Problem: Your company lands a massive project, but your in-house staff is swamped.

Solution: Hire extra hands —  fast, through staff augmentation.

What is staff augmentation?

It is a flexible outsourcing strategy that allows companies to hire skilled professionals on an as-needed basis. It gives you access to top-tier talent, helps you manage workload spikes, and keeps your projects on track. All this without the long-term commitments or costs of traditional hiring. 

Let’s explore staff augmentation in detail, including why you need it, different types of staff augmentation, and proven steps for a successful outsourcing process. 

We’ll also tell you why working with Distillery is the easiest way to make the staff augmentation solution work. 

Further Reading:
Explore Eight Reasons Why You Should Outsource Mobile App Development
Discover What Nearshore Staff Augmentation Is, Its Benefits, And How To Get It Done Through Distillery.
Considering Outsourcing Your Information Technology Functions? Here Are 7 Benefits of Outsourcing IT (Information Technology) Services.

This Article Contains:

What Is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation lets businesses hire top talent on an on-demand basis for specific projects. 

What is another word for staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation may also be known as staff extension or team extension.

To implement it, you have to assess your project requirements and skill gaps and partner with a staffing agency to find suitable candidates. You would then integrate these professionals into your team for the project duration. 

This lets you fill specific skill gaps easily, such as adding a programmer or an entire team of software engineers. For instance, a tech company can hire temporary cybersecurity professionals to support their in-house network security team.

Essentially, you scale your tech teams quickly and efficiently without the long-term commitment of traditional hiring or working with a full-time employee.

What’s more?

The staff augmentation model can be used for a long-term and short-term project, and for specific skill levels, from basic tasks to highly specialized work. 

This arrangement also offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness, allowing your business to adapt to changing project needs and market demands.

When Should You Choose Staff Augmentation?

Consider leveraging staff augmentation services when: 

  • Your internal team lacks the necessary expertise to complete a project.
  • Your organization doesn’t have the budget or infrastructure to hire full-time talent.
  • Your team faces temporary workload spikes and needs immediate support.
  • You’re facing tight deadlines and need to ensure deliverables are met without overextending your current team.
  • You prefer more direct control over your outsourced team to ensure quality and alignment with business objectives.

Now that you know how and when to leverage the strategy, let’s find out why you should consider staff augmentation services in the first place.

6 Compelling Benefits of Staff Augmentation

In today’s fast-paced business environment, many businesses are turning to staff augmentation as a go-to strategy to stay ahead of their competitors.

Here are eight key benefits that make it a game-changer:

1. Cost Savings

Staff augmentation lets you avoid hefty expenses commonly associated with a full-time employee, including salaries, training, benefits, and more. 

But that’s not all.
You also won’t incur overhead expenses for workspaces, equipment, and technology for the external staff.

Even better, a reputed staff augmentation services provider like Distillery offers a nearshore staff augmentation solution. This means you not only get expert help from nearby destinations like Argentina or Mexico but also enjoy cost savings thanks to the country’s lower salaries and living costs. 

2. Access to Advanced Expertise

A staff augmentation company can provide easy access to a larger talent pool of specialized experts that may not be available in-house. This approach is particularly beneficial in projects requiring a specialized skill or up-to-date knowledge.  

For example, a mobile development company can augment its team with an expert developer proficient in the latest programming frameworks, like React Native, to develop cross-platform mobile applications.  

3. Flexibility and Scalability

Staff augmentation makes it easy to bring in extra team members when things get busy and scale down during quieter times.

For example, a software development firm swamped with client work can bring in extra programmers quickly through staff augmentation to meet deadlines and deliverables. Once the projects end, they can scale back to their regular team size.  

This lets you adapt to workload changes quickly and gives you a competitive edge in a rapidly changing market environment.

4. Ease of Communication

The staff augmentation model facilitates more efficient interactions between the internal team and augmented staff. 

Your in-house project manager can assign tasks to the augmented team and manage sprints directly via project management apps. 

