December 20, 2022
How to find top-quality resources and get them involved in your projects? What is staff augmentation, and how it works in the IT sphere? How helpful can this model become for your business? Read the article to find answers to these and other related questions.
List of the Content
- What is staff augmentation?
- How does staff augmentation work?
- Staff augmentation types
- Benefits of staff augmentation
- Staff augmentation challenges
- When to choose staff augmentation?
- How to start a staff augmentation project?
WHAT IS STAFF AUGMENTATION?
Whether starting a new project or extending the ongoing one, companies won’t be able to address their needs without the necessary staff resources. It’s evident that experienced specialists are an inevitable part of any project. At the same time, many businesses are experiencing the same challenges. Finding the required talents and choosing a suitable engagement model often becomes harder and harder. Besides, it’s tightly related to the rising market demand and the considerable talent shortage in some regions.
Therefore, many businesses often consider other models than just regular full-time engagement. As long as the company stays informed of hiring needs and business growth, it can anticipate the changing requirements, including recruitment terms and budgets. According to the statistics, the average time to fill the position of IT specialist could take up to 50 days in the US and 57 days in Western Europe. And everyone once involved in the recruitment process knows how important and complex it often remains. Sometimes the solution to extend the existing in-house team could require more alternatives.
That’s why team augmentation has been widely used on the market. It can be easily turned into an efficient solution if applied correctly. Let’s start with the staff augmentation meaning and proceed with more specifications.
What is staff augmentation?
This hiring model involves bringing qualified resources to the in-house team on a specific term basis. Augmented employees are selected according to the different skills they offer for helping business initiatives of various scales, either in the long or short term.
In other words, it’s an extension of the on-site development staff focusing on required technical expertise and business objectives. Not every company can afford to hire full-time employees, especially regarding short-term tasks. Also, some teams need specialists with rare technical skills or highly-demanded expertise. That’s exactly where this approach becomes a solution to cover existing staff gaps as soon as possible.
The great advantage of adopting staff augmentation services is that companies can gain the reliability of full-time engagement and the flexibility of outsourcing specific tasks. While the augmentation period is taking place, the personnel remain employed by the third-party provider but are completely accessible to the client that manages them as they see fit within a set duration of time. The staff augmentation providers are responsible for finding competent specialists to expand the existing in-house team. In their turn, clients obtain qualified engineers to proceed with the outlined tasks. It’s important to mention that the client side handles the entire management process.
Also, it is worth mentioning that partnering with staff augmentation companies not necessarily involves engagement in other project-related processes. Their services rely on offering top-quality resources, matching the required staff, and supporting working conditions. As a result, the full members can extend the in-house team, though avoiding dealing with such moments as hiring, training, or accommodation expenses. It gets much faster and easier to fulfill rising needs on the go and scale the team when required.
HOW DOES STAFF AUGMENTATION WORK?
Along with figuring out the staff augmentation definition, it’s essential to understand how this engagement model functions. The staff augmentation services differ from regular hiring in that businesses have the possibility to augment the team effectively. What’s more, this need is often related to strategic goals. A few more team members can help to complete the outlined tasks faster and deliver the product in shorter timeframes. It includes a great way to accelerate market time and partner with specialists with the required expertise. And the period of partnering is regulated by project needs that really exist. Team augmentation can be a perfect fit for both short-term and long-term cooperation. But the main thing is that the assigned specialists are always referred to as full team members and managed by the client’s side.
If we discuss augmented teams, we might face the question of how it differs from other outsourcing services. In fact, this is just one of the models of outsourcing. The main differences are specified by the terms of partnering and services provided by the third-party contractor. It is a common practice that outsourcing providers can deliver several types of outsourcing services. So both sides can negotiate service details and reach the best agreement terms regarding the client’s needs. We suggest comparing team augmentation with other outsourcing models to get a better understanding of how it works in the IT sphere. Knowing some fundamental differences help to streamline the choice and explain when to choose staff augmentation.
Staff augmentation vs project outsourcing
Even though there might seem to be a slight difference between these models, it could significantly impact making the final decision. At first sight, it is about partnering with the third-party provider to fill in for required specialists. But the main distinction is that team augmentation is characterized by temporary assistance to cover special needs. That’s when the assigned members become the extension of the existing in-house team to help with outlined tasks.
