IT Staff Augmentation 101: How to Overcome The Top 5 Staff Augmentation Challenges

IT staff augmentation is hiring third-party experienced IT specialists that allows numerous benefits. Among them, there are smooth scaling-up and down of your business, technologies diversification, flexibility, uninterrupted capacity during relocation, focus on your core business and other benefits. However, together with the benefits, you can face some IT staff augmentation challenges, like communication and legal issues, mismatched expectations and difficulties with finding the right team.

Hopefully, in the article, we’ve summed up the ways to overcome all IT staff augmentation challenges and make technology staff augmentation extremely profitable to your business. Let’s have a closer look!

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Scaling up teams with offshore developers is slowly becoming a new trend. The trend that allows staying ahead of competitors, getting access to a greater talent pool, reducing time to market, diversifying technologies and gives other benefits. The perks are numerous. Staff augmentation is common not only in the IT-sphere, but it’s especially prevalent in it. Engineers experience ongoing pressure to deliver a quality product within a brief span. The shortage of resources makes IT companies go for IT staff augmentation to outsell their competitors, meet the deadlines, win over clients, and satisfy the quality requirements of the customers.

So, what is staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation is the short-term hiring of third-party workers to satisfy the current objectives of the company. IT staff augmentation is staffing projects with needed IT specialists: developers, QA testers, business analysts, project managers, etc. (usually remote ones). The Covid-19 has proved that remote work can be quite effective. So, now more and more businesses are choosing IT outsourcing despite all the staff augmentation challenges (more on this below). 

Do staff augmentation, managed services, and project outsourcing mean the same?

Even though the difference between these three terms is quite subtle, and many people tend to use the term outsourcing for all three models, each of them means something different.

  • Staff augmentation allows you to hire outsourcing developers at any point of your project’s cycle to fill skill gaps or speed up the delivery. 
  • Managed services is the delivery of IT solutions on a long-term basis.
  • And finally, project outsourcing is the practice of handling the entire project or its part by an outsourcing team.
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What are the benefits of IT staff augmentation? 

Companies tend to go for staff augmentation for a variety of reasons:

Smooth scaling-up and down.

Finding and onboarding new in-house employees takes time and effort. They especially complicated this when searching for someone with specific skills and great expertise. But IT staff augmentation helps get rid of such a challenge as you can hire a team of professionals who have already worked on the projects like yours. It also eliminates such a problem as overstaffing. When the project is delivered, there is no need to continue cooperation with the team. So, it’s untroubled to cut your team down and transfer your finances to new projects.

Flexibility.

Staff outsourcing gives you more time and geographical flexibility. If you are facing some urgent technical issue that needs to be handled immediately, your outsourcing team (for example, from Eastern Europe) can take care of it while your local developers are still sleeping.

An opportunity to meet deadlines and increase output.

If you are working on a project that needs to be delivered immediately, looking for experienced developers can stop you from meeting the deadline. Working with an outsourcing team, on the other hand, can help deliver the project faster and reduce time to the market. 

An opportunity to have uninterrupted capacity during transformation or relocation.

When your company is expanding and you’re opening a new branch or moving to a new location, it can be useful to have a team that ensures that your work goes forward while you’re completing the team. 

Focus on core business.

While outsourcing your software development, your internal team can focus on the key for your business needs while outsourcing developers cover the workload.

However, it’s difficult to say that IT staff augmentation is exactly a win-win strategy for your business. It does have its challenges and we are going to show you the other side of the coin.

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So what are the main IT staff augmentation challenges?

Challenge #1: communication issues.

One of the biggest challenges for any remote work is communication issues. The language barrier and non-responsive developers are real headaches for any business. Besides, it’s easier to face difficulties when you are cooperating with the team with another mentality – hence, coping with a cultural misfit. Broken deadlines, unclear reporting, inability to get the message through – all this can be an actual nightmare for any business owner. 

Addressing the challenge: carry out English interviews before the start of cooperation, use up-to-date means of communication (Slack, Jira, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and others, use agile methodologies (Scrum), perform regular reviews, create a transparent reporting system, make sure your team has a clear understanding of your specific requirements. Agree on the workflow with comfortable communication channels for both parties, have routine communication sessions at least once a week to make sure you stay on the same page, and all problems can be dealt with immediately in case they arise.

Challenge #2: mismatched expectations.

Mismatched expectations are usually the consequence of a poor understanding of how the ready product should look and function.

Addressing the challenge: communicate clear expectations with your partner from the beginning. Collect feedback from the clients they worked with before, read reviews, search for their communication records. Once you’ve chosen your outsourcing team, document your project parameters, deadlines, and communication schedule. If you choose the right team, you will get transparent updates from the very beginning, so that you know your team is on the right track and is leading your project to success. 

Challenge #3: finding experienced professionals.

The shortage of talent in the USA and Western Europe is a very acute problem these days. For example, in the UK, over 69% of business leaders confirm that there is a digital skills gap in their companies. That’s why more and more companies opt for offshore dedicated developers in popular destinations (Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia).

Addressing the challenge: assess the reviews from the companies your potential team worked before, ask for successful case studies in your industry, carry out technical interviews and ask the candidates to solve complicated engineering tasks, look for the provider who has cases in your industry and with the businesses of your size. Make sure your partner complies with security standards (ISO or industry-specific certifications, like PCI DSS, HIPAA). Have an introductory call to figure out all important issues (onboarding, legal issues, PM, best practices in testing, DevOps, etc.).

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Challenge #4: cost.

Many businesses that go for outsourcing usually worry about the following issues: how much time and money will be spent before the team can do the job you are paying for, and whether the investment will be worthwhile.

Addressing the issue: when choosing the right dedicated team, you can be sure that it has already worked with a bunch of projects like yours – hence is familiar with the best tools and practices to jump into work as soon as possible. Secondly, just think about all the costs you have to pay for an in-house development team (health insurance, retirement benefits, legal requirements, training and other stuff). With an outsourcing team, you are free from all these headaches.

What is more, according to the Global Outsourcing Survey 2020 by Deloitte, cost reduction is the main reason to outsource. The COVID-19 plays a significant role here because the uncertain economic situation is switching the focus back to the numbers. Besides, it’s easier to measure the impact on cost than to assess the benefits of scalability, flexibility, and tech enablement in a way that withstands forensic analysis. “Cost may not be what drives a deal to the table, but dinner isn’t over until the bill has been paid.”

Challenge #5: legal issues.

A poorly made contract may have poor effects on your project, as well as your entire business: information leakage, unexpected bills, loss of control over the quality and other issues. 

Addressing the challenge: include penalties in case of non-compliance to the contract terms by any of the parties, data protection rules, non-solicitation clauses. Proceed with your cooperation under NDA regulations. Also, include in your contract terms for invoice issuing and invoice payment. Besides, it’s important to include the governing law if the contract is international. It’s better to cooperate with a lawyer who will help to prevent escalation of legal issues and make sure the contract covers all critical aspects.   

Wrapping up

Despite all the benefits IT staff augmentation gives to many businesses around the globe (like an opportunity of smooth and untroubled scaling-up and down, output increase, flexibility, uninterrupted capacity during transformation or relocation), it does have certain challenges you should be aware of before going for technology staff augmentation. Keeping in mind all the issues that could arise while searching for and working with an outsourcing team can turn staff augmentation into a win-win strategy for your company and can help you become more successful in the market.