Two sides of the same coin. Staff augmentation and project outsourcing are two different models of work with third parties. Staff augmentation can be a very powerful tool in a company’s arsenal, if understood and employed correctly.
In this article we’re diving into the differences between staff augmentation and project outsourcing. And we’re going to talk about what to pay attention to, when you are choosing between the two.
Let’s dive in.
What is Staff Augmentation?
Staff augmentation, team augmentation or staff/team enhancement. You can find it under different names.
At its core, staff augmentation is an outsourcing method that allows businesses to cover skill shortages in their workforce. People with specialized knowledge are added to in-house teams. They can be used to increase capacity in times of workload spikes.
Or can be brought on to cover specialized skills that are needed for a determined period of time.
In other words, you hire specialists "as a service"to supplement your existing workforce.
As a result, staff augmentation projects can be short-term. Or can extend into a multi-year collaboration. Depending on the partner you choose to work with, they may be flexible when it comes to project duration and resource re-allocation if need be.
At We As Web, we have designed our Team Augmentation offering as a flexibility-first service. Whether you need one developer or an entire team, we work with each client to accommodate their specific needs. Want your developers to join you in your office during critical moments in the project’s life-cycle? We’re fine with that!
What is Project Outsourcing?
Project outsourcing entails engaging a business to carry out your project using their resources. It's essentially paying an entire team to do it for you instead of hiring your own staff do it. Mind you, multiple third parties can be engaged, in order to foster the core expertise of each partner.
You can create a cross-functional team of experts. Either by using core skills from multiple partners. Or by employing a bigger development agency that can cover all needed roles, from business analysts and project managers, to developers and engineers, testers or designers.
Project outsourcing helps you foster the knowledge of remote experts to bring your project to life. As opposed to staff augmentation, where remote developers are brought in for a helping hand, in project outsourcing the tech partner has a leading role in designing and implementing your project’s roadmap.
All in all, what staff augmentation and project outsourcing help you achieve is access to all the relevant resources that bring you closer to your business goals.
Pros and Cons of Staff Augmentation
The pros are many, but they only become pros if the staff augmentation model meets your strategic business needs.
One of the reasons such services are gaining more ground is direct access to developers. You get a direct line of communication with your remote staff members, as they become an entrenched part of your team.
Staff augmentation services can also be used strategically, to shift maintenance and support work from in-house teams. This frees them to focus on delivering new product features.
Moreover, if you’re looking to expand into a new market, staff augmentation can help you achieve a “soft-landing” and act as bridge until the needed teams are hired.
While hiring a single individual to work for you can be cost effective, if your projects take longer than usual, it may become expensive. The cost of augmented staff can be perceived as higher per hour than that of as tandard employee. However, with this model, the cost of employee retention (salary increases, bonuses, company benefits), salary and taxes or office space is passed on to the partner company.
There are a few extra things to have in mind before making the choice. As with any hire, in-house or remote, ramp-up periods need to be factored in. And security risks need to be factored in when the project involves access to important IP information.
While long-term staff augmentation projects can happen, be mindful of turnover risks. One way to mitigate this risk is to work with an agency can easily bring in a new person from their larger pool of employees. And the specific project knowledge will already be in-house. While when working with freelancers, the process can go back to square one.
Whichever form of collaboration you choose, make sure you choose strategically. Such services can offer any company agility and speed. But can also backfire if not understood correctly. With the move towards more flexibility and the rise of remote work, taking advantage of staff augmentation services is a must.