The history and future
There is this digital agency which has specialized itself in Drupal a couple of years ago. Let’s call it Gr8 Solutions. And the business is very good, they signed some fancy contracts with some of the biggest companies in the country over the years and thus built themselves a reputation for being professional and creative. And in the process of acquiring new clients and new projects they were steadily growing. This also resulted in hiring a few new developers, a designer, and a salesperson.
Fast forward to very near future, nothing memorable happened in the meantime. Everything was running smooth, more big contracts were won so the agency had the privilege to even choose the clients they want to work with. Passing on some smaller projects which are not so profitable. Somewhere along the way, a decision was accepted: “Hey if we are good enough for companies in our country, why wouldn't we cast our net a tad further? To neighboring countries, or even overseas?”
And it turned out to be a good move. The sales had its job done, and suddenly there were a lot of projects to work on. And the new clients were the ones you just don't say no to them.
We are getting bigger, what now?
The founders, developers by profession and heart, who gradually took on other roles in the company, were suddenly not available anymore to code. They were dealing with administration, HR, sales, legal, marketing ... And not so much with coding. So in the process of building a company from initial 5 persons to a much bigger company with 21 people in it, some of the challenges which were lurking somewhere in the dark were overseen.
One of them being attracting, employing and keeping (top) Drupal talent.
What are some of the alternatives?
At my first Drupalcon in Vienna, I learned from agency CEOs and CTOs that the biggest challenges agencies face is not the sales but the lack of aforementioned talent. You virtually have to build it from the grounds up.
Yes, you could snatch a developer from another agency. I wonder how that will work out. You could be looking for that talent in some other country and wait for the person who will be willing to allocate and work from your office. Or you could use freelancers to work with you. There are plenty possibilities you could try to confront with the fact that your company is a developer or two short because there are projects you could be working on right now. It is true that some clients understand and are willing to postpone or push their projects a couple of months down the line. But there is always this impending threat present that things will get cluttered up really bad. Especially, if no thoughtful planning in place.
We will do it our way
The founders decide they have to sit down, do some brainstorming and come up with a solution for resourcing challenges they are facing for quite some time now but were always capable to somehow manage it. They decide they will "make" their own developers from scratch. And are fully aware that this will take some time. A bold, but a correct move. They decided they will start with two juniors, developers which do have some experience in coding, but none in Drupal. And assign them one of the senior developers to train and mentor them. Even though that also means pulling this developer from working on clients' projects. But they see it as an investment in their team, and rightly so. In a year, at most, the agency will have two new developers, who by then should be confident enough to independently work on projects.
Nevertheless, in the meantime, you will have to find a solution how to “replace” the senior developer who will take on the role of a tutor to juniors. We can help you when you decide to grow the in-house team. Our intention is never to somehow impede the process of growing and developing your company but to assist in this process. And give you a hand when shelving projects - even with client’s approval - could eventually lead to becoming very difficult to manage and delaying the completion dates even more.
If you would like to find out more about how we are growing our in-house team and help other agencies with integrating our developers into their teams to overcome resourcing challenges, please contact us.