Plus, the augmented team can use the same communication tools and channels as a full-time employee.

What’s more?

Unlike traditional project outsourcing models, where language barriers and time zone differences can hinder effective communication, nearshore staff augmentation lets you choose experts within similar time zones or with shared language proficiencies. 

This ensures real-time collaboration, faster issue resolution, and consistency.

5. Increased Productivity

Staff augmentation service providers like Distillery offer tech talent who are well-versed in development methodologies like Agile and Lean. Adding such a team member can significantly elevate productivity because they can quickly integrate and contribute to your existing staff workflows.

Additionally, some staff augmentation companies also offer project management services. So, a project manager specialized in Agile methodologies, for instance, brought in through team augmentation, can optimize workflows and ensure more efficient use of your resources.

This strategic move not only enhances development process efficiency but also cultivates a more agile and responsive project atmosphere, ultimately leading to faster and more robust deliverables.

6. Improved Project Management Through Direct Team Oversight

Staff augmentation gives your in-house team direct control over the outsourced team, ensuring the work aligns closely with specific business objectives and industry standards.

Unlike traditional project outsourcing, where project control is in the hands of an external vendor, staff augmentation integrates external professionals into your existing organizational structure, allowing for greater oversight and direction.

What Are the Different Types of Staff Augmentation? 

Staff augmentation comes in various forms, each of which can be tailored to meet unique project requirements. 

Types of Staff Augmentation Based on Skill Levels

There are three staff augmentation models depending on the specific skill levels you need: 

  • Commodity-based augmentation: For non-specialized roles like data entry, offering a cost-effective solution for basic, temporary tasks. 
  • Skill-based augmentation: To hire skilled professionals, such as programmers adept in Java. While costlier, this model can help you handle complex tasks. 
  • Highly skilled augmentation: To recruit niche experts for advanced projects such as AI analytics. These experts are usually scarce and expensive. 

Geographical Models of Staff Augmentation

A staff augmentation model can also be differentiated by location:

  • Nearshore staff augmentation: To hire experts from nearby countries and leverage overlapping work hours, better collaboration, and reasonable cost savings.
  • Offshore staff augmentation: To hire staff from distant countries, often at a lower cost than nearshore countries but with possible cultural and language barriers. 
  • Onshore staff augmentation: To find teams in the same country. It facilitates smoother communication without cultural or language barriers but is costlier than the other models. 

Types of Staff Augmentation Based on Engagement

The model can also be categorized depending on the way you integrate the augmented staff into your team:

  • Traditional staffing providers: To hire temporary staff for tasks like web development, but they may lack highly specialized skills, such as in blockchain architecture. 
  • Single vendor staffing providers: For hiring all roles from a single source, ensuring consistency. 
  • Specialized staffing and consulting firms: To tap into niche expertise for industries like tech or finance. This is suitable for businesses with a large budget looking for specialized knowledge.
  • Freelancers and on-demand platforms: Lets you connect with independent professionals for short-term tasks. This approach offers flexibility and broad skill sets. 
  • On-site staff augmentation: It lets you bring in skilled professionals to work within your physical office space, enabling direct collaboration and oversight.
  • Remote staff augmentation: Helps collaborate with global experts possessing diverse skills (e.g. remote developers). This approach works best if you have robust productivity-tracking tools in place.

That said, implementing team augmentation can have some bumps along the way.

Let’s take a look:

4 Key Challenges of Staff Augmentation

From cultural alignment to navigating language barriers, here are five key hurdles to consider (if you don’t entrust this process to a reputed staff augmentation provider):

  • It can get costly: While staff augmentation offers initial cost savings, the ongoing costs of repeatedly hiring and training short-term staff can accumulate, especially for long-term projects.
  • Augmented team may not have institutional knowledge: The external talent might lack deep company insights, limiting their understanding and application of your company’s internal practices, goals, and core values. 
  • Language barriers may lead to communication issues: In offshore staff augmentation models, the internal and external teams may speak different languages. This may lead to miscommunication, costly project errors, and delays. 
  • May have to pay hidden costs: Hidden costs can arise from communication challenges, potential delays in project handovers, and training the external staff on your internal processes and tools.

