Staff Augmentation: Enhance Your Team’s Workforce in the Shortest Terms

Often, when a company needs to develop new software quickly, it turns out that they don’t have enough specialists required for this project. Recruiting in-house IT experts usually requires a lot of time and money and, therefore, is not always an appropriate solution, especially when the company needs senior-level developers or rare specialists. Luckily, there are several alternative options you may reach for when lacking human resources. In particular, the staff augmentation model may be used, which means a temporary expansion of your company’s team. 

In this article, we cover the crucial issues of staff augmentation: what it is and how it works, when to use it, how to implement it successfully, and the main pros and cons of this solution. So, read on and decide whether staff augmentation is the right choice for your business development.

What Is Staff Augmentation And How Does It Work?

Staff augmentation implies temporarily engaging third-party specialists to work on a particular project rather than hiring a full-time employee for your in-house team. When you choose this cooperation model, it means you reach out to outsourced professionals for projects aligned with your business’s current staffing requirements and goals. Typically, such specialists join the company’s team for a few months or over a year. Whether your business needs to engage a single expert or an entire dedicated team for project creation, you can do so with augmentation. Here is how this model typically works:

  • The process starts with finding a reliable staff augmentation company. 
  • Then, the vendor offers you candidates who match your requirements. 
  • You review their CVs and portfolios, meet them on video calls, and pick the most suitable candidates. 
  • The chosen experts then immerse themselves into your in-house team to start working on your project as soon as possible.

When to Use Staff Augmentation?

To figure out if this outsourcing model is a good choice for your business, look through some scenarios where this collaboration type works well.

Reinforcing an In-House Team with New Skilled Members

You may want to enhance your current staff’s skills and knowledge when developing a new product or starting an entirely new project. Hiring a temporary staff member to address this issue is better than expanding an in-house team when you need to get results quickly and keep costs low. Thus, you hire experienced developers to work on your project and stop the collaboration when it is no longer needed outside the project.

Quick Team Expansion to Meet Burning Deadlines

Hiring developers is a long process that may take up to several months. When you urgently need an employee with specific knowledge and experience, turning to a reliable staff augmentation provider is the best solution. A trustworthy company will offer you available specialists. If the provider has enough resources, the required specialists can join your team in a matter of days, not weeks, avoiding the long onboarding process.

A Need to Reduce Costs on Project Development

When engaging an augmented specialist, you don’t need to worry about bonuses and other perks for a new employee. Besides, the vendor also provides the necessary working equipment. Plus, augmenting staff from Eastern European countries or Asia costs significantly less than hiring a full-time employee in the USA or Western European countries. While the average hourly rate of an Eastern European software developer is around $30-$40, this rate for a Western European or North American specialist is $80+.

Types of IT Staff Augmentation

Since businesses have different needs for different projects, there are several types of augmentation. You should identify which kind of specialist engagement your company requires to get the expected results. To proceed, we’ll define the three main models of staff augmentation:

  • commodity-based;
  • skill-based;
  • highly-skilled.

We will now cover each point in detail to make it more understandable.

Commodity-Based Augmentation

Businesses choose this cooperation model when looking for employees without particular skill sets for simple data entry, customer support, etc. Typically, it’s the case when the tasks are simple yet quite time-consuming, and businesses don’t want their in-house team to devote much time and disperse their focus on them. Commodity-based augmentation offers a quick team expansion by primarily adding workers to perform basic tasks, making it best suited to short-term work. 

Skill-Based Augmentation

Companies turn to the skill-based model when requiring employees with more specific education and experience but not necessarily expert-level knowledge. The work is particularly not very demanding. A landing page design or repetitive manual testing are some examples of tasks common for this form of augmentation. The emphasis in skill-based augmentation is on engaging workers who can act as support for the in-house staff or fill junior-level positions.

