Software Development Staffing Strategy: Handling Unexpected Requests for Time Off

It took a while, but finally, you’ve developed a software development dream team. You have great interpersonal dynamics and your group is well-balanced in terms of skills and abilities. But then, in a twist of fate, came the car accident that left one colleague out of work for six weeks. And next week, another colleague departs for two weeks to tend to her sick child.

In short, your once-perfect tech team now has some major holes and you’re in a position where you’re at serious risk of seeing some major timeline overruns.

Software development teams can encounter some rather unique challenges if an individual takes time off unexpectedly. While most approach this issue from a HR perspective, this challenge is at its heart an issue rooted in project management issues such as time overruns.

Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can employ to ensure that your project gets completed on time, both from a software project management perspective and from a pre-hire stance.

Promote Cross-Training and Skill Set Growth Amongst Tech Team Members

It’s important to maintain a high degree of redundancy amongst your staff’s skill sets, as this gives your in-house team the versatility it needs to cover when someone is out sick or even when a team member quits unexpectedly. Ideally, you should have at least two or three people who can fill a specific role.

You can achieve this objective by offering incentives to employees who opt to pursue additional training or classes. It’s also advantageous to invest in cross-training in-house whenever the opportunity arises.

Skill sets are also a vital consideration during the recruiting and hiring process. It’s usually best to choose the candidate with the broader skill set, as this allows for far greater versatility. So your HR department or recruiter should be on the lookout for individuals with a wide range of talents and skills.

Budget Extra Time into Your Projects

When providing a client with a projected timeframe for a project, it’s best to include a bit of a buffer to allow for incidentals, such as an essential team member who takes time off unexpectedly. This way, you can absorb any delays that result from an individual’s absence.

Lots of issues and challenges can arise during the software development process. Something as simple as an operating system update that occurs during a mobile app build can necessitate some fairly significant alterations that fall outside of the original project scope. Therefore, it’s always wise to integrate a bit of extra time into your predicted development time frame to account for these unanticipated issues. At the end of the day, it’s always better to deliver early versus delivering late.

Calling in Extra Support via Staff Augmentation

A third option entails staff augmentation through a process known as insourcing. So rather than sending your project out to be completed by a third party, you can call in a team of software developers and other tech professionals to help complete the project in-house.

This tech staffing option is most suitable when you encounter staffing gaps that are more long term. For example, if one of your lead developers is involved in a major car accident and will be out of work for the next six weeks, then this form of augmentation can be beneficial. But if you have a developer out sick for just three or four days, it would be a bit impractical to call in reinforcements.

Insourcing offers a diverse variety of benefits, including increased control over the project, since it’s performed in-house by a team who will work alongside your own. You’ll also avoid the hassle and cost of recruiting, while side-stepping the sometimes-lengthy adjustment process that new staff or temps may experience. iTech’s software development teams are comprised of experienced tech experts with refined team dynamics and a high degree of comfort in a variety of different settings. This means they’re better equipped to jump in and acclimate quickly so they can focus on the project. If you’re seeking help with a tech or software development project, contact iTech to learn more about our IT and tech staffing services.

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