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IT Staff Augmentation: Everything You Need To Know

Your business has an excellent IT team and developers who do outstanding work, but you need to compliment, enhance, or introduce a new focus because of new projects that require different skills. What do you do?
Daniel Zacharias

Alan Sperber

September 13, 2022
staff augmentation

A successful business must be flexible and quick. There’s tremendous pressure to release new services, products, and functions continuously. It puts a heavy demand on the tech department because they must develop a lot of software to keep pace with new features, products, and services. Most of the time, however, there isn’t enough personnel to face all these challenges. What can a business do to find that much-needed professional in no time? The answer is simple: IT Staff augmentation.

It is a fast-growing trend that enhances productivity and efficiency, a powerful tool ready to be implemented by any business looking to scale.

However, many don’t understand what’s behind this practice, so choosing the right model to implement in their business can be challenging. 

Keep reading and consider this as your guide to staff augmentation. 

Defining IT Staff augmentation

IT Staff augmentation is a flexible outsourcing strategy that allows businesses to find IT professionals, pick the ones with the specific skills and/or experience, and add them to their tech department on demand. It’s also a strategic partnership that increases your organization’s capacity as the need arises.

IT Staff augmentation isn’t new per se. A few years ago, transferring employees to work temporarily in other offices or business branches was common practice. The idea was to use trained talent to fill vacant roles due to sickness, vacations, or too much work.

You can think of this practice as a prototype of what staff augmentation is nowadays. What used to be informal and almost spontaneous is now a new job model that can be used to your benefit.

Staff augmentation is different from common software outsourcing since you don’t delegate a whole project to a third party. Instead, the project stays within the boundaries of your organization. You have complete control over every step of the project because the added developers work along with the rest of your team, executing tasks as needed. Adding new minds allows for finding new and creative solutions.

Does my business need staff augmentation?

Consider IT staff augmentation if:

You need to reinforce your tech team.

Your business has an excellent tech team and developers who do outstanding work, but you need to compliment, enhance, or introduce a new focus because of new projects that require different skills.

There is a tight deadline.

Think about the normal hiring process: finding the right person can take a couple of weeks if you are lucky, but two months or more is also  not unheard of.

From reading and selecting resumes, job interviews, tests, and more — if there’s a tight deadline, urgent work, and you don’t have time to spare — staff augmentation is the answer to your prayers. Through IT staff augmentation, you’ll be able to find experienced professionals that can join your team in no time.

You need specific skill sets or experience.

Maybe the local job market lacks that precise professional profile requested to complete building your team or finish a project. IT staff augmentation is a flexible tool that can complement your team whenever needed.

You are short-staffed.

This new project is too big for your staff; maybe you’re under-resourced and, consequently, all processes are delayed, or you just encountered a bottleneck. Hiring some people under this model will solve it almost immediately. 

Pros and Cons of IT staff augmentation

Pros

It’s reliable and fast.

Competent augmented staff can integrate into the project, understanding it quickly and adding value to it.  

It allows finding specific skill sets.

If you need a specific skill just for one project, it’s easier and faster to hire it temporarily by staff augmentation. 

Staff can learn a lot from staff augmentation. 

Those temporary employees have a lot of experience in projects, implementation, and execution.

You’ll complete projects faster.

Increase efficiency, velocity, and flexibility to get a better outcome.

Staff augmentation can be a trial for some full-time positions.

Cons

Some projects require an understanding of your inner processes and business culture.

New developers will have to learn and find their place within the team, which is an investment of both time and money.

Staff augmentation isn’t suitable for long-term projects and could be more expensive than hiring a full-time employee.
There’s a quality risk issue.

Most outsourced teams are highly qualified professionals. However, there is a small quality risk if some familiarity with the previous project is required. Also, this can be detrimental to meeting deadlines because the new outsourced staff has to get acquainted with the project.

Third-party dependency can pose problems.

Money-wise, being dependent on hiring outsourced staff is not sustainable in the long term. Relying continuously on external sources can undercut your own business. 

How often should an organization consider hiring staff augmentation?

There isn’t a rule about how often an organization should augment its staff, and it also depends on the needs of each business, goals, and budget.

Maybe you can consider hiring the service for a short time if you need staff to fill in for the temporary absence of employees. It can happen because you need to complement the tech team for a few weeks, and it may be necessary because a project requires a specific skill or because the project scales beyond your current capabilities.

On the other hand, long-term contracts are implemented when the project is longer, and there is a need for someone with specialized knowledge in the long term. But for short- or middle-term solutions, hiring through staff augmentation is more cost-effective.

Final tips

IT Staff augmentation is a powerful tool that allows you to integrate specialized, knowledgeable, and experienced people into the tech department of your company whenever needed. 

Got a massive project? Close deadline? Small team? Need a new perspective? 

IT Staff augmentation can be the answer. 

However, pay attention to your budget, project size, required experience, familiarity with the project and project duration.

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