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Outsourced, Augmented Engineering, Forming One Team

"When groups perceive themselves as different from others, this often sets the stage for conflict and competition. This after all is a key reason why sports teams wear different uniforms"

Nigel Barber, Ph.D.; Evolutionary psychologist. “Contractor, outsourcer, augmented or agency staff” are all words for “other”; not one of us. This view is often seen as unavoidable but as Barber states, “ [the assumption] that making strong in-group out-group distinctions is somehow encoded in our genotype as a pan-human adaptation has flaws...Far from being built into the brain, such phenomena are acquired by Social Learning”* In other words; your team has learned not to trust outsiders through repeated experience; trust has been lost. How do we change the approach? Recognise the issue rather than hope this time it will be different; this time they will welcome us with open arms.

Meaningful Work

Not being “Let In” is a problem, not least of all because of its impact on the ability to produce meaningful work. What do we mean by meaningful work? Well, there are several factors, but the key elements are:

  • Using your talent and Skills

  • A balance of work and personal life

  • Be part of something bigger, contributing to a whole.

  • Knowing your contribution means something.

To achieve this, our engineers can’t exist as an island. They have to try and forge one landmass. And that means not just having our engineers employed, not just seen as outsourced engineering, but taking part in meaningful work. That distinction contributes massively to improved efficiency, satisfaction and ultimately, retention of staff. So how do we build bridges?

Through three tenets: Demonstrate Competence “Competence” is not a very sexy word, but repeated demonstrations of competence are key to building trust. Proving you can do the work well builds trust. Until trust is built, no one will let you into their tribe and pretending otherwise is foolhardy. So, while that is being built, the second tenant is: Be Humble While Understanding Why We seek to understand why things are being done the way they are and in that order. We do not assume we know better from the start. But getting information about decisions, asking for it and making that key to our approach gives us context for the what.

Look to Help The job is not just moving tickets through as fast as possible. A rising tide lifts all ships, and an engineer who has shown they can be trusted, understands the boundaries of a problem, and looks to volunteer help is someone you want on your side. – but we also need to be the ones that are actively involved in design reviews, in contributing to AC, to understanding quality is a two-way street equally the part of the engineer and the tester. We recognise that we need to build relationships, not just Engineer to Engineer but across all agile disciplines.

Why Choose Us?

In short, if you are choosing sides, we’re trying to be the people you pick first; we’re the ones that you want on your team. Looking for an outsourced software development service that is an extension of your own team? Get in touch to find out more about our augmented engineering service, and how we can help resource / up-skill your existing teams. Read our Case Studies. *Barber, N. (2004). Kindness in a cruel world: The evolution of altruism. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.