6 Ways to Scale Fast – Software Team Augmentation

14 min read
6 Ways to Scale Fast – Software Team Augmentation

If you're a product manager struggling to fill a skill gap on your software development team, you're not alone. In fact, according to a recent study, the average cost per hire for an engineering position is nearly $4,700. What's more, it takes on average 58 days to fill an engineering position. Staffing full time software developers isn’t cheap - and it isn’t fast either!

Fortunately, there is a solution: software team augmentation services. By partnering with an experienced team of software developers, you can quickly and efficiently add the skills you need to your team. And best of all, it doesn't have to cost a fortune.

So if you're looking for a way to expand your software development team without breaking the bank, be sure to read on.

What is software team augmentation?

Team augmentation, or sometimes just called staff augmentation, is an outsourcing model that allows you to bring highly skilled tech talent onto your team without the time and overhead required when hiring someone as a full-time staff member. Depending on your needs, you can utilize staff augmentation services to fill a single skill gap on your team or to build up a full dedicated team via a staff augmentation company.

Either way, typically you would begin the process by working with a staff augmentation provider or outsourcing company to interview candidates they have available. You would then select team members that fit your requirements best. The new team members you choose then immerses themselves into your existing internal team, maintaining your company culture and working in line with your development process and strategic goals.

PROTIP: For many teams, one of the most significant benefits to staff augmentation is its flexibility. You can downsize or upscale your augmented team based on the needs of your dev team over time.

When to use software staff augmentation services

The cost and time of recruiting an in-house team can be enormous. With dev team staff augmentation, you can hire highly skilled remote developers or a technical project manager and dedicate them to a specific project in your organization without all of the overhead of other staffing solutions. For this reason, working with a staff augmentation company can be a a great model when:

You need to reinforce your team

While you have in-house software developers, it is often imperative to complement or improve your current expertise when releasing new products or launching new projects. In this case, you may want to augment your IT team while you still leverage existing resources internally. This type of reinforcement is very common amongst organizations who opt to utilize a staff augmentation model.

A deadline is approaching

Recruitment for software developers is a long process from job advertisement to onboarding. You probably don't have that luxury of time and patience which could be an average of two months. Implementing an IT project with staff augmentation can enable you to meet your needs regardless of the duration of the contract you signed. You can also access a large pool of global talent in no time.

You need specific skills

Augmented staff can help find developers with specialized skills that might be necessary to complete a project or task. You may want to expand your team within a short time by introducing specialized engineers or technicians (DevOps, data scientist, quality assurance engineer, or business analyst). Or, you may need to bring someone in who has specialized skills and can help to train up your existing dev team over time.

As a bridge for hire

Starting a staff augmentation project can help bring in software engineers to meet your short term needs while you recruit permanent employees. Essentially, they would help to cover the staffing gap so you can keep your projects on track while you go through the traditional recruitment and interview process.

Benefits of software development team augmentation

Staff augmentation services are gaining fast adoption among companies that want to develop high-quality software but need to keep development costs low and time-to-hire to a minimum. Here are some benefits this model can offer your business:

Staff projects faster

It takes ample time and resource capacity to plan and organize the recruitment process. You need to draft a job description and update it on several job portals, sometimes for months. Not only that, but you will spend time shortlisting and interviewing candidates.

When you launch an IT staff augmentation project, the entire task of recruiting falls on the software development partner. Your remote dev team can be ready in a few days rather than in a few months. And with managed services, you don't have to worry about any administrative and organizational expenses.

Access top tech talent

The reality is that you may not have sufficient expert-level developers on your existing team to meet your project demands.

Using a staff augmentation process can help you to leverage external resources, detect loopholes and patch them. The model also saves the time you need to spend on training and retraining as experts bring skills and experience into your projects.

You only decide the particular skills and technical expertise you expect candidates to possess. A staff augmentation or software outsourcing company will quickly provide you appropriate candidates to supplement your IT workforce.

With staff augmentation, you can build a global workforce to take advantage of top skills in areas outside of your own. Consider outsourcing to Eastern Europe to access top tech talent and keep costs down.

Build in flexibility

One of the key benefits of staff augmentation for many companies is that you can easily upscale and downscale your team. Flexibility is built right into staff augmentation services so you can build an extended team only when you need it.

Especially if your core business priorities are likely to change over the next 12 months, it might make sense to utilize staff augmentation services rather than hiring and then laying off full time staff members (not to mention much more ethical).

Reduce your IT budget

There are significant costs associated with bringing in new team members through a traditional hiring process: training costs, day-to-day operational costs, allowances and bonuses to improve their happiness, and more. While sometimes this is more than worth it to have a full time employee, other times it just doesn’t make sense.

Working with a staff augmentation company can help you cut operational costs by hiring high-level developers who will produce the same quality and quantity of work at a fractional cost over the length of your project.

Risks of augmenting your team

Just like with any other hiring, staffing, or outsourcing model, there are some risks that business leaders face with staff augmentation. To ensure you can mitigate these risks, you first need to be aware of them, so let’s take a look:

Miscommunication

There are many ways that miscommunication can be a risk when using a staff augmentation model. One way is if you have a mismatch of expectations. This could be at a high level where you are expecting a certain level of service than what the staff augmentation provider was prepared to provide. To mitigate this type of miscommunication, make sure you have everything thoroughly documented before moving forward.

Miscommunication can also happen on a more day-to-day basis during the course of the project. Culture mismatch and the remote nature of modern devt teams can bring communication issues to the surface. To help mitigate these risks, first of all, make sure you hire developers who have strong soft skills. Additionally, you can ensure that all developers and the project manager can communicate through software tools such as Slack.

Unexpected costs

When using augmentation services, there is always a risk of hidden or unexpected costs. Make sure to do your research and ask questions up front to get a clear understanding of the pricing structure and what is included in the services.

