11 Jun 2019

My last post comparing IT Staff Augmentation and Software Outsourcing sets the table for a conversation about the pros and cons of both models. Remember that being able to make a distinction between your options is important to make the right decision for what will work for your firm and for the work that is to be done. For this post, we will be focusing on IT Staff Augmentation and do a quick review before dissecting the benefits and the potential drawbacks.

IT STAFF AUGMENTATION

The IT staff augmentation model incorporates software engineers and Scrum team members into existing teams, filling the need to have more resources working on active projects. Whether the goal is to reduce delivery time, reduce costs or to pull a team together quickly, the staff is augmented to enhance the skills of an existing team with experience and proven results.

Pros

Seamless Team Integration

The added “resources” are treated as members of your existing team. They will assume the same company culture, level of access to the company’s structure and data. Coordinating efforts between the staffing company and yours can be seamless and fast when done efficiently.

Add Skills Faster and at a Reduced Cost

Bringing additional team members will complement the missing required skills your team lacks or that could be costly for your company to acquire otherwise. The ramping up and/or reduction of augmented team members should be considered when scoping out the work to be done. This is an important consideration for developing the Statement of Work (SOW). Companies with fluctuating staffing needs can solve resourcing problems quickly and easily to match timely demands dependent on work volume.

Specialist Expertise In-House

When a software project’s needs consist of specialized skills, staff augmentation can quickly fill in those gaps. For instance, Unosquare employs several SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) that can support team members and clients who need a deeper understanding of the tools they are using for development. They are available for consultation for all project stakeholders.

Reduce Employer Management Problems

Staff Augmentation helps avoid the costs and liabilities of directly employing a larger staff. If implemented correctly, there are benefits to the culture of the team as well in that this model presents the picture of a growing company with new hires.

Ideally, the augmentation team members rely on the existing client team for translating technical needs and business rules and are treated as new hires for an expanding team. Therefore, the client side will not feel that their jobs are being threatened and understand that the additional stakeholders are supporting and not replacing. “Outsourcing” often carries that stigma of replacing jobs and not supporting growth.

Cons

Training is Required

Training the new staff will be required since they will be integrated into your company’s processes. There will be the need for translating business rules, explaining the corporation’s vernacular, and familiarizing the team member with the existing ways of working that will most likely differ from their previous projects. The one constant support to each of these challenges is to keep the project Agile and stick to Scrum as much as possible.

Dependency on Internal Process

If you are adding team members due to struggles that have developed, you may be augmenting those problems. Sometimes internal processes (the way it’s always been done) are the primary bottleneck and have the greatest impact on efficiency. If it will be business as usual, the existing problems might just grow in volume with the increased number of stakeholders.

Management Overhead

Getting new team members on-boarded does require additional time and effort from the established team. The steps your firm uses for on-boarding internal team members should apply, as the best-case scenario is that the everyone is accepted as part of the same team and not employees vs. outsourced talent. But there is consideration needed for security measures, access issues, and other contingencies for the work to be done

In my next post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of Software Outsourcing projects to help further illustrate the difference between Augmentation and Outsourcing and clarify which solution is best for your specific needs.

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