Any company may feel the lack of tech talent in the middle of software development. At this moment, it might be crucial to find available developers who will be able to support your in-house team.
Staff augmentation might be the most suitable solution to the issue. By resorting to IT staff augmentation services, a business can quickly and efficiently attach skilled remote developers and scale their projects, still saving control over the development process.
Of course, there are some details businesses should consider while choosing a staff augmentation model over others. In this article, we would contemplate the major points you should understand about augmented teams and how to get the most from this outsourcing model.
Staff Augmentation vs Other Model for Scaling Your Development
Outsourcing models usually are divided into three important ones:
- project-based model;
- managed or dedicated team;
- staff augmentation.
All of them differ in the level of involvement and ownership of an outsourcing vendor.
The project-based model means that the development team is fully on the vendor’s side and is ruled by their project manager. The client usually has low control over the process and is updated by the team’s manager about what is happening on the project.
A managed team typically contains a certain amount of diversified specialists (developers, designers, DevOps, etc.) who work independently of your in-house development team but coordinate their actions and decisions with you. The project manager might be also provided by the vendor, but this role can be also covered by the company’s manager, CTO, or another employee.
Staff augmentation or team extension is the model where the customer of a software development company gets the most control and impact on the decision-making process. A business hires remote software engineers and integrates them into a current in-house team. Basically, augmented developers work along with in-house ones under the management of business managers.
When to Choose Augmentation Services over Other Popular Cooperation Models?
Such a variety of cooperating models exists to cater to different businesses that might be on different stages and have different needs for software development. Whether managed services or project-based options are more suitable for companies that are ready to delegate the major parts of project ownership to the third-party vendor.
Your company may need to resort to staff augmentation services when:
- there is a local team that is already working on the development, but needs extra talent to strengthen and speed up the development process;
- you have a tech lead on your side who can set the pace of development;
- you are fully taking care of project management on this development and able to integrate remote developers;
- you need immediate access to expertise your team is lacking: for example, mobile developers, DevOps engineers, quality assurance specialists, etc.
Basically, staff augmentation is perfect for you if you have an ongoing software development project, and you want to expand your team, but don’t have time or resources to hire specialists in-house.
Is Staff Augmentation Suitable for Long-Term Partnership?
The opinions differ on this matter: a lot of companies state that staff augmentation services are suitable only when you require additional developers to fulfill short-term job positions.
At the same time, there is no reason to give up this model when you are looking for augmented staff for long-term cooperation, for example, 6 months or a year.
Staff augmentation can bring great results from a long-term perspective, especially with adequate project management and established processes. Augmented developers may be as efficient as full-time employees, however, it takes less from the company to support their employment.
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Advantages of Staff Augmentation
What makes IT staff augmentation services stand out from other project outsourcing models? Let’s go through the main benefits companies may gain when engaging augmented tech professionals.
Benefit #1: Moderate expenses for additional developers
Budget often plays a crucial role for business leaders when they are choosing between different cooperation options or even other providers. Staff augmentation is a pretty cost-effective solution, especially if compared with in-house hiring or even managed services.
Staff augmentation implies that the company needs to cover the salary of every augmented specialist, as well as pay an administrative overhead. Usually, this price is significantly lower than the sum you need to invest to hire and support in-house software engineers.
Moreover, you don’t need to worry about employees’ benefits, taxes, health insurance, equipment, additional office space, etc., as it is the responsibility of the vendor before the aforementioned developers.
IT staff augmentation services might also be cheaper than other project outsourcing models, as management efforts are covered by your side and don’t demand additional investments.
Benefit #2: Fast kick-off
When you are in the middle of software development, you need to add developers fast and ensure that they start to contribute as soon as possible.
With augmented teams, you will need less time to onboard new specialists, as you will need to integrate them within the specific development teams and within specific tasks.
At the same time, it is also less time-consuming than traditional hiring. Instead of spending weeks or months looking for suitable specialists, studying numerous CVs, and conducting dozens of interviews, you could start after a short period of negotiations and a few interviews with the developers themselves.
