Investing in Teams

April 5, 2023 | 3 Minute Read

As technology executives look at 2023, there are a lot of questions about what the market holds and how various sectors will fare. But, there is little question about the need for innovation and the demand of "do more with less" that all businesses are navigating. Planning for the rest of this year and beyond, we've found there are a couple of ways to consider tackling these needs and demands. 

The first ones focus on helping us with growth in our existing teams. We are challenged with low unemployment, so investment in our existing people is a great approach. Here are a couple of ways we have done that (we call them Labs). 

Devlin Liles Headshot

Innovation Lab

Group meeting in chairs

These are time-boxed efforts where a team is fully committed to the timebox, focusing on novel ideas, practices, or technology. It's really meant to be a proof-of-concept so the constraint of time, not quality, is the focus, but it allows the team to set an audacious goal and then try like mad to accomplish it. It can be a fun reset for how you think about your product, customer, or even yourself in relation to the work. 

Modernization Lab 

By focusing on system quality or refreshing practices and processes, the team is committed to advancing how they deliver value effectively. Oftentimes, friction creeps in and starts to slow us down. The baggage of past learning needs to be consolidated or even eliminated based on the evolution of our organizational context. Providing the space for this allows us to get better. 

It can be hard to create the time and space for these types of labs, given the pressures we experience from the business. But, some of these investments right now can pay off much larger dividends in the future because they allow us to get better. Rarely do we get down the road and wish we had done less investment before in order to make today better. 

When there's just more work than can be done with our current teams, we need to look for alternatives beyond our company walls. While there has been the option of off-shoring, the pandemic and volatile global economy have shown some drawbacks of going that way. One helpful alternative that we have found is near-shoring. 


Blog Image - Investing in Teams

Many of us are familiar with off-shoring and some of the challenges it brings to the table. Lower quality, high team turnover, over-billing due to blocking issues and time zone differences, or even a lack of local market understanding or cultural knowledge. We have found that near-shoring, while not a panacea, has helped us to address many of these shortfalls. It does require a deeper investment and oversight as you build up teams and help pull the right work together, but the cost savings are there with the right engagement structure. We found Mexico to be an excellent blend of developed technical talent, cultural alignment, and creative capacity, helping us grow our ability to provide true savings while delivering higher quality. Plus, the timezone overlap is significantly more aligned than overseas and that helps to reduce the drain on all team members. 

Looking toward what the rest of this year holds, uncertainty seems to be showing up in many areas. Given that, we believe that experimenting with one or more of these in a short time-horizon way can help you figure out what will provide the most benefit for you and your organization.


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