What will you learn from this article?

  • What is staff augmentation? 
  • How it works and when is it time to consider it
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • How to increase the chances of success deciding on a staff augmentation model?
  • Staff augmentation vs dedicated team
  • Conclusions

The demand for IT professionals within today’s market is constantly increasing, however, the business environment is dynamically changing. Hence the lack of experienced software developers is becoming the challenge that the industry must deal with nowadays. According to the Code Institute report, up to 40% of employers face the problem of recruiting and hiring the right experts. How can current companies manage that situation? That is a point where help can come from the outside.

1. Staff augmentation – what is it?

Staff augmentation is a sort of outsourcing service but is a much more flexible strategy. It enables the company to hire a team of experts from any part of the world, based on relatively simple conditions (usually Time & Material type of contract). The selection of candidates to extend your team is based on the skills and requirements necessary for the given project.

2. How it works and when it’s the right time to consider it

The company can hire the team on a long or short-term basis, for a single project or for a few of them. The number of members of the team can be both increased or decreased, depending on the necessity. In fact, that is a great opportunity to make the project team bigger really fast. 

One of the situations where staff augmentation is the most appropriate option for your company is when you’re going to reach out to new markets with your new product or service. A fresh perspective and different skills may be needed there to adjust your product or service to that market and new users there.

On the other hand, this solution can prove salutary when your product increases in its complexity and your team can’t keep up further with introducing innovations and modernizations as fast as it’s expected from them. Outsourced specialists may then turn out to be a factor that will push the project forward and relieve your team from backlogs.

3. Advantages

It’s approximated that every year around 300 000 job positions are outsourced and 59% of companies use outsourcing services to reduce costs. About 78% of respondents in Deloitte’s survey say they feel positive about outsourcing relationships with their partners. Let’s start with some benefits that the staff augmentation service gives you:

  • it’s a quick and relatively easy way to augment your team
  • allows reducing recruitment, project implementation, and payroll services costs
  • allows reducing formal activities associated with HR and employment
  • due to different distribution of responsibility, you can focus more on your core business 
  • creates the right circumstances for your team to stay efficient and productive
  • gives the ability to be more flexible when it comes to modifying the scope of your team accordingly to your company’s needs
  • creates the opportunity to discover great and unique talents that you would never explore relying only on your in-house team.

4. Disadvantages

On the other hand, this model of cooperation will not work for everyone. It’s worth considering all the consequences it brings for the company:

  • because of the remote model of cooperation, the outsourced team will require double supervision (both the outsourcer and the provider)
  • additional time and costs spent on the process of onboarding and training (what paradoxically will save your time and money as well as the team’s productivity and satisfaction in the long run)
  • it requires taking a risk of trusting the outside remote company, where the crucial part of building that partnership is a transparent communication process between both parties. 

5. How to increase the chances of success deciding on a staff augmentation model?

  1. Define your expectations and desired competencies as precisely as you can. The more detailed and clear they will be, the higher chances that you’ll receive offers well-matched to your needs. Not only the technical skills are important, but also soft ones should be taken into account. The attitude and values of your future remote employees must be consistent with your current team as well as the whole company.
  2. Don’t skip or underestimate the onboarding process of new team members.
    In a rush of deadlines, pending projects, new ideas, and innovations, paying attention to this step may seem to you like a bit of a waste of time. Nothing could be more wrong. However, in the beginning, the process can be time-consuming, in the future it will allow you to avoid any misunderstandings. The team that is well introduced and well informed from the start, will be more productive, motivated, and feel integrated.
  3. Give your team members equal chances to grow and develop.
    It gives people the feeling of being part of your company even though they’re hired on a different basis. All team members should see the concern and the opportunities for professional growth provided by your company. Otherwise, unequal chances may result in burnout of the employees and endanger the entire project.

6. Staff augmentation vs dedicated team

Besides the staff augmentation, there is another model of outsourcing and refers to dedicated teams. That type of partnership is much broader than the staff augmentation, because it includes not only outsourcing developers, but also software-related service providers – QA testers, UX/UI designers, project managers, or IT consultants.

Both models bring comparable benefits, however, they should be considered for different situations.  Staff augmentation is the best solution when you’re missing a person in your development team with specific skills or talents. It’s also a good rescue for the company when your employee leaves in the middle of the project and you need to replace that person quickly. On the other hand, when you’re starting a completely new project and your company doesn’t have any tech expertise – then it’s better to hire a whole team of IT experts who will build your product from the basics.


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7. Conclusions

Regardless of which model of outsourcing your company needs at the moment, both of them can bring many profits. Although it is an external service, remember that a lot also depends on your preparation and your company’s commitment so that the entire process and cooperation will be successful.