Staff Augmentation 2.0: Extend Your Team
Staff augmentation is the new effective strategy for assembling the most productive and efficient teams for projects in the IT market. This strategy allows for the effective distribution of tasks to professionals globally as well as among the domestic specialists working on your project. Stick around to find out what is staff augmentation and how to use it for your project.
Overview: what is staff augmentation
You must know by now that most software development companies outsource their projects overseas, which is a preferable strategy due to the numerous advantages it provides. The first and the main reason to do so is cost efficiency: foreign contractors, especially from the developing countries, do their job for a relatively low price, which is why it is quite affordable to outsource some projects overseas. That is traditional outsourcing, but what does staff augmentation mean and what makes it different from outsourcing?
While cost efficiency is alluring to most project managers, it often compromises the quality of the end result. That is where staff augmentation services come in handy. Staff augmentation allows the project managers to include a number of global professionals in a domestic team, which creates a hybrid team.
When is Staff and Resource Augmentation the Right Choice?
There are three main reasons for you to consider augmenting your team with overseas specialists:
1. You need to extend your team
So, you are working on a project and your company only has a few professionals currently available for the project. Sometimes this happens even in large organizations, and sometimes you just don’t have time to go through all that recruitment hustle and bustle. That is exactly why you might want to contact a staff augmentation firm that can provide you with the additional needed workforce. Doing so, you can quickly throw in some quality specialists to the team that lacks such people.
2. Reducing costs
Cost reduction that won’t affect in-house employees is a challenge that may be faced by each startup and even a big structured company. Limited budget is a usual thing and it does not mean that you have to be affected with a lack of resources or the team has to go through additional obstacles. It’s the time when the staff augmentation comes into the game. This chance gives you the possibility to reduce costs by hiring remote employees with lower compensation and save up the budget on operational expenses, HR, and office maintenance.
3. Outsourcing the entire project is not an option
In case you work on a really crucial project and you cannot give it entirely to outsourced specialists, you can turn to the staff augmentation contract that will do the trick for you. By doing so, you’ll have complete control over the project, and the essential tasks will be distributed to the domestic specialists. Your overseas contractors, in turn, will maintain the less important tasks while remaining under your control, which can provide you with a much better outcome than just outsourcing projects you work on entirely.
4. There are just not enough specialists around
Your company does not have the required number of specialists for the project, and your local talent pool does not suffice either, so you need to hire someone from abroad to fill the skill gaps in your team. Again, you can contact a staff augmentation firm that will help you find the exact number of specialists from all around the world. Eventually, you can really benefit your team and achieve great results.
As you can see, staff augmentation is not just outsourcing. Instead, it is a much more reliable and efficient model that allows project managers to fill some spots in their teams and ensure control over the project on all levels.
Advantages of Staff Augmentation
As we already found out, there are certain circumstances under which you should consider staffing augmentation, but it is also a beneficial strategy for when you just need to cut project costs or increase the flexibility of your team. Let’s consider the following advantages in detail:
- Quickly adding expertise in your team by hiring people with advanced or rare skills. In a situation where you lack domestic professionals, you can also hire those who already work on other projects, which will certainly compromise their productivity and concentration. To avoid this, you can just hire people who dedicate all of their efforts to your project. This will translate into increased productivity for your team.
- Better management and direct communication with staff.
- Building a team takes much less time and you can easily hire a team for short-term
- Your in-house employees do not feel the risk of outsourcing all the projects to subcontractors and collaborate much better with your remote team.
- No office expenses and lower compensation for the same skills. Hiring foreign specialists, especially the ones living in developing countries, is much more affordable than domestic talent. Besides, by augmenting your team with foreign specialists, you avoid spending money on recruiting and training the new staff.
- Increase and decrease team size on demand. Add and remove team members easily due to a flexible model depending on the workload and the necessary skills during the development of the project.
- Staffing needs might change rapidly depending on what project your company works on, and that is why you might want to work with foreign contractors whom you can hire for a single project and then disband the entire team after their portion of the job is done. You don’t need to deal with employment expenditures and liabilities too; just sign the staff augmentation agreement for a certain period of time.
- Simple adoption. Most project managers define staff augmentation as a strategy that is similar but superior to classic outsourcing. This makes business augmentation a slightly improved version of the already familiar model everyone’s been using for years.
Disadvantages of Staff Augmentation
Since the strategy does not work in all cases and relies on particular factors to be beneficial for a certain project, here are the drawbacks you should keep in mind.