Highly-Skilled Augmentation

This model enables businesses to temporarily hire new staff members with high skills and rare expertise obtained via extensive training who can easily carry out robust and large-scale projects. Highly skilled employees provided by QArea are usually engaged in project-based cooperation to work on dynamic product development. Companies also reach for highly skilled professionals to solve complex problems with existing products. Some examples of highly skilled staff augmentation are engaging machine learning engineers, AI developers, product designers, or data scientists. Such a business model allows companies to temporarily employ top-tier talents who will help them gain a solid competitive advantage.

How to Implement Staff Augmentation Successfully: 5 Essential Steps

If you implement staff augmentation wisely, you’ll see how beneficial this cooperation model can be. There are several crucial steps for successful staff augmentation. We covered these points to help you create an effective long-term collaboration.

Step 1. Identify Your Business’s Skill Gap

Each organization has a specific skill gap, and knowing your company’s one is critical. The skill gap is the difference between the skills your business needs and your team’s current skills. One way to get a clear idea about the existing skill gaps is through observation and talking to your employees.  Look at your team’s capabilities from a higher perspective and analyze whether their skill level will be sufficient to perform well. If not, you definitely need experts from the outside to enrich your team.

Step 2. Look For the Right Partner

Selecting an appropriate outsourcing vendor who can provide you with a matching fit to your project demands is key. Let’s look at the important things to consider when choosing a staff augmentation vendor:

  • Expertise, experience, and customer feedback. Look for trustworthy outsourcing companies with a track record of delivering top-notch services in your area. Evaluate their credentials and ask for references and case studies.
  • Communication and project management. Discuss the potential partner’s communication channels, project management tools, and technologies to ensure efficient and transparent collaboration.
  • Cultural fit. Make sure there is an alignment between your company’s culture and that of the team augmentation service. This will help ensure a smooth integration and effective cooperation.

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Step 3. Consider Multisourcing

This practice of outsourcing software development services involves reaching multiple agencies for the same service. It aims to improve quality and lower costs by using the skills of several experts. Plus, it’s a great way to choose an outsource vendor you want to cooperate with for a longer engagement. Here are the main advantages of multisourcing:

  • Better project fit. Multisourcing provides a reduced probability of unmet expectations. When you diversify augmented staff, there is a lower risk than when you rely on a single partner.
  • Speed. With services provided by not one but a couple of different companies, your project can be completed faster, which may also mean lower total costs.
  • Improved flexibility. Collaborating with several suppliers provides more flexible delivery schedules and payment terms.

Step 4. Make Outsourced Specialists Feel Like Part of Your Team

When recruiting temporary outsourced staff, you should establish a good relationship with each specialist. By ensuring constant communication, you foster good relationships between dedicated in-house and outsourced workers. Amicable team interactions lead to more effective performance.

Step 5. Establish Clear Communication

Clear communication is a vital component of an effective working process. The entire team should clearly understand the mission, project specifications, and development process. Ensure there is a clear communication process and everyone can contribute to your product development. Use tools like Slack and Trello to facilitate the process of sharing data and track the progress of your projects. 

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

The advantages of staff augmentation include some obvious points, like reduced costs and time for product development, and some that are not as obvious, like flexibility and direct communication. Let’s look at each point separately.

High Productivity

The specialists are 100% focused on your project, dedicating all their work time and effort to it. It means that their efficiency is definitely higher than that of an outsourcing team that can handle several projects at once. 

Growth and Adaptability

Due to the fast hiring process, businesses can hire qualified workers quickly, which is especially significant when they want to develop and test new products in the shortest terms. There’s no need to hire full-time specialists and make any commitments. Staff augmentation provides more alternatives by allowing businesses to recruit on a project basis and continue cooperation when there’s a need.

Access to a Huge Number of Specialists

Such a cooperation model doesn’t imply limits to the local employee base. Since staff augmentation is available globally, it allows you to engage experts with specific skills remotely from any country in the world.