Project outsourcing is an added model that provides working resources on other terms. It allows clients to outsource the entire product development to a third-party contractor. It’s an excellent opportunity to hire a cross-functional team capable of completing the project from start to finish. Getting them involved in other business operations is not necessary as the team can work separately. They take more responsibility for the final result and remain independent rather than join the client’s internal teams. Managerial and development tasks are handled by the provider’s side, along with regularly sharing detailed reports with the client. In both cases, businesses do not need to spend on recruiting, training, or onboarding staff as the outsourcing providers offer required resources according to current needs.
Staff augmentation vs consulting
The first thing to start is that these services are entirely different at their core. As you remember, team augmentation is about the extra resource involvement to address the temporary project needs. IT consulting outlines the broader concept that covers both advisory and implementation services. It focuses on improved technology utilization and digital transformation to achieve business goals. Consulting services are usually leveraged to brainstorm other approaches, provide better guidelines, establish different procedures and workflows, and outline good standards to complete the project. IT consulting often aims to determine the project scope and vision to leverage efficient ways of implementation.
In contrast, the augmentation model means resource engagement according to established parameters. Specialists join the team to help with already outlined tasks. Whereas consulting refers to the wide range of experts to plan, conceptualize and execute the project. It involves the engagement of experienced managers to ensure reaching the right deliverables throughout the entire process. IT consulting embrace the right technology enablement to improve business processes, scalability, performance, and competitive advantage.
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STAFF AUGMENTATION TYPES
Comparing team augmentation with other outsourcing models, we can see how flexible this model remains. It turns out to become the workable solution for many companies having the need to extend the team without delay. What’s more, these are not single cases. The common market practice shows that any business can come to the point of lacking specific skills or required experts. Staff augmentation services have brought a great alternative when regular full-time engagement requires more resources and longer recruitment time. According to the provided service specifications, it can be divided into three types:
Sometimes staff augmentation services are not outlined by particular expertise. Indeed, some teams are looking for reliable specialists to conduct tasks without obtaining a specific set of skills. It often happens when simple tasks really take time, and you don’t want your internal resources to spend time on them. Hiring external personal can be a great idea for completing such tasks as data entry, repetitive manual testing, etc. The option to involve the augmented specialists helps to handle numerous tasks within the set timeframes and eliminates the need to disperse the focus of your internal team. At the same time, it helps to streamline the process and use the available resources wisely. It might be surprising that skill requirements are not the primary focus, but we shouldn’t forget that urgency also is a decisive aspect for some types of tasks.
The next type is referred to as resource involvement based on specific skill sets. It goes without saying that practical skills and knowledge are standard criteria to augment the in-house team. The staff augmentation providers can help find specialists that teams lack at the moment, although the relative skill level is not critical. It doesn’t involve partnering with specialists having strategic or expert-level skills. In terms of seniority levels, it is more about hiring junior developers to become great assistants for your team. They need to have enough experience in the required technologies, though they don’t take responsibility for making significant decisions or resolving critical project issues independently. The skilled-based model is often leveraged long-term as it allows teams to get a full member on regular terms.
The following staff model covers needs for expert-level and rare expertise. Actually, that’s also a common reason when choosing IT staff augmentation. Sometimes, finding a unique talent to share expert knowledge becomes really hard. Highly skilled members offer a high level of experience and expertise for the project’s advantage. In the case of team augmentation, it is easier to find such experts regardless of partnering timelines. For both short-term and long-term cooperation, the in-house team gets the full member with top-level skills to handle tasks of various complexity and focus on continuous improvement. It helps to bring additional project value and guarantees high process efficiency.
BENEFITS OF STAFF AUGMENTATION
There might be different situations when businesses require an additional workforce. Moreover, predicting changing needs for some teams could be pretty hard. Regardless of the project specification, every company can experience a lack of specific expertise or skills. The augmented team has become one of the reasonable solutions here. It’s a great chance to access temporary assistance provided by top-quality staff. And the suitable service model allows them to leverage desired expertise, results, and productivity. As we’ve discussed the definition of staff augmentation, let’s also point out the benefits teams get with it.