Wondering if staff augmentation is the right choice for your business?

To help you make an informed decision, let’s check how staff augmentation compares with other popular outsourcing models. 

Staff Augmentation vs Other Outsourcing Models

As we’ve seen, staff augmentation lets you hire external talent to fill specific skill gaps in your projects. The outsourcing partner also handles recruitment and payroll tasks while you retain direct project oversight. 

Now here’s how staff augmentation services differ from managed services, project-based consulting, and more:

  • Managed services: This is a long-term outsourcing model where you hire a third-party provider to fully manage processes or systems like cyber security, including its ongoing maintenance and support. 
  • Project-based consulting: This is a temporary staff engagement where you hire external consultants for their expertise on a specific project. They would typically provide strategic advice and solutions rather than integrating into your team.
  • independent contractor: This is when you work with self-employed individuals directly. As a result, you’re responsible for contract negotiations and HR-related tasks like legal compliance and payment.
  • Dedicated team model: A dedicated team is a group of experts who focus exclusively on your projects for an extended period of time. They are an extension of your business but operate independently, often with their own management and processes.
  • Offshore development centers: These are permanent operational branches of your company based in a foreign country

Next, we’ll share some tips to level up your staff augmentation game. 

9 Proven Steps for Successful Staff Augmentation

Making staff augmentation work requires a strategic approach. 

These nine steps will ensure you realize the full potential of your staff augmentation services:

1. Identify Your Company’s Skill Gaps, Needs, and Timelines

Conduct a thorough analysis to pinpoint the specific skills your current team lacks (for example, expertise in machine learning algorithms or Agile project management). 

Next, outline your project’s objectives and the timeframe for achieving them. This ensures you get external staff who can hit the ground running and deliver on your company’s vision within the set timelines.

2. Estimate Your Budget and Opt for a Relevant Pricing Model

A well-estimated budget ensures you don’t overspend and gives you a better idea of the expertise you can afford. 

For example, budgeting can help you determine if you can hire a senior software developer with specialized skills or opt for a mid-level developer to avoid breaking the bank. 

You’ll also need to choose a suitable pricing model: 

  • Time and material: Pay only for the actual time and resources used. It’s ideal for projects where the scope isn’t clearly defined and might change over time.
  • Fixed price: Pay a set amount for a specific scope of work, regardless of the time and resources used. This model is ideal for projects with well-defined requirements and timelines.
  • Monthly retainer: Pay a fixed monthly fee for ongoing staff augmentation services. This model is suitable for long-term collaborations with predictable workloads.

3. Select a Credible Staff Augmentation Partner

Look for a staff augmentation company with proven expertise in your industry. For example, a reliable staff augmentation partner like Distillery offers a varied portfolio of software developers and other tech specialists who can cater to your specific project needs.

Review customer testimonials and speak to references to better gauge their track record. 

Don’t forget to review their recruitment processes to ensure they source talent that meets your project’s skill requirements.

4. Draft Comprehensive Contracts and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Contracts are formal agreements between you and the outsourcing partner that define job responsibilities, payment, and other terms, ensuring a clear and compliant professional relationship. 

In contrast, SLAs are specific agreements within the contract that define service expectations, like quality, responsibilities, availability, and benchmarks. 

For example, in an SLA for an augmented team, benchmarks might include specific performance metrics like code quality standards and response times for support queries. This way, both teams know what is expected of them. 

5. Establish Proper Communication Channels

Ensure your internal and external teams agree on mutual communication tools so nothing slips through the cracks. For example, use emails for formal queries and instant messaging tools like Slack for instant issue resolution. 

Set up communication protocols, like who the point of contact will be during emergencies. 

It’s also a good idea to schedule weekly video calls with the external professionals to track project progress and share feedback. 

6. Provide Necessary Training

It’s essential to train your augmented staff to bring them up to speed with your company’s practices, standards, and tools. 

