Unlocking Success with Fractional Work Model and Hiring Fractional Developers

Unlocking Success with Fractional Work Model and Hiring Fractional Developers

Explore the benefits and drawbacks to hiring fractional software developers, CTOs, management and technical teams

Explore the benefits and drawbacks to hiring fractional software developers, CTOs, management and technical teams

Explore the benefits and drawbacks to hiring fractional software developers, CTOs, management and technical teams

Understanding Fractional Work

Fractional work, while not a new concept, was traditionally limited to executive roles such as CMOs, CEOs, or CTOs. However, the current labor shortage has compelled firms to adopt innovative hiring and work practices, paving the way for the expansion of the fractional work model across various industries, including software development.

The fundamental idea behind fractional work is to allow smaller companies and startups to bridge skill gaps by leveraging the expertise of fractional professionals without the need to hire full-time employees. The US Chamber of Commerce has described fractional hiring as an opportunity for small businesses to access advanced expertise at a lower cost, providing a competitive advantage to these smaller firms.

How Fractional Work Operates

Fractional work originated in academia, where professors would divide their time between teaching and engaging in long-term special projects in the private sector. Over time, this concept has permeated into other industries, including marketing, finance, accounting, and law.


At its core, fractional work provides full-time professionals with the opportunity to contribute their expertise to long-term projects.

Fractional workers maintain regular working hours, and employers have a clear understanding of their availability.


While the specifics of fractional work may vary across industries, the key characteristic is that it offers an ongoing engagement with an employer, rather than being piece-meal or project-based.

Fractional Work in Software Development

Fractional Work in Software Development

The long-term nature of software development makes it an ideal domain for the adoption of the fractional work model. Growing startups are increasingly embracing this innovative approach and actively seeking fractional developers to join their founding development teams. Fraction has successfully scaled this model by connecting startups with top senior talent that may not be readily available in the market.

The largest pool of top developers is often found among those who are already employed, and fractional work taps into their spare capacity to assist growing startups. Fraction developers are senior professionals based in the United States, with at least 5 years of experience and expertise in their respective technology stacks. These developers are eager to take on additional long-term engagements without needing to leave their current employment.

Several successful startups have already leveraged the fractional work model to their advantage. For instance, HiddenLevers, a risk technology platform for wealth management, initially began with just one fractional developer who played a vital role in scaling their portfolio analysis tool. By the time HiddenLevers was acquired by Orion, fractional developers accounted for over one-third of their entire development team.

Another notable example is Lumiant, an advice engagement platform for financial professionals. Lumiant utilized fractional developers to rapidly expand their technical capacity following a successful launch in the US. By augmenting their existing engineering and development team with proven talent, Lumiant could scale rapidly and deliver an engaging advice experience to their users, as highlighted by Blake Wood, CEO of Lumiant US.


Intellectual Property (IP) Considerations in Fractional Software Development Contracts

When engaging with a fractional developer, clients typically expect to own all work and intellectual property (IP) generated during the engagement. However, risks may arise if the fractional developer is an employee of another organization that claims ownership of their employees' IP or work product, regardless of whether it was created during company time or using company resources

Non-Compete Considerations in Fractional Developer Engagements

Clients also want assurance that their collaboration with a fractional developer does not violate any non-compete agreements the developer may have signed with other employers. Non-compete agreements typically restrict employees from working for other companies within the same industry or a defined geographical area. The scope of these agreements can vary, with broader contracts encompassing the entire country or world and virtually any employer, while narrower non-competes may list specific competitors.

The Bottom Line
Although non-compete and IP assignment clauses can present some challenges, in practice, Fraction has found that these issues seldom impede the search for qualified senior developer talent for clients. With a vast pool of experienced senior developers eager to undertake fractional work, we can conduct the necessary due diligence to make fractional work a feasible option for all companies.

What Has Worked Well in Fractional Hiring

Access to Senior Talent

Fractional work provides smaller companies with access to highly skilled senior professionals who may have been financially out of reach or otherwise unavailable in the market.

Adding Discrete Skillsets

Fractional hiring allows organizations to augment their development teams with specific skillsets where a full-time equivalent (FTE) may not be necessary.

Integrations, QA, & Development

Fractional work has shown excellent results in areas such as system integrations, quality assurance (QA) engineering, database management, and front-end component work.

Browse our Developer Profiles

Fraction helps companies tap into the best software talent - employees at top tech firms. Fraction taps into their spare capacity, providing you with access to top developers, designers, product managers, and software architects.

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Browse our Developer Profiles

Fraction helps companies tap into the best software talent - employees at top tech firms. Fraction taps into their spare capacity, providing you with access to top developers, designers, product managers, and software architects.

See Developers

See more tech stacks

Fraction helps companies tap into the best software talent - employees at top tech firms. Fraction taps into their spare capacity, providing you with access to top developers, designers, product managers, and software architects.

See more tech stacks

Browse our Developer Profiles

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