The idea of staff augmentation and outsourcing first emerged decades ago as a viable business model that helped manufacturers achieve their targets, cost-effectively. Since the early days, this business philosophy has gone on to support business process operations, customer service, software development, and more.
Today, both established multinationals and startups are faced with the perpetual tech talent shortage. So the discussion about whether it’s a good idea to offshore development comes up often.
However, for startups in particular, this is not always an easy decision. For founders, there is often that pressure to deliver. So completely depending on an outsourcing partner can quickly feel quite daunting.
But it doesn’t have to be!
We now live in the digital age, and our working culture is drastically different. Today, organizations don’t have to be limited by geography or restrictive budgets. They can accommodate remote workers living down the street or on the other side of the planet.
This means that founders and product owners can breathe a little easier. Staff augmentation essentially fuses the benefits of outsourcing development and building in-house with your own team.
Startups that decide to take this route to application development will be well placed to accelerate growth and profitability. But how do you do it? How do you ensure that it works like a well-oiled machine?
Before you race to augment your development team, it’s critical to understand what you’re trying to achieve.
At Intersog, we have extensive experience augmenting different development teams across North America, Europe, and Israel. Subsequently, the following is based on years of experience working with different augmented software development teams.
1. Clearly Define Your Staff Augmentation Goals
Whether you’re offshoring or nearshoring development, it’s important to accept that outsourcing isn’t an elixir for your startup woes. It can only be as effective as the goals you set for your team and yourself.
When you don’t set clearly defined goals (right from the beginning), failure will probably be inevitable. You’ll also risk ruining professional relationships that could be a critical asset in the future.
So it’s important to be clear. Since time to market can make or break your business, be excruciatingly specific about what you are trying to achieve.
What’s important in this scenario is that everyone is on the same page during each iteration. When everyone is focused on the same goals, you have a better chance of building a marketable digital product.
2. Engage a Third-Party Outsourcing Partner
It’s also important to do your homework and identify an established outsourcing partner. This is because recruitment can be time and resource-intensive. Meaning, if you want to accelerate growth, cost-effectively, outsourcing recruitment to an established partner is your best bet.
If you take a traditional approach, you will be wasting a lot of time. There can also be unforeseen problems that can stand in the way of rapid development.
For example, by the time you identify and hire a potential candidate, you won’t be sure if they’ll work well together with your team. By then, you would have had to provide a competitive salary and benefits package to get them on board.
Consequently, hiring the wrong person and then getting rid of them can also have devastating consequences for startups striving to get off the ground.
However, a third-party partner will be able to help you augment your team as needed. They will already have a talent pool of professionals who are highly experienced in working independently, remotely, and on-premise.
One benefit that’s not obvious is the fact that companies have to often invest in new hardware, software licenses, memberships, and other operational overhead expenses (like furniture and office supplies).
These costs quickly add up but don’t even factor into the equation when you engage a nearshore development provider. It’s also a robust solution to the chronically high turnover rates within the technology field.
So in this scenario, third-party development providers can help accelerate growth, cost-effectively.
3. Clearly Define Team Roles and Implement Workflows
Once you have selected all your team members, it’s essential to clearly define the role each person will play in the team. Whether your team members are based on-premise or in Guadalajara, Mexico, they have to know what they are expected to contribute to the project.
This approach is also an excellent way to assign responsibility. Team leaders and project managers can then ensure that individual tasks are completed on time.
When the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, developers can also provide feedback, share ideas, and propose the best ways to improve throughout each iteration. Often, augmented teams have the best ideas of how they could improve, work faster, and (hopefully) increase profits.
However, for staff augmentation to be effective, you’ll have to implement workflows from day one. This is the easiest way to communicate the individual steps demanded by the project, who it has been assigned to, when they need to be completed, and when meetings are scheduled.
4. Leverage Available Management and Communications Tools
Startups use a variety of project management methodologies to ensure that software applications are completed on time and budget.
Whether you go with Agile, DevOps, or Waterfall, it’ll be important to use relevant tools to adhere to quality standards. All while staying within the scope of the project, and monitor progress.
Some popular project management tools and technologies are as follows:
As your whole team won’t be working on the project on-premise, keeping communication channels open will be vital to success. In our experience, project management messaging tools like Slack are perfect for working in augmented development teams.
5. Document Everything!
Both startups and corporate giants alike can benefit from extensive documentation. When it comes to software development, code documentation will be crucial to keeping the project moving, seamlessly.
Documenting workflows, meetings, and communication is important. But code documentation is critical to keeping a record of the code at every stage of development.
This approach will make it much easy for a new developer to come in and integrate with the rest of the team, seamlessly. It’s also one of the best ways to identify bugs in the code.
Documentation also makes it painless to update and maintain the application. However, before you proceed with documenting everything, make sure that there is a system in place.
In this scenario, it’ll be useful to leverage tools that can help you develop your approach to code documentation and other essential development practices.
Some popular documentation tools are as follows:
The five tips above can help you run a highly productive and successful augmented development team. However, it’ll only work if your business itself is built on a highly adaptable “Agile” philosophy.
If your management structure or workplace culture is rigid, it’ll be challenging to integrate augmented staff.
Working in augmented teams will be like working in any other group. There will be strong personalities, conflicts, and everything else that goes with the human experience.
As a result, it’s vital to maintain a culture of flexibility and encourage feedback at every opportunity. Your outsourcing staffing partner can also help walk you through this whole process. Do you need help augmenting staff for your next development project? We can help, reach out to Intersog now!