Freelancing originated as expert skills, wherein an individual was unique enough not to be tied down to one organization. Hence Freelancing was considered to be a Specialist’s domain rather than a “helping hand” who can deal with your odd jobs.
We believe the IT freelancing jobs took off during the Global Recessions which changed/shaped the face of the economy. According to the IMF (International Monetary Funds) the US faced its recession during 2001-2002 and the longest during 2008-2009. This saw a boom in the Freelancing world and based on its increasing demand freelancing started taking shape of a go-to alternative.
The definition of freelancing has evolved over years, from individuals or groups working out of their Homes offering niche services for a limited period to freelancing websites which offer a platter of skills to engage.
43% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by 2020. (Nasdaq)
On that note, let’s take up the scenarios to be considered in Software Development Stages and analyze the pros and cons that can come from hiring an Employee or a Freelancer.
Going into new ventures, Investment is the most important and primary aspect. Getting an Employee onboard involves a lengthy and costly process. Searching Job Sites or Recruitment Agencies, negotiating a Salary (top talents don’t come cheap), providing Healthcare and Insurance services and in case of long-term engagements keeping them appraised with perks and increments; seems like a huge task.
Pros: Freelancers in most cases are easier to find and cheaper to engage.
Cons: Cheaper the freelancer lower the quality or skills.
Flexibility of Team structure
The graph for Resource Allocation of every Software development project follows a progression of growth during the Requirement Gathering phase and reaches the top during Development phase, gradually dying down during the Maintenance phase. Hence the team structure varies requiring off boarding of resources gradually.
Pros: Flexibility in case of upsizing or downsizing the team.
But depending on the hurdles faced in development the time periods may vary. Freelancers work on either Fixed price projects or Hourly basis. Hence your Project plan should be topnotch for you to completely utilize hired freelancers.
Cons : Incase of fixed price projects, Tracking of the time invested by the freelancer is not possible. Moreover, freelancers aren’t used to reporting time distribution. A daily/hourly timesheet might be restrictive for a freelancer.
Short period commitments are a norm in freelancing. Most SMBs require Developers for short intervals until their custom software goes live. Beyond that they expect ad hoc support services for bugs.
Cons: Maintenance support is difficult, in case of freelancers, as the chances that the same developer can he hired are thin, and a new developer might have to engage longer hours just to get a hang of the issue.
Quality of Developers
Quality of Employees to Freelancers is a matter of debate. Even though we consider the same level of talent on both ends; the processes followed by them in each scenario differs. Companies involve in a complete Background check, Technical interviews, HR interviews and Aptitude test if required before hiring, hence assuring a skilled developer.
Pros: Freelancers are considered to be Experts in their domains; hence enabling them to work independently without any support.
Cons: Freelancing portals have no screening process and developers must be evaluated based on the projects they have uploaded.
Cons: Freelancers though having the required qualifications/certifications would not necessarily be skilled in aspects beyond technical.
Quality of software
As IT industries have evolved they have seen marginal improvement in the Processes being followed, the quality analysis reviews being done which together define the Industry standards. Companies try to comply themselves to either of the following standards - IEEE, ISO, ANSI, EIA.
Pros: Since most freelancers are completely dependent on the review/feedbacks they get from the client to get their next job. They are required to strive to satisfy the clients requirements.
Cons : Since the freelancing movement wasn’t bound to an Industry; Industry norms didn’t apply to them. Developing a SW according to ISO standards can be tedious for the freelancer. Hence quality gets confined to the developer and tester’s perspectives. You will need to hire a separate Quality Analyst to evaluate the work done.
Access to Global Talent
Pros : Freelancing allows you to hire talented developers across the globe.
Cons: Communicating your ideas to a person from different cultures and backgrounds can be difficult. With distinct business processes being followed across different countries, aligning a stranger to your world might be time consuming.
In such cases expert teams specific to requirement gathering come into play, who would communicate your specifications in refined and curtailed format to the developer.
Pro : With a single individual handling a project, all decisions are quick and instinctive.
With the drive to hire the top talent in the freelancer world, the client might end up with multiple resources at distributed locations.
Cons: In such cases assuring that all resources are on the same page, is challenging. Furthermore, to supervise these developers is an added task for the client.
The Management and supervision of development team is a Leads task who can act as a guide to the resources on behalf of the client.
Cons: Due to the fragile nature of the relationship, even though you spend notable time with different freelancers at different stages of the project, a sense of belonging is not generated at both ends.
Entrepreneurs are looking for venues that would provide them benefits from both streams of workforce. The Flexibility of the freelancers with the Expertise, Quality and Reliability of Organizations. You can run through the the top Outsourcing companies in India for your reference. With the clients willing to experiment, prospects for such avenues are on the rise. In case you are in search of reliable developers to comply to your processes and contribute to a Project, without the hassle of freelancers do feel free to get in touch with us.