Needs change quickly in software based businesses.
One minute you have the skills and capacity in-house. And the next, a project comes along that will push your company to that next phase of growth but which you can’t do with your team alone.
You could hire new team members but that means committing to paying salaries, benefits, and more for the foreseeable future. You could outsource but you want your team to work on it just with more people on board.
So how do you meet your needs without overcommitting your budget?
Staff Augmentation: Meaning and How it Works
📌Staff augmentation is when a company temporarily brings in outside staff to enhance the capabilities of their team. It may be because they’re looking to fill a specific skill gap, to increase output, or both.
You can think of it as an expansion of your team’s skills and numbers, without the long-term commitment of hiring new employees.
So rather than taking on full-time employees during periods of high demand only to lay them off when things slow down, businesses can effectively ‘augment’ their staff with highly qualified professionals when necessary.
The aim is to bring in top-notch talent who integrate seamlessly into your existing team for a specific project or period.
How Staff Augmentation Works
First, you identify the gap in your team’s capabilities and expertise.
Maybe you need an expert in a new programming language, or extra hands to meet a tight deadline. Once you know what you need, you reach out to a staff augmentation provider.
These providers have a pool of talented professionals they can turn to. They match you with individuals who have the exact skills and experience your project requires.
And if you’re not exactly sure what you need, a quality staff augmentation provider will assess the requirements of your project and point you in the right direction.
The augmented staff then integrates into your team, working under your direction and alongside your existing employees.
Once the job is done, they move on, leaving your team lean and agile. It’s a strategic way to scale your workforce up or down as your project demands.
At HatchWorks, we provide staff augmentation to businesses who need help on software development projects. This gives our clients the opportunity to source quality software developers quickly without spending the time or money to recruit, hire, and retain them. When you consider how difficult it can be to find and keep developers, staff augmentation in our industry makes perfect sense.
Key Components of Staff Augmentation
Staff augmentation works around three components, each serving a singular purpose that, when combined, delivers an efficient talent solution for businesses.
These components are:
- Flexibility: Companies can quickly scale up or down depending on the project needs or season.
- Specific Skill Sets: Staff augmentation is an excellent tool to bring in niche skills and expertise not present within the existing team. The augmentation supplier will find and provide personnel that fit the project needs and fill out the capabilities of your team.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Since augmentation staff are only onboard for their contract duration, businesses save on long-term salary commitments and other employee benefits. This makes staff augmentation a good financial decision, especially in temporary high demand conditions or specific project requirements.
Key Benefits of Staff Augmentation
📌Staff augmentations benefits include:
- Quality control over project outputs
- Access to global talent which can fill in-house skill gaps
- Cost effectiveness compared to hiring employees
- Scaling up and scaling down on demand
With staff augmentation, quality control is in your hands. You’re not risking handing off work to an external team with different standards because the staff you bring in will be integrated into your systems and your culture.
They’ll be managed the same way a regular employee would, always adhering to the high standards you’ve set, ensuring consistency and quality in every deliverable.
Plus, this approach aids in better resource allocation and optimizes productivity.
Bridging Skill Gaps Through Global Talent
Does your team need an AI/ML expert? A software developer specializing in mobile app creation? A product manager to direct the evolution of your SaaS?
Staff augmentation fills those gaps without requiring months of recruitment. You won’t be confined to talent from one region either. You can find that AI expert in Silicon Valley and plug them into your team virtually. And that software developer? There are plenty of them in Latin America. Maybe your staff augmentation provider finds your dream PM in Colombia.
It’s not just skills that you’re getting either. When staff augmentation is done right, you’re also getting an innovative thinker with a unique approach to problem-solving.
Last year, the Bureau of Labour Statistics claimed the need for software developers is set to grow over the next decade. That need can be met by hiring in-house talent which would cost around $159,932 per developer.
Or it can be met through staff augmentation at a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time it takes to recruit and hire someone with the same capabilities.
