From a single web developer to a development team

We explore what businesses can do when they only have one developer and how to de-risk this key-person dependency.

Sacha Henry

Sacha Henry

Marketing Manager

If you have only one web or software developer in your business, you have a single point of a failure. Particularly if that one developer holds all of the technical information without formal documentation. Key-person dependency is a risk for any business and can inhibit growth.

Is your developer the go-to person for anything technical? Does the company rely on him or her daily? What happens when that developer leaves? We explore what businesses can do to de-risk this critical person dependency.

The Beatles - business model

Business impacts of a single web developer

Without access to code reviews or independent advice, solo developers will write code that may be difficult for other developers to work with, and with fatal flaws. This can be a significant issue when things start to break, or when the developer leaves the company. 

CEO and Founder of 4mation, Dane Eldridge says; “A single point of failure can halt progress and the ability to generate revenue. Over the last 20 years, we’ve stepped in to help rescue projects because the developer has left the business. If that key person unexpectedly leaves the business, there can be a real issue with the handover of knowledge, code quality and even access.” 

Solo developer scenarios

We have listed three common scenarios business owners face when deciding on how to expand or manage their tech capability:

1. “I have one developer in-house and would like to grow my internal team.”

Recruitment solution
You can go down the traditional recruitment path to expand your internal team.
Cost: We charge only 10% of the total package.

Staff augmentation solution 
Team augmentation is just like using contractors but better. It gives you flexibility as a business to scale up or down with a range of package options
Cost: Prices range from $800-$1500 per day for our local on-shore service.

2. “I have one developer in-house who needs support to grow the business.”

Agile Innovation Package solution
As your business grows, you can scale-up your package to more hours to expand, giving you access to our 70+ team of specialists in a wide range of skills. 
Cost: For a couple of grand a month, you can have the backing of a whole team on-demand. 

3. “My developer suddenly left the business, and I need support for a project and general maintenance.”

Project rescue solution
We run an audit to identify the root cause of the problem and form a practical plan with milestones and timelines to get your project back on track.
Cost: Costs will vary depending on the situation and provide you with a detailed list of scoping requirements. 

The ability to scale up with a team of web developers

What if the underlying code for your website is horrendous? Will that cost your business? How would you know if you don’t have the processes in place? 

Accountability as a developer is essential to get the best work possible. It’s vital as a business owner or project owner that you have 24/7 access to view real-time project status, priorities, progress and cost control. A solo developer may not have the time, expertise or impetus to put these systems in place, and therefore, can extend out timelines and estimates, while you are none the wiser. 

Our processes have been refined over the last 20 years – to deliver the best value for our clients. Our job management system gives you total transparency over the project and what you are paying for. 

It is also near impossible for a single developer to manage everything that can happen within a project. Tight scheduling, unanticipated emergencies or adjustments in the scope and priorities of the project, are part and parcel of a web or software development project. A development team gives you the flexibility to adjust to market conditions and make changes quickly. 

new technology quote

The challenges your solo developer is probably facing

When you are a single web developer in a business, you have to be a jack of all trades (and often, therefore, a master of none). A developer may need to be across strategy, scoping, design, development, architecture and testing, all while trying to manage timelines to get something done. 

Software and web development is continually evolving. From unit testing harnesses to source code repositories, from application server installation and configuration through to security and CSS – the list is endless. 

It’s not to say that solo developers aren’t essential to businesses. Many have exceptional company knowledge and versatility. Andrew Mobbs, a web developer with 4mation, describes his experience as a solo developer, saying, “Solo developing isn’t just about coding – it’s also about talking and engagement. As well as coding, I’d involve myself with my clients’ photography, video production, graphics, SEO copy-writing, and good old banter about what their vision is for the future. I would figure out solutions through Google and Stack Overflow. ” 

However, this enthusiasm and wide-ranging skill are hard to find. When you work on a team, however, you are exposed to new ideas with a much greater frequency. You’ll hear terms you don’t know, you’ll get suggestions about a better way to do something, and you’ll generally have more guidance.

Ongoing guidance, development and support

We provide solutions to your web and software development needs because of the broad range of skills our team has. We have an extensive roster of available web developers and can tailor a perfect fit for your technical requirements. Whether you are looking to form a team of engineers with exceptional knowledge of specific technologies or a team with general skillsets, we can help.

Rethink what is possible and look outside the role of your single developer. Your key developer may be a vital asset to your company, but also a massive contingent liability.

About The Author

Related Articles

Read more

Working as a web developer: life in staff augmentation

Fran Perez Cobo, Ajay Kumar and Jasper Dunn, three of our talented team augmentation developers, speak about what life is like working as a web developer. We discuss the importance of culture, the experiences and tech skills they’ve gained, and tips for other aspiring developers.


Read more

What to do when a developer resigns

When a developer resigns, are you reactive, scrambling to write job ads, screen candidates, and interview?This blog provides simple steps you can take today to be proactive and minimise the impact of developer resignations when they occur.


Engagement models comparison

Not sure which engagement model to choose for your project? Here are some key points to help you decide.

Project sizeAnyAnyLarge
Project typeOne-offOngoingOngoing
Project requirementsDefinedFlexibleFlexible
Project management4mation4mationYou

About The Author

Think we could help you?

Contact us