Why the Squads Model Works for Software Building
Squads operates as a community, not as a company. All members are entrepreneurs, they’re not employees. To make this work, it is essential to set the right scene so that all members are intrinsically motivated to make the group and its clients successful.
Why work with Squads?
Let’s take a look at an example of setting up a startup. After conceiving and planning the business idea, one has to go to the market quickly with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in order to get validated learning. However, before you build anything, you need to hire developers.
Hiring developers is hard and risky. If you sign with someone that doesn’t fit the team you risk losing a year’s salary on the bad decision.
At the same time, any new team has to go through a forming, storming, and norming cycle before they start performing. So getting a team up to speed takes time and effort, which in general you pay for along the way.
Squads teams have been working together for longer periods before you buy their capacity, so they will hit the ground running.
Squads sells capacity to clients on a week by week basis. So you never ever risk losing more than one week of budget. You have more room to experiment and learn before committing to your own staff. This means you can get something done quickly, and then reserve a budget until you’re ready for your next experiment.
The team we currently have contains the brightest folks across geographies. So we have Startup hackers from the Netherlands, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ukraine, India, Romania, Finland and we work in different time-zones which provides the flexibility of working 24 hours a day.
Everybody in the team has a presence on github and have contributed to several open-source projects.
Does Squads work on specific technology or platforms only?
We specialize in solving a certain kind of problem (Lean Startup) and technologies are (just) a tool we use to accomplish that. We have specialists working on cutting edge technologies. Even learning and working on new tools doesn’t take much time, as we can hire from a sizeable pool of freelance specialists, inside the Squads community, for particular projects.
Although we’re open about using the right tool for the job, we have a sweet spot for certain technologies which are: Single Page Apps (usually done with AngularJS), on top of NodeJS or Scala back-ends (usually with Spray). Also, we’re highly skilled in Continuous Delivery and rapid prototyping.
Are you just a bunch of developers? Or do you also advise on other disciplines as well like building a Lean Startup?
We have a team of entrepreneurs who are founding members of currently running start-ups. So along with building, we advise on Lean Startup strategies such as continuous validated learning, growth hacking, recruitment, business strategy, and sales.
Why does Squads software building work so well?
The point of Squads is to get the best bang for the client’s buck. This naturally means that developers should be made as productive as possible and as little time from the client as possible should be wasted. Perhaps counter-intuitively, this works remarkably well in a distributed setup. Developers are more productive if they have the freedom of managing their own time, and no need to deal with the daily challenges of commuting and noisy office settings. Because the team is fully distributed developers cannot afford to disconnect from the client and each other. As a client, you’re in the loop on an hourly basis, but not interrupted if you don’t want to.
Less time for the client is wasted if synchronization happens at a fixed rhythm. With the self-organizing process of Squads teams, client and team quickly fall into the optimal collaboration strategy for the particular project at hand.
If you want to talk more about this, please book a slot with Iwein or Andy. We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.