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IT Consulting
Software Development

Why Micro Teams are the Future of Software Development

17 December 2021 by Sara Wahba

Software development is consuming the planet. Global IT spending topped $3.7 trillion in 2019. This year's market revenue was anticipated to be $560 billion – and rapid software expansion will continue in the following years. 

Market-leading software and hardware companies are reinventing their products to be more productive and efficient. Less critical than code lines are frequent updates and quick issue patches. These facts prove the value of developers!

Previously, companies used to dedicate a level to their tech teams in their headquarters. However, now it's tougher to hire developers because developers are in short supply while tech workflow is increasing. Finding top technical personnel has become more complex and costly, especially in developed tech hubs like London, California, and Singapore. That's why many entrepreneurs rely on scattered micro teams.

But what is a micro software development team? And how can you use one to propel your company forward?

Read on to find out!

What is a Micro Team?

As the name suggests, a micro team is a small group of two to four persons—although some teams can expand to as many as ten developers, but this is uncommon.

But don't be mistaken with the size, these teams are painstakingly efficient elite, always delivering their end of the bargain on time, and with excellent quality.

Why, therefore, do people prefer micro teams to massive, traditional software development teams? Let's find out.

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What Is the Appeal of Micro Teams?

Micro teams have gained prominence in recent years for various reasons, including, augmenting the development team, and enhancing productivity and flexibility. These are discussed in detail below.

1. The Developer Landscape

Hiring developers regionally is among the top issues in the tech world these days. The truth is that developers are in short supply. And so, filling openings with high-quality people is considerably more difficult. Unless your brand, reputation, and pay are exceptional, you'll have to fight with dozens of other companies to secure the same low-numbered top-notch employees. And so, most organizations are exploring the possibility of working with a few micro teams. But don't get it wrong, they still have their development teams; these micro teams only argument the latter. The advantage of micro teams is that you can acquire them at a reduced cost. Also, they are less risky because of their relatively low turnover rates. It's worth noting that looking for a micro team is not solely to boost a development team. Often, companies look for them to help put together different development pipelines; micro teams can work on detailed plans for new business verticals. Occasionally, the goal is to completely rebuild existing projects using the microservices design and new technology.

2. Productivity Gains

Although the term micro teams are still in its infancy, it is derived from a common concept in lean software development known as microservices. Essentially, the microservices architecture boosts efficiency by decomposing major development projects into independent modules within existing applications. It allows you to incrementally add critical functionalities without restructuring or replacing the primary monolithic structure entirely. Several of its distinguishing features include the following:

  • Microservices are independent, testable, manageable, and deployable. And because of their loose coupling, they are simpler and cheaper to maintain.
  • A program is divided into many independent modules that communicate via a well-defined interface and lightweight APIs.
  • Standalone features enable companies to structure a complicated design around specific business requirements.
  • Microservices enable smooth integration of new features as a business grows and evolves its technology stack.

Because of these, many businesses have resorted to using them. For example, Amazon was one of the first organizations to leverage microservices to revolutionize the entire organization. Previously, all of its services and components were inextricably linked. And so, any significant code changes were held up in the deployment process for weeks before users had access to them. Amazon then separated the structures into a single application using microservices. This streamlined and condensed the system, allowing developers to identify bottlenecks. It assisted them in rebuilding the applications as service-oriented architectures, with each service being managed by a small team dedicated to it. Micro teams use the same format! Assume you have an old, out-of-date platform that needs to be updated. You could request that your internal team completely rebuild the central monolithic structure. While doing so will resolve your issue, it would be costly. It will also consume time and may impact your product's usability for a short period. Alternatively, you can hire a micro team from outside sources. On the side, they'll construct solely new features with the most up-to-date and high-performing technology. They'll then use APIs to connect that to the primary monolith. This is precisely what the best forward-thinking technology companies do today.

Flexibility & Engagement

A traditional large team organization comprises separate teams, each with its particular area of specialty. For example, there could be a different frontend team, backend, DevOps team, etc. Before creating software, these teams might be forced to deliberate for long—often wasting time and resources. The management team tells them what to code, and they have little or no idea why they're building it. This gives the creators the impression that they have no control over what they are doing. On the other hand, a micro team is typically made up of full-stack developers who are well-versed in the entire end-to-end development process. They're just as excited about working on the database, frontend, and backend as they are about developing CI/CD methodologies and DevOps duties. They understand what they are building and why they are building it. They assume complete ownership and accountability for the process. As a result, they require little or no outside management. The hierarchy is naturally flat within the team, meaning there's no head. They cooperatively assign projects to individuals who are most confident in their ability to complete them. When all's said and done, some members work 60% backend and 20% DevOps. Others may be split 50/50 between frontend and backend. Alternatively, if they believe it is beneficial for the project, they could switch entirely within months. Furthermore, they have the ability to change based on the demands of the project. They also understand how the tasks they perform impact the software development process as a whole – and assume responsibility for it. The latter of which results in higher-quality work that is delivered on schedule.

So, How Do Your Form a Micro Team?

The first step is to define the project.

Before recruiting a micro team, you need to precisely define the technological stack and the project's purpose/business strategy. You can do this with entirely new projects, in-app restructuring, and adding a unique component to an existing project. For instance, let's assume a hospital's technology staff working on a patient record system wants to introduce a quick and efficient way of data entry. Perhaps, the tech team is overburdened or unable to accommodate this new feature. Rather than brainstorming, the current tech team can consider this a separate project having its goals, roadblocks, and schedule. After highlighting these factors, it can then speak with the tech talent.

Then talk with the potentials.

When looking for a micro team, you can search for already established ones. For instance, we have Kapsys, a custom software development house that can help your business develop and launch products. The most incredible thing is that the company is often eager to tackle your project's challenges—because of its solid team—and can adopt your companies' principles and values. The latter is highly important because the micro team won't seem like an outsider but part of your company! Another option is to hire individual developers. The initial developer you employ for your micro team will be a vital partner in determining the rest of the team's composition. You must be on the same page about the project's goals and how you'll collaborate daily to achieve them. Once you've discovered your first technical partner, they'll almost certainly recommend some of their connections who might be interested as well. If they propose five persons, you can presume one or two are available and eager to join your project. Remember this; it's best to have individuals in your time zone. It will make it much easier to organize stand-ups and sprint meetings, as well as fluid communication. It's even better if you're able to hire somebody from the same vicinity to contribute to a sense of community.

Final Thoughts

Gone are the days where software development was tied at companies' headquarters. We're ushering in a new trend of micro teams and microservices. Micro teams can relieve the software development burden from your primary team, allowing them to focus on other essential things. They're also relatively cheap, flexible, and well-versed. Because of that, they're the best options for companies in need of scaling up or creating other business verticals. So, do you want to join the new trend? Don't know where to start? Contact us today, and we'll help you get started!