What is IT Staff Augmentation? Best Way to Extend Your Team

Rating — 5·11 min·July 18, 2023
What is IT Staff Augmentation? Best Way to Extend Your Team
What is IT Staff Augmentation? Best Way to Extend Your Team
IT staff augmentation is one of the software development outsourcing models that may help you to hire great talents and optimize development cost. Find out about its advantages and potential challenges.
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When looking for ways to quickly scale your team, you may have come across the option of IT staff augmentation. This is a tried and tested way to satisfy your business’s demands and hire new talent for remote, long-term, and stable cooperation.

But what is staff augmentation model about?

And should you really go for it?

In this article, we guide you through the characteristics of staff augmentation, highlight its advantages, and explain how to augment your team as quickly as possible.

How easy is it to hire IT specialists in 2021?

Hiring can be a headache.

Whether you work with an internal recruitment and HR team or delegate headhunting to an external agency, it takes a long time to hire an in-house engineer.

And over the past few years, the time required to fill open positions has only increased.

For example, in 2017, only 30% of companies managed to fill their open positions within 30 days on average. Others needed one to four months (and longer) to hire an employee.

average time to hire it specialists

The average time to hire depends on the industry. The IT industry had the fourth longest time to hire of all industries in 2018 according to Statista — 42 days on average.

average time to hire by industry

That said, the bigger the company, the less time it typically takes to hire a new employee. But even for companies with more than 5,000 employees, the average is still not less than 35 days.

There are always exceptions to a rule, you may think.


Google, a leader in the IT industry worldwide, used to invest months in a successful hire. Even with a team of trained recruiters and qualified interviewers, due to the company’s constant need for great talent, Google invested a great deal of time in hiring.

hiring challenges at google

And what’s going on now?

Since 2019, Google has been improving the interviewing process to cut time to hire. Other companies worldwide follow the example and try to hire new talents as fast as possible, too. But after the COVID-19 crisis, it gets more challenging to hire quickly as there is a myriad of opportunities for skilled specialists.

After a temporary shortage of positions in Q1–Q2 2020, the IT job market is booming.

“Despite the crisis, the number of jobs available for data managers and data engineers grew by more than 50% in 2020 compared to 2019. ”

IT job market and US national employment data provided by Janco Associates, Inc., shows positive trends in the number of IT jobs (with a record high in May 2021), salaries, and job market size.

it job market growing

That’s great news! But it comes with great challenges.

Today, it’s getting harder for companies and agencies to fill open IT positions. It takes more time, energy, and resources to find a perfect match and successfully hire a skilled engineer in-house in comparison to pre-COVID times.

All companies from small startups to Google-level enterprises are striving to work with the best talents in an unstable and challenging environment.

Are there any options for successful hiring?

In-house hiring vs outsourcing and IT staff augmentation

While it gets harder each day to extend your in-house team, you may consider outsourcing development.

Development outsourcing is a tried and tested way to delegate tasks to a remote team based either in the same country or abroad. Check out our article on outsourcing vs in-house hiring to find out more about the advantages of outsourcing.

Once you decide to outsource IT engineering tasks, you have two options to choose from:

  • Outsource an entire project to a dedicated development team
  • Hire as many specialists as you need to deal with particular tasks on your existing project

The latter option is the essence of IT staff augmentation.

In a nutshell, staff augmentation may be a profitable alternative to on-site hiring. You can hire as many specialists as you need to work with you remotely, and you can retain them for as long as you need. While doing this, you avoid all HR-related hassles and significantly cut your time to hire.

The sooner you hire a new engineer, the sooner you can roll out a business-changing product or update and outrun potential competitors.

Let’s take a closer look at the main advantages of IT staff augmentation.

Five advantages of IT staff augmentation that will change your business

How can you profit from IT staff augmentation services?

why choose it staff augmentation

  1. Access unique expertise

While your internal team has been working on a single product for months and years, a potential IT outsourcing partner has launched multiple apps.

One of the competitive advantages of outsourcing companies is their wide experience. Specialists at outsourcing companies work in a variety of domains and with many different apps and development tools. Unlike in-house specialists, they don’t focus on a single product for years. They surf from project to project, build solutions from scratch, and come up with unique architectural decisions which contribute to their overall experience.

