Staff Augmentation

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What is staff augmentation?


Staff augmentation is an outsourcing strategy that augments the capacity of your in-house development by temporarily hiring out-of-house talent.


Staff augmentation is like renting a movie.

It's a late night after a long day of work. You're ready to kick off your shoes, change into the comfy PJs, and relax. You realize that you want to watch a movie, and you don't own the movie you want to watch.

Unfortunately, you don't make a lot of money and just spent your allowance on a brand new phone. So while you want to buy this new movie, you know that you fiscally aren't in the position to do so.

So, rather than buying the movie, you have the option to rent the movie. It will cost you less money so it financially makes sense. On the down-side, you don't own the movie, so it isn't yours to keep forever and do with what you want. You only get the movie for the amount of time that you rented it.

Once your time is up, you give the movie back and you don't have to pay for any of the overhead nor find any space to store it.

In other words:

Staff augmentation is the process of using temporary workers to fill short-term positions within your company.

Why is staff augmentation important?

It's one thing to know what a term means, but that is worthless if you don't know why you should know what staff augmentation is in the first place. Let's break down the importance of this tech term based on two high level categories. We'll walk through an explanation as well as provide a score, 1-10, that shows you how much you should care about staff augmentation.

Pre-Product: 4/10

The first will be if you do not have a product yet. This means that you don't have a physical product. Maybe you're in the ideation phase, or maybe you're almost ready to start development. Whichever it is, we'll get into why staff augmentation is important and why you should or shouldn't care about it if you do not have a product.

If you don't have a product yet, you likely don't need to worry about this term as you have many more things to worry about! If you are on the path of getting your product built, then it may be worth familiarizing yourself with this term.

Live Product: 7/10

The second category is if you do have a live product. Maybe you just launched your business or maybe it's been live for years and you're continuing to improve its quality. Regardless of the scenario, if your product is live, staff augmentation carries a different weight.

If you have a product then this is definitely a term to know! If you are tight on money or just need some temporary support, this is the path that you can take. You don't need to augment your team, but that option is open if you want to accelerate your development roadmap without hiring full-time employees.

Examples of staff augmentation

So you know what staff augmentation is, by definition. You know if you should care about it or not depending on your situation as a business/company/product. To dig in deeper, we will walk through some examples so we can make sure you really have a solid grasp on staff augmentation.

Staff augmentation scenarios:

Let's imagine that ACME Corp. is a software company with a radical B2B software product that improves a company's advertising ROI through proprietary algorithms that optimize your search engine ad campaigns. We're going to walk through three examples as to how ACME Corp. leverages staff augmentation.

  1. ACME Corp. needs to hire more developers to maintain their progress, but they don't have the time nor budget to source new talent, onboard the new hires, and integrate them with their team.

    It's an all out frenzy for ACME Corp. as they are signing new Clients left and right. Without the bandwidth to hire new resources in-house, they look towards an agency to help them fill their gap. The agency provides resources who are proficient in ACME Corp.'s technology stack, adding an army of new engineers who can support the in-house team. Since this demand is temporary, ACME Corp. signed the outsourced team on for a 6-month period. This outsourced team is also cheaper than the hourly rate of hiring an in-house employee, so it solves their budget issue as well. They've determined that after 6 months, they will have caught up to demand and their in-house team will be capable of maintaining their progress, so they only utilize these augmented resources for the amount of time that they need them for.
  2. ACME Corp. has a tight deadline to release a new version of their product, but their website also needs to be re-designed based off user feedback.

    ACME Corp.'s investors are putting a lot of pressure on them. They need to hit this deadline or else they will face major repercussions in their growth trajectory. The in-house team is focused solely on keeping their development progress up to speed. However, ACME Corp.'s marketing department discovered that they have critical website updates that need to be made in order to strengthen their site's usability. ACME Corp. can't afford to pull their resources off of their product, so they work with an outsourced agency to fill the gap, leveraging temporary developers to work on their website needs to ensure that their core team can stay focused on the higher priority product release.
  3. ACME Corp. needs to build a custom solution for an enterprise Client that requires a specific coding language to be used.

    A Fortune 100 Client just signed up with ACME Corp. to utilize their technology. This company wants to leverage ACME Corp.'s algorithm but also needs ACME Corp to provide a custom dashboard so they can see the results of the product on their own internal legacy system. The Client has been around for decades, so their internal system is using a very old development language that nobody on the ACME Corp. development team is proficient in. In order to meet the Client's demands, ACME Corp. works with an agency that has developers who are proficient in this language, this way the outsourced team can focus on the Client's request while the in-house team can continue working on their backlog of work.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Staff augmentation is the process of using temporary workers to fill short-term positions within your company.
  2. If you don't have a product, you don't need to worry just yet about what staff augmentation is.
  3. If you do have a product, you should understand what staff augmentation is and how you can go about it.
  4. Staff augmentation can be used to help accelerate your development roadmap, free up your in-house engineers time, work with new skills, and save you money.
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