Best practices for blended or hybrid teams
Most software product and service delivery projects are done in house or externally, with the project management being internal. In recent years, however, we are seeing an increase in the use of hybrid teams that combine in-house and external experts.
Both approaches have their advantages and drawbacks, but, in our experience, hybrid teams can give you the best of both worlds when organised and run correctly. Here are some of our observations and learnings on how to make hybrid teams work successfully.
Worth operates multi-discipline teams that combine expertise from different aspects of the digital product delivery spectrum, from design through development and operations to front-in development and UX.
For example, we worked with one client, Dutch National Lottery, on a mobile development project. To execute it we embedded an agile approach with UX designers and software engineers working closely to align design, and directly implement feedback from testing into the digital build process. We also worked together with various parts of the client business and their stakeholders to focus on customer needs, resulting in a mobile-first web experience that ensured a smooth journey and high conversion rates on mobile devices.
We find that hybrid teams work best when the client becomes an important part of our team, and we become a valuable extension to theirs. Not every client has experience in agile or cloud, but we offer deep expertise that encompasses DevOps, agile development, Scrum, testing, security, front-end development and UX. And we’re happy to share our knowledge with our clients. Sometimes, there is a specialist or individuals who already have a degree of knowledge and experience, and we’re very happy to work with them and help upskill them if needed.
Co-creation also helps to make teams successful, as there’s a sense of doing it together, for example going through the discovery process together and looking at real users and seeing them wrestle with a prototype of the product. It gives everyone a shared focus and brings down silo boundaries and helps to produce successful products.
The client knows their business best, their users, stakeholders, workflows and processes. But we’re able to bring a fresh perspective and the ability to innovate, and sometimes challenge embedded organisational thinking and anti-patterns. With this approach, we find co-creation a win-win.
The key to a good client-partner relationship is transparency, clarity and openness on both sides. If we see a better way of doing things, we’ll say, even if the project in question gets smaller as a result. We believe truth and integrity are more important.
The great thing about multi-discipline hybrid teams is they combine multiple perspectives, from business strategy to tactical tech. You have the insider’s knowledge of the business plus our external view. And when you bring different voices together to solve a problem, or deliver a new digital product, and let them speak freely from their perspective, that’s when hybrid teams are really working.
We believe in diversity because it makes for more interesting, more innovative and more successful teams. When we become part of a hybrid team with our clients, things can get really interesting.
We have 15 different national cultures in our business including people from Britain, Guatemala, America, Greece, Spain and the Netherlands. Also, a healthy proportion of our software engineers, testers, UX designers and Scrum Masters are female. Our experts span the spectrum of academic and working backgrounds, And they range across technical disciplines, from design to development, operations to security. We find that diversity and difference lead to a dynamic problem-solving environment that’s fun to be part of, and it also gets results.
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