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What is staff augmentation? A model for expanding your team

Feb 15, 2023

11 minutes read

Digital transformation requires qualified personnel. The traditional approach is creating your software development team, but finding and getting the right professionals is costly. It takes time and effort. The transition of a business to remote work makes the traditional hiring scheme with face-to-face interviews of many candidates almost impossible. What is the best option to get an employee urgently in this case? Integrating third-party technical experts is a wise business decision in such a situation.

What is IT staff augmentation?

Service companies generally have two types of services. Firstly, the dedicated team model. It means a service for developing something on a turnkey basis: when there is some technical specification or everyday tasks, it grows as a full-fledged product.

And the second type of service is what we are talking about now. Staff augmentation or augmented staff). We now live in a post-industrial era, and it becomes evident that enlargements can differ. For example, the customer can increase the number of engineers on the team. It is a separate software development service.

What are the benefits of increasing staff?

How does it work? The partner provides the customer with individual specialists to complete the team.

When to choose? The team may need additional staff if the development process is established but slow. Another case is with needing more rare competencies in the team. For example, when the capacity of the in-house team does not allow for reaching the required pace, several people are needed.

What are the advantages of the augmented staff model?

Complete control: The customer controls the project from start to finish and participates in every decision.

High flexibility: Easily scale to adapt to changing business needs. Suitability for both long-term and short-term interaction, for example, to solve one specific problem.

Who is suitable for increasing staff?

The most valuable resource is time. Heads of IT departments of large corporations are cautious about their labor costs. Therefore, they are increasingly attracting external help to solve current IT problems. Checking the competencies of the hired personnel takes time. All suppliers have a different understanding of the grading of specialists, so it is in your best interest to conduct technical interviews before signing a contract.

Engaging outsourced developers frees the client’s time for strategic planning and focus on critical business tasks. Even if operations, micromanagement, project management, and personnel changes remain the customer’s responsibility, working with augmented staff still solves many issues. Cooperation with outsourcing developers frees up time and resources. The client receives a cohesive project team with relevant experience. Specialists of an augmented staff are always ready to be included in the project on demand and provide a quick result. The primary and most valuable benefit of outsourcing is the ability to focus resources on what is essential.

Augmented staff will become an indispensable resource if a business needs to urgently scale up a project or strengthen a team. By the nature of the specifics of their activities, the external staff is “sharpened” for quick adaptation both to the project itself and to possible changes in the course of implementation. Therefore, the involvement of a reliable outsourcing partner is guaranteed to ensure a high speed of inclusion of external specialists in the current project.

Staff augmentation vs. a dedicated team model

The same models? At first glance, hiring dedicated teams or augmenting staff are similar models. Different suppliers may even present these concepts as identical and interchangeable, calling everything outstaffing. Actually, it is not. In the case of a dedicated team, the supplier bears more responsibility, and in the case of augmented staff, the customer.

And yet, outsourcing and outstaffing are primarily about profitability, and there may be different pricing options.

Responsibility for risks. In the case of working with an augmented staff model, the customer bears all project risks, selects technologies, and approves the implementation plan. The involved specialist only follows his instructions.

Management effort. It is up to the customer to manage freelance professionals, so when selecting specialists, pay attention to soft skills to avoid communication difficulties.

How to succeed with team augmentation?

How to establish cooperation: look for a direct supplier who cares about the quality of the services provided. A white-label model is often practiced on the market when developers are resold under the guise of their employees. As a result, when several intermediaries have included their marginal profit in the developer’s rate, you not only overpay but also do not get the desired results.

A responsible supplier will be ready to share some risks with you at the first stages of onboarding: system rollout, merging with your development environment, messengers, and trackers.

Expanding a team with thoughtful areas of responsibility is a good idea. You need to hire new developers or entire teams when it is clear what they will do, how it will affect the product, and how it will interact with teams responsible for other parts of it.

We need to work on communications in the company and transparency of information. When two teams in a company do projects in parallel and almost do not overlap, it will lead to difficulties and conflicts when you still have to intersect. And it is also necessary to divide the areas of responsibility and work on their understanding of the team.

The advantages of working in a startup need to be conveyed constantly. When most candidates are cut off, discussing the product and important startup specifics is essential. It will allow you to get people interested in such a job at interviews.

Why expand your team with VITech?

Expertise. We bring an expert approach to the activities of our company: we do not act head-on, like a staffing agency, simply recruiting people according to requirements. We also look at how a person suits us culturally, how much he fits into the team in terms of his soft skills, and how pronounced his so-called service mindset is. It is essential. What is it expressed in? It is challenging to work in this area if you do not realize you as an expert and are not interested in sharing your expertise with others and making it your main activity a feature.

Make changes. Our main task is to find people who are simply interested in being in such conditions, in challenging themselves every time they change projects, to learn something new to bring some benefit. It is challenging to make a general portrait. Still, the main thing is an interest in continuous development and in learning new areas. It is the prevailing state that a person who comes to an IT staff augmentation company should have.

Responsibility. As a company, we participate in your work for a reason: by providing services, we take responsibility for their quality and results. If the end customer complains about how this or that person works, we step in. The customer says: I wouldn’t say I like this and that (preferably, more details: this will allow the situation to be worked out faster and more efficiently). If this feedback is a workable case, we start there. We never put ultimatums in front of our people. We don’t expel them in disgrace (that’s not how it works), but we start talking and looking for compromise ways out of the situation. And then, accordingly, we monitor whether it worked or not.

Partnership. Even if collaboration with an outsourced dedicated development team is the most effective tool for optimizing a company’s business processes, staff augmentation can still be an option. With the proper building of partnerships, an outsourcing team can become not just “insurance” or “spare hands” for implementing current tasks but a strategic asset for productive business development. Many companies maintain their leading positions in their segment precisely due to the qualified distribution of operational tasks. Outsourcing companies have already seen that interaction with reliable external developers opens up exciting business opportunities: reduction of time and financial costs for operational issues and project management, easy and fast scaling of teams, acquisition of the best market expertise, and removal of risks associated with personnel changes. Senior management can be confident in a quality result and easily switch from production tasks to strategic issues aimed at business development. Today’s IT services market is quite mature, so the customer only needs to decide on a suitable outsourcing team.

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