StarNavi Blog - What Is Staff Augmentation

By starnavi | Development | March 2020 | 74 views

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What Is Staff Augmentation: A Guide For IT Companies Worldwide

If you've heard the term "staff augmentation" before, you're not alone. In the United States alone, approximately 3,000 people look up what is staff augmentation major search engines every month. There is an excellent reason for this! Staff augmentation is a fantastic way for IT companies around the world to complete projects without increasing their payroll or going through the complexity of hiring an agency (to make this process easier, read this guide). At its core, it's an outsourcing strategy that allows companies to hire global talent on-demand.

What Does Staff Augmentation Mean?

Your company has a fixed pool of resources and talent at any given point in time. You might have one Javascript developer. Maybe you have a person that knows a little bit of Python. Regardless, you have a fixed IT personnel.

Ideas and projects, however, are often not constrained by the talent you have. When you have a project that requires specialized skills or more developers than you have, you have one of three options. You can hire more developers and put them on the payroll. There are also agencies out there that you can employ that have developers on staff. Or, you can try software team augmentation, in which you outsource developers with the skills you need to help with the project. It's a straightforward way to add to your talent without requiring a significant investment.

development team with laptops working with charts and data

Consider the following example. Let's suppose an IT company is looking to create a new web project. They have a backend developer and someone that knows a bit of server administration. The backend person works as best as they can, but there's a lot of work necessary to create a full-blown website. Frontend developers will have to code the website's Javascript, Angular, or React consumer-facing code. Additionally, if you want to scale your service up, one backend dev and a server admin won't cut it. You'll need more resources available to ensure your customers have a quality experience.

If they choose to work with a company that offers IT staff augmentation services, then that company will take their requirements and find them the best talent to complete the project. In this case, they need frontend developers. The resource augmentation company would find them a vetted, high-quality developer who could assist them with bringing their product to market. That developer doesn't go on payroll, and there's no overhead of working with an agency. They are independent contractors. It's a simple, clean way to write great software in less time.

Why You Need IT Staff Augmentation Services

As you might guess, there are quite a substantial number of reasons for companies to use IT staff augmentation services. Here are a few cases when you might want to reach out for staff augmentation.

benefits of staff augmentations shown in circles on grey background

Extend Your Team

Instead of searching for candidates, going through interviews, and scouring the local market for talent, you can add any number of developers to your team quickly using staff augmentation. If you need to scale up quickly, working with a company to find the appropriate independent contractors is the fastest way to ensure you can meet your current IT demands.

Find Talented People With Niche Skills

What coding languages does your company use? Can you find people quickly that have the skills necessary to develop with those languages? Moreover, can you find them at a reasonable price? If you are like most companies, it's challenging to find the "right" developer that has the skills you need to onboard quickly and get coding. Since software team augmentation is global, this strategy ensures your company's IT team has the right skill set to tackle any problem.

Reduce Costs

Offshore staff augmentation companies enable many businesses to reduce costs. Putting a local developer on your payroll is expensive. If you have a tight budget to meet, staff augmentation might be right for you. You can pay a more manageable cost while still having access to the talent you need.

Tap Into New Talent Markets

If your company is considering going more global in search of talent, then offshore staff augmentation will let the business find assistance anywhere in the world. Instead of being confined to one city or one country, companies can find the right person, no matter where they live.

Gain A Strategic Advantage

Sometimes you need to gain an advantage over a competitor and need to find the right talent, quickly, to get the upper hand. By leveraging talented, vetted independent contractors, you can ensure you're always staying one step ahead of your competitors.

Control The Delivery

If you need to get your product out by a specific deadline and your current staff are unlikely to meet that, software team augmentation will help get the job done right and on time. Don't limit your ability to deliver on time by the number of devs you have. Instead, with some ICs, you'll be back in control.

What Are The Benefits?

There are six key benefits of working with independent contractors to get the job done as opposed to putting people on payroll or working with an agency.