One of the distinct benefits of staff augmentation is that businesses can hire as many specialists as they need. Provided the company acquires temporary resources for regular work, it helps to introduce better adaptability and flexibility. Blended teams carry a guarantee for scalability as it becomes easier to scale up or down based on the occurring needs. The augmented team is also customizable in terms of scaling and budgeting. Companies have no problems agreeing on suitable contract terms, including partnering details, payment plans, etc. The main goal of augmentation is to offer clients the most flexibility to regulate resources according to occurring needs.
In-house level control
One of the concerns of sharing tasks with others rather than in-house members is the ability to maintain the same level of control. Staff augmentation projects aim to support security and deliver transparency through the workflow. However, that’s not only about control but the necessity to enable full engagement of each member. Working as one extended team is the key to productivity and process efficiency. Augmentation creates a sense of integrated flow to get things done efficiently and smoothly. That is exactly what makes this engagement model special and enables a high level of control.
Wide talent pool
Leveraging IT staff augmentation also supports new opportunities for expanding the talent pool. Flexible engagement models have introduced better approaches to hiring staff with a broader range of skills. Besides, it’s no more limited geographically, as it involves a global reach to find the best resources. Teams can engage employees from other regions without a large or expensive infrastructure. It helps to create a global talent pool to support competitiveness, bring broader perspectives, and involve top-quality resources within your organization. At the same time, staff augmentation services bring more alternatives and a wider choice of experts.
Affordability is another aspect that explains the increased popularity of team augmentation. It remains a proven approach to reducing expenses and saving in general. Instead of paying for staff annually, companies will spend on the required and used skills. It’s a distinctive advantage to augment the team regarding ongoing needs. The cost of staff augmentation services is less expensive as it excludes administrative and inventory costs. Moreover, businesses can save not only time but lots of money in the process. For example, only recruitment expenses can reach $4,000 for an average company in the USA to hire a new employee. With this model, businesses receive suitable payment models, commonly the fixed price per hour per individual resource.
Recruiting, sourcing, training, retraining, and keeping employees is time- and effort-consuming. With staff augmentation benefits, businesses can access experienced and qualified software talent immediately. It considerably helps to adhere to the requirements, especially regarding ongoing and sudden growth. Also, this model prevents such inevitabilities as staff members not fitting in, skills gaps, or mismanagement of styles. Moreover, a reliable staff augmentation company always takes responsibility for replacing the employee if required.
STAFF AUGMENTATION CHALLENGES
Even the best market practices come with challenges, whereas the business goal remains to find efficient ways to meet them. Proceeding with the discussion on staff augmentation projects, we’d also like to draw your attention to some commonly posed challenges. However, it’s no different from common concerns you might have when hiring new personnel. This practice comes with quite a similar set of challenges to meet. The awareness of efficient solutions makes businesses ready to accept rising difficulties easily. Like any other staff involvement process, it greatly depends on setting the proper requirements and following practical advice.
Challenge: finding the right specialists
The market has already experienced a shortage of IT workforce. Due to the high demand and increased expenses, businesses need help to engage qualified resources. More and more companies started to consider other services besides regular hiring. Thus, the first challenge covers setting the special requirements for approaching team augmentation and choosing the right experts.
Solution: partner with reliable staff augmentation providers
Having access to the global talent pool, companies can choose from a wide range of providers. We highly recommend gathering all the decisive details to impact the final choice. Some of the crucial factors involve domain expertise, recruitment capabilities, adopted regulations and standards, business values, etc. Also, it’s a great idea to check through reviews, previous use cases, references, etc.
Challenge: incoherent knowledge transfer
The known benefit of the staff augmentation process flow is that team extension is possible at every project stage. But sometimes, it can pose a real challenge specifically related to project knowledge transfer. If the team doesn’t collect the information assets or misses the robust plan, they have little chance to pass the required knowledge or define the work scope.
Solution: ensure seamless information sharing
It’s worth saying that efficient knowledge transfer mostly depends on the client’s ability to organize the overall process. If the team wants to ensure seamless information sharing, they need to adopt it from the very beginning. It’s essential to have comprehensive technical documentation, precise progress measurements, result assessments, etc. Smooth knowledge transfer can be supported through well-communicated and well-planned approaches.