It’s like renting a luxury car for a special occasion instead of buying it. You get the benefits without the hefty price tag of long-term commitments like salaries, benefits, and training. With staff augmentation, you pay for the expertise only when you need it, keeping your overheads low and your financial flexibility high.
Quick Scaling of Teams
Staff augmentation can help you scale successfully. When you’re able to add talent quickly, you can meet tight deadlines and capitalize on unexpected opportunities. Your team, built out with staff augmentation, will always match the pace of your business needs, keeping you agile and responsive.
When to Consider Staff Augmentation for Your Business
📌 It’s the right choice when you need specialized skills, face tight deadlines, or require more flexibility than your current team can provide.
Scenario 1: You need a skillset you don’t have internally
Imagine you need expertise in a specific programming language, something none of your current team members specialize in. This is a perfect scenario for staff augmentation. You can quickly bring in a specialist with that particular skill set, keeping your project on track without the need to hire a full-time employee or retrain your in-house staff.
Scenario 2: You have a quick turnaround
Another perfect time is when you face a sudden increase in workload or a tight project deadline. Let’s say your company needs to develop a new feature that’s critical to your product’s success. Your team is capable, but the volume of work is overwhelming. With staff augmentation, you can bring in additional software developers to handle the increased workload and ensure you meet your deadlines.
Scenario 3: You need to temporarily scale your team
Staff augmentation is ideal for short-term projects or one-off developments where hiring permanent employees is impractical.
You can also outsource to Nearshore providers in place of staff augmentation. A good nearshore team will fit nicely alongside your existing one in a similar way to the talent you’d find through staff augmentation. The difference would be nearshoring also offers the option to hand off a project entirely.
Staff Augmentation vs Project Outsourcing
📌 Project outsourcing is different from staff augmentation because the team or individual you outsource to doesn’t integrate into your workforce.
In staff augmentation, you add skilled specialists to your in-house team for short or long-term projects.
The augmented personnel complements your core team, boosting its capacity and capability.
On the other hand, project outsourcing involves completely transferring the responsibility of certain tasks or services to a third-party. There are also several outsourcing models you can choose from including nearshoring, offshoring, or onshoring.
Both are cost effective models that can produce high quality work for your business.
High level of control over project and team members.
Less direct control over project execution and team.
Seamless integration with existing team, maintaining company culture.
Separate team, often with its own culture and methodologies.
Access to specific skills and expertise for short-term needs.
Access to a wide range of skills and expertise (short-term and long-term).
High flexibility to scale your team size up or down as needed.
Fixed team size and scope, usually predetermined in the contract but some providers (like HatchWorks) can adjust.
Pay for specific skills only when needed, potentially reducing costs.
Cost-effective option for all project sizes and scopes.
Requires internal management and coordination efforts.
Outsourced projects are typically self-managed by the service provider.
Temporary staff may require time to adjust to company culture and dynamics.
Cultural and communication barriers might exist, depending on location.
Not ideal for long-term or ongoing needs.
Suitable for long-term and continuous project needs.
Some time needed to find the right talent for specific roles.
Outsourcing companies usually have teams ready to start.
Risk of knowledge loss when contract ends.
Knowledge and expertise are often retained within the outsourcing firm.
Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation and Project Outsourcing
Need to choose between the two?
Below we’ve outlined the core pros and cons for each.
The table will help you weigh up the differences and determine whether staff augmentation services or outsourcing services is the best route for your business needs.
|Shared Between Both
✅ Increased flexibility ✅ High level of control over project and team members ✅ Integration with the existing team
✅ Reduces long-term labor costs and commitments ✅ Access to global talent pool ✅ Access to specific, often niche skills ✅ Adaptability to changing project sizes and needs
✅ More cost-effective ✅ Suitable to short-term and long-term needs
🚫 Less suitable for long-term needs
🚫 Risk of knowledge loss when contract ends 🚫 Time investment in starting up and integration
🚫 Less control over talent
If you find you’re leaning toward outsourcing, check out our article: How to Select the Right Outsourced Development Team. It comes with recommendations for working alongside an outsourcing company so you can get similar results to staff augmentation.
