The service center: a win-win relationship?

For companies that are used to managing on-site IT teams, the public health crisis and related lockdowns have put into question the way they operate. On the other hand, those that are used to outsourcing their projects to service centers were far less affected.  

Whether we like it or not, we have all had to face the fact that society has changed and the expectations of workers, and IT specialists in particular, are no longer the same. So, how can we continue to assist companies that want to maintain geographical proximity with their teams, while satisfying the desires of their employees? While we do not see a revolution coming, the status quo is no longer tenable. 

A team that is set up and ready to go 

My experience working at service centers has taught me that a solidly built team, with strong cohesion, enables increased efficiency. Can this project expertise be transposed to client companies? The answer is ‘yes’, as one of my recent experiences confirmed. 

In order to meet a business need, a client asked us to strengthen their team with a lead developer. The team itself was formed of several highly experienced developers from various backgrounds.  

After joining the team, our employee reported a lack of team cohesion and difficulties making progress. We therefore recommended an initial addition to the team, followed by a second in the form of an established team – one lead developer (playing the role of Scrum Master), one senior developer and two junior developers – rather than adding more lead developers.  

Together, they formed a directly operational team, who already knew each other, had already worked together on several projects, had formed bonds outside of work and, above all, shared the same project culture and the same methods learned at the service center. This meant that there was no need to develop skills or complete several sprints before being able to gauge the team’s effectiveness and agility.  

Furthermore, this gives the lead developer greater legitimacy as a manager of the other developers; far more than they would have if the developers came from different digital service companies. Training needs can also be directly and rapidly met, while overseeing the team is made easier. 

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Clear benefits

Calling on a complete team, rather than putting one together, offers many benefits.  

First, in terms of the team itself, each of the members is able to operate in an atmosphere of trust, which enables them to immediately focus on the project at hand.  

Next, there is the digital service company. It is able to provide assistance while enabling its most inexperienced developers to grow within an operational team, thanks to the support provided by the lead developers. These young developers will be the lead developers of tomorrow, thereby forming a virtuous circle!  

Last, and above all, there is the client. A team that knows each other already will come to the project running, with each member aware of their role and how to work with the others. The emulation produced by this cohesion will ensure greater involvement from all and, therefore, a significant productivity gain. 

What’s more, management of the project will be simpler, mainly due to the fact that a single company will be accountable for its success. Through this lens, the relationship is not one of a supplier of resources, but that of a partnership, further strengthening engagement in the project (which will be mutual). Based on this stronger relationship, it will then be possible to later envisage more outsourcing and remote working. 

A final and important point is that this team, having been formed in the industrialized environment of a service center, will be able to share its knowledge and project methodologies with the client and thereby help the client’s own teams to grow.  

This is a win-win relationship if ever there was one!