Team Augmentation vs. Staff Augmentation

Wide Angle View Of Busy Design Office With Workers At Desks

Organizations in need of qualified IT talent for short term projects or spikes in software development demand staff augmentation. Staff augmentation is the temporary engagement of individuals via recruitment agencies. The individuals often look and feel like full time employees in their routine and the manner in which work is delegated to them. However, there is another option: Team Augmentation.

Team augmentation is a service provided by established software firms to supplement the resource needs of client organizations. Chicago Software Solutions program, Team Plus, provides such resources.



The similarities between Staff Augmentation and Team Augmentation include:
– Direct control of a project.
In both cases, you are not seeking to hand off the reins of the project to an outside firm, but rather intend to directly lead the project or projects.

– Direct management of the individuals.
Similarly, you are not interested in dealing with your new team members via the proxy of an outside firm. You want direct communication and transparency into their work. In many cases, this also means having the contractor spending at least some of their week on site and using your equipment and collaboration tools.

– A consistent work schedule.
You expect to have people readily available for calls and meetings.

– Integrated into your existing team.
You are looking for a cohesive unit; both approaches achieve this goal.

– Confidentiality and protection of your Intellectual Property.
A team augmentation model has the same or even a higher level of IP protection when compared to staff augmentation.

However, there are several key differences. These include:
– Existing team members.
Individuals provided in team augmentation are existing team members of the software development company so they are not being "tested out" at your expense.

– Ability to adjust throughout.
Team augmentation arrangements tend to be more flexible, allowing you to periodically slow or stop work, and even run at only a few hours a week when your projects simply need operational support.

– Team support.
With team augmentation, there is an opportunity to tap into the diverse knowledge of your technology partner’s staff.

– Not Contract-to-hire.
In most cases, the consultants provided via team augmentation are not going to be available for hire.

Misconceptions about Cost
There is a common misconception that the costs of team augmentation exceed those of staff augmentation. While rates in team augmentation are often, but not always higher, there are many overlooked costs in staff augmentation.

Contractors through staff augmentation and the agencies that represent them require you to commit to full time work (typically 40 hours per week) or otherwise risk losing the individuals. How do you account for ups and downs in the volume of work? With team augmentation, you have the ability to scale hours up or down based the current demand.

Some other key factors have both cost and potential impact on your projects. The first is recruitment time. With staff augmentation, you are expected to interview and vet each candidate. There is an inherent cost in terms of the time of you and your team with this effort, which does not even account for the turnaround.

The next hurdle after engagement is the unknown reliability. You gave your best effort to vet a quality candidate but soon see whether or not they are up to the task. If they are not, you are back to square one. In contrast, the experience with team augmentation is quicker and the team members are known quantity.

Last but not least, what do you do with the operational support? If your project is complete, how do you support your project when your temporary contractor has moved on? With your team augmentation partner, you can receive ongoing support with or without a retainer.

Whether you need additional resources to augment an understaffed team, are experiencing a spike in work and demand, or are merely in need of additional expertise, consider engaging our team augmentation service, Team Plus.