What is staff augmentation: a definition
In short, staff augmentation is the process of bringing in additional talent to either supplement or replace the current team. The idea is that you can address skills and knowledge gaps quickly, without having to go through the entire recruitment process.
Staff augmentation services: use cases
Here are some significant cases where IT outsourcing becomes a powerful tool at your disposal.
1. Being on the lookout for specialized skills
There’s no denying the allure of team augmentation for businesses looking for particular skills and expertise. After all, the staff augmentation model provides access to specialists from around the world without needing to spend extensive time and money on training various team members for months. Although team extension also requires onboarding, it might be faster and more effective than starting from scratch within an in-house team.
2. Wanting to boost your resources
In many cases, staff augmentation is seen as a quick and cost-effective solution when the in-house team is limited in completing tasks on an incredibly tight deadline. It can also provide access to expertise and specialist knowledge in specific, sometimes narrow, technologies which may not be present within the company.
For even greater control over the project outcome, many companies elect to keep the PM/product team working in-house while they outsource development work by bringing in more personnel. Staff augmentation offers much needed flexibility and scalability while keeping projects on track and ensuring deadlines are met.
You always have full control and insight into all processes and project progress, but are able to maintain a high level of productivity. It’s the perfect mix: increase capacity without adding complexity.
3. Seeking cost optimization
Team augmentation providers can save you money in the long run because this practice can cost less than creating an entire in-house team from the ground up. Recruitment, benefits, onboarding, and team development are expensive for a new team, whereas staff augmentation can be extremely cost-effective.
Not only that, but staff augmentation services save time too, and as a bonus, there’s no need to stress over training everyone either.
4. Looking to build a scalable solution
When you’re part of a project team and the pressure is on, you want solutions that are flexible and scalable. Staff augmentation is an agile way to scale according to the size of any project. What’s more, when the workload starts to reduce, the staff augmentation model allows you to easily scale down the size of your team, and therefore, keep costs in check.
Staff augmentation model challenges
To reap the benefits of this project outsourcing model, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of both the capabilities and limitations of staff augmentation.
Knowing all aspects of the project can help you prevent potential risks during the cooperation. Even if issues arise, having all the necessary resources and knowledge in advance makes resolving them much easier. Investing in this extra effort usually results in a successful outcome for all involved parties – but you need to take a few challenges into account:
Research and adjustments
Staff augmentation can be tricky – if you need an IT workforce instantly, you may be tempted to over-rely on the “quick fix” approach. This might seem fast and effective, but caution needs to be taken if you don’t want your project to miss the mark.
The last thing you want is a staff augmentation mishmash of engineering team members from different cultures, geographies, services, and time zones getting lost in translation with one another. So make sure that haste doesn’t make waste – take your time when it comes to finding staff augmentation talent and grow steadily.
How to turn this challenge into a business opportunity?
When hiring, it always pays to bet on teams that know and have worked with each other before. After all, they can bring so much to the table: as well as friendship and familiarity (the old adage of ‘team spirit’), working with people who already enjoy each other’s company improves communication and smoothens workflow.
For this reason, selecting two or three people from the same company would be wise instead of recruiting all completely separate individuals from different locations. This way, you will benefit from optimized efficiency and higher code quality – a win-win, as they say.
Also, working with an IT partner (a software development company and an augmented staff expert) is always a smart move, especially when it comes to hiring experienced and qualified developers.
They will take the recruiting process off your shoulders, so you can focus on what really matters – choosing the right people for your project who have the technical expertise you need and fit into your team in terms of culture and rituals.
That’s why you should interview candidates suggested by your IT partner. This will give you peace of mind knowing you’ve hired the most appropriate people for the job, plus onboarding them within these outsourcing models should be a breeze.
The more you include in a job description, the more control you have over the quality of augmented staff involved in the project.
Communication and team management
When it comes to the global staffing industry, communication problems can be deadly – especially if you’re working remotely. From language barriers to lack of transparency in reporting, any miscommunication can make successfully delivering projects on time a real challenge.
