Software development is a time-consuming and expensive process. Several organizations are turning to staff augmentation as a solution to reduce costs and improve productivity. In fact, the demand for staff augmentation services has been increasing in recent years across multiple industries.
According to a study conducted between 2016 and 2019, employers in the United States were only able to fill 6 out of every 10 available tech positions. On the other hand, the same study found companies made 12 hires for every 10 job vacancies for all positions. To put it another way, hiring tech and software talent is twice as difficult.
As businesses are becoming increasingly global, companies are having to look into different ways to keep their teams running smoothly. When it comes to software development, that means making sure people are available when they’re needed. Staff augmentation is a business strategy that allows companies to outsource certain duties for their software teams, freeing up in-house staff for other projects or in-house responsibilities.
This article explores how businesses can use staff augmentation to successfully manage their software projects, increase team productivity, and reduce costs.
At all times, be sure you’re communicating clearly
If you want to increase software team productivity, it is essential to make sure that your employees are communicating clearly, and that they understand one another. This can be achieved by setting up a system of checks and balances. For example, you could assign a certain person as the “quality control” member who is responsible for implementing quality checks at all times.
Another way to ensure team members are communicating clearly is by making sure that every team member has the same information. This can be done by making sure that everyone has access to the same documents or software systems so they can stay up-to-date and know what their colleagues are working on.
A third way to increase software team productivity is by doing a better job of delegating tasks across your company. Delegating tasks appropriately will give every person the opportunity to become more productive.
Companies need to make sure they are delegating tasks appropriately. If someone feels overworked and under-appreciated, the entire team suffers. Yet, many managers may not be aware of this.
Roles must be defined, and workflows must be evaluated
Software teams need to define their roles and workflows before they offer staff augmentation as a solution for their problems. It is necessary so that they can create tasks for their employees and contractors alike, which will enable them to work together efficiently. The main challenge that most tech and software organizations face today is that they don’t know how to determine their current skill gaps and what they need in order to be successful.
The goal of this process should be to find out what roles are needed for the whole team to perform well, and then create a workflow that evaluates how efficiently all staff work together. Staff augmentation will only have a positive impact on your organization if you have a clear vision of what needs to happen on your software team, and if you have the right people on your development and support teams.
Embrace Management Technology and Tools
The success of your software team largely depends on the people. However, there are some things you can do to make your team more productive.
The first step is to think of the way your team operates. Think about what tools they use, what processes they use, and how often they work together as a group. After thinking about these things, you need to take a look at what’s available in the market for management technology and tools that will help increase productivity within the organization.
According to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Pulse of the Profession report, organizations that employ any sort of project management technique are better at keeping on budget, remaining on time, meeting scope, adhering to quality standards, and reaching projected benefits,
Companies must embrace project management tools and technology to get the most out of an augmented software staff. Tools like Asana, Trello, ClickUp, and WorkZone keep projects on track by tracking their progress throughout the development lifecycle.
Let’s look at them in more detail
Asana is an organizational tool that is used to keep team members in sync. It allows for the collaboration of tasks, files, discussions, and announcements. Asana also provides a way to manage projects with tasks, milestones, conversations, timelines, and deadlines. It is one of the most popular project management tools which helps software teams in defining their goals and workflows.
The tool can help with setting up deadlines for each project milestone which helps provide a timeline for the process ahead. It also provides a way to track progress against these milestones to make sure that everyone is on the same page with what’s happening in the process.
The main features of Asana are:
- It organizes your tasks with a simple interface
- It helps you collaborate with team members
- It makes reaching deadlines easy
Trello software focuses on project management in the Kanban method.
- Each project is shown as a “board” with “lists” and “cards” on it.
- As cards go through the phases, they may be moved between lists.
- Trello is a basic, user-friendly application that may appeal to new teams working on modest, straightforward tasks
- It stands out from other project management software because of its clear visual appearance.
- It’s simple to switch between mobile and desktop interfaces, and you can even also send “cards” to yourself through email.
ClickUp is a powerful project management system that helps teams manage their work more efficiently. It allows for real-time collaboration, organizing, project management, time tracking, and reporting. ClickUp is the perfect solution for any software team looking to increase productivity.
Here are some of the features ClickUp offers:
1) Real-time collaboration – ClickUp’s chat feature allows team members to collaborate on projects without ever having to stop working.
2) Organizing – ClickUp’s boards feature organizes all of your tasks so you can see what needs to be done next. Board members can assign tasks or edit an existing task with just a few clicks.
3) Project Management – all projects are organized into boards that are easy to navigate and filter through.
Team members can share to-dos, milestones, and deadlines in one centralized location. This way everyone is up to date on what work needs to be done, what has been accomplished, and what the next steps are.
