You have a blockchain project and you’re ready to roll, but you hit a glitch. Or maybe you recognize that your organization needs to bring in outside experts.
You aren’t alone, which is why blockchain companies are in such demand. Moving from an idea to proof of concept and then into development can be frustrating on a variety of levels. Many organizations find that their in-house tech team is unable to execute on time. It could be lack of subject-matter expertise, lack of bandwidth, or something else. Whatever the reason, lack of expertise can delay a launch. Still, finding capable developers can be costly, time-consuming, and frustrating. It’s not like you are going to throw a dart at a list of blockchain developers to find one at random!
But before you start looking, you must know what you need and want.
Consider these words of wisdom from Blockchain Hub: “Saying that you are looking for a blockchain developer is like saying that you are looking for an internet developer.”
It's time to focus. Let’s start by figuring out what you need in a few categories.
Should you go with a...
New Company vs an Established Development Firm
This may be the easiest dilemma to answer. While many legitimate companies developing blockchain have emerged in just the last few months, why take a chance? We’ve seen a surge in demand for blockchain-based products and services over the past 18 months, due largely to the explosion of initial coin offerings. Blockchain development companies have sprung up almost overnight to take advantage of the excitement.
There are those who use – or more accurately, misuse – that demand and buzz to their advantage, even if they lack the necessary skills.
Calling yourself a blockchain company does not make you one (although folks do seem to slap that name on everything). Remember a few weeks ago when IHOP said it was changing its name to IHOb? People all over the Internet predicted (tongue in cheek, we hope) that it would become International House of Blockchain. But that may be a little too close to the truth to be funny,
Even if a new blockchain company is perfectly legit and not really a pancake concern, if it’s new, you need to think carefully before moving forward. That's because you want experience. You want “been there, done that.” New companies will not have established DevOps practices for delivering software in a predictable, timely and high-quality way. And frankly, a new blockchain company may be little too enthusiastic about blockchain.
One thing that sets the top blockchain companies apart from the rest is that they understand that blockchain isn’t the best solution for every project. They recognize it for what it is: just another tool to solve problems.
You want a partner who will delve into the problem and help you evaluate whether blockchain is the right fit.
That leads to our next point of comparison.
Blockchain-Only Company vs a Full-Service Firm
Hiring a blockchain development firm isn’t all that different from hiring a developer to create any software product. Don’t be seduced by the term “blockchain.” Too many POCs have been for applications where a traditional relational database would work just as well (or better).
That said, the decision to hire a full-stack development company vs. a blockchain-only one depends, in large part, on your particular needs. If you have an existing internal team that's ready to handle the full range of application development other than the blockchain aspect, a blockchain-only team might work.
Still, you run the risk of having blockchain presented as a solution where it doesn’t really belong. To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. You want a blockchain development firm with experience building on multiple frameworks and platforms, not one that’s already decided that blockchain is the only way to go.
In most scenarios, you definitely want to opt for the full-stack development team.
A full-stack team can offer a more holistic approach to the development process, building on-chain when appropriate and integrating with off-chain apps when that makes more sense.
Listen to Marek Cyran, a senior lead scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, in a piece appropriately enough titled “7 Things You’re Getting Wrong About Blockchain Technology.”
“Developing and implementing blockchain solutions requires the development of a platform that will facilitate custom lookups, provide storage for public/private key artifacts, incorporate external business logic, and provide some mechanism to manage Smart Contracts being deployed into the blockchain.”
That demands a well-rounded full-stack development skillset. According to Cyran, for production level blockchain solutions, the blockchain-specific programming typically accounts for only about 10 percent of the total amount of code.
Augment Your Team vs. Complete Project Outsourcing
Now ask yourself: Do you want to enhance your current team or hand off the entire project? How involved your development team will be depends on their capabilities and the company's goals.
You can always hand off the job completely. That may be expedient, but it can also be shortsighted. It can create long-term external dependencies that can impair efficiency and productivity down the road, ultimately hurting the bottom line. And if you hand it off, your development team won't have the opportunity for "on the job training." They can learn a lot by working alongside experts.
The fastest way to bring in domain expertise is to contract with teams that already have the experience you need, while you continue to focus on your core competency.
If your existing internal team can handle the non-blockchain part of development and wants to bring in a blockchain company to augment their bench, they need to select a partner with similar development practices (agile/lean/XP, if applicable) so they'll integrate seamlessly into the team.
You Want a Partner
Companies using blockchain either need internal blockchain developers or a reliable outside partner — a partner with the hard skills who can also provide wise counsel.
We can be that partner. Very is a product development firm with expertise in blockchain, IoT, and machine learning. In recent years, we’ve focused on cultivating an in-house team of blockchain engineers. We’re capable of handling every aspect of blockchain development – from writing smart contracts to front-end development, to user experience optimization. We focus on one project at a time to and deliver predictable results with agility, on budget, and on schedule.
If you’d like to work with our award-winning team, let us know.