There is an increasing drive for the reduction of costs within businesses around the globe. They are also trying to use technological innovation to enhance the operational efficiencies within the business. It can be a costly and risky venture to develop in-house capabilities for competing IT projects. This is because of the changing IT requirements within an enterprise or organization. Therefore, there has been a consistent increase in businesses that leverage outsourcing to compete with such needs. The staff augmentation model is among the delivery models that companies use to fill the gaps in their IT needs. Through this model, a company can reduce operational costs and maintain its productivity at the same time.
Before we can take advantage of this model, let us first understand what it means and its advantages and disadvantages.
What Is Staff Augmentation? A Model to Extend Your Team
What is staff augmentation?
Staff augmentation is a temporary outsourcing model used by businesses to fill a gap in their professional pool. The firm acquires skilled resources temporarily to cover the positions in their already existing department from an external organization. Staff augmentation is a flexible outsourcing model as the gained specialists enhance the capacity of the in-house team both skill set-wise and manually.
In this outsourcing model, you pick the skilled personnel of your liking from the external outsourcing company and incorporate them into the team by handing them an entire task; after task completion, so makes the contract. Therefore, in simple terms, staff augmentation is the temporally use of skilled personnel to augment an organization’s capacity temporarily.
Types of Staff Augmentation
Staff augmentation can be divided into:
Long-term services: this type is more suitable when a company has longer projects. It is essential when the in-house hiring process is long and when a business wants to cut the operational cost.
Short-term services: This is used when the demand for a particular skill is high or the in-house employees are on vacation or leave.
When is staff augmentation for you?
This model needs to suit your business for you to benefit from staff augmentation. The traits in your business to indicate staff augmentation is right for your business include;
- Satisfy temporary demand; staff augmentation works best to solve this scenario if your business gets a high influx of work due to seasonal upsurges, resulting in the already existing team being overwhelmed and still not meeting deadlines. It will help meet tight deadlines with minor requirements.
- Need of extra staff; In some cases, a firm might need additional staff when it starts a new project. The start of a new project generally requires a sizeable manual input, but once it is off the ground, the tasks involved reduce, and so does the workforce need. In such a case, staff augmentation satisfies this need.
- A project requires specialized expertise; When a project hits a snag that a specialist in that area can only solve, staff augmentation is the way to go. The specialist will e posted to your company for the required time with not much of a process.
· Staff augmentation will also be helpful when there is a need to hire offshore talent and build a remote team. It will help to cut on the cost to put up the team desired.
- Test a product before release; On completion of product development, the company might need to test its functionality and bugs if there are any. This, therefore, necessitates a fresh perspective on the product. Therefore, staff augmentation would be of help getting a small temporary team.
- When in need of a position, the hiring process is challenging because of experience or talent lack. Staff augmentation will help fill the position temporarily as the search for required qualifications goes on.
Staff Augmentation Vs. Other Models
With outsourcing, staff augmentation is but one type in the market. The other types include managed services and software project outsourcing, to mention a few. When in the market for a suitable model for your projects, these types might all seem alike, but below are their distinguishing features;
It is a type of outsourcing where a company hires an entire IT department and entrusts the development process to the engaged partner. Unlike staff augmentation, the mother company may or may not have an operational IT department as this is not a requirement for outsourcing. The hired team has complete control over the core part of the project and shares developmental risk, unlike staff augmentation. The team also comes on board with specialized skills and required technologies. The common trait between staff augmentation and managed services is that the mother company lacks the required skill and outsources them in both.
Software Project Outsourcing
It is an outsourcing model better suited for projects requiring coding and project testing, and management. It is best suited for existing projects that need additional features and testing the market worthiness. The software outsourcing company oversees project management and other required services. Software project outsourcing is more like managed services as it is an entire outsourced team, unlike staff augmentation, where it is just the needed personnel. But unlike managed services, software project outsourcing has less responsibility as the mother company operates the project entirely.
With all these factors and characteristics, the significant difference between staff augmentation vs. managed services and project outsourcing is that staff augmentation has the highest owners’ control over the project and the most increased client involvement.
Benefits of Staff Augmentation
Staff augmentation is the to-go option for team expansion, temporary projects, or when permanent hiring proves challenging. Below are some benefits associated with this model of outsourcing;
The setup in staff augmentation is such that there is an in-house team and an additional outsourced high-skilled professional working on the project. Hence, solely being focused and dedicated to evaluating every aspect of the project with no interruptions. This results in a higher level of productivity.
Complete Control Over Project Development
Since the hired profession works under your company in staff augmentation, you control the project’s development and the team for the contract period.
As the mother company keeps control of the project, it gives them the freedom to run the team how they see fit. Therefore, the addition of team members or subtraction entirely depends on the needs of the project.