The ClickUp platform also provides team chat functionality which helps team members communicate with each other more efficiently. The software also allows for scheduling meetings by inviting attendees and setting up agendas in advance which makes it easy for teams to stay on track with their agenda even if they are not located next to each other all the time.
Workzone can accomplish a lot of things that Asana can’t, including show a portfolio view of all projects, task dependencies, Gantt charts, and more. It’s also a lot easier to use than clumsy programs like Microsoft Project.
Other advantages and features include:
- WorkZone makes your software team stay on track with personalized to-do lists (and they can be automatically emailed each day)
- For each project, you may associate, distribute, and save documents.
- Project dashboards provide you a portfolio view of all of your team’s projects.
- Your staff will be able to come up to speed fast with unlimited assistance and full onboarding.
- Visual project tracking is made simple with an interactive Gantt Chart and Calendar.
- Set access levels for each project and document so that each individual only sees what they need to see.
- As needed, it will customize your project request forms and reports.
- MS Project (.mpp) and Microsoft Excel (.xls) files can be imported.
Ensure that all coding is properly documented
There are several ways that software teams can ensure that coding is properly documented. These solutions can be broken down into three categories:
1) Automation tools
2) Programming languages with built-in documentation
3) Documentation tools for specific languages.
Programming languages with built-in documentation have the benefits of being easy to use, fast, and able to store important data within the software code itself. They also require less work on the part of the writer. However, this comes at a cost as it has been found that these programs are often not as comprehensive or accurate as they should be. This is because software teams have to invest time into understanding and implementing them before they can create new code or modify existing code that requires updates.
Some popular methods for documenting code include:
- Code comments
- Naming conventions
- UML diagrams
- Test cases
Code comments are a form of documentation that helps software teams to understand code and debug it efficiently. There are many ways to document code. One such way is through external documentation files such as requirements, design, etc. Another way is through the use of comments inside the coding language which is what we will be focusing on now.
The purpose of comments in computer programming languages is to help those reading the source code understand and modify it more easily. They can also be used for anything from describing what a specific chunk of code does to annotating for future developers who might change or maintain that part of the program.
Naming conventions are one way to improve code readability and organization. It is recommended that you use naming conventions that match the programming language or framework your team is using. The naming convention states that all variables should be named in lowercase with underscores separating words, while constants should be in uppercase without any separators.
The naming convention can also be used to provide documentation about what kind of data type it is, how the data is stored, and the purpose of the variable.
UML diagrams allow software engineers to visualize the architecture of the system they are working on. The different components of the system are represented as boxes with lines connecting them to other boxes based on their relationships.
To document code, software engineers use flowcharts, design patterns, or pseudocode. These three methods are often used interchangeably depending on the complexity of the system being documented and what sort of audience will be reading it.
One of the most popular methods of documenting code is to create a set of test cases for each function or class. A test case is a list of steps that a tester would do to verify the correctness and success of a given function.
In our research, we found that there are many different ways that software teams create documentation for their code. There is no one perfect way that works best for every team, but there are some ways to make the process easier.
Some popular methods include Test cases, usage reports, execution logs, regression testing suites, design documents, and more.
Be ready to be adaptable
In 2021 software teams are faced with more agile, competitive, and global markets. This means they have to be ready to adapt quickly to address market needs. Staff augmentation makes software teams more flexible by providing the right person for the right job—no matter where or when they are needed.
Staff augmentation is not just about having software employees work on projects that are not their core skillset. It is about utilizing current staff in new ways to maximize productivity and innovation.
Staff augmentation can be used when there are gaps in knowledge, skills, or when an employee has a one-time project that they need help with.
It can also be used when an organization is rapidly growing or are experiencing high levels of demand for their product or service.
Combine your staffing needs with fractional CTO services
Smart companies are pairing their staff augmentation with fractional CTO services to increase software team productivity. Companies that go the extra mile to optimize their development teams, making sure that they have a culture of continuous improvement and strong engineering leadership, will be the ones who come out on top.
A fractional CTO is an experienced chief technical officer that can help your software team increase productivity. This type of staff augmentation is perfect for teams that need to take on a new project but don’t have the necessary skillset.
Staff augmentation is the use of outside specialists to work alongside in-house staff to complete a certain task. It is one of the most common HR practices and it has been around for decades. The main idea behind staff augmentation is that companies can hire specialized people when they need them to augment their in-house teams.
One of the benefits of staffing augmentation is that it helps with the diversity of viewpoints and skill sets that a company’s teams might not have otherwise. The software team could come into contact with new ideas, approaches, and perspectives that they may not have considered before.
The increasing number of software startups and the growing complexity of software projects has made staff augmentation one of the best ways for companies to increase team productivity and – ultimately – improve their ROI.