect for you. Full-cycle product development is offered here: from idea validation and wireframing to implementation and support. This model is suitable if you know exactly what product you want, with precise business goals, deadlines, and budget. The team from SPD Group will take the role of software solution developer, becoming a technical partner of a product from its inception, through the development stage to the maintenance phase, plus ongoing development of the new features and continuous optimization after release if required.

This is the best choice if you want to know tangible business results and development costs from the very beginning. You will receive a complete product on schedule, with detailed reports and transparency for each phase of development.

Team composition
The basic team that will be formed to build your product from scratch consists of:

  • Business Analyst (BA)
  • Project Manager
  • Designer
  • Solution Architect
  • External Technical Lead/Consultant

For projects involving, for example, Artificial Intelligence, the basic team may also include a Data Analyst, Data Engineer, or Data Scientist. In any case, a dedicated team will be formed to carry on the development process and specialists could be added if they are needed to solve specific challenges. We understand the importance of keeping the core team engaged the whole time and we commit to it, making changes only if necessary.

Here is what the process looks like

Depending on the project the steps may vary, but generally, we adhere to a similar set of stages.

Defining business objectives

Our manager will contact you to get all the information about your vision, business idea, the problems that need to be solved, your budget, and the approximate timeframe. Your ideas will be protected as we will sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) as early as this stage. A business analyst from SPD Group will process all business information to come up with the most cost-effective solution.

Some projects, like Artificial Solution development, require Project Evaluation Workshop and Proof of Concept (PoC) development phases. The goal of workshops is to define a problem, pick the correct solution, set data requirements, predict outcomes, and figure out the next steps. This phase usually takes five days. PoC can take up to four weeks and is focused on evaluating an approach to the problem as well as proving its viability and effectiveness. You will receive all market feedback required in less than a month and be able to test your hypothesis fast.

Research and Design

When the business information is processed, our development team chooses the right tech stack for the job. The purpose of this phase is basically to connect business goals with a transparent technological solution that will provide the desired outcomes. When all is said and done, you will get validated and verified requirements, a specification document, a project schedule and estimates, and a detailed structure of the workflow. The research and design phase can take a few weeks, but depending on the project the duration can change. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of this phase, because it ensures that both parties know what to expect from the project; also, as a result of this phase they have a rigorous plan on how to achieve all goals.

Development

Now you can fully concentrate on your business objectives, while our team will take over the most interesting part — software development. Here at SPD Group we adhere to the Agile methodology and Continuous Integration practices, which combined with over a decade of experience will guarantee on-time delivery and transparency of each iteration. Thanks to our flexible communication system, weekly demos, reports, and constant updates you will get the latest insights on each stage.

Each report will contain comprehensive information on every aspect of the process. You will be aware of indicators — problems and challenges the developers faced and the ways to deal with all issues in the context of overall progress. It will also include complete information on each stage with the number of hours spent and the plan for the next stage with scope description and planned hours for each task. The report will give you an understanding of overall progress and how it relates to the initial estimate; also, you will be aware of the statuses of each separate functionality.

During the whole process, our team of Quality Assurance engineers will maintain the security and efficiency of a product with fast bug addressing and regular security and performance checks.

You can make changes and add features anytime. If you decide you need additional functionality, just contact a project manager to get feedback. The project manager will conduct an analysis of new requirements and provide you with information about all the moves that should be taken to implement your vision and how it will affect the final time and budget estimate. We always make sure to introduce new features as quickly and inexpensively as possible without affecting the quality of the final product.

Post-Launch Maintenance and Support

After product launch, we can provide maintenance updates and constant security analysis. Some of our partners have continued working with a part of a product development team for ongoing support and new feature development. We have a client who has been spending more than six years updating and improving their product after release, so this phase doesn’t mean that our collaboration ends here.

Managed Service/Dedicated Team Model

What if your final business goal is not clear and all you have is high-level direction? What if you already have teams working on the project and delivering results? Maybe your project is changing fast — you don’t have a specified budget and timeframes, thus you expect that everything will change dramatically after the next iteration. In this situation, there is something more suitable than the Managed Product Model and it’s called the Managed Service Model (also known as the Dedicated Team Model). This model will allow your in-house experts to join forces with the dedicated team from SPD Group.