Challenge: communication and management
The consequences of poor management and miscommunication are serious and inevitable. It prevents tight and efficient collaboration between the in-house team and the augmented staff. Also, it often leads to mismatched expectations and high risks of failure.
Solution: encourage effective teamwork
It’s essential to remember that IT staff augmentation services are about adding active members. Regardless of the collaboration duration, they should be considered as a part of the team, moving towards the same goal. The clients have the responsibility to get them engaged in the process, arrange meetings, conduct regular reviews, etc.
Challenge: legal issues
This one seems obvious, as the best way of preventing legal issues is always to be prepared. A clear understanding of the chosen engagement model saves your business from various pitfalls like missed compliances, compromised data security, additional bills, etc.
Solution: operate under accepted contract terms
Actually, that is one of the first steps when both sides have to agree to a contract for any further collaboration. The contract details will vary from project to project. However, they all have to include the responsibilities of the involved parties, data protection rules, timeframes, payment terms, restrictions, governing laws, etc.
Challenge: affected service quality
Low quality of services usually harms the process efficiency and delivered results. While choosing staff augmentation services, there might be some concerns about whether the extended members have enough expertise to meet the outlined standards and work for the project’s success.
Solution: require relevant expertise
The main rule is to engage relevant experts who can bring extra value to the staff augmentation process. It always remains essential to set a well-structured evaluation to uncover the potential of the chosen specialists and how their experience can be used to your advantage.
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WHEN TO CHOOSE STAFF AUGMENTATION?
With the increasing popularity of staff augmentation on the market, more and more teams have leveraged this engagement model in their practice. It turned out to be an efficient solution for covering numerous needs. Moreover, options for when to choose staff augmentation services can be categorized into several use cases. So let’s take a closer look at the most common ones.
The in-house team extension
Although having an effective development team, many businesses could come to the point when some task completion isn’t possible without the involvement of an additional workforce. Moreover, it might be a temporary need for qualified resources to extend the team and deal with specific tasks. The regular full-time engagement isn’t quite reasonable, as filling the expertise gap can be managed on different terms. Staff augmentation services support the practical option to engage the new staff resources when there is a real need. At the same time, it goes with seamless staff integration at any development stage.
The need for specific skills
Another use case relates to the skills and expertise businesses can get from staff augmentation providers. Have you ever looked for an expert of some specific or rare expertise? If yes, you definitely know how challenging it can turn out. The great advantage of IT staff augmentation is the opportunity to access highly skilled staff at once. The service providers take responsibility for finding the proper resources to fulfill your project’s needs.
The fast increase in the capacity
With the rapid growth of software projects, it might be hard to meet the unexpected need to extend the team immediately. Often businesses are left with no time for a complex and effort-consuming process of recruitment, training, and onboarding. Therefore, they favor the opportunity to contact service providers that handle these responsibilities and enable them to start staff engagement as fast as possible. Besides, it works great for hiring both one or several dedicated specialists.
Long-term duration partnership
If someone considers staff augmentation services only for short-term partnerships, they might be mistaken. This model carries enough reasons to be used in a long-term perspective. Team augmentation has never been limited to partnership duration terms or workforce capacity. Indeed, it allows businesses to adopt a balanced approach to managing resources. Having the possibility to partner with qualified staff on a regular basis always remains beneficial.
High market demand for IT specialists has also considerably increased the cost of their services. The prices for hiring developers in some regions can be twice higher, especially when considering the US or Western European markets. As one of the outsourcing models, augmentation enables teams to find remote staff from different locations. Besides, the provider also takes a considerable part of expenses, including recruiting, utility, and inventory expenses.
Pursuing strategic goals
Last but not least case to leverage team augmentation is the opportunity to focus on the strategic goals. Hiring extended resources helps close the expertise gap, streamline the development process and often shorten the time to market. With the well-outlined requirements, team augmentation has all the means to achieve project results of lasting value. It’s rather important to approach this partnership along with setting ultimate goals.
HOW TO LEVERAGE A STAFF AUGMENTATION PROJECT?
