Why you should choose one company for your project (and what can go wrong if you won’t)


Project management sounds proud and... quite hype. It is actually the most important issue that needs to be resolved without misunderstandings, and right at the start. Why is project management important? Why is it worth doing in one place? This interesting question is often heard from the clients all over the world, so clear up some doubts around it.

Sometimes those who plan to create an electronic device perceive that they don't need project management because it looks like unnecessary overhead on paper. In the first phase it appears as a process where project managers don't really deliver anything and often get in the way of what we want the team to do. Nothing could be further from the truth, but poorly executed action rather than no action at all means just as much risk. Have a look at what can go wrong if you outsource a project to two or more contractors.

Too many people on the task

Too many cooks can spoil the broth. There is virtually no stage of an IT project where time has been made up without removing large portions of functionality. A common response to project failure is to add more people to the project, but Brooks' law coined in 1975 in his book The Mythical Man-Month reminds us that adding manpower to a task that is behind schedule delays it even further. This sounds like a simplification, but just look at what it translates into in practice. 

It takes time for new parties on a project to become productive. Let's call this the "ramp-up" phase. Electronic and software projects are complex engineering endeavors. New employees need to gain knowledge of the work that preceded their planned contribution. This requires a reallocation of resources and temporarily reduces productivity. Everything happens at the same time - and new employees are not yet making significant contributions. Each new employee has to integrate into a team consisting of several engineers who have to educate them, day after day on their area of expertise, let it be the code. Usually, however, it is difficult to determine what exact amount of time is covered by the word "temporarily." 

In addition to reducing the contribution of experienced employees due to the need for training, new employees may even make a negative contribution, for example, if they introduce errors that move the project away from completion. Well, most likely they will, because a mistake has the greatest educational value, after all. Just can you really afford it, financially and time-wise? This aforementioned teeming phase of ignition can thus go on indefinitely. The problem is solved by a well-trained team that knows its workflow and has planning and execution experience.

Chaos in communication. Are those details necessary?

Costs increase with the number of employees. The resulting combinatorial explosion caused by the need to create more communication channels grows exponentially with new ones on board. Every party working on a task needs to be in sync, so as more are added they spend more time trying to figure out what everyone else is actually doing. In addition, it's hard to pinpoint any details as being unambiguously chaotic, as each party considers its own questions and conclusions as needed and valid. Sounds like a recipe for a big city traffic jam. Perhaps similar chaos can suit well with creative work, where a group of creators is brainstorming, but broader industrial and service design means a different story.

Adding more people to a highly divisive task reduces the overall task duration to the point where more parties are pushing each other. However, numerous tasks in electronic and software projects are much less divisible. Brooks has an idea - a very figurative observation - which can be expressed like this: while it takes nine months to get pregnant and give birth to a child for one woman, nine women cannot do the same in one month. The communication barrier and the problem of task sharing grows when other contractors are involved in the project. The problem is painfully obvious especially when you include outsourcing things overseas.

Co-management = co-opportunities, but the risk is yours only

Co-management is a business practice in which a company entrusts two or more supervisor-managers with the responsibility of jointly managing a group of employees. This means that co-managers must make decisions and manage employees like partners. The company's overall vision and mission may define general goals, but they will remain... well, general. Some separation is possible, but in practice, every lower-level leader in the organization must have at least a partial understanding of how the project defines co-management and what the executive expects from the rest of the leaders. Depending on the degree of freedom that is yet again difficult to define, even within very precise procedures, each group of leaders will build its own management system. There can be no doubt about it.

Imagine the "silent" internal competition accompanying all this, and the flip side, as it were, of who will be more competent and worthy of entrusting your resources to. This may be tempting to the ego, but results in waste. Co-leaders may even try to discredit the decisions of the other. This usually rises to the peak where you can actually throw the co- prefix in the trash. Shared partnership expectations, team communication, clear division of responsibilities and making the best of unique talents is definitely easier with a single, experienced team. When an assignment is given to multiple contractors, even those who have done something similar together before, it expands the entire organizational scheme to skyrocketing and consequently inefficient proportions.

Can’t describe it, but I can feel it. Mutual trust in business

Trust is another crucial factor needed to build a strong and effective team. The best cooperation is when you trust the decisions and actions your partner makes. Building a foundation of trust between employees and leaders when working with one company has already been done for you.  Employees trust their leaders because they know they are reliable, honest, competent and fair.

Certain core values that guide decision-making are the domain of any company or contractor. It's hard to even imagine how they can vary. Each person brings something to the partnership and the team, which in turn allows the leader - who knows the team well - to use their skills for maximizing the performance. The result? A project is completed with no stress, no weird costs popping out of nowhere and no downtime.

Harmony in working with one good team

The reasons presented for choosing one company are a bit of a reversal of the narrative of our article - we described what happens if you choose more than one. Good teamwork is coordination and cooperation based on a common goal. Working with teams allows for more diverse thoughts and different perspectives, but the choice of contractor should be made at the outset and based on factors such as know-how, type of presented task and price. 

Each new approach can contribute to the success of the team just as each new approach can misrepresent and dismantle the team to the point where frustration takes over and previous progress becomes useless. Working closely with one team helps in building business relationships for the future, adds the great flavor of shared trust and workflow tp the next projects that may come along, in short - it creates a mutually supportive work environment. If you are facing: 

  • Electronic circuit designs
  • Creating electronic prototypes
  • Layout software development
  • Testing of electronic devices
  • Visual component design
  • Production of electronic devices...

...You can accomplish all of this with Device Prototype.


Oskar Pacelt