Recruiting and hiring tech specialists is typically time-consuming, especially if you lack middle or senior-level engineers or developers with narrow expertise. In-house employment may not work if you need to hire and onboard a new team member in the shortest period of time. In this scenario, it would be reasonable to turn to staff augmentation in IT. This engagement model is used for the quick expansion of a team during a short period. In this article, we’ll explain its meaning, explain its benefits and drawbacks as well as compare it with another popular engagement model in the IT sector.
What Is Staff Augmentation?
Staff augmentation services are among the most widely used practices in the IT industry. When it comes to staff augmentation meaning, it stands for ‘’the use of outside employment to extend an in-house team temporarily for augmenting the organization’s capacities.’’
There is a wide variety of reasons why organizations may need staff augmentation, including:
- An increase in project tasks and need for extra labor resources for their execution;
- Lack of specialized expertise required for a specific time.
There are two types of staff augmentation services based on the period of duration the workforce is required — short-term and long-term. The former is used to fulfill temporary needs, for example, when in-house specialists aren’t available, or a task can be performed in a short period. The latter is more common for long-term projects when startups need to cut down hiring costs or it’s impossible to recruit an in-house highly-skilled team member.
Outsourcing software development companies are the primary suppliers of tech talents that augment customers’ IT projects. According to the recent CompTIA Cyberstates 2021 vFinal, tech employment is expected to reach around 9 million positions by 2030.
Pros & Cons of Staff Augmentation
Let’s look into the benefits and drawbacks of IT augmentation services. Below you will find four key advantages of staff augmentation.
To understand how IT staff augmentation helps reduce costs, you need to be aware of what costs you will eliminate when scaling your in-house team via staff augmentation services. Thus, you eliminate paying full-time wages, vacation bonuses, medical insurance, equipment, and workplace costs, and other inevitable payments companies have when employing in-house. Instead of that, you pay only for hours that external employees spend on your project.
Fast Recruiting of Specialists With Narrow Specialization
Typically, IT startups experience a shortage of IT specialists with narrow expertise. Thus, it may be challenging to attract a highly qualified senior specialist to your project within the shortest possible time. With IT staff augmentation services, you gain access to the industry talents and can hire the required specialists to satisfy your project needs.
IT staff augmentation services offer flexible engagement models of hiring external specialists. You can expand your team when the project workload requires that and downsize the team when you pass the peak-time efficiency routine. Alternatively, with in-house employment, you’ll have to ensure a full-time workload, even when the specialist’s support is not required anymore.
In-House Project Management
Extending your in-house team with external employees means they will adhere to your internal regulations and policies. They are also subordinated to your in-house project management. Thus, you don’t have to trust the control over your project to third parties.
And finally, there is a hidden drawback of IT staff augmentation which some businesses may not consider as a disadvantage.
Slow Onboarding Is Still Possible
Though IT staff augmentation is considered a fast way to scale a project team, you should understand that not all augmented experts dive quickly into the project specifications and the heavy workload at once. That’s why you may need to spend some time explaining corporate work regulations, the project-specific things, etc.
Staff Augmentation vs. Project Outsourcing
In addition to staff augmentation, companies often leverage project outsourcing services to deliver their software products. The key difference between these two options lies in the person who maintains control over the team. With staff augmentation, customers are responsible for team management and project delivery, while with outsourcing, they share risks and control over the teams with outsourcing vendors.
Let’s dig into the staff augmentation vs. project outsourcing comparison and identify more differences.
- What specialists does it provide? Staff augmentation typically offers software engineers, while an outsourcing project would include a complete set of IT specialists, including business analysts, engineers, testers, designers, etc.
- Is the model flexible? Both engagement models are flexible enough to and allow fast scaling of the team, regardless of the number of specialists you need for your project.
- When is it more efficient? Outsourcing will be a better option for long-term cooperation, while staff augmentation works best for satisfying temporary needs.
When Staff Augmentation Would Fit You Better
- You have an in-house team. To leverage IT staff augmentation services you need to gather an in-house project team first. Otherwise, you’d better opt for outsourcing services.
- You need to scale the team fast. Staff augmentation allows you to bypass such time-consuming processes as candidate screening and recruiting, so you can expand your team with the required expertise once you need them. Software development companies will provide you with tech talents based exactly on your requirements.
- You have in-house tech expertise. To be able to explain project tasks and manage external engineers, you need to have a manager with tech expertise on your side.
- You want to establish control over your project. Finally, as mentioned above, staff augmentation is the best option for startups and other businesses that want to preserve control over the project on their side.
Conclusion: IT Staff Augmentation in the Post-COVID Period
It’s clear that the demand for tech specialists has increased during the COVID-19 crisis, and will remain strong in the post-pandemic period. COVID-19 actually caused the shortage of tech talents, but at the same time, it boosted the demand for IT staff augmentation services. Both startups and larger companies have appreciated the value of fast scaling with IT staff augmentation. It’s especially beneficial for startups and small businesses that may experience trouble finding and recruiting strong tech expertise. IT staff augmentation services open access to skilled software engineers. By leveraging the technical expertise of an experienced software development company like SCAND, you can easily close the tech skills gap of your project