If you’re looking for particular expertise and unique experience, it may be the right choice to consider IT staff augmentation. On the local market, your pool of candidates is limited. Combine that with post-COVID hiring challenges, and you can get a never-ending time to hire.

IT staff augmentation opens the door to the most experienced professionals worldwide who can take your business to the next level.

  1. Meet tight deadlines

An internal product development team may have a clear roadmap and well-defined plans but lack agility. They invest eight hours a day in growing your business and provide you with any engineering assistance.

However, when an unexpected obstacle emerges, they may fail to deal with it on time.

A balanced and calm work routine is common for product development teams. The rhythm these teams stick to for years helps them deliver great features and contribute to amazing products. But a need to react swiftly and keep up with tight deadlines may turn into a challenge for them.

Specialists hired via the team augmentation model are used to working in a fast-paced environment. They will prioritize critical tasks and work on them for as much time as needed to roll out expected functionality before the deadline. Additionally, broad experience allows them to predict pitfalls and discuss issues and risks with you before you define the release date.

  1. Scale rapidly

In the world of intense competition, it’s essential to scale rapidly.

If a potential competitor launches an app similar to yours faster, your chances to succeed decrease.

The earlier you notice a gap in the market, hire a team, work on improvements to your app, and launch demanded functionality, the easier it will be for you to win users’ attention.

This is why waiting several months to hire a single employee is unreasonable. While you mess around with CVs and interviews, rivals hire, code, and grow.

Staff augmentation is the way to save time on hiring and find new employees faster and with minimum effort. At the same time, specialists you obtain through staff augmentation will likely have the needed skills and deep expertise.

Besides, with staff augmentation, you can not only scale up quickly but scale down as well. As soon as the job is done, you can reduce contractors’ work hours with no penalties. Meanwhile, if you hire an in-house developer, you’re contractually obliged to keep on paying a salary even if there no longer are tasks in the backlog.

With IT staff augmentation, you hire when you need to, you regulate capacity according to your the needs of your project, and you pay only for hours worked.

  1. Delegate HR tasks

IT staff augmentation may help you to lower your participation in HR-related processes:

  • Recruitment

Do you have an in-house recruitment team?

Or do you delegate headhunting, interviewing, and hiring to an external agency?

In either case, you may need to invest much time and money in recruitment. External recruiters may find it hard to provide you with relevant candidates with the soft skills you’re looking for — candidates who share your vision and can become your new team players effortlessly.

Internal recruiters may have limited resources. While an external agency can use a huge candidate database, your company’s recruiters may have a smaller pool of candidates to select from.

The IT staff augmentation model means your development partner provides you with CVs of available developers who are ready to start working on your project. The service provider organizes interviews with developers if needed and handles the entire communication and organization processes. All you need to do is approve the best candidates.

An external partner should have deep expertise in talent engagement, allowing you to find the best specialists quickly. On average, it takes only several days from the moment you request team augmentation to the start of cooperation.

  • Employee retention

Hiring a new specialist is expensive. Replacing specialists when they decide to change their workplaces is even more expensive. After successfully hiring someone, you need to deal with another significant challenge: employee retention.

But do you?

Employee retention is a complex concept with multiple strategies and approaches. When opting for IT staff augmentation, you don’t necessarily need to dive into employee retention tactics and worry about how to make people stay. The service provider will take care of it.

Your potential development partner will handle all processes related to employee retention. The company pays salaries and offers benefits, helps to build the work schedule, provides opportunities for professional growth and the equipment needed for productive work, communicates with specialists and ensures great team spirit, etc.

The outsourcing service provider takes care of the office, equipment, compensation, and benefits as well.

  • HR legal services

Contracts and NDAs may require particular attention, especially when you hire specialists from abroad. When opting for IT staff augmentation, you don’t need to worry about this, as your development partner handles all legal tasks, from signing an agreement to solving any legal issues and providing consultancy.

  1. Optimize development costs

Another advantage of IT staff augmentation is its cost-effectiveness.

Instead of investing resources in a convenient office, infrastructure, recruitment, and HR services, you invest in upgrading your app and growing your business. You pay for development hours only.

