Hiring internal IT resources or hire an external firm: the dilemma of every IT Project and a key decision for the Project Manager.
It is true, a new IT Project always calls for a fundamental decision from the Project Manager: should I hire internal IT resources or hire an external firm?
Every IT Project is first and foremost a Management and Logistics challenge. In the sense that each IT project brings its own challenges, its own customer requirements and, at the same time, its own needs in terms of expertise and resources.
The Project Manager must first clearly define the nature of the IT development project to match it with the expertise of his Development team.
The Challenge of IT Resources Scarcity at the Dawn of the 21st Century
The magnitude of the Software Development Project Management and Logistics challenge should not be underestimated. In fact, many companies have been involuntarily slowing down their growth in recent years due to bottlenecks in their internal processes, mainly because of resource scarcity.
Historically, companies hired developers (and sometimes even interns) to meet the needs of improving existing IT systems or developing new features.
Today, the situation is more problematic. The hiring process is much longer and sometimes only possible with the hiring of foreign workers, which further delays the hiring process.
The advantages of hiring an external firm in terms of IT resources
Hiring an external firm to fill your IT resource needs has several undeniable advantages for any company:
o The external firm is selected because it has the required expertise; internal IT resources do not necessarily have the necessary expertise to accomplish the development project
o The external firm is selected because it is up to date with the latest technological advances, the most recent versions of tools, etc.
o The client will choose his supplier and will ensure during the selection interviews that similar values are shared
o The working language will be that of the client, at the client’s discretion of course
Quality of Development
o A local supplier will normally apply the best practices in software development
o Often the customer compares the hourly rates between an employee and a consultant and obviously the consultant is more expensive. However, when the following elements are factored into the equation, the truth is quite different:
- The cost of hiring (HR consultants and headhunters for in-house resources)
- The cost per square foot required for the resource’s environment
- The cost of incremental benefits (that in-house resources will necessarily bring along)
- The project has a beginning and an end, so the Client will not need to support an in-house resource at the end of the project
o It is likely that the hiring process of an external IT consulting firm will not only be much faster but also, much less expensive
o In addition, the availability of the external firm will normally be much faster than hiring internal resources
The benefits of hiring IT resources in-house
With in-house IT resources, you know immediately your potential production capacity for new projects.
You also know the nature and scope of the expertise available to you.
In short, you have a perfect knowledge of the Know-How and Know-Who (strengths and weaknesses) of your resources because managing a software development project is also managing a network of human relationships!
Of course, hiring IT resources internally assures you of immediate availability and you find yourself in familiar territory in terms of know-how and attitude.
However, managing an IT project involves many challenges, not the least of which is evaluating the performance of software development resources.
Thus, hiring an external firm guarantees a spontaneous matching of expertise with the needs of the IT Project without committing to recurring costs at the end of the Project.