- Heavy reliance on internal management - You will work with people who might live on the other side of the globe when using staff augmentation, meaning your contractors might be from an entirely different time zone, which clearly may be uncomfortable and inconvenient at some point during your collaboration. That is why you might have problems managing the employees who work during your hours free from work and vice versa.
- Cultural and language barriers - You must be ready to work with people who represent different cultures and lifestyles that are nothing like what you are used to. So you must consider all of the factors working on your staff augmentation proposal.
- Finding quality staff - Clearly, you can’t always be 100% sure in the expertise of those you are working with, which makes it hard to decide who to hire. Hiring the wrong contractors is a major risk here, so you must be extra careful when headhunting for new team members.
Staff augmentation vs. Outsourcing
Some specialists might prefer other strategies to augmentation, and oftentimes, this all comes down to staff augmentation vs. outsourcing. Outsourcing is an approach in which the subcontractor takes care of all aspects of your project. Basically, you just tell the outsourcing company what you need to accomplish, and they take care of everything using their own resources. In this regard, outsourcing and staff augmentation aren’t an entirely fair comparison.
First of all, when we talk about business augmentation and outsourcing, we must remember control over the project. In the IT outsourcing approach, you have no control over the project, and you only tell your outsourcers what you want the end result to be like. Once the project is finished, you can request some corrections in your project, but in most cases, you just end up with a product you have no idea about. With business augmentation, however, you have full control over the situation.
Outsourcing is the easiest way to go in case you have a budget to cover the entire project, but you might end up with a mediocre product that is way below your expectations. It is always better to have control over your staff and the tasks they perform for you, so staff augmentation is the right choice when you do care about the end result.
Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting
Clearly, there is a difference when we talk about staff augmentation vs. consulting, and the project managers must remember that consulting does not lead to the achievement of the end result, as opposed to staff augmentation. Consulting companies do not take responsibility for most projects they work on. Basically, they are not responsible for whether your project reaches its goals or not. Contractors, on the other hand, must always adhere to your requirements and do their best to meet your expectations.
Staff Augmentation vs. Opening an Office
When opening your own office, you should be prepared for the fact that it will be a costly and long-term investment. You should hire recruiters, HRs, office managers and other employees and get ready for a long hiring process. Also, you will have additional expenses like office rentals, furniture, hardware, office management, support, HR, legal support, tax support, etc.
Investing in your own R&D center makes sense for long-term projects with a duration longer than five years.
If you have a project duration less than five years, opening your own office has no advantages, as opposed to a staff augmentation model, which may take away your headache and save you time.
Remote Engineering Staff Augmentation
McKinsey says that staff augmentation firms “help organizations reallocate their labor resources quickly when priorities and directions shift.” And it seems to be a great advantage, speaking of internal processes:
- Engineers work for a long time remotely, which means they need less time to accommodate a new project and show their efficiency and satisfy clients’ needs.
- Staff augmentation companies, such as Hire Ukrainian Developers, are used to the high tempo of hiring and finding new engineers, even when it comes to hiring developers in challenging circumstances.
- Experience. A lot of startups are trying to work on their products with internal engineers, but when the time comes to hire a dedicated remote team or extend existing software development team with new developers, companies may suffer from such an obstacle like the lack of experience in the recruiting processes of remote employees. Here, a staff augmentation firm helps lighten the processes of interviewing qualified developers without office meetings.
- Staff augmentation flexibility. This option gives you an opportunity to match any of your current needs with the required skills for your project. You may also switch the provided resources in case your needs change!
- Widening horizons. Geographic diversity helps to improve resistance for future crises. This means that while it would be expensive to work with a team of senior developers in the USA, your dedicated development team in Ukraine will reduce your expenses and give a good result.
Outsourcing is a great way to save resources and hire talents your company might lack. Staff augmentation definition is outsourcing with some extra steps: it is a similar but superior approach to delegating some parts of your project overseas. While this approach has certain flaws, it allows for improvements in the outsourcing process that translate into a better quality of the end product.
You can tell that it is the next big thing in international business relations that improves the conditions of cooperation between professionals from all around the world while creating new employment opportunities and exploring new talent markets.
In terms of world crises, it’s a good point to dive into the digital transformation that staff augmentation provides because nowadays it’s better to shift your workflow to a remote one than to adapt it under the current circumstances.