Increased Flexibility

The staff augmentation model allows companies to hire as many experts as they need. Furthermore, you can scale the team up or down quickly and easily. For example, you can launch a project or develop a specific feature with a bigger team and continue cooperation only with one developer and one tester when the main work is done. Likewise, you can continue working further with as many specialists as you need without worrying about contract termination formalities or recruiting hassles. Besides, budget flexibility with varied payment plans and hourly rates makes things even easier. Consider staff augmentation if your core business priorities may change over the next year.

Direct Communication

When you hire temporary staff members to work on your projects, you can personally assign tasks, plan sprints, and fully control the process. Besides, businesses often recruit augmented project managers or allocate their in-house project managers to work with the team and control all the processes related to this specific project. You can choose any model to ensure direct communication between the project manager and other members, which will lead to more effective work performance for the entire team.

Cost-Effectiveness

Recruiting full-time staff requires significant spending on things like training, daily operational expenses, bonuses, etc. While in many situations, having a dedicated in-house team is worth it, sometimes, staff augmentation is a better solution. If full-time staff employment does not suit your budget expenses, consider hiring augmented specialists. This model doesn’t require the client to pay for extra leaves, taxes, days off, etc. All these issues are handled by the vendor. You hire highly skilled experts who will produce similar quality and scope of work at a lower cost than in-house specialists would.

Time-Effectiveness 

Planning and organizing the recruitment process takes a lot of time and resources. All these steps, like creating job postings, interviewing candidates, and undergoing the necessary paperwork, may take weeks or even months. When you reach for staff augmentation, you save time and budget as you don’t need to go through all those steps. Experienced augmentation companies can provide businesses with remote augmented teams in a matter of days.

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Challenges of Staff Augmentation

With multiple advantages of staff augmentation, you may not fully benefit from it if you don’t know the common challenges you might face. Knowing these challenges means knowing the ways to avoid or solve them easier. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Language and Time Differences

Language barriers may be a challenge for those whose English level is inconsistent. This may lead to misunderstandings during the work process. This problem is easily avoided by checking the potential vendor’s and team members’ English levels during a video call.

Time zone differences may also be a challenge for outsourced employees from other countries. Careful planning of the meeting schedule is a solution that allows both sides to set up communication properly.

Quality Control

A poor team’s work results lead to project delays, unexpected expenses, and critical security risks for the end-user. You should avoid prioritizing cost reductions over other important criteria. To ensure good quality control, you should hire an experienced project manager to work with your team. Keep constant track of the project progress to ensure everything flows smoothly.

Security Issues

Staff augmentation means you engage a third party in the development process and involve external specialists in internal operations. Therefore, security should be one of your key priorities. Your project’s and potential users’ security is vital and must be 100% protected. To guarantee this, you should perform regular security audits. Be sure to sign an NDA when inviting the augmented staff to your team.

Technical Expertise

If it turns out that the augmented team performs weaker than you expected, it’s a sign that you probably were in a hurry to recruit new specialists as soon as possible. One of the few ways to guarantee an anticipated result is a meticulous selection process. Be sure to carefully examine the candidate’s portfolio and pay close attention to the experience in your required domain. Also, do not hesitate to ask all the questions that are important to you during the video call. 

Managerial Bottlenecks

Since staff augmentation is a form of outsourcing, the specialists you hire typically will not operate in your office (although such cooperation is also possible). Thus, to ensure the most efficient working process and avoid managerial hurdles, you need to establish effective management and communication channels. This will allow you to keep both outsourced and in-house teams in tune with each other while working on your project.

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Summary

Hiring talented and skilled specialists can be a challenging process. Gathering a dedicated in-house team of specialists with all the necessary skills and knowledge to work on your projects sometimes sounds like a fairy tale. Often, staff augmentation becomes a perfect solution to get the best industry talents working on your product on a temporary basis and at a lower price. This collaboration model allows you to get skilled professionals to work on your project without unnecessary long-term commitment. 

If your company needs a reliable staff augmentation vendor, QArea will help you easily build a scalable and efficient development team. Our flexible services ensure you have access to experts in specific fields anytime you need them. By enriching your team with specialists provided by QArea, you can focus on your core business goals rather than on a long and costly hiring process.

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