The Next Normal: Talent Roadmap for Product Roadmaps

The COVID-19 crisis has been called a “before and after moment” for digital transformation--a broad term for the migration of internal and customer-facing processes and products to digital platforms. While we’ve heard a lot about the need to use technology to support remote employees, businesses also need to invent digital channels to connect with customers that are sheltering and need access to products and services online. 

The Race is On

A survey of 1,000 “elite technologists” found that, “Technology priorities have changed within 95% of organizations surveyed during the pandemic, and 88% of technologists report that digital customer experience is now the priority.” And 75% of those surveyed said that “digital transformation projects which would typically take more than a year to be approved, have been signed off in a matter of weeks.”

A Talent Road Map for the Next Normal

To accelerate digital transformation for what it calls “the next normal,” McKinsey analysts said, “it’s critical to adopt a through-cycle mindset on people,” and to build  “a talent road map that’s as detailed as a technology one.” For the tech sector, “the focus should be on building your base of top engineers, who are ten times more productive than less accomplished developers.”

How do you find top software engineers amid a global lockdown, and in an environment in which, before the crisis hit, it was nearly impossible to find and retain elite developers? “Post-crisis, recruiters will develop new ways to tap the global talent pool,” McKinsey said, “to source specialists around the world, speed the application process, and smooth labor imbalances.”

Augmenting Success

One way to get a jump on the talent that can help accelerate digital transformation is through remote software engineering staff augmentation. Staff augmentation firms engage vetted distributed engineers that have proven to be the kinds of top performers that McKinsey recommends--from regions where talent is plentiful but opportunity is scarce. Working with a staff augmentation firm can accelerate hiring, and provide the flexibility to switch gears--adding and removing resources as needed, providing adaptable software engineering teams. 

Other options to add top talent in this environment include a) recruiting and hiring full-time employees, b) hiring short term contractors or c) training junior developers to ramp up their skills and productivity. Each of these options assumes the presence of a luxury that businesses don’t have right now: time. It took months to hire senior software engineers before the pandemic, and the exodus to remote work has thrown many HR departments into survival mode, doing all they can to support existing employees. Finding a qualified contractor is also time-consuming, as is training junior developers. And none of these options provides the flexibility to add and remove competencies as needed. 

As the COVID-19 crisis marches on, it’s time to shift from focusing on enabling remote work and to jump into the race to drive value and deliver the digital products and services that your internal and external customers need. Remote engineering staff augmentation can help you leap-frog the challenges, risks, and overhead of hiring full-time staff now with distributed engineering teams.

Watch our on-demand webinar, “Why Go Back (to the office)? CTOs Share Lessons Learned and Future Plans,” where Andela CTO David Blair, Wellio CTO Erik Andrejko, and Vibes VP of Engineering Clarke Retzer will have a frank “screenside chat” about what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next in their remote work and product development plans.

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