Partnering With a Dedicated Engineering Team: What, Why And When?

Do you have an app design you want to get to market, and building an internal dev team will take too long, is out of budget, and/or makes little strategic short or long-term sense?

Is the bandwidth of your internal team utilized to capacity?

Do you want to add an IoT, voice search, or blockchain capability to an existing digital product, but have no in-house expertise? 

These are pretty common scenarios faced by startups, SMBs, and enterprises alike. And, in any case, having access to an experienced and reliable engineering team can help you achieve your goal.

Yes, you could take the time and effort to put a team of several off-shore developers together or start your internal hiring process.

But while that looks affordable at face value, the time cost could be huge. 

You could hire a design and development partner for full product delivery, but re-doing earlier stages of the four-phase software development process will also cost you precious time (and money). 

The answer might well be the dedicated engineering team.

In this blog, we’ll look at the value of a dedicated development team, as well as how and where it can add value.

The dedicated team, defined

The concept of ‘staff augmentation’ is nothing new. It’s an established sector that boomed during the pandemic — and while the theory is pretty sound, the success of the outcomes can vary in practice.

Imagine you’ve pulled together a remote, augmented team of a programmer or two, a UX designer, a UI designer, and a Quality Assurance.

These individuals will have no shared processes and will have never worked together. You’ll need to budget in a phase of onboarding, establishing team norms, setting up tools and processes, and trying to standardize and optimize…. well, everything.

Taking this approach can be a slow and expensive start to app development, to say the least.

There are better solutions that minimize the cost and risk while adding significant value — and at Cheesecake Labs, that solution comes in the shape of a dedicated engineering team. 

We define a dedicated team as a supergroup of talented product experts, cherry-picked to fit your project requirements.

Most dedicated engineering teams will have a Tech Lead and at least two engineers with hands-on experience building the type of product you want to build.

That said, the number of engineers will be defined by the size and scale of your project, and it may also be beneficial to include a Product Owner and Quality Assurance expert, depending on your needs.

Your Cheesecake Labs engineers are dedicated to your project from day one up until you launch, and beyond.

They benefit from the wider hive-mind of their fellow Cakers and work alongside the colleagues they collaborate well with, to produce the very best outcome for your app. The sole focus of the dedicated team is to DELIVER. 

Benefits of using a Cheesecake Labs dedicated engineering team

When going down the dedicated team route vs staff augmentation, businesses can expect:

  • Mitigated risk: This delivers on several levels. Based on a foundation of great teamwork, the dedicated team model reduces the risk of hiring mistakes. It also mitigates risk in product development: with greater trust in each other and a reliable set of repeatable processes, you know you’re in safe hands. The less time wasted, the less time it takes to get to market — and the less money to waste in the process as well.
  • Access to top talent: With a Cheesecake Labs dedicated team, you’re working with developers of the highest caliber. We’ve sourced, vetted, hired, and trained them up to our world-class standard, so you don’t have to.
  • Tested tooling and processes: Cheesecake Labs has been building delightful digital experiences for close to ten years. That means we have developed the optimal tools, methodologies, and processes — as well as 200+ successful digital products! There is no need for our ‘dedicated team’ clients to worry about project planning or what tools they might be missing.

When does the dedicated team model add value for startups, SMBs, and enterprises?

Building on the benefits we explored above, there are unique project-level advantages to hiring a dedicated engineering team. These advantages are best summarized by three words: velocity, scale, and skill.

  • Velocity: Not only are inexperienced or disparate teams slower to get started, but you’ll likely find that projects — and the builds within them — take longer to complete. This may be a result of time zone differences, communication challenges, lack of confidence and experience, or all of the above. When you need to move efficiently and effectively, a dedicated team is the best way to deliver.
  • Scale: The entire 100+-strong Cheesecake Labs team is here to support you when you work with one of our dedicated teams. If you need more hands on deck for certain stages of development, we can help you scale. The same can be said if you want to pull back to two full-time developers now that your product has launched; the scale of the engineering support has elasticity and can be customized to your specific needs.
  • Skills: Each project has unique requirements, that’s why we’ll take time to understand what you need which will help to ensure that we curate the best team structure possible. With a Cheesecake Labs dedicated engineering team, you have all the right skills in place, with no need to hire internally until you’re ready to do so. We can even phase in other Cheesecake Labs teams, such as UX/UI designers, where needed. 