And if neither model looks right and you want to hire an in house development team, check out our guide: Hiring a Development Team – Everything You Need to Know
Best Practices in Staff Augmentation
Ensuring Seamless Integration
Really, you should treat augmented staff as you would a new employee. That means onboarding them into your company’s workflows, tools, and policies. This can include orientation sessions, mentorship programs, and access to essential internal resources.
To maintain team cohesion, promote team-building activities and regular check-ins. This helps integrate them with your existing team, fostering collaboration and mutual respect.
Regular team meetings can also keep everyone aligned and informed about project developments and changes.
To See Long-Term Success
To sustain high productivity, establish clear goals and metrics from the outset.
Regular progress tracking and feedback sessions help keep the augmented staff aligned with these objectives. Encourage a culture of open communication where they can voice concerns and share updates.
For evaluating performance, implement a system to assess both the quality of work and the effectiveness of integration into your team. Regular reviews of project milestones and individual contributions can provide valuable insights into the success of your staff augmentation strategy, helping to refine processes for future initiatives.
Overcoming Challenges in Staff Augmentation
Even the most advantageous business strategies come with a unique set of hurdles.
When it comes to integrating augmented staff into their teams, organizations often grapple with issues related to:
- culture fit
- knowledge transfer
- legal compliance
Below we’ll cover the common challenges and present a way to overcome them.
Challenge: In staff augmentation, one major hurdle is ensuring effective communication, especially when dealing with remote or globally distributed team members. Differences in time zones, language barriers, and lack of face-to-face interaction can lead to misunderstandings and misaligned project goals.
Solution: To overcome communication challenges, establish clear, standardized communication protocols. Use collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Asana for regular updates and discussions. Schedule regular video calls for more personal interaction and to discuss complex issues. Additionally, creating comprehensive project documentation can help keep everyone on the same page.
Challenge: Augmented team members may struggle to blend with the existing company culture, leading to a disjointed team dynamic. This cultural misalignment can impact team morale and productivity.
Solution: Establishing a robust onboarding program and continuous training initiatives eases the process of cultural assimilation and knowledge absorption. Plus you can encourage informal interactions and team-building activities to build rapport and understanding among team members.
Challenge: Effective knowledge transfer to and from augmented staff is crucial but can be difficult due to their temporary nature and possible differences in background or expertise.
Solution: Implement structured knowledge-sharing processes, such as mentorship programs, detailed documentation, and regular training sessions. Ensure that augmented staff are involved in key meetings and decision-making processes to fully understand the project context.
Challenge: Navigating the legal complexities of staff augmentation, such as contract terms, intellectual property rights, and labor laws, can be daunting and risky if not handled correctly. From a logistical headache to real penalties, you could be getting more than you bargained for.
Solution: Work with legal professionals to draft clear contracts outlining the terms of engagement, confidentiality agreements, and compliance with relevant laws. Regularly review and update these contracts to reflect any changes in legal requirements or business objectives. Proper legal groundwork ensures a secure and compliant staff augmentation process.
Your staff augmentation service provider should support you here as well.
The HatchWorks Approach to Successful Staff Augmentation for Software Development
At HatchWorks, we understand the critical role that staff augmentation plays in the success of software development projects.
We specialize in providing staff augmentation services that seamlessly integrate talented software developers into your in-house development teams. We don’t want these developers to merely bring in technical skills, we want them to align with your company’s culture and project goals. This ensures a smooth, efficient, and cohesive workflow, enhancing both the productivity and the quality of the output.
In addition to staff augmentation, HatchWorks offers outsourcing services in the form of Nearshore Software Development.
Different projects have different needs, and our flexible approach allows us to tailor our services to your specific requirements. Whether you need a complete outsourced team to handle your project from start to finish or additional expertise to complement your in-house team, we have a solution that gets you your desired outcomes.
If you want to augment your development team or tap into the cost effective benefits of Nearshore Software Development, get in touch with us today.