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4 Things You Need to Know When Switching Development Teams

by Victor Purolnik
4 things you need to know when switching development teams


Preparing to switch or change your development team?

Maybe you need to change software houses or hire an entirely new team. As you already know, it’s not ideal to switch dev teams especially if it’s in the middle of ongoing development or a project.

Today, I’d like to share with you how best to go about this switch giving you everything you need to know to ensure a smooth transition

Understand that it will take time

The first thing you need to be aware of is that any development team coming in will take a bit of time to get used to the new codebase and how everything works. Especially if it’s an undocumented codebase.

It’s not as simple as getting a new team in and telling them – Okay, fix this bug or implement that feature.

It’s akin to a city planner, who gets hired to work in a big city for example to manage the traffic. He or she does not have a map and they are told to fix the traffic at this intersection.


In theory, it looks like a simple task, just adjust the timing on the traffic lights for example, but what ends up happening a couple of blocks away is that it creates a whole new congestion there that’s even worse.

For the city planner to find an ideal solution, they need to have a map of the entire city, the traffic flow, who wants to go where and when, and how the roads and streets link up.

This is exactly how a developer or development team works. They need time to understand the codebase, how everything works, and interlink with each other.

Now that you understand the challenge, it’s easy to see why any new team coming in will need some time to figure out how the codebase works. It typically takes anywhere from 2 weeks to three months, and sometimes even longer.

Provide all the necessary information

The second thing that you need to be aware of is that – In order to ensure a smooth transition, you need to provide the new team with everything that they need to succeed. This includes:

  • Helping them understand who the customer is and what their pain points are
  • The user journey of your application or software
  • The industry you are in and it’s make-up

Finish any half-done features

The third thing is to make sure that the previous team has completed any half-done features. There is nothing more problematic than telling a new development team to finish features that they had not been involved in before.

Independent Advisory

Finally, have an independent party do a code review, a senior tech lead who is unbiased and has the expertise to advise you on the current state of your codebase.

Then you can begin to onboard your new team, and start implementing simple features in the beginning, test everything that is being implemented, and reduce technical debt if there’s any.

If you need help, we offer fractional CTO/CPO services to help you get the hang of your product development processes and keep your developers accountable.

What does all this mean for the first few months of operation?

In terms of product development, for the first few months, it’s crucial to know that you can’t really rely on estimations. Any figure of time given to develop a certain feature or fix a bug should not be taken as a guarantee.

The new team will need time to learn more about your codebase so have some patience.

This will however get better over time, and if you have the opportunity to get your old team to stick around for a while and help with the transition and handing over process, this will definitely improve the transition process.

Do you want to learn more about switching development teams, or how to hire, vet, and manage remote development teams? Get in touch with us today, we’d be happy to help!

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Victor Purolnik

Trustshoring Founder

Author, speaker, and podcast host with 10 years of experience building and managing remote product teams. Graduated in computer science and engineering management. Has helped over 300 startups and scaleups launch, raise, scale, and exit.

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