From Engineers to Teams
Expanding from Individual Developers to include Development Teams
May 24, 2023
When we started Fraction last July, we envisioned a marketplace for surplus engineering talent. We would connect great developers with time on their hands with companies needing to outsource software development talent - just make the connection and everything else falls into place, right? How naive we were!
We started Fraction based on our own successful experience working with fractional developers at HiddenLevers - we leveraged the talent and spare time of senior, US-based developers who had day jobs. By the time of our successful exit in 2021, 40% of the engineering team was fractional, and we had zero turnover within the fractional crew! We had success with this model for two reasons:
The fractional model enabled us to work with the best developers, most of whom already have a job.
We brought these developers into a high performance dev culture that we had already established.
When we started Fraction as a marketplace last summer, we initially neglected that second facet. An early stumble led us to realize that we had to bundle high quality software architecture and PM (both Product + Project Management) overlays with every developer in order to ensure success. Result: we include a high performance software engineering culture for free as part of every client relationship.
Almost Half our Clients Have Us Build + Run a Software Team
But clients have told us that's often not enough - in the last few months we've heard more and more requests for complete product teams, built using the quality and efficiency we gain through fractional hiring. In the past month we've stood up a new team every week! We're doing this for existing clients, who are upgrading from a single developer as they see both the productivity and the need. And we are increasingly having discussions with firms about bringing them a complete software product capability.
What Does A Typical Fraction Team Look Like?
Wolf (Software Architect)
Product + Project Manager
Full-Stack Engineer (front end focus)
Full-Stack Engineer (back end focus)
QA Automation Engineer
We can leverage our fractional model to quickly put together teams of 4-10 senior individual contributors, while maintaining a degree of cost effectiveness not possible via traditional approaches.
High Performance Teams, with a 30% Cost Reduction!
I did a detailed comparison of this model relative to traditional software teams I've run in the past. I see a cost reduction of 30% while maintaining the same level of performance, as a result of a reduction in the total number of FTEs required (since 100% of the team is highly experienced) and in the cost per FTE (by eliminating direct hiring costs like payroll taxes, benefits, bonuses, equity, etc).
I wasn't initially sure if we could build a team this way - but whole companies have pulled it off - see Gumroad's success story for instance! Hit me on LinkedIn or via our site if you're interested in seeing how Fraction can build a high performance product team for you.