Team augmentation is the fastest way to fill the team’s capacity and draw on the required expertise for the project delivery. Due to the high market demand, businesses have experienced many challenges in finding quality resources to fill temporary positions. Besides, they often look for special expertise to cover pressing needs. The flexible approach of leveraging team augmentation is really favored in the market. More and more teams find it efficient to engage remote members to handle the outlined scope of work.
To leverage an efficient partnership with the staff augmentation providers, it’s essential to understand the general process and cover its efficient implementation. Even though it might seem complicated initially, we shouldn’t forget that the first goal of staff augmentation services is to make this engagement simple, effective, and fast. In fact, successful cooperation can start after following a few simple steps. So here are the ones on how to leverage a staff augmentation project.
1. Specify the project needs
The careful requirements analysis helps to define the expertise gap and what specialists to look for. Along with evaluating the existing staff capabilities, the company has to consider the number of necessary specialists, their technical expertise, and seniority level. Besides, it is useful to consider the budget and approximate duration of the future partnership. Having all these details helps outline the real need and negotiate good contract terms later.
2. Research the market
The next step is related to searching the market for reliable staff augmentation providers. Among the wide variety, it’s important to find a contractor that has quality resources to address your specific needs. The great idea is to consider providers with experience in your domain, good rating, explicit reviews, and references. Besides, it’s always helpful to check platforms like Clutch or Good Firms that help to explore the available market choice and allocate the best providers worldwide.
3. Negotiate with a chosen partner
Initiating and defining the actual staff augmentation process happens at the same stage. When providers receive the clients’ requests, they do their best to offer staff resources capable of addressing the outlined needs. Besides, the client side always conducts interviews with assigned developers to select the best ones. Once they find the required staff, they will be ready to negotiate further agreements and discuss future collaboration in detail.
4. Sign the contract
The key to successful cooperation and avoiding misunderstandings is keeping the partnership legally documented and following all the compliance regulations. Both sides have to be interested in negotiating the comprehensive contract outlining the scope of work, expectations, timelines, payment details, etc. Also, signing the contract with an NDA clause is recommended to protect data.
5. Establish an effective process flow
Once the team receives new members, getting them fully involved in the development process is highly demanded. It’s important to establish effective management and communication channels to keep both the in-house team and augmented staff on the same page. The faster and smother the assigned specialists adapt to the process, the better results teams can expect at the project completion.
Team augmentation isn’t as complicated as it might sound at first. The property outlined requirements and strategic planning help to access experienced specialists anytime you need them. At the same time, it enables your business to focus on other core aspects and stay competitive in the fastly changing market conditions.
The great thing is that companies have gained some efficient approaches to involving required resources in their projects. Finding suitable experts and covering other business needs is always possible. Staff augmentation has become one of the proven models to engage the personnel with no limitations on the partnership duration or the developer location. These dedicated resources help to fill the expertise gap, streamline the development process and, of course, shorten the expenses.
Have you considered staff augmentation services for your business?
If you need professional consultation about leveraging team augmentation for your business-specific case, Existek’s team can assist you. We are an offshore software development company providing full-cycle services to fulfill the different needs of our customers.
Frequently asked questions
What is staff augmentation?
It is an efficient hiring model to engage qualified personnel while covering specific business objectives. Due to the flexible contract terms, businesses could balance staff capacity based on the rising needs. This model is suitable for short- and long-term partnerships to engage top-quality resources in the market.
What does staff augmentation mean for the IT sphere?
That is one of the common ways to be widely applied in the IT sphere. With the immediate sphere growth and workforce shortage in some locations, businesses have to find new approaches to finding the required resources. Besides, it is often related to specific expertise or rare skills teams can leverage efficiently and at a reasonable cost.
What are the benefits of staff augmentation?
There might be different reasons why businesses apply for team augmentation services. But all of them definitely pursue the similar goal of acquiring known benefits of this engagement model. It commonly includes:
In-house level control
Wide talent pool
When to choose staff augmentation services?
Team augmentation is an advanced model to involve required staff regardless of the location or the partnership duration. Companies have received the possibility to find experts while adopting flexible engagement terms. There are different use cases when to choose staff augmentation, with the main advantage of finding skilled resources at reasonable terms and whenever the team needs it.