What are the benefits? The main advantage is the flexibility to adjust the scope for new requirements — this type of collaboration can quickly respond to changes and shift directions without needing to estimate the entire project from scratch. Scalability is another advantage of this model, because you can expand a dedicated team to work in accordance with rapidly changing business demands. While you can still focus on building a strategy and concentrating on the bigger picture, you can always share decision-making with the dedicated team. At the same time, the team can handle some decisions by themselves.

Team composition

  • A dedicated team manager.
  • A high-performance team of experts that are 100% dedicated to your job.
  • Data Scientists, External Tech Leaders, Consultants, Solutions Architects, and Business Analysts (BA) if you need additional resources and want the team to make technical decisions by themselves.

SPD Group understands all the risks of this model of cooperation and takes full responsibility to guarantee delivery, service quality, and meeting defined budget limitations. By choosing this option for collaboration, you will get a trusted technical partner that can focus a team of dedicated experts on a particular challenge of your business, one case at a time, or handle a certain scope of work for a defined period of time.

Here is what the process looks like

The execution of the Managed Service/Dedicated Team Model is quite similar to the previous model, but has some significant differences. The main distinction lies in the fact that the final technical goal is unclear, so short-term planning must be used. Just like the Managed Product, the whole process is divided into stages. But in the case of Managed Service, we create a roadmap and specifications for a couple of iterations at a time, not for the whole project from the beginning. This is exactly what creates the level of flexibility mentioned before and allows quicker changes of focus for the development team.

Managed/Extended Team Model

The third model will fit if you already have a defined strategy, see the final goal, and just want to manage the Software Development Life Cycle by yourself. The only thing that’s missing is a team of qualified and experienced specialists that can complete specific tasks that your in-house team can’t. For Chief Technology Officers currently involved with development but in a need of expertise, the Extended Team Model could be the best choice. You can hire a team of experts from SPD Group that can provide services for particular sub-projects for a required time period.

Probably the biggest advantage among other models is speed — the faster you can build your team, the faster you can finish the project. Significant time and cost savings are the result of this. Another benefit is control — each team member’s skills are validated; also, there will be daily sync calls with each team member. Just like the Managed Service model, you will have the full dedication of a team, but in this case, you will have the ability to stay in touch with each member personally. You don’t need to get involved with administrative management or paying taxes, as our Human Resources and Finance departments will take care of those aspects. We could also add our own Project Manager if you need a point of contact on our side, but the responsibility for the general strategy will be on your side.

Team composition

  • Web/Mobile Development, Quality Assurance, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things experts you require.
  • Project Manager, Business Analyst, and Team Lead experts if you don’t want to delegate some decisions to the team.

Here is what the process looks like

First, you need to define the skill sets of the talent required for your project — we can help you with this. As we have experts that can handle different technologies, understanding the whole scope of tasks will help pick the best specialists to be involved in various sub-projects. After we understand your requirements and pick the best candidates for the job, you will be able to conduct personal interviews and decide who you would like to work with. After signing a deal, you can add our experts to your team on your timeline. To fully benefit from this model of cooperation, we recommend signing talent for long-term deals if it is reasonable for your project — as the longer partnership results in better engagement and outcomes. We provide the CVs of the best candidates that match your descriptions. Additionally, we can provide a video presentation of the candidate. Next, we set up an interview in order for you to choose the best of them. We also suggest special trial period options for all of our clients.

Summary

What are engagement models?

Engagement models are the ways that SPD Group collaborates with our partners to build products and offer services.

What types of IT engagement models does SPD Group offer?

SPD Group has three models: Managed Product, which allows the building of a product from scratch with all technological decisions made on our side; Managed Service/Dedicated Team provides a team with our project manager to add to your teams; and Managed/Extended Team offers an opportunity for our experts to join your team under your management.

What is the best engagement model for my case?

There are many factors that influence these decisions. If you have a clear vision of a final product and have little to no technical expertise, Managed Product might be the best option. If you are not sure about the final result and the scope of the project could change, pay close attention to the Managed Service/Dedicated Team model. If you are already working on a project but your technical team is not complete, Managed/Extended Team might be the one for you.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, here is a comparison of all three models:

SPD Group Engagement Models

We understand that every case is unique, and we would love to hear your story and start a project with you. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about choosing a type of collaboration, and we will help you pick the best one for your business. Choosing the right model is essential to the great results and building the best product we can together!

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