Staff Augmentation vs. Outsourcing a Dedicated Team: make your best choice

Staff Augmentation vs. Outsourcing a Dedicated Team: make your best choice
By , Vice President of Account Management at Solvd

When you are strategizing your next software project, you think about where to find the best engineers and the ways of optimizing the development process in terms of time, budget and human resources.

There are two great options: staff augmentation and outsourcing a dedicated team.

You might be wondering how each model works and which one will meet your business needs. Read this article to learn how workforce augmentation and dedicated development team services function, the opportunities they can uncover for your business and tips on choosing the right model for your project.

What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation or team extension is an outsourcing practice that allows businesses to handpick and hire one or several tech talents externally to reinforce their in-house teams with extra skills and ideas. Depending on a particular business outsourcing strategy, cooperation can take a couple of months or last up to several years.

Business owners can determine their existing skill set gaps, find candidates that meet specific project requirements and expand or cut cooperation whenever they need.

Competent providers of IT staff augmentation services help business owners unearth valuable technical resources for different software projects. By adding external resources to their teams, businesses can save considerably on full-time hires.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

There are many benefits of staff augmentation for businesses. 

  • Increased team productivity. When you augment your team with extra talents, you expect them to spend 100% of their working time dealing with a single project. They don't need to switch between tasks and client projects, so they stay focused and motivated to perform their work qualitatively and faster.

  • More talents – more flexibility. You may access a large pool of IT professionals worldwide, be they QA and test automation engineers, UI/UX consultants, web developers or project managers. Thanks to this benefit of staff augmentation, it's easier to replace engineers whenever there is a need to augment a team with new skills without spending additional resources on hiring and changing processes.

  • Cost-effective approach. Team augmentation is fully transparent in terms of costs. Your vendor will take on the responsibilities for the expenses of office space if needed, equipment and other organizational matters. You pay them for arranging every aspect for you and free up more of your time to focus on the key business activities that require your attention. This is one of the most important benefits of staff augmentation.

benefits of staff augmentation

Armour, a leading sports apparel player. Our QA engineers joined the client's team to improve their app performance and implement load testing. As a result, their efforts helped the client cut costs dramatically and enabled app performance tracking and monitoring whenever needed.

Drawbacks of a Staff Augmentation model

Staff augmentation can have certain drawbacks. 

  • Higher cost in the long term perspective. If the project turns out to be longer than expected, it might require additional resources from you. Highly skilled engineers can be quite expensive, and staffing agencies might charge extra in case staff augmentation terms are not clearly defined. So, be ready to pay more. 

  • Lack of internal knowledge. Some projects might require previous knowledge, which provides additional understanding of the context and specifics of the set tasks. Teaching and explaining will take time, so you need to include the time spent on adaptation in your plan. 

  • Added processes. The expansion of personnel inevitably leads to complications in processes related to oversight and planning. Thus, plan well and beforehand to ensure that you don’t lose any control.

Are you still hesitant about which model to choose, staff augmentation or outsourcing? A universal answer does not exist. You need to find a solution that will satisfy your individual needs and requirements.

What is a Dedicated Team model?

A dedicated team model fits clients who need to hire a software engineering team for their projects. As its name suggests, a team will work exclusively on a project it’s assigned to, and this usually happens when there is a complicated long-term project. A project manager can be from a client's in-house staff, or he/she can be offered by a staff augmentation company.

This model offers plenty of benefits, like dedicated software team flexibility and scalability, making this kind of cooperation between a client and provider efficient and popular. At first glance, you may think this model is the best option for you. But don't jump to conclusions until learning about what it may bring in and when it is beneficial for your business.

How to build a Dedicated Software Development Team

The dedicated team model involves four stages. A robust approach to building a team allows a business analyst to gather up all the requirements necessary to tailor a team. If you have little or no technical expertise, your provider will help out with every aspect and offer you a project manager to lead your new dedicated software developers.

