Staff augmentation is the new wonder child of the tech industry.
The idea behind remote staff augmentation is to fill skill gaps in projects using talented remote workers. It’s becoming a buzzword in IT because it allows companies to keep control of a project while hiring a top remote worker to take on key elements of a project. As you can imagine, this kind of dynamic team-building in the IT world is ideal.
How Does Staff Augmentation Work?
What is staff augmentation? Imagine that your company just received a key project from a prestigious firm. It’s a big project that will require a robust team with a diverse skill set. Your in-house team just doesn’t have the right skills to complete the project. To top it off, they’re swamped with other important tasks. You’re going to need to boost your team quickly - and stay within budget. Here’s where staff augmentation can really help you stay nimble.
Remote staff augmentation lets you hand-pick a team for a short-term project. In this case, you can hire remote workers with the programming skills you need, just for this project. This way, you won’t have to go through the recruitment process for a new in-house developer, especially when you know that after this project you won’t need his/her skills. Instead, you can hire a remote worker to fill this specific skill gap without long-term commitment. That’s staff augmentation at its finest.
Benefits of Staff Augmentation
There are numerous ways that staff augmentation can help IT companies. Here are some of the top reasons:
- Build Dynamic, Specialized Teams: Depending on your projects, you may need employees with unique skill sets. With remote staff augmentation, you can build teams with specific talents and goals in mind.
- Discover Exciting Global Talent: If you’re having trouble finding talented local talent, staff augmentation can help. There’s a diverse pool of global talent out there that can meet your staffing needs.
- Maintain Control of Projects: Instead of outsourcing an entire project, staff augmentation lets you maintain control of a project. In this way, you can ensure quality and also control the way resources are used.
- Focus on The Project, not The Logistics: Staff augmentation lets you focus on the project at hand. For many companies, hiring remote workers through a specialized agency (like TECLA) can save them the pain of dealing with payroll, HR and other administrative duties. This can save your company lots of logistical headaches.
- Leverage Company Resources: Remote staff augmentation means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can easily use existing resources and processes to complete projects - just with the helping hand of a remote worker. You also won’t waste your company’s in-house talent or established practices.
- Save on Costs: With staff augmentation, there’s no need to recruit new in-house employees for every project. You’ll avoid the costs involved in having too many in-house employees and you won’t waste money on new equipment and skill development.
- Keep stable client-facing relationships: A key part of a project’s success is having a stable client-facing relationship. Unlike outsourcing, remote staff augmentation lets you maintain key team members so that your client relationships don’t suffer.
Challenges of Staff Augmentation
Of course, remote staff augmentation isn’t without its challenges. Here are a few tips for overcoming problem areas in staff augmentation:
- Clarify Company Policies: Because staff augmentation relies on “external” help, it’s important to clarify the company’s policies and expectations. You’ll need to keep your remote workers up to speed on the company’s specific practices.
- Boost Management: Remote staff augmentation involves lots of moving parts. You’ll need more oversight and management over dynamic teams. In particular, you’ll need to consider hiring talented managers to ensure that communication and results are high-quality.
- Ensure Internal Practices: Using remote staff augmentation also requires clear and efficient internal practices. The process is everything when it comes to dynamic teams, so they better be working well.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Projects that use remote workers rely on great communication. It’s important to use quality communication tools such as Skype or Slack to keep in touch with your remote team members and what they’re working on.
- Distinguish In-House and Remote Workers: It’s important to note how in-house employees and remote workers are different. You’ll have to make sure your teams are working together, while also keeping clear the benefits and boundaries of each kind of worker.
Hybrid Models of Staff Augmentation
Staff augmentation works best when there are clear project schedules and needs. For example, you may resort to remote staff augmentation when your in-house staff is overworked on current projects, you can’t find quality local talent, a key employee has taken a leave of absence or you temporarily need a specific skill set.
By nature, models of remote staff augmentation are dynamic and hybrid. Depending on your needs, you may need part-time or full-time remote workers. You’ll also need a hybrid between in-house and remote workers for the project to be successful.
In general, it’s recommended to keep an in-house team for skills that you consistently need, as well as skilled managers. From there, you can fill other needs using remote staff augmentation. Remember that if you find yourself using the same remote worker, again and again, you may consider hiring him/her as an in-house team member.
Staff Augmentation Process Flows
Process flows involving a hybrid model of in-house and remote workers should be clear. It’s key that this process flows to focus on quality control using the following basic steps:
- Project Proposal and Schedule
- Hiring of Remote Workers for Skill Gaps
- Deadlines for Project Milestones
- Work, Feedback, and Rework
- Testing and Approval
Many IT companies are using digital tools like Trello or Evernote to better keep track of working remotely. Depending on your project, you’ll need to assign these steps to different team members. Generally speaking, it works well if you have an in-house manager to take care of high-level concerns, such as the project schedule, feedback, and testing. Regardless of how you decide to assign the process flow, communication is king. Your in-house and remote workers should know what to deliver and when.
The IT world has become increasingly fast-paced and deadline-driven, making it hard for companies to meet their client's needs. Staff augmentation is an ideal solution for adapting your company’s resources for these ever-changing projects. With it, you’ll be able to mine a global talent pool, save on costs and focus on your company’s strengths.
Create dynamic teams for your IT projects using staff augmentation!