Flexibility

Need a few developers to provide last-minute support to get a project out the door? No problem. Want to go back down to the level of staff you had after launch? Again, no problem! With augmentation, you're free to keep the team around as long as necessary and stop working with them when it's no longer beneficial for your company. Of course, it's significantly harder to let employees go, and agencies often have contracts that compel you to a specific amount of work and payment. This flexibility is also beneficial for early-stage companies who may need to scale up or scale down quickly based on market conditions. Rather than losing money with a large payroll, you can simply reduce your augmented staff until things take off, at which point you can hire more again.

The Right Skills For The Job

By working with ICs around the world, you will have the ability to find the right person with the specific skill set that you need. Do you need a smart Python data science developer? You can augment your staff with one! No matter the obscurity or depth of skill you need, there are people in this world that have it!

benefits of staff augmentation shown in squares on grey background

Back-office Support

Staff augmentation agencies will handle some of the HR tasks that you would need to handle if you put employees on your payroll. The agency's back-office will answer questions related to employment, salaries, schedules, and other various subjects. By answering these questions for you, you can reduce your overhead and focus more on your business instead of HR.

Don't Risk A Bad Hire

Unfortunately, when you bring in developers, you run the risk of altering team dynamics significantly. This change can be like playing with fire, especially late in a project. The last thing you want is a project to be even more delayed because you hired someone who negatively impacts the team. By adding an independent contractor, if things don't work out, you swap that IC out with a different one!

Team Integration

Even though you may hire the person via an offshore staff augmentation agency, the person works on your team. There's little difference between a full-time employee and the people whom you've added with this outsourcing strategy. They'll all communicate about the same things and work on the same projects. The staff member will have as much (or as little) access to your internal corporate systems as you want. In turn, the contractors will be able to provide a better product and work closely with your existing team members.

Internal Acceptance

Your existing team will be more likely to welcome and value the contributions of the contractors when they're working alongside your current set of developers. The proximity helps promote understanding and acceptance, which, in turn, fosters a more vibrant and enthusiastic work culture! 

All in all, there are many fantastic reasons why staff augmentation is the perfect way to go for many companies who are looking to build their software projects in an agile manner. Your business can scale up, scale down, and get the expertise it needs to thrive. By using staff augmentation, you can ensure your business has the talent and resources it needs to succeed in today's competitive marketplace!

Are There Any Negatives?

For most companies, the benefits of offshore staff augmentation far outweigh the negatives. However, like any business strategy, there are some cons.

businessman sitting on the wheel and balancing between calendar and charts

Onboarding Period

Adding new members to your team has a learning curve, whether they are on your payroll or independent contractors. Your team will have to adjust to the new dynamics and re-learn responsibilities. The people who are augmenting your staff will need to learn your codebase as well. While the learning curve can be significant, it's generally worthwhile for a long-term gain.

Management Capacity

Adding teammates requires extra managerial capacity. If your management is already overworked, staff augmentation will only make this worse. You may need to increase your management staff before taking on additional independent contractors.

Training

New staff always require training. They'll need to learn your business, business policies, the tools you use, and the techniques. They'll need to learn about the product and the code. Naturally, this problem is not unique to staff augmentation. You would need to train regular staff members as well!

Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Delivery

pictures of development team working with charts and a woman standing with a magnifier showing the difference between staff augmentation and managed delivery

When looking at the question, "what does staff augmentation mean?" there are usually comparisons with managed delivery. Managed delivery involves outsourcing the work to another company with the intent that they will take over that component of the IT infrastructure. In essence, they operate it, maintain it, and provide an SLA. Businesses often like the story behind managed delivery. Instead of augmenting staff to build a new feature or service, they can pay someone to manage the process and create the product for them.

For smaller projects, managed delivery may work because the scope is well-defined and known. For more extensive processes or for systems that need to interact with each other, staff augmentation is usually the way to go because then you still retain full control over the software development lifecycle. You're able to fix bugs quickly, control how the systems talk to each other, and you can add features whenever you want. Having that level of flexibility is vital for larger projects and big companies.

StarNavi Staff Augmentation Services

StarNavi provides IT staff augmentation services to companies all across the globe. Based in Eastern Europe, StarNavi will find the perfect developers, UX designers, or QA engineers to keep your work on track. If you're interested in the many benefits of staff augmentation for your business, please get in touch with us today. We can get find you the talent you need at an affordable price! Whether you need one person or multiple talented professionals, let us work with you to make your project a success!