A comprehensive guide to team extension

By Max Ikaheimo

18th October, 2023

C-suite executives face increasing pressure to deliver results in a rapidly changing business landscape. Team extension in web development can help them achieve their goals by providing access to a wider range of skills and expertise, reducing costs, and increasing agility.

For example, a recent study by Deloitte found that businesses that 76% of all surveyed executives indicated they leverage IT team extension to access new capabilities, business model shifts, and keep up with technology and regulation.

But even though a majority of businesses operate under this model, team extension can take different forms, and with the overabundance of agencies and implementation partners, choosing the best agency or the best path to make the most of your outsourced IT team gets complicated. 

With that in mind, let’s unravel the strategic potency of team extension in web development, offering a deep dive into its multifaceted benefits, practical applications, and a guide to seamless implementation, all aimed at propelling your business toward digital excellence.

    Table of contents

    In this post:

What is team extension?

Moving beyond traditional outsourcing, team extension embodies a strategic collaboration and integration paradigm. It involves augmenting the internal team with a dedicated team of external experts, fostering a synergy that enhances the capacity to manage complex processes and applications. 

This model facilitates a team integration characterized by a high degree of collaboration, with the extended team often perceived as an integral part of the organization.

The relationship is longer term, tied to performance service levels (via a service-level agreement). Clients are given on-demand access to hard-to-source talent, experiences, skills, and leading technology. Offerings are broad and dynamic in scope, and the relationship with the vendor is highly collaborative and often viewed as an extension of the organization.

Team extension vs traditional outsourcing vs operational services

Various models, from traditional outsourcing to operational services and team extension, have been utilized in software development. 

Team extension stands out for its emphasis on close integration, flexibility, and access to specialized skills. It allows for a high degree of control, enabling businesses to align the extended team members closely with project objectives and organizational culture.

CriteriaTeam extensionTraditional outsourcingOperational services
DefinitionAugmenting in-house team with external experts.Contracting out specific projects or tasks.External management of specific IT functions.
IntegrationHigh: Works closely with the in-house team.Low: External team works independently.Medium: Regular interactions for updates and reviews.
ControlHigh: Retains control over project management.Low: External agency manages the project.Medium: Defined by SLAs and contracts.
FlexibilityHigh: Can scale team as per project needs.Medium: Scope and deliverables are fixed.Low: Services are defined and continuous.
Skill AccessHigh: Access to specialized skills.Medium: Depends on the outsourced agency’s expertise.Low-Medium: Focused on operational expertise.
CostMedium-High: Costs depend on expertise and duration.Low-Medium: Often chosen for cost-effectiveness.Medium: Costs associated with continuous services.
InvolvementHigh: Continuous collaboration with external team.Low: Limited involvement in daily operations.Medium: Involvement in reviews and strategic decisions.
SuitabilityProjects requiring specific skills and control.Projects with defined scope and limited internal bandwidth.Ongoing IT operations requiring external management.
Use Case ExampleDeveloping a new feature for an existing app.Developing a standalone mobile app.Managing cloud infrastructure or customer support.
Team extensionAugmenting in-house team with external experts.
Traditional outsourcingContracting out specific projects or tasks.
Operational servicesExternal management of specific IT functions.
Team extensionHigh: Works closely with the in-house team.
Traditional outsourcingLow: External team works independently.
Operational servicesMedium: Regular interactions for updates and reviews.
Team extensionHigh: Retains control over project management.
Traditional outsourcingLow: External agency manages the project.
Operational servicesMedium: Defined by SLAs and contracts.
Team extensionHigh: Can scale team as per project needs.
Traditional outsourcingMedium: Scope and deliverables are fixed.
Operational servicesLow: Services are defined and continuous.
CriteriaSkill Access
Team extensionHigh: Access to specialized skills.
Traditional outsourcingMedium: Depends on the outsourced agency’s expertise.
Operational servicesLow-Medium: Focused on operational expertise.
Team extensionMedium-High: Costs depend on expertise and duration.
Traditional outsourcingLow-Medium: Often chosen for cost-effectiveness.
Operational servicesMedium: Costs associated with continuous services.
Team extensionHigh: Continuous collaboration with external team.
Traditional outsourcingLow: Limited involvement in daily operations.
Operational servicesMedium: Involvement in reviews and strategic decisions.
Team extensionProjects requiring specific skills and control.
Traditional outsourcingProjects with defined scope and limited internal bandwidth.
Operational servicesOngoing IT operations requiring external management.
CriteriaUse Case Example
Team extensionDeveloping a new feature for an existing app.
Traditional outsourcingDeveloping a standalone mobile app.
Operational servicesManaging cloud infrastructure or customer support.

Why is team extension important for businesses?

Team extension is pivotal for businesses aiming to balance insourcing and outsourcing. It offers a dynamic model that adapts to evolving business needs, facilitating access to specialized skills, and enabling businesses to address skill gaps effectively.

