How to Streamline Product Delivery in Proptech With Design Team Extension?

Photo of Mateusz Czajka

Mateusz Czajka

Updated May 28, 2024 • 10 min read
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In a world where digital acceleration should be a goal and not a luxury, team extension is the best way to streamline product delivery and gain market advantage.

It’s 2024, and the way I see it, the proptech world is now facing a volatile time where the businesses that can be first in the market are the ones with the highest chance of success.

However, I think the proptech industry is also facing challenges, specifically when it comes to acquiring niche skills and lowering risk to successfully deliver a new product.

The escalating demand for skilled product designers underscores the pivotal role they play in translating concepts into functional and visually captivating products. Nonetheless, I believe a significant disparity persists between industry requirements and the availability of qualified niche talent.

I believe this is why many companies are turning towards design outsourcing, or as we like to call it in Netguru, team extension.

What is team extension and how is it different from outsourcing?

To start off, I want to outline the important distinction between outsourcing and team extension. The difference lies primarily in the degree of control and responsibility. In outsourcing, tasks or entire projects are delegated to a third-party entity, with the outsourcing partner assuming responsibility for project management and outcomes. This model entails relinquishing direct control over project execution.

On the other hand, team extension involves integrating external professionals into the internal team structure, supplementing existing capabilities while retaining control over project management. This approach allows for filling specific skill gaps while maintaining oversight of the project's direction.

Why choose a design team extension?

Team extension offers organizations a dynamic approach to bolstering their capabilities and adapting to changing demands.

As one of our clients, John Furneaux, CEO at Hive, said: “I believe there is a massive wastage in a business where you carry people full time when what you actually need is specialist skills and knowledge in the right moments. I don't need to have specialists covering every aspect of technology we need for Hive. I can go to the market and hire someone who has had experience with what I need.”

Operating through temporary talent addition, it enables swift scaling and specialized skill access, ideal for meeting short-term staffing needs or tapping into specific expertise across various domains such as design services.

This model proves cost-effective and scalable, providing access to global talent without the overhead of extensive permanent hires, making it a strategic solution for efficiently addressing project challenges while maintaining flexibility and cost efficiency.

How to streamline product delivery with design team extension?

There are plenty of ways that team extension can solve the fluctuating need for design services professionals and the constantly evolving business environment when wanting to streamline your product delivery.

Flexibility: “Our business model requires flexibility regarding the amount of work that needs to be done in a certain period,” – Jan Marco Heinz, CEO at Seven2one Informationssysteme GmbH. What team extension does is that it can provide your business with the right designer collaboration according to the most pressing needs and budget you may be facing. This means not only allowing your team to scale up and down but also changing team composition. This allows your company to move forward with your product delivery pipeline in a time-sensitive manner.

On-demand access to specialized talent: “While most of our work together has been in React Native, at times when needed we've also very easily gotten support in QA, design, UX, iOS, and Android,” – Johnathan Uy, CTO at Shine. In my opinion, one of the greatest advantages of team extension lies in the capability of end-to-end providers to encompass all the design process under one vendor. This eliminates the necessity for additional talent search, evaluation, or transitions—businesses gain immediate, on-demand access to the roles and capabilities they require for their product delivery.

Increased efficiency and cost optimization: “We definitely increased the pace of development. We’re now releasing many more features than we used to,” – Marco Deseri, Chief Digital Officer at Artemest. Team extension is all about moving swiftly in a volatile market: it accelerates discovery, expedites the design process, hastens delivery, and facilitates rapid validation. This approach enables your business to stay agile amidst market and technological fluctuations, providing added resilience in an uncertain economy. In contrast, recruiting in-house experts demands significant time and resources.

Knowledge and experience transfer: “They don’t just build the software for you, they also help you understand that there are things in the industry you need to know,” – Niall McManus, Founder, Kuingia. Team extension not only brings in absent capabilities but also leverages expertise acquired from analogous projects, a factor with transformative potential. Given that vendors often specialize in specific domains, such as proptech, selecting the appropriate one for the task enables access to expert insights while simultaneously enhancing the skills of internal teams.