  1. Requirements. At this stage, you should clearly define your requirements and expectations. Business analysts need this information to handpick the right dedicated software outsourcing team for you. If you don't have technical expertise, a provider's business analysts and engineers will help you out with drawing up a list of key features, choosing the tech stack and making a project estimation for you.
  2. Cost negotiations. Having clear and comprehensive requirements, your provider can define which industry specialties are needed to form a dedicated team. For example, Solvd helped Start-Up Nation Central from Israel audit their current website, fix vulnerabilities and enhance the current solution with new features. The dedicated software team involved six members:
    • 1 Project Manager
    • 3 PHP dedicated software developers
    • 1 Front-End Developer
    • 1 QA Engineer
  3. Assembling your dedicated development team. The length of this process depends on the number of specialists you need. If your project requires 20 or more engineers, your provider might be unable to provide you that many at a given moment. A provider may ask you to wait until engineers on other projects free up or recruit more talents to meet your business needs. It will still  be faster and cheaper for you than searching and hiring by using your internal resources.
  4. Onboarding and starting the work. When your dedicated software development team is ready, it's time to introduce them to your project. Your tasks will be to establish cooperation of your remote team with in-house specialists, support efficient communication and explain the specifics of your workflow and company policies.

If everything is done accurately, your new outsourcing team will be ready to start working fruitfully on your project.

Pros and cons of  Outsourcing Dedicated Teams

The usage of the dedicated team model has a wide range of advantages. 

  • Cost-effective development. If you run a business in the US, Central or Western Europe, you are likely to know that costs for dedicated software development services differ depending on the location. Thus, a senior software engineer in the US will likely charge rates much higher than those for the work of an equally skilled developer from a popular outsourcing location. The latter can be up to two times cheaper. In addition, you shouldn't have to worry about expenses on hardware and software for your new engineers. Likewise, you don't need to have a large office since your new associates will be working remotely.

  • Easy hiring process. With an outsourcing team, recruiting won't be your headache anymore; a provider will take care of everything. You can look through resumes and check candidates' hard skills and soft skills if you wish or can fully entrust the selection process to your provider. That allows you to save time and resources on routine recruitment tasks.

  • Facilitated team management. A dedicated outsourcing team can be led by one of your in-house project managers. But if you lack experience being in charge of a project, a provider can take on the team management aspects. You can rest assured that an outside project manager will be fluent in your language and follow your company's policies and procedures.

Benefits of outsourcing dedicated team

Still, a dedicated team model has certain drawbacks. 

  • The process of recruitment takes time. The choice of proper candidates, their recruitment and onboarding are not quick processes. You need to take this factor into consideration when you start your software development project and the  selection of candidates for it.  

  • It’s not compatible with short-term and small projects. The majority of IT outsourcing companies do not offer their teams for less than six months. For these cases, it’s necessary to go with the project-based approach.

  • Budget ambiguity. It’s difficult to calculate the exact budget for the project since a wide variety of factors can play a role in the complex process of software development.

To understand whether a dedicated team model fits the needs of your project, you need to weigh all the pros and cons.

Staff Augmentation vs. Outsourcing a Dedicated Team: How To Choose

It might be challenging to make your decision, but some simple guiding principles can guide you. 

A dedicated team model will work well if:

  • You have a large-scale project and need talents to handle it within strict deadlines.

  • Your current solution requires new features to keep it up-to-date. It'll be more efficient to outsource the work to dedicated software developers who are well-versed in the needed technology than by making new hires in-house.

  • Budget constraints make dedicated development team services cheaper for you if compared to in-house staffing.

When to choose staff augmentation services:

  • You have a side project that requires several specialists experienced in a particular technology or having knowledge that’s valuable for a project.

  • Your existing application requires an audit and a handful of new features or testing.

  • Your project basis is small-scale and doesn't require a team dedicated to it. Adding several engineers to your in-house team will help remove current obstacles, while also being cost-efficient.

If you still have any questions, need consulting on starting your project or can’t choose which model is better, Solvd is here to help. Let us know your individual challenges and business goals. You can count on our expertise to provide you with software development services that will facilitate your business endeavors.

Elena Titkova
Vice President of Account Management at Solvd
Elena Titkova is a results-oriented Vice President of Account Management at Solvd, driving success for key clients of the company. Since graduating with honors from the Faculty of International Relations at Belarusian State University in 2016, she has leveraged her expertise in building strong relationships within the IT industry.

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