This approach is instrumental in driving development processes forward, ensuring that projects are executed with high expertise and efficiency.

Who can benefit from team extension?

Team extension holds transformative potential across various sectors, enabling entities ranging from startups to large corporations to navigate the complexities of technological innovation with enhanced agility. 

It is particularly beneficial in scenarios where there is a need to access specialized skills and expertise swiftly, augmenting the development team to drive innovation and meet evolving project requirements.

Let’s explore the diverse beneficiaries of this empowering approach.

  • Startups and SMEs: For startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), team extension acts as a catalyst that accelerates innovation and product development. It allows these entities to access specialized skills and technological expertise without the burden of full-time hires, thus optimizing resources and focusing on core business objectives.

  • Large Corporations: Large corporations can leverage team extension to enhance their operational agility and swiftly adapt to evolving market demands. It allows them to augment their in-house teams with specialized talents, fostering a collaborative environment that drives innovation and problem-solving.

  • Consulting and IT services firms: Consulting and IT services firms stand to benefit immensely from extending their team by offering a broader range of expertise and services to their clients. It enables these firms to tailor their offerings more precisely to client needs, ensuring project success and client satisfaction.

  • Brands: Brands with eCommerce storefronts can leverage outsourced devs to enhance their website functionality, user experience, and overall service offerings. Extended teams bring in fresh perspectives and specialized skills that contribute to creating a more engaging and efficient online shopping experience.

  • Healthcare: In the healthcare sector, team extension can be crucial in developing and improving digital health solutions, patient management systems, and telemedicine services. Extended teams can bring specialized knowledge in healthcare technologies, enhancing the quality and effectiveness of digital health offerings.

  • Educational institutions: Educational institutions can hire extra devs to improve their educational technologies, online learning platforms, and administrative systems. Extended teams can contribute to creating more engaging and effective learning environments through technological innovation.

  • Non-profits: Non-profit organizations (NPOs) can hire Nordic talent to enhance their digital presence, donor management systems, and online community engagement. Extended teams can help NPOs optimize their digital strategies to reach broader audiences and achieve their mission more effectively.

Read more: Team extension services by Ikius

Deep dive: Key aspects of team extension

The strategic potency of team extension is unveiled through its multifaceted benefits, such as seamless team integration, access to global talent, and enhanced flexibility and scalability. 

It fosters a collaborative environment where the dedicated team of external experts synergizes with the internal team, driving innovation and enhancing the quality of software development processes.

Integration and collaboration

  • Seamless integration: Team extension allows for the seamless integration of external experts into the in-house team, fostering a unified approach to project development.

  • Collaborative environment: It cultivates a collaborative environment where knowledge, skills, and ideas are shared and synergized across the team.

Access to global talent and expertise

  • Diverse skill sets: Businesses can tap into a global talent pool, accessing diverse skill sets and specialized expertise.

  • Innovation and creativity: Infusing varied perspectives and skills fosters innovation and creative problem-solving.

Flexibility and scalability

  • Adaptive scaling: Team extension offers the flexibility to adapt the team size and expertise based on project needs and timelines.

  • Responsive to change: It enables businesses to respond more to market changes and project adjustments.

Cost efficiency

  • Optimized costs: Businesses can optimize costs by engaging experts on a project basis, avoiding long-term commitments.

  • Resource allocation: It allows for more strategic allocation of resources, ensuring that skills and budgets are utilized effectively.

Control and oversight

  • Maintained control: Businesses control project direction, priorities, and decision-making.

  • Quality assurance: Having closer oversight ensures that quality and standards are maintained throughout the project.

Knowledge transfer and continuous learning

  • Skill enhancement: The in-house team benefits from the knowledge transfer and skill enhancement from external experts.

  • Professional development: Continuous learning fosters a culture of continuous learning and professional development within the team.

Technology and tool utilization

  • Access to latest technologies: External experts often bring knowledge of the latest technologies and tools, enhancing project outcomes.

  • Tool efficiency: Using collaborative and project management tools enhances coordination and efficiency.

Customization and specialization

  • Tailored solutions: Team extension allows for more customized and specialized solutions, as external experts bring niche skills to the project.

  • Client-centric: Projects can be more client-centric and tailored to specific client needs and expectations.

Implementing a successful team extension strategy

Implementing a team extension strategy involves a series of strategic considerations and best practices, focusing on optimizing the integration of the extended team, fostering effective communication and collaboration, and ensuring that the approach aligns with organizational objectives and project requirements.

1. Planning and objective setting

Begin with a comprehensive planning phase where the objectives, scope, and expected outcomes of the team extension are clearly defined. During this stage, conducting a thorough assessment of the current team’s capabilities is crucial, identifying any existing skill gaps or areas that require specialized expertise. 

This foundational step is instrumental in guiding the subsequent stages of the team extension strategy, ensuring that the approach is aligned with the overarching business goals and project requirements.