So how do those benefits play out across different types of businesses?

Startups often need to get to market quickly but can lack an internal team of engineers (and maybe even a CTO) to build their minimum viable product (MVP).

Here, the dedicated team is an ideal solution — and a startup’s secret weapon — delivering a valuable MVP, with minimal overhead.

Established enterprises, on the other hand, typically come to us when they need to launch a new product and their existing engineering team is at capacity.

There are many reasons an enterprise may need to get a new or optimized product to market quickly. It could be facilitating a new revenue stream or the result of changing consumer needs. 

Here, Cheesecake Labs can seamlessly integrate a dedicated team versus the expensive and drawn-out process of building a bigger internal team (that may not even be needed once the project is complete).

Small and mid-sized businesses have unique scenarios that can benefit from the dedicated team model. These scenarios often involve bringing in a team with specific skills that your in-house team may lack. 

It’s rarely viable for an SMB to hire individual specialists in specific technologies, and then try to integrate them into existing teams and keep them utilized. Usually, they need tools and processes that don’t yet exist in their business.

With the influx of new technologies like voice search and IoT that can give you a competitive edge, it’s worth considering a dedicated team with this expertise.

The team will be pre-vetted, experienced, already operating at velocity, and skilled in the technologies that can shift the meter for your business.

Am I ready for a Cheesecake Labs dedicated engineering team?

Understanding whether or not your business is ready for a dedicated engineering team is something we’ll look to do either in or following an initial call. Typically, a product is ready for development (and a dedicated engineering team) once the following assets have been created:

  • Customer journey map
  • Low fidelity wireframes
  • High fidelity, interactive wireframes or prototype
  • User navigation flows

If you’re yet to complete the above stages of the development process, the Cheesecake Labs full project delivery offering is arguably a better option. 

Request a call with the Cheesecake Labs team now, and we’ll run through some questions about your process to date, get to grips with your current thinking, and analyze any assets you may already have.

When does a client’s time with a dedicated engineering team come to an end?

Some dedicated team partnerships achieve their goal in a matter of months, while others may go on to last years — supporting the business long-term on app optimizations, new features, and updates. It all depends on the project scope, and future requirements can change as the project progresses or market conditions dictate. 

Remember, a Cheesecake Labs dedicated team can easily be scaled up or down based on your shifting needs. 

We often work with clients that are recruiting an in-house team at the same time as working with our dedicated team. In these instances, we’re more than happy to facilitate the handover process once in-house teams are ready to take over the maintenance and optimization. And our proverbial door is always open after that, too.

Do you think you need a Cheesecake Labs dedicated team?

If you have a validated app idea, wireframes, and a prototype — but no dev team — you would likely benefit from a dedicated engineering team. 

Don’t risk the staff augmentation route and the time and quality loss that can follow. A collection of individual remote developers will lack a team culture, established processes, and potentially the expertise needed to make your project a success

And you’ll probably end up being responsible for project management, too.

Work with Cheesecake Labs instead and take full advantage of our collective experience, tried and tested methodologies, trustworthy tools, and award-winning company culture!

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Want to explore further? Get in touch with our team to chat through your requirements.

The bottom line is, we have your back, and Cheesecake Labs dedicated teams DELIVER!

Check out the Part 2 of this article – Partnering with a dedicated engineering team: What, why, and when?

About the author.

Jeremy Stephan
Jeremy Stephan

Jeremy Stephan is no stranger to building digital products. In fact, he's worked with Disney, NBC, Mercedes-Benz, HotelTonight, and many other companies in helping to guide them through the app design and development process. Jeremy has led client engagement in the digital space for over 10 years and served as a mentor within the TechStars network.