It’s quite possible to add new developers to your existing staff through augmentation within a few weeks, while other options might demand months to reach a result.
Benefit #3: Quick access to top talents
Staff augmentation opens access to a vast talent pool of highly qualified developers and experienced developers.
Staff augmentation vendors usually have a big number of various specialists, and they will pick the ones who will suit your needs, code, and budget. Often, these developers have not only strong knowledge and relevant experience in the field but show strong soft skills.
Whether you need to increase the velocity of your software development or reach a certain specific outcome, through an extended team you will be able to get people who really know what they do and how to deliver the best results under current circumstances.
Benefit #4: Flexibility in the development
Any business can feel comfortable with staff augmentation, as it’s one of the most flexible and adaptive models the market can offer.
You can adjust your team composition pretty easily to match your short-term perspective. As augmented developers are usually temporary workers, hence, it is much easier to handle the administrative aspects and regulate their involvement in your project.
At the same time, you get full discretion over the extended team, and you can direct and manage the efforts of developers in any way you prefer. Whether the project’s success is almost fully your responsibility, you will be able to single-handedly build and control internal processes.
Benefit #5: Fewer effort is needed to support developers
IT staff augmentation services are a way to reduce costs on your development team. As we have already mentioned, you aren’t responsible for any employment aspects, like actual work contracts, taxes, ongoing support, etc.
It is fully managed by the vendor who relieves you from this kind of pressure, while you have new, contributing team members.
However, the results of the development still heavily rely on you, and you need to hire strong project managers. But it is quite possible that this need has existed even before the company resorts to staff augmentation, hence, it doesn’t create any additional complex problems.
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How to Scale Your Software Development with IT Team Augmentation
More and more businesses achieve success when using staff augmentation to scale up their development. Still, every company should evaluate its needs and resources wisely before engaging with any custom software development vendor.
To gain the best result, any business should prepare to onboard augmented developers to their local team and review possible risks.
Here, we share the main insight on the matter of staff augmentation you need to know before initiating cooperation.
Main Challenges You May Face with Staff Augmentation
Challenge #1: Communication
Communication may be a weak spot for many companies, and a remote development team is especially at risk.
Without seamless communication between an in-house team and augmented specialists, it would be almost impossible for a business to feel any impact from staff augmentation services.
Any developer needs to stay informed about the latest decisions and changes, synchronize with colleagues and be in the middle of the process. As augmented engineers aren’t located in your office and are newly introduced to your team, it may create a certain amount of pressure for both sides.
Your goal is to create a united team where your employees and augmented specialists work side by side to deliver the best possible software product.
Hence, your project manager or managing director should make an extra effort to ensure efficient communication.
Solution: Build Communication System
To do that, you need to establish clear rules for everyone, explain the importance and value of the contribution of augmented staff, and mitigate emerging conflicts immediately.
- creating a schedule of the regular daily meeting, retros, groomings, etc.;
- discuss and agree upon beforehand on coding practices, management practices, and other important aspects;
- conduct regular reviews;
- endorse socializing and team building activities;
- create a non-toxic, transparent working environment.
Challenge #2: Knowledge Transfer
Proper knowledge transfer is no less important than proper communication.
Even the most experienced tech leads may struggle if they don’t get clear documentation on the project. Usually, as the custom software development projects go forward, it becomes more and more difficult for newcomers to understand how the system operates and how this code works.
Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge transfer is a common problem during software development. On long-term projects, the development team may change drastically, and if there are no records and adequate documentation, you might spend more time and resources to scale or finish this software.
Solution: Implement Knowledge Transfer Framework
To ensure that your code will be understood by any developer and won’t need any redevelopment, you need to take care of knowledge transfer from the first day of development (or develop it immediately, if you have worked without it till now).
- always allocate time in every sprint for documentation writing;
- document everything that is done with code;
- define people who will be responsible for knowledge transfer;
- conduct a Q&A session if needed.