Staff augmentation has no additional cost. Its structure is completely transparent as the cost incurred is the initial sum. There are no administrative expenses included since the employee remains under the agency’s employment.
Staff augmentation cuts down the time associated with hunting for suitable personnel. It eliminates the long process of interviews, hiring, and training a permanent staff.
Staff augmentation gives an international pool of specialists when hiring specialists, narrowing down the searching process.
Staff augmentation provides assurances on the rights of the developed projects. The mother company retains the rights since they are not exposed to an outside firm.
How to Succeed with Team Augmentation
When considering hiring a staff augmentation team, quick tips help you make your team more inclined to succeed. These tips include;
- Choose a capably equipped partner to facilitate your remote developers with separate working spaces and all the necessary facilities.
- Facilitate a way for the remote developers to feel a part of the local team. For instance, avail a live feed for both teams to experience what’s going on both sides.
- Collaborate with the two teams before work begins, giving them extra meetings, basic training, and time together to get them acquitted.
- Get an overall manager for the remote developers who will oversee basic things such as resolving an internal conflict, advising on the instructions, and taking steps in case of confusion. For seamless running, do the appointing at their inception in the team.
Why is Staff Augmentation Gaining Popularity in IT Services?
As Staff augmentation gains popularity in the world of business, it has quickly earned its popularity in the IT market, especially in recent years. The reason behind this include:
- Broad Field; With the growth of technology, IT is one of the broadest fields in the market. The field keeps regularly growing, leaving companies incapable of hiring the different specialties in the area. Therefore, these companies end up depending on staff augmentation when the need arises for the specialist.
- The cost involved; The price needed to facilitate the right engineer or specialist in the field is high, not the retainer fee. Staff augmentation allows IT to get highly qualified programmers at an affordable price.
- Lack of IT Specialist; Because of its broad nature, local markets usually lack the right digital expertise; this leaves IT companies with the only option to venture internationally for the needed experts.
Why Consider Staff Augmentation?
In the last three years, COVID-19 has affected businesses on all fronts. Getting skilled staff has become a challenging task to accomplish, and the hiring process for a permanent position is continually proving to be a challenge. More so, finding the right fit for the job is getting lengthy.
To solve the problem temporarily, a staff augmentation strategy is the next best option. First, you get a highly experienced professional temporarily to solve the immediate problem. Secondly, you get the right fit to fill the in-house position because of a careful search. Some of the other reasons to consider staff augmentation for your IT project include;
- It Increases developer capacity.
- Bridges the skill gap
- Fulfill short-term requirements
- Build flexible work models
Process Flow for Staff Augmentation
To ensure the success of a development project, there are steps to follow as a standard practice for the staff augmentation process as explained below:
Identify your requirements
Before commencing the search on specialists to improve your team, carefully evaluate the people on your team, their capacities, and most importantly, the skills that need an introduction. Understand the skill set you will find the candidate to have, their experience, and qualifications. You will identify how many people you will be for that position.
You will also need to specify whether the collaboration you are interested in will be short-term or long-term. This will help you narrow down your search.
Search and review
With a clear definition of the candidate you need, the next step is to search for the staff augmentation company; you will assign the responsibility to explore on your behalf. It is advisable to carry out your due diligence and take as much time as necessary to find the right fit in this step. It will carry much weight with the person you will eventually get assigned to your company.
There are various ways to review the compatibility of the companies in the market to your need. First, go through their online profiles and understand their portfolio. Second, evaluate their testimonials and reviews from prior clients. If need be, contact them and get their experience with the company. Thirdly, contact the top 2-5 staff augmentation companies that fall in your category.
On arrival of the companies you prefer, hold a call and put them through tests and interviews you wish them to pass. Upon completion, negotiate pricing and the contract details, then sign the contract.
Onboard the New Team
After performing your due diligence and picking the staff augmentation company that meets your standards, it is your partner’s turn to do their investigation to find you the right pick. Their process might involve;
- Conducting their requirements analysis which involves discussing the project.
- Client and developers meeting. There will be a meeting between their proposed team and the mother company; outline the project requirements.
- Allocation. After the requirements are precise, assign developers based on the discussed terms, skills, and experiences.
Once the new team has been onboarded successfully onto the company, the development team can collaborate with the in-house team.
Provide Support Staff
For an efficient workforce, you should provide ongoing support to the new team, including feedback channels and collaboration platforms.
In summary, staff augmentation is a promising solution that businesses can use to reduce various costs and still have the needed resources to maintain productivity. It also gives a company an elasticity to reduce or increase its resources because of its needs. As we have seen above, there are many benefits of staff augmentation that a business can leverage, to improve its effectiveness and efficiency.