Engagement models in software development
Businesses can use different engagement models to work with blacktorn.ai. These models determine the level of involvement, risk, and responsibility between the client and the provider. We offer time & materials, a dedicated team, and fixed-price engagement models.
Time and Materials
The Time and Materials engagement model suits complex projects with evolving requirements. The client is charged for actual working hours based on negotiated hourly, daily, or weekly rates and team member profiles, as well as for software licenses, cloud services, and other expenses. The client has significant control over the project and can adjust the scope and requirements as needed.
- Saving time on planning. Time and Materials teams can be deployed without documented requirements and detailed project vision.
- Flexibility for both the client and the project team. The client can adjust the project scope as needed, and blackthorn.ai can adjust resources and efforts accordingly. This can be particularly useful for projects with numerous unknowns or evolving requirements.
- Stimulates efficiency and productivity. Since the project team is paid a monthly salary, they are incentivized to complete tasks as quickly as possible. This can lead to a more streamlined and cost-effective system for the clients as they pay for the time and materials spent.
- Lack of financial predictivity. Since the cost is based on actual involvement, it can be hard to estimate how much the project will ultimately cost.
- Scarce planning. Frequent re-planning of the project and stochastic involvement of engineers can create the impression of losing control over the project's course. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of regular and open communication with the customer in this cooperation mode.
- Lack of accountability. Team members are not responsible for delivering a specific outcome at a specific deadline. Accordingly, they may not feel as motivated to work quickly. This can lead to delays or a lack of progress on the project.
- Assignments with high uncertainty and/or evolving requirements.
- Clients with an urgent need to involve certain engineer profiles.
- Clients with irregular and/or unpredictable demands for highly skilled labor that are difficult to hire in the labor market and/or unprofitable to keep permanently on staff.
- Clients without strict financial planning constraints.
- Clients willing to be involved in team management.
The Dedicated Team engagement model is suitable for long-term projects that require a consistent team of developers, designers, and other specialists. In this model, blackthorn.ai assigns a dedicated team to work exclusively for the client. The client pays a monthly fee for the team's services, and the provider is responsible for managing the team and ensuring their productivity.
- Predictable budget with fixed monthly expenses.
- Doesn’t require intensive planning - although a brief project roadmap is recommended.
- Requirements can be updated at any time.
- Team size and composition, project duration, and budget can be changed once every 30 days.
- The client controls the execution of the project.
- Soft deadlines for deliverables.
- Assignments with a timeline of 3 months and more.
- Assignments with semi-defined scope.
- Teams from 3 people: 1 Engineer, 1 Delivery Manager, 1 Technical Leader.
The Fixed Price engagement model is suitable for small projects with well-defined requirements. The services provider agrees to deliver the project within a fixed budget and timeline in this model. The client pays the provider a fixed price for the project, regardless of the effort and resources used.
- Predictable: fixed project timeline, costs, scope of work, and deliverables.
- Reliable: the client risks are minimized.
- Effortless: after the project initiation, the client’s involvement is minimized due to internal management.
- Extra costs: a margin (+30%) is added to overcome unforeseen risks.
- Extra effort for planning: a distinct phase called Discovery is mandatory for medium and large projects (3+ months) to collect and formalize technical requirements before the start.
- Lack of flexibility: fixed project scope becomes a real issue for clients trying to advance their product on the go.
- Lack of control: fixed-price projects are executed under the provider’s internal technical and operational management control. Clients visit weekly or bi-weekly demo sessions to track the project’s progress.
- Short-term and small projects, usually 1-2 months, with a few engineers.
- Technical requirements are well-defined and documented.
- Clients without project vision and/or technical requirements - but ready for the Discovery phase.
- Projects with a fixed scope that doesn’t change after initiation.
- Clients willing to minimize their project involvement and offload project management from themselves as much as possible.
How to choose the right engagement model?
Choosing the suitable engagement model depends on the project's size, complexity, and objectives. Businesses should carefully evaluate their options and select a model that fits their needs and budget.
|Time & Materials
|well-defined and fixed for the project duration
|well-defined but flexible
|clearly outlined, documented, and remain unchanged throughout the project duration
|can be updated at any time
|briefly outlined before the project start; can be updated once a week
|fully supplied by blackthorn.ai
|depends on the team composition
|partially supplied by blackthorn.ai
Importance of regular communication
Regular communication is a critical aspect of managed software development. By maintaining an open dialogue between the client and the development team, everyone can stay on the same page and ensure the project stays on track. Effective communication also helps identify and resolve issues early on, saving time and money in the long run. Establishing clear communication channels and setting expectations for how often updates will be provided is important.
Choosing an appropriate engagement model matching the desired level of involvement, risk, and responsibility between the client and the provider is vital for seamless collaboration and successful goal achievement. Effective communication between the client and the development team ensures smooth progress throughout the project.