Reduced time to market for quick validation: “We had a successful MVP within weeks and an optimized version for phase two — we’ve taken a big leap forward from a fine idea to a great feature, and achieved it below the budget,” – Anna Miller, Application Development Manager at Żabka. In the era of digital acceleration, speed is key: swift development and rapid market testing are imperative for your business to stay ahead. Team extension offers a significant boost in expediting MVP delivery and enabling a swift validation process.

Fresh perspective: “Rather than having me guide them in the right direction, they’ll come up with their own suggestions and even challenge me,” – Jan Vanhoutte, Co-Founder & CFO at Shepper. Introducing expert designers to the in-house design team essentially entails gaining a fresh outlook. New team members contribute not only their expertise but also an impartial perspective. This can be immensely valuable when having to deliver a new product to the market.

Rapid onboarding: “It took them less than two weeks to get the developers fully up to speed with our proprietary platform infrastructure. It was very timely for the task,” – Jan Marco Heinz, CEO at Seven2one Informationssysteme GmbH. When you choose to embrace team extension, you will get rapid results. For this model to succeed, rapid onboarding is essential. New team members must quickly grasp the project, while project managers must ensure they have all necessary resources to begin work promptly.

Seamless team integration: “There’s almost no difference between working with our team members in house and them being remote,” – Dmitry Muzhikov, CPO, Alteos GmbH (Axa Konzern AG). Now the most important part, in my opinion, is the biggest differentiator between outsourcing and team extension. Successful team extension translates into a long-term partnership which blurs the lines between in-house and external talent, making your design team extension more of a part of the team rather than a plus one.

Witnessing successful design team extension for speedy product delivery in proptech

I am a person that prefers to walk the walk, rather than just talk the talk. Here are two of the most relevant cases we have collaborated with in Netguru which can demonstrate the success of using design team extension for speedy product delivery.

Keller Williams:

Keller Williams, the largest global real estate franchise, wanted to ensure consistency across products while maintaining speed to market. Serving as Keller Williams' design and software team extension, we've initiated the development of a comprehensive Design System, streamlining assets and UI components for seamless integration. Our efforts extended to enhancing Command, consolidating functionalities, redesigning software, and contributing to the product roadmap.

Additionally, we played a pivotal role in redesigning major apps like Kelle, as well as effectively onboarded a team of over 50 members to aid Keller Williams in its evolution and new ventures.

“Netguru has been the best agency we've worked with so far. The team understands Kelle and is able to design new skills, features, and interactions within our model, with a great focus on speed to market. Netguru has also been great in terms of having the ability to understand how to balance your own design experience and the best design practices with the outcome of the KW Labs sessions,” – Adi Pavlovic, Director of Innovation at KW.


Another successful case was with Otodom. With stringent standards in place, Otodom encountered challenges in sourcing Product Designers who could meet the product, stakeholder, and user requirements. This is when they turned to Netguru for their design team extension.

During our collaboration, our Product Designers were involved in diverse tasks such as qualitative and quantitative research to support design, creating and refining UX/UI designs, conducting A/B and usability testing in alignment with Otodom's data-driven approach, facilitating workshops with product managers and developers, migrating design operations from Sketch to Figma, crafting user-centric messages through UX writing, and providing insights to inform OKRs and optimize the roadmap planning process.

Our collaboration with Otodom yielded remarkable results. Key metrics saw substantial increases, including a 116% rise in subscription rates for saved search notifications and a 21% uptick in email-to-reply conversion. Moreover, there was a notable 14% growth in logged-in users and a 13% increase in monthly email volume. Within five months, subscription acquisition turned from a deficit of -89 to a surplus of +6,488 per month.

Additionally, our introduced feature generated 12,028 new saved searches within two months of its launch, demonstrating the significant impact of our team extension on Otodom's success.

Accelerating your product delivery with design team extension

In the competitive proptech industry, where speed is key, companies confront challenges like the global talent shortage, especially in critical areas such as product design.

I believe that team extension continues to be a strategic solution, offering flexibility and access to specialized talent to accelerate product delivery. Through successful collaborations, like those with Keller Williams and Otodom, Netguru has demonstrated the effectiveness of design team extension in overcoming these challenges and driving success in the fast-paced proptech landscape.

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Mateusz Czajka

Chief Delivery Officer at Netguru. Mateusz is responsible for delivering top-quality, innovative...
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