Challenge #3: Legal issues
There are a lot of risks when cooperating with a third-party team, and some of them may have a drastic effect on your project.
This includes payments, quality control, ownership over the project, etc. Any aspect might become a reason for misunderstanding, unnecessary pressure, and a low level of satisfaction.
Solution: Sign a Decent Contract
A thought-through contract is a guarantee that you will be able to handle any contentious issues with grace and without breaking the relationship between two companies.
In the negotiation stage, you should discuss all the aspects of your future cooperation with an outsourcing company and augmented team and then, reflect your decisions in the contract.
How to Get Prepared for Staff Augmentation
The success of your cooperation with the staff augmentation company depends on the effort of both sides. If you choose a reliable partner, you shouldn’t experience any complex problems from them. However, you should take care of your inner processes.
So, what aspects should your team contemplate before onboarding augmented developers?
Firstly, you need to prepare your internal team. If it is your first time using IT staff augmentation services, it might be hard for your employees to adapt and build a strong relationship with partners. However, clear and transparent communication from management might resolve these issues.
Secondly, you need to create an onboarding plan for new developers, so they will have a guide of their first days with you instead of moving in some chaotic direction. Write down all the data developers should read, plan entry meetings, and grant access to essential documentation and collaborative tools.
Thirdly, stay responsive and help new team members adapt. Support their integration, ensure that they are comfortable, and are able to deliver necessary results.
How to Choose a Reliable Staff Augmentation Company
Cooperating with the right partner is a great basis for a successful project and satisfactory results.
The current IT market is full of staff augmentation vendors from any place in the world. You may choose to resort to nearshore software development and choose a company from a nearby state, or you will be able to cooperate with developers from a distant country with the same level of success.
However, there are still some companies that would be more suitable for your business and your case.
So, how to understand what company will be the best match for you?
Evaluate your need. What expertise do you need to obtain through staff augmentation? How many developers do you require? For how long do you plan to cooperate with the augmented team?
These questions will help you to formulate requirements for your future partner and choose the one who will be able to provide the specialist you need now and will need in the future.
Learn about a vendor’s employee brand. If previous and current employees are ready to share positive feedback on their employer, it means that this company will be able to ensure stable staff and low turnover, which is a plus for you.
On the contrary, if the feedback is mostly negative, you will have unsatisfied developers who won’t perform well.
Study their portfolio and clients’ testimonials. Don’t miss the feedback from the previous clients as well! A reliable company usually shares its success cases publicly, as well as reviews left from previous customers.
Look through vendors’ profiles on Clutch, GoodFirms, other directories, social media, and see if other people trust them.
We are an experienced staff augmentation vendor
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Choose Us as Your Staff Augmentation Company
GBKSOFT, part of Altamira.io, is a custom software development company and staff augmentation vendor for a dozen of businesses and startups all over the world. Since 2011, our team have delivered more than two hundred software development project and created the same amount of satisfied clients.
Our IT Team Augmentation Process
It’s easy to start cooperating with our team! To have our augmented developers join our team, you need to go through four steps:
- prescreening, when you got a list of available developers and their CVs;
- pre-interview, when you have a chance to get acquainted with a developer;
- tech interview, when you can evaluate the skills of your specialist and see if it matches your needs;
- hiring, the final step when we finalize all administrative and legal aspects of our cooperation.
The Value We Offer Our Partners
By cooperating with us, you receive:
- access to a wide talent pool of skilled specialists who go through ongoing training;
- top talents in different technologies (front-end, back-end, mobile, QA, UI/UX design, solution architecture, DevOps, etc.)
- transparent pricing and different cooperation models;
- a client success team with your personal account manager who will work to ensure a positive outcome of our cooperation;
- established processes and clear frameworks for efficient cooperation and software development;
- low overhead and fully covered administrative aspect of developers’ employment;
- strong infrastructure with three offline offices and an efficient online environment built for the needs of our team.
Staff augmentation is an efficient instrument any company may use to scale its software development. It grants easy access to top development talent from all over the world but requires only moderate prices.
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