Staff Augmentation Part 2 – 8 questions you must ask first
LET’S ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES
Now that we’ve learned a bit about what staff augmentation is, it’s time to ask a few questions to determine how we’ll know if it’s something we should consider. To kickstart the process, start by asking – and hopefully answering – the following to determine if staff augmentation should be on your business roadmap:
1 – Do you need to move quickly?
If you’ve got a project on the books that needs to launch – and deliver – fast, it may not be feasible to directly hire a team of full-time developers and related resources. Similarly, you may not want to reallocate existing devs from their current projects or responsibilities. In this case, staff augmentation could be the shortest route between where you are and where you need to be. It lets you ramp up your dev team in a minimum amount of time, all without diverting attention away from current or core initiatives.
2 – Do you need more collaboration?
Traditional outsourcing models involve remote developers working in relative isolation. While that’s all well and good for certain projects and/or organizational cultures, it won’t work every time, or for everyone. If you need your extended team members to feel like an integral part of the development team – which could be an essential requirement to ensure consistent delivery and adherence to organizational and regulatory standards – then blindly handing something off to an outsourced team simply won’t cut it. Nothing short of remote team that feels like an integral part of the family will do.
3 – Are your projects mostly short-term?
Staff augmentation’s advantages can apply to all types – and sizes – of projects, but they are particularly beneficial with smaller, more clearly defined initiatives. If timelines, budgets, and business constraints are particularly lean, it makes even more sense to go with staff augmentation models that facilitate quick team ramp-up and deployment.
4 – Is the target project considered a side project?
It is much easier to bring on new developers via staff augmentation and assign them to a new, secondary project than it is to integrate them to work on an already-in-production core initiative or system. If your existing teams are already well-entrenched on established work, it makes more sense to leave them be and allocate net-new resources to the new secondary initiative.
5 – Are you trying to cut development costs?
Let’s face it, who isn’t trying to reduce burn rates these days? And with staff augmentation usually being a less expensive alternative to hiring full-time talent directly, it makes a lot of sense to consider it when planning a new project or when looking to staff an older version that is on the sunset roadmap. Being able to easily dial staffing levels down again once the project is complete represents another bonus to staff augmentation.
6 – Are you having difficulty attracting local talent?
Chronic IT skills shortages have been challenging HR teams for years – and despite the slowing economy pushing a number of tech firms to trim staffing complements, companies across all sectors continue to find it difficult to fill specific roles demanding specific skillsets. This is especially applicable for high-demand roles such as experienced software engineers, quality assurance specialists, and project managers.
7 – Is employee turnover increasing or otherwise problematic?
Staff augmentation can often help organizations fill the gaps when they’re otherwise challenged to maintain their staffing levels. Bringing in contract-based developers to level out team productivity during times of transition can also allow HR to assess overall talent needs over longer periods of time and ensure they align with evolving business needs.
8 – Are your training and development resources stretched thin?
As organizations grow, they may encounter difficulties training their developers and ensuring their skills keep up both with the evolving needs of the business as well as general technology trends. Staff augmentation models shift accountability for training, mentorship, and coaching onto the vendors who provide contract developers to their clients.
THE TAKEAWAY FOR LEADERS AND DEVELOPERS
Resourcing decisions are becoming increasingly difficult to make thanks to accelerating timelines, tightening budgets, increasing market competition, and darkening macroeconomic conditions. While organizations may have once stuck to organic hiring practices, that approach makes less sense as business cycles become less predictable and frequent, tactical projects become increasingly critical to long-term business success.
Staff augmentation can give organizations the ability to throttle development capacity up and down as necessary while holding the line on cost and resourcing. Despite the advantages, it helps to ask the right questions first before deciding if it makes sense for your shop.
Head here if you’d like to discuss staff augmentation with a member of our team.