2. Selecting and onboarding the extended team

Selection is a pivotal step in the team extension strategy. Choose external team members or agencies with the necessary skills and expertise that align with the company’s culture and objectives. Once the selection is made, focus on facilitating a smooth onboarding process. 

Ensure that the extended team members have the tools, resources, and information to integrate seamlessly into the project. A well-structured onboarding process sets the stage for productive collaboration and project execution.

3. Communication and collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration are the lifeblood of a successful team extension strategy. Establish clear communication channels and protocols to foster seamless interaction and information flow between the in-house and extended team members. 

Cultivate an environment where ideas, feedback, and insights are freely shared and valued. This approach enhances the collaborative synergy of the team, facilitating a unified and coordinated effort toward achieving project objectives.

4. Project management and execution

Robust project management practices are essential for coordinating tasks, managing timelines, and ensuring the project progresses as planned. Assign clear roles and responsibilities to each team member, ensuring clarity and accountability in the execution of tasks. 

A well-organized project management approach ensures that the team operates efficiently and precisely, keeping the project on track and aligned with the defined objectives and quality benchmarks.

5. Evaluation and continuous improvement

Continuous evaluation and improvement are key to optimizing the effectiveness of the team extension strategy. Conduct regular evaluations to assess the performance and output of the extended team, ensuring that the work aligns with the set objectives and quality standards. 

Use the insights gained from these evaluations to foster a culture of continuous improvement, adapting strategies and approaches based on feedback and performance assessments. This iterative approach ensures that the team extension strategy remains dynamic, responsive, and geared toward achieving the best possible outcomes.

Read more: Navigating the developer hiring process

How to hire the right IT team extension agency?

Hiring the right IT team extension is a nuanced process that necessitates a strategic approach, beginning with clearly defining your project requirements and objectives. Start by outlining what you aim to achieve with the team extension, identifying the specific skills, roles, and expertise essential for your software development project. 

This clarity is foundational, guiding your selection process and ensuring alignment with your business objectives and development needs.

Conduct thorough research to identify potential team extension services or agencies, focusing on those with a proven track record, relevant expertise, and positive client testimonials. Evaluating the skills and expertise of potential team members, such as software developers and business analysts, is crucial. 

Assess their technical proficiency, industry experience, and compatibility with your company’s internal team and processes. Conduct interviews to gauge their technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills, ensuring they can contribute effectively to your project’s success.

Reviewing contracts and agreements is another critical step. Ensure that all terms of engagement, including aspects such as confidentiality, intellectual property rights, and service level agreements (SLAs), are clear and mutually understood. 

A well-structured onboarding process is essential for seamlessly integrating the extended team members into your project. Facilitate their access to necessary resources, tools, and information, enabling them to contribute effectively from the onset.

Foster a collaborative environment that encourages continuous communication, feedback, and alignment with your project goals and quality standards. Utilize platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Jira to enhance team collaboration and communication. Regular monitoring of the extended team’s progress and performance is essential, providing feedback and guidance to ensure continuous improvement and the achievement of project milestones.

Read more: How to hire a dev team

Case studies


We teamed up with Reaktor to help their revised brand identity come to life via their renewed website. We have been closely supporting Reaktor's marketing team to achieve their vision of how the new website should look and feel. Extensive cooperation has been the key to the success of our ongoing partnership.

Read more: Team extension for a global technology consulting firm


Our dedicated development team worked with Teleport's marketing team to develop their enterprise website with Next.js. Our consultants integrated seamlessly with Teleport's team, enabling efficient collaboration between Ikius and Teleport.

Read more: Web development and team extension for an IT infrastructure platform

Closing thoughts

Throughout this article, we’ve unraveled the essential steps and considerations pivotal in this process, from the initial phase of defining clear objectives and project requirements to the meticulous selection and integration of specialized talent into your development team.

We delved into the significance of evaluating the skills and expertise of potential team members, fostering a collaborative environment, and ensuring seamless communication and project alignment. The utilization of platforms like Microsoft Teams, adherence to best practices, and continuous monitoring and feedback are instrumental in optimizing the performance and contributions of the extended team.

As you embark on or refine your journey in leveraging team extension for your projects, consider partnering with a dedicated and experienced agency like Ikius. Ikius, a modern Nordic web development agency, stands poised to augment your team with the requisite talent and specialized skills, driving your projects towards success with a blend of innovation, quality, and strategic insight. 

Explore a partnership that resonates with excellence and proactive solutions by visiting Ikius and discover the transformative impact of a well-curated team extension strategy on your business objectives and project outcomes.

Contact us

Get in touch and let's discuss your business case

Email to sales@ikius.com or send us a message here.

Submitting this form will not sign you up for any marketing lists. Your information is strictly used and stored for contacting you. Privacy Policy

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies.Check our cookie policy.