Also, be sure to have a detailed contract in place that outlines all costs and deliverables. By being prepared and informed, you can help mitigate the risk of unexpected costs when using staff augmentation services.

Vendor dependence

If a company becomes too reliant on a single vendor for software development augmentation services, that vendor may become a bottleneck or a single point of failure. To help mitigate this risk, consider using a strategy such as multi-sourcing to spread out the risk among more than one single vendor.

It can also be helpful to plan for knowledge transfer up front so you know you have immediate access to documentation when you need it, rather than relying on a vendor’s response time.

How to succeed with staff augmentation

The IT Staff Augmentation model can impact your business operation and improve your bottom line if you do it the right way. Here are some things to consider to implement the staff augmentation model correctly and ensure your project’s success as well as a collaborative long-term partnership with your staff augmentation company:

Identify your team’s skill gap

Every business has a skill gap. Before using staff augmentation services, it’s important to understand what the skill gap is for your in house team. This can be done through interviews, surveys, and observation.

Speak to your IT managers, look ahead to the company’s IT priorities and compare your team’s capabilities to those that will be needed over the next 3-9 months. Once you have an idea of the skills you lack, think about if they are short or long term gaps.

Sometimes teams need to augment the skills of their full time employees for a short term software modernization or digital transformation effort. Other times teams may have long-term skill gaps that will prevent them from completing their core business activities. Staff augmentation can help you bridge this gap - whether short or long-term.

PRO TIP: Asses both short-term and long-term talent needed within your IT team before reaching out to staff augmentation partners. There is a vast talent pool available when utilizing staff augmentation services, so it’s a good idea to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for before searching and interviewing a potential staff augmentation company.

Choose the right partner

Choosing the right staff augmentation company is perhaps the most critical step for any team utilizing staff augmentation to fill talent gaps. The staff augmentation company you work with will either make your experience seamless or make you wish you had never decided to use outsourcing models in the first place. It really is make or break!

A few tips for finding the right staff augmentation partner:

  • Your outsourcing vendor should fit your culture. If you are a very casual, modern startup, you may not want to work with a stuffy, corporate-focused augmentation agency. Make sure you get to know potential vendors through video chats.

    Part of making staff augmentation services work for you is ensuring your new team members are a good fit with your existing team. Take into account both technical competencies and soft skills.

  • Understand that staff augmentation services can vary greatly. Depending on your specific needs, you might be looking for a dedicated team of developers that comes with their own project manager (and maybe even their own account manager to handle issues as they arise).

    Or, you may be looking for a single developer to work alongside your in house team and use your internal team’s processes for development rather than introduce their own team management practices. Be sure to find a staff augmentation company that specializes in exactly what you’re after!

  • Assess potential vendors’ credentials thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and case studies. Take the time during the hiring process to look at reviews and speak to past clients. Do this due diligence up front, so you don’t have to replace your staff augmentation company down the line.

Read More: How to Choose a Software Development Company in 10 Steps

Try multisourcing

Multisourcing is the practice of using multiple suppliers for the same service. The goal of multisourcing is to improve quality and reduce cost by leveraging the strengths of multiple suppliers. This can also be a great way to decide which vendor you want to work with long term. Key benefits include:

  • Increased competition: By using staff augmentation services from multiple suppliers, you are able to encourage more competition, often leading to lower prices for software development services.
  • Risk reduction: By diversifying your suppliers of staff augmentation services, you are able to reduce the risk of relying on a single development team.
  • Improved flexibility: Multisourcing can provide you with greater flexibility in terms of delivery schedules and payment terms when hiring staff augmentation services.
PRO TIP: You can select two staff augmentation vendors and ultimately decide to work with the one that is better for long-term collaboration.

Make remote developers feel the effects of being with your local team

If you are working with remote software engineers or a remote project manager through an outsourcing model, you will need to modify your management style and build a good relationship with every member of the team very intentionally. To ensure project success, you need to constantly communicate to ensure both in-house teams and remote teams are in sync.

Anytime you are holding a Zoom meeting with your remote team, create some time for them to share about their hobbies, lifestyle and interests in addition to sharing about project progress. This will enable you to figure out what everyone has in common. It will also foster healthy relationships among the team members.

PRO TIP: While it certainly isn’t as simple as inviting conversations during team meetings, this is a great place to start to build a culture of collaboration and openness that can really help to make the developers who were hired through staff augmentation feel like part of the team.

Ensure clear communication

Clear communication has the potential to improve your bottom line. Your team needs to understand the vision, mission, project requirements, and development process. It is important to enhance the communication process in the development cycle so everyone can buy into decisions and contribute effectively to the projects at hand.

PRO TIP: Make sure your project managers and team leaders are setting the expectation for the type and level of communication you expect from your team.

Embrace tools and technology

In addition to staffing a skilled project manager to guarantee the project’s success, you should leverage project management and team collaboration tools like Slack, Asana, Jira, Trello and Basecamp. Tools like these help to foster idea-sharing and track project progress. A lack of communication may lead to miscommunication which can affect the entire project. Therefore, it is highly important to use these tools to improve operational efficiencies and streamline long-term project development.

Staff Augmentation Services with SoftKraft

With Softkraft’s staff augmentation services our in-house development team becomes an integral part of your team. We carefully select each team member based on the requirements and expertise you need. They immerse themselves in your project, maintaining your company culture and working in line with your strategic goals.

  • Engage quality tech professionals

    15+ years of experience in engineering custom software solutions for startups and SMEs.

  • Results-driven design thinking

    Design Workshops to clarify your business idea and build a much better product faster.

  • Business-minded engineering

    Work with engineers who understand the need for bottom-line results from tech initiatives.