Even worse are visions colliding – having quite different ideas about how the final solution should look could spell disaster at the very beginning of cooperation. This lack of communication leads to non-existent transparency in reporting, which can lead to delays in delivery and ultimately put an entire project at risk.
How to turn this challenge into a business opportunity?
Don’t let miscommunication ruin your vision. Instead, get everyone to speak the same language and set expectations upfront.
There should also be clear agendas for meetings and detailed guidelines for conversing, both in-person and virtually. This provides the perfect opportunity to establish the rules of the relationship early on and promptly address any concerns that may arise.
No matter if you use global freelance platforms, temporary workers, expert business leaders, trusted staff augmentation providers, or tech talent from elsewhere – ensuring smooth communication and setting ground rules are paramount for success.
Before signing a contract, there are some crucial considerations you can form a checklist from:
- Are there any language differences between new parties and your existing team that could affect how and when information is shared?
- Are all augmented staff clauses in the contract crystal clear?
- How can time zone disparities (if any) be addressed?
- What will the project workflow (between your own employees and staffing provider) look like?
- Which communication channels will be used (to address any issues that arise due to misunderstandings and clear the air before it’s too late)?
- How should progress be tracked? (Every few months, weeks, or days?)
This is not just beneficial for project success, but also contributes to building a trusting relationship with your staff augmentation managed services provider.
Establishing trust and transparency early on lays the foundations for successful collaboration with external specialists. Take the time to clearly explain project goals and get everyone on the same page about the requirements and expectations before starting out.
Don’t forget to use practical resources such as documentation, collaboration tools, project deadlines, and regular check-ins (with your existing staff, too) – these are all necessary ingredients for your project outsourcing to be flawless.
Looking for tips on managing extended teams? Here’s our article that will help.
Onboarding and knowledge transfer
Imagine that you’ve just got your new team on board, but there’s no one and nothing to guide them when it comes to actually doing the work. The outcome is that everyone wastes time trying to figure out the project structure and requirements.
Not quite ideal, is it?
That is why onboarding and knowledge transfer are so essential when it comes to staff augmentation. Without thorough and complete documentation that is easy to understand, new hires may quickly become overwhelmed and unable to find all of the resource augmentation they need.
Furthermore, an insufficiently planned onboarding process can lead to gaps in project knowledge.
How to turn this challenge into a business opportunity?
Start by implementing proper onboarding measures from the start of the process to get it running smoothly. An effective way of handling this is developing a unified checklist for all personnel that sets out the ground rules and grants them the necessary access or teaches key concepts on time.
It’s only with proactive procedures like these that you can facilitate knowledge transfer throughout projects. Onboarding employees have to be aligned with the company’s mission, values, and goals, but augmented employees must also fill in skill gaps to quickly get up to speed on how things are done within the company.
Employ an effective system of team onboarding and knowledge transfer so that every newly deployed hire follows the same path, meets the same standards, and becomes a valuable team player.
Video tutorials can be of enormous assistance in this situation, providing an easy-to-access medium for information transfer. They are efficient too – update a video once, then new staff will be able to easily access it as part of their training.
You don’t have to be a talking head every time there is a new hire; let the videos do the heavy lifting for your existing resources. And while freelancing today is often seen as synonymous with remote working, that doesn’t mean you and your staff should be disconnected.
This approach helps set expectations and allows for clear measurement of project progress. Additionally, regular Q&A sessions between internal and remote teams are essential for effective knowledge transfer. Taking the time upfront to commit to such processes will pay off in the long run.
Find your software development team for staff augmentation service
Staff augmentation can be a challenging process to manage, but taking the right approach can prevent it from feeling like running an obstacle course. With a bit of planning, you can use staff augmentation to your advantage and reap the benefits of working with outside software developers, even for longer projects.
Inwedo has a proven track record of managing staff augmentation projects from the initial contract phase, through managing and reporting to successful completion. Taking our staff augmentation experience and expertise into account, you can rest assured that any legal and security concerns will be addressed.
Get to know our staff augmentation services, or contact us for specific information about how we can help you get the most out of the staff augmentation and software development services your business deserves.