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Managed team vs. Freelancer in IT development

20.09.2016 Olga Polev
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Managed team vs. Freelancer in IT development

Whether you are a veteran in IT development or a fresh start-uper, you want your software development needs be met by the best specialists. Who to hire: an in-house team of specialists or freelancers? It all depends on the goals, budget and timespan of your project. The key to success in any business is a good team with relevant level of skills and shared understanding of objectives, so never underestimate this step in your way to the stars.

Every approach has its pros and cons, and before you do the actual software development you have to think carefully how your dream team will look like. So let’s dig in features of each work system.

Expensive vs. Not that expensive

In-house team is a very costly prohibitive for any software development company. You would have to pay full-time salaries to each new employee, fix working places and devices, pay out social benefits and administrative expenses. You would also need a skilled HR-personal to hire proper specialists and train them to work together.

When it comes to freelancers, input costs are brought to naught. You save time on bureaucratic procedures and money on associated costs. Moreover, for the same job in different countries people get different salaries, so you can hire a high-professional freelancer for a less money than a specialist from a local market would require.

Stability vs. Thinking outside the box

Managed team of developers is interested in long-term success of your company, so they would invest more of their time and skills. They also see a bigger picture and have a better understanding of company’s goals in general. Their work performance is more stable and reliable as people know each other for a long time and become better coordinated. But a dedicated team suffers from groupthink in decision-making.

When hiring a freelancer, you are not limited to the local talents, and you can find a person with micro specialization you have never ever dreamed of. Moreover, freelancers can come from different cultures, so that broadens possible solutions and views on a certain challenge. By definition, freelancers work with different clients and entities, so they can embrace new opinions based on their previous work experience.

In person communication vs. distant communication

Pluses of a dedicated team are pretty obvious. People see each other every day, so they get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That allows spending less time to discuss problems and delegate responsibilities efficiently. Sound logical, right?

It may sound counterintuitive, but at the same time physical presence does not necessarily lead to work dedication and high operating speeds in software development. Office environment is also a huge distractor for developers. Whatercooler chats, common lunches and tea breaks create more space for procrastination. When you work with a freelancer, the responsibility lies on them and if they fail a deadline or a task, there is no one to put blame on but themselves. While working with a team distributes responsibility and lowers once engagement.

Long term vs. Short term commitment

Before a managed team of developers starts to deliver results, hired people have to become actually a dedicated team. That requires a big management effort on formation and norming the workflow. Results can’t come immediately, so such expenses can be covered only in a long run. However, if maintenance is important to your project, that is the only solution. An in-house team will fix bugs and update your apps regularly, ensuring that everything works well.

Contracts with freelancers are typically no longer than a couple of weeks or months. For temporary work common background isn’t that crucial, so specialists can deliver results faster.

Minimized managing effort vs. Possible challenges

In-house team already has assigned the manager who ensures its working efficiency and can improve the engagement if needed. Organizational processes once regulated will not steal time from the actual work.

From one side, having hired freelancers you will have to explain the rules of the game to every new person. It can lead to past the deadline execution, uncertainty in responsibilities taken and needed effort. From the other side, there are thousands of special web services and mobile apps that resolve that problem. Usually, freelancers depend on their reputation and survive on flawless communication with employers. So failing the task is not in their behalf.


All in all, a managed team of developers is generally better for long-time projects. It is more stable and ensuring high quality of the work, but in-house team is cost prohibitive. Hiring freelancers can be extremely helpful for short-time projects with nontrivial matters and limited resources. Whatever you decide, make sure to foster positivity and satisfaction of every person in your team.

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