Your company meets a challenge that your own IT team cannot handle. Should you expand it yourself? Or trust a third-party subcontractor with a whole lot of control? The solution you may need is IT staff augmentation, a service between traditional hiring and contracting freelancers. This form of team management is becoming increasingly popular and for a bunch of reasons.
Constant Extension vs. Ad Hoc
A standard IT team may do well when it comes to standard tasks, like administering your local hardware and software, keeping licenses active, providing access to the Internet, maintaining online resources, and so on. But what if suddenly you have a very specific job to do? These situations may include:
- Modifying a CMS so that it meets your requirements;
- Developing a mobile or desktop app;
- Creating media materials that require special skills;
- Using a programming language none of your employees knows.
An augmentation service may offer you professionals that specialize in Java, Node.js, Python, .NET, machine learning, and so on. These skills may be needed by your company in certain situations and for a limited time only. The conditions are specified in the contract, so all the sides know the tasks and the duration of the collaboration. It can be prolonged if necessary, and, depending on the needs, the augmenting team can be expanded or shrunk.
If you had to hire these specialists as your employees, this would have caused a bunch of problems. Your HR branch would be loaded with work. The employees would have needed a payroll. You might have to review your activity to have these employees loaded. It might have been a problem to fire one you don’t need anymore or to predict when the contract should expire. With an augmentation team service, none of these is up to you.
Neither have you to calculate the working hours of these new employees, care about their vacations and days off. The vendor retains full control of the environment and holds full responsibility for the employees’ performance.
Why Augmentation Works
Forming a team is quite a mission. But when approached right, it is possible. What tasks arise before an augmentation team?
- Providing skills and expertise the client’s team lacks;
- Building an effective relationship between the client’s team and the augmentation team;
- Resource planning and budgeting;
- Task distribution and load control ensuring maximum efficiency;
- Delivering the service right, thus enabling the joint team to fulfill the tasks.
This is achieved through an elaborate specific form of management that focuses on defining the client’s needs and shaping the best augmentation offer. In fact, it’s like a smart exoskeleton, upgrading your own abilities to an entirely new level.
It usually takes up to one week for the new members to join the team. Technically, they are not your employees: they work for their vendor. It doesn’t get in the way of your productive communication and cooperation. Not only do they contribute with the expertise your project needs: they are also selected to meet the cultural requirements of your company, so their views do not contradict your company values.
Last but not least: the professionals ready to work in augmentation teams usually also have the necessary soft skills. They easily communicate with their new teammates, they speak the language you speak (including the professional slang you use), and they are easily accessible despite working remotely.
There are two extreme options when you need someone to do some specific work for your company. You can hire a professional (or several) and offer them a constant job, or contact a freelancer, probably a remote one. Both options have their pros and cons. For example, an employee would require a payroll, a workspace, and other benefits; in addition, you will have to search in areas where your company has many facilities. A remote freelancer keeps you away from all these pains, but you have almost no means to control your work.
Staff augmentation offers you the best of both worlds. Specialists involve through the vendor already have well-facilitated workspaces and all the equipment they need. They are employed by the vendor, so if you hire several professionals, you only sign a single contract with the vendor instead of hiring and payrolling them all. If they live abroad, you won’t need to make international payments and delve into local laws at any issue. You do not have to control them, as this work is done by their direct employer. In addition, you can scale your augmenting team at any moment.
Can You Trust the Augmentation Team?
As we have said, there is a significant difference between contracting a freelancer and augmenting your team with pros with a staff augmentation service. With freelancers, it’s all about mutual trust. Though in general it works, lack of reciprocation from one can be critical if it’s the one you contract. It’s especially so if you collaborate directly, outside a freelance marketplace that ensures loyalty with escrowing features.
With a staff augmentation service, your collaboration is protected with a legal agreement you sign. There is no anonymity: the service does not work with freelancers either, and the employees are also contracted. This means no one will escape and change their identity leaving the work unfinished.
Yes, you can trust your augmentation service. If you find any of the employees unsuitable for your job or incompatible with the rest of the team, they can be replaced with no offense. Regular meetings and reports keep the process transparent to all sides. Collaboration models are flexible and easily respond to changing requirements. As a result, you get your staff enhanced with specialists that bring their expertise to the table and complete the set.
All the While We Do It Agile Style
The world as we know it today has been described as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). In this world, building plans is a good thing, but alertness suits the challenges better as they arise. It’s especially so in the IT branch, so your IT team will probably meet these challenges first. IT staff augmentation is the way to stay prepared for any situation that may happen. Whatever professionals you need, you will find them in days and get ready to work with your core team soon.