IT staff augmentation allows you to cut unnecessary costs and focus on something that really matters for your business.

Besides, in the US, software development services may cost you $150 or more per hour. If you consider other destinations, you may find more affordable prices for services of the same quality. For example, offshore staff augmentation services in reputable IT destinations like Ukraine may start at $45 per hour.

Staff augmentation concerns and how to overcome them

Although staff augmentation has numerous advantages compared to hiring in-house, you may still have some concerns about it. We’ve identified three common challenges you may worry about with tried and tested solutions and explain how to overcome them.

Challenge 1: English & communication skills

When you hire engineers via staff augmentation, you may worry about the quality of communication with a person who works remotely, on a different continent or in completely different conditions.

Meanwhile, multiple enterprises and startups use the staff augmentation model and see amazing results. How do they do it? They choose vendors carefully.

  • Solution

Smooth communication with a staff augmentation service provider depends on experience. The longer the development agency has been operating in an international market, the easier it will be to establish effective communication.

Additionally, the quality of communication depends on the location. For example, in Ukraine, more than 70% of software engineers have proven intermediate or upper intermediate English skills, while more than 12% of IT specialists, primarily project managers and Scrum masters, speak English at an advanced level. By choosing an outsourcing destination and a vendor carefully, you mitigate communication-related risks.

Here’s a quick tip: Check a company’s profile on Clutch and read the reviews. Clutch has strict requirements on reviews, so the information provided on the website is trustworthy.

Read also: Reasons to outsource to Ukraine

Challenge 2: Time zone

How can you cooperate with people who start their work day when you’ve already finished the tasks from your daily schedule? How can you fix issues when your partners are not available the moment you detect them?

Although different time zones may sound like a challenge, in some cases, this challenge may even turn into an advantage.

  • Solution

In this case, the solution comes with the right choice of destination. A slight time difference (three to five hours) won’t be a challenge. At the same time, you can turn a five- to ten-hour difference into your team’s strength.

With engineers from Ukraine, you can set up a convenient work process and run daily standups at a time that’s convenient for the entire team. Daily standups will help you stay in touch with engineers; align your vision, plans, and tasks for the next day; and discuss possible questions or issues.

Wondering how to establish an effective work process in your augmented team?
Let us share the best practices with you.

Challenge 3: Mismatched expectations

When your engineering team is distributed across several locations, you may be concerned about the end result. Will they deliver the functionality you defined at the kick-off meeting? Will the final version of the project align with the initial requirements? And will it take longer to launch the app with a distributed team?

These and multiple more questions may emerge. Fortunately, there’s a solution.

  • Solution

Detailed, accurate, and clear documentation is the first step towards great results.

If you do have a project requirements document, check it out once more and discuss it with your augmented team.

If you don’t have one yet or your project requirements are incomplete, you can contact our specialists and develop a new or improved version of your requirements document.

Enhance well-written documentation with daily meetings to keep an eye on the current scope of work.

You should also decide on deadlines, sign agreements and NDAs, establish good communication, and set up daily meetings to continuously share the project vision with your in-house teammates and external specialists.

IT staff augmentation: cost & payment model

Typically, the IT staff augmentation model means that you and your development partner agree on a fixed monthly payment for a single full-time engineer.

For example, if you need two backend engineers working full-time on your project, you will pay for 320 hours of development services monthly. No fees, rental costs, insurance, training, or other costs are incurred.

If you hire an in-house engineer in the US, their salary will start at $9,000 per month according to Glassdoor. With all additional expenses (HR, rent, equipment), the cost to hire may exceed $15,000 a month. Besides, you can’t hire an in-house engineer for the short term. But with the IT staff augmentation model, you’re free to cooperate with specialists for as short a time or as long a time as you need.

You can optimize your spending by investing wisely in IT staff augmentation.

IT staff augmentation is an alternative to in-house hiring and a way to:

  • Cooperate with IT experts from around the world
  • Scale fast
  • Avoid HR-related tasks
  • Invest your resources efficiently, minimize unnecessary expenses, and focus on business growth
Wonder how much IT staff augmentation may cost?
Talk to our experts and get in-depth answers to your questions.
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