For example, customized training on your project management software ensures that your augmented staff member can immediately contribute without a learning curve.

7. Set up Relevant KPIs and Evaluation Mechanisms

KPIs help monitor team productivity and the overall effectiveness of staff augmentation. A few of the important KPIs you can track are:

  • Time-to-productivity: Tracks how quickly an augmented staff member becomes fully productive after joining the team, reflecting the efficiency of the onboarding process.
  • Productivity index: Assesses whether the augmented staff’s work meets, exceeds, or falls short of expected performance levels.
  • Project completion rate: Measures the percentage of projects completed on time by augmented teams, indicating their success in meeting deadlines and project goals.

Moreover, regular evaluations help catch problems early. For example, you should measure the frequency and quality of code reviews conducted by augmented software developers. This will ensure they quickly identify coding issues or software bugs before they become costly fixes.

8. Document Your Project Processes and Ensure a Smooth Knowledge Transfer

Establish a centralized repository for project information. This way, vital knowledge is kept in-house and can be accessed by a team member even after the augmented staff has left. 

Additionally, plan for turnovers with strategies like exit interviews and handover documents to retain outgoing members’ insights.

9. Ensure Data Security and Legal Compliance 

Signing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) prevents the misuse of any intellectual property (design, code, and proprietary information) you share with your partner. 

You should also develop a comprehensive incident response plan detailing immediate actions, notification protocols, and mitigation strategies for data security breaches.

To be double-safe, always check the data security provisions of the outsourcing country. 

For instance, staff augmentation companies in Argentina should adhere to the TRIPS agreement, ensuring minimum intellectual property rights standards and providing dispute resolution among World Trade Organization members.

Got a few more questions?

Staff Augmentation: FAQs

Here are the answers to a few questions you may still have about staff augmentation:

1. How does staff augmentation differ from hiring temporary workers?

Unlike temporary workers who are often sourced to fill short-term, non-specialized roles, augmented staff are integrated into the existing team structure and work alongside the permanent staff, usually on strategic and complex projects.

2. What are the typical timelines for bringing augmented staff on board?

The onboarding time for augmented staff can vary based on the role and level of expertise required. Typically, the process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. 

Skill-based augmentation may require a longer period due to the niche expertise involved, while commodity-based augmentation for more general skills can be quicker.

3. What happens if an augmented staff member is not a good fit?

If an augmented staff member does not fit well with the team or project, the staff augmentation partner typically has a process in place for replacement. This usually involves providing feedback to the partner and initiating a search for a replacement candidate. 

The terms for this process should be outlined in the contract or service level agreement (SLA) to ensure a smooth transition with minimal impact on the project.

Now, here’s the exciting part: 

You don’t have to go through these complex and time-consuming processes alone.

Augment Your Team Easily with Distillery’s Nearshore Tech Talent

Distillery is an award-winning company that offers an expert nearshore staff augmentation service in Latin America. We address your software development needs with expert software engineers and advanced tech in over nine different time zones — without compromising quality. 

Here’s what we offer:

  • We help augment your team with expert tech talent without the costs of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.
  • We offer experts in nearly all engineering and product development areas — from mobile app development to QA testing. They can join your team within just a few weeks.
  • Our flexible tech talent fits in perfectly with your team while you retain day-to-day project control.
  • We leverage our custom Service Delivery Approach (SDA) to ensure smooth onboarding, minimized risks, and effective communication. 
  • We also offer a dedicated team model and full-cycle, end-to-end custom software development

Ready to Elevate Your Business Trajectory with Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a powerful outsourcing strategy for businesses looking to supercharge their existing team with specialized skills.

You can forget long recruitment processes and say hello to advanced technical expertise and enhanced project management.

What’s better?
Opting for nearshore staff augmentation will combine the benefits of traditional staff augmentation with the advantages of cultural similarities, closer time zones, and cost-effectiveness, making it a more efficient approach for your business.

Get in touch with Distillery right away.