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How to Make the Most of Staff Augmentation in Software Development

May 01, 2019

To ensure a successful staff augmentation in software development, businesses should be communicative, clearly define roles, embrace technology, properly document coding, and be flexible.

Staff augmentation is a common outsourcing strategy that organizations use to quickly scale their internal team to meet IT needs. By hiring external developers to work in-house, IT staff augmentation helps bridge the gap between hiring full-time staff and working with a remote team.

At BairesDev, we help businesses solve their IT staffing issues. We have been providing quality developer talent for 10 years and integrating them seamlessly into in-house development teams. We’ve partnered successfully with both large companies and startups on more than 850 projects. As a result, we’re well-placed to discuss how companies can make the most of staff augmentation services.

Over the last decade, outsourcing software development has become increasingly popular. According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2018, between one-half and two-thirds of companies are likely to use external contractors, temporary staff, and freelancers to build their teams.

IT staff augmentation offers many benefits, including quick project turnaround times, the flexibility to scale as required, and cost-effective access to skilled developers. By encouraging clear communication, seamless workflows, the use of management tools, and documented code, companies can ensure the success of their development project.

However, many companies don’t know how to make the most of the staff augmentation services they use. Here are our suggestions on how companies can make the most of staff augmentation in software development.

1. Ensure Clear Communication at All Times

According to a study by Salesforce, 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration as responsible for workplace failures.

86% of employees cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures

Clear communication is essential to the success of every development project. Processes should be established early in the development lifecycle to enable open communication.

Project management tools such as messaging app Slack encourage the sharing of ideas and help facilitate collaboration.

A lack of communication in the outsourcing process can also result in misunderstandings that can have a detrimental effect on the success of a project. According to OSF Global’s report, Overcome Cultural Differences in the Outsourcing Process, of the projects that fail, 70% are due to a lack of communication.

It’s important to be communicative when augmenting staff.

2.   Define Roles and Assess Workflows

Defining the roles of everyone involved in your project ensures that responsibilities are met. Both internal and external developers should understand the underlying principles of your project and how they fit into your vision.

Project managers and team leaders should be assigned to ensure individual tasks are completed on time and to the expected standard. Clearly defined roles also provide developers with a point of contact to share ideas and provide feedback.

For staff augmentation to be effective, development workflows need to be implemented. All staff should be aware of the individual steps involved in the project, including when meetings are scheduled, what tasks have been allocated and to whom.

Having a documented workflow ensures that augmented staff fit seamlessly into the team.

3.   Embrace Management Tools and Technology

According to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2015 Pulse of the Profession report, organizations that use any type of project management methodology are better at meeting budget, staying on schedule, meeting scope, adhering to quality standards, and meeting expected benefits.

To get the most out of an augmented team, companies need to embrace project management tools and technologies. Tools such as Asana, Jira, and Basecamp help keep projects on track by monitoring their progress at every stage of the development lifecycle.

4. Ensure All Coding Is Documented

Code documentation is the backbone of every software application. Companies should make an extra effort to ensure that augmented teams keep a record of their code at every stage of the project.

Software requires constant updating and maintenance, and having multiple developers who can read the code makes it easier to spot bugs or potential risks further down the line.

Companies should decide on a collective approach to code documentation that works for everyone, including augmented staff. Tools such as Swagger help implement clear methodologies for code documentation and other essential practices such as pair programming.

Swagger tool

Companies must properly document their code.

5. Be Prepared to Be Flexible

Augmented teams are easier to integrate if companies encourage flexibility. Maintaining rigid development processes rarely result in the desired outcome.

Development methodologies such as Agile enable teams to be more flexible and achieve positive results. PwC reported in its Agile Project Delivery Confidence research that Agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional projects.

When working with an augmented team, a certain level of compromise is always required. Augmented teams typically have lots of experience in working alongside in-house developers and often have unique insights into workflow best practices. By remaining flexible and encouraging feedback, augmented teams can help identify more efficient ways of working.

An Overview of Successful Staff Augmentation

In summary, here’s how we believe companies can make the most of augmented development services:

  1. Communicate clearly: Communication is at the core of every successful development project. Make sure that communication channels are open between everyone involved in the project.
  2. Define roles and processes: Clearly defined roles and processes make it easier for augmented teams to integrate.
  3. Use management tools: Asana, Basecamp, and Jira help keep teams on track and ensure that projects are progressing as expected.
  4. Record your code: Documenting your code makes updating and maintaining software easier in the future.
  5. Be flexible: Flexibility helps companies achieve their development goals. Adopting Agile methodologies can create more positive outcomes.

It’s possible to have successful staff augmentation if you follow these steps.

About the Author

Headshot of Damian ScalerandiDamian Scalerandi is the VP of Operations at BairesDev. He's the head of the Operations team and responsible for the entire customer relations life-cycle. Damian organizes and oversees the daily operations of the company and is the one to ensure that our business is well-coordinated and productive by managing its procedures and coaching its people.