3 Ways to Augment Your Software Development Team

If the backbone of your company is your software development team, you’ll need a strong, agile technical team that can scale and achieve common goals.


Many companies invest in remote software teams to fill their skills gaps, build relationships with skilled developers, or complete projects. The extended developer team model (EDT), sometimes called staff augmentation, brings remote workers and in-house teams together on the same project.


It’s a model of cooperation designed to cut costs while benefiting from the additional skills and the time of top developers.


Software teams may be nearshored (from a neighboring country) or offshored (from a different continent).


In this article, we’ll examine the three ways you can extend your software development team and the pros and cons of each, including:

  • Outsourcing and outstaffing

  • In-sourcing

  • Hiring freelancers

Reasons to Scale Your Dev Team


How do you know if your dev team needs extending? If your customer base is growing, your goals have shifted, or you need additional skills to meet technological challenges and developments in the market, you may need to scale up.


It’s not as easy as it sounds. Software developers have varied skills and levels of seniority, and companies are actively headhunting good developers. Your goals and HR competency may determine your method for scaling up.


Outstaffing and Outsourcing


Outstaffing or outsourcing software development engineers involves hiring a third party to develop custom solutions, usually for a project or specific purpose.


Outstaffing and outsourcing require a solid partnership, step-by-step planning and project management, and financial and legal agreements that govern the delivery of the outsourced or outstaffed team.


There are slight differences between outsourcing and outstaffing.


Outsourcing vs. Outstaffing


Outsourcing occurs when a business hires another company to carry out a project as a whole. Non-technical companies without in-house development teams usually adopt this approach. The contracting party isn’t involved in the development process and doesn’t lead the development team. The contractor has to deliver within the scope, deadline, and budget set by their client.




The agency or outsourced company will also take on all administration, including salaries, payments, sourcing, and repair of equipment, etc.


Outstaffing occurs when a company supplements its internal development team with additional, remote team members. The extended software development team becomes part of the organization and works with your existing team. Like outsourcing, the outstaffing provider will employ and source all the staff and assume all Human Resource Management duties. Still, in this scenario, the client will usually act as a team or project lead.


In this way, you can supplement any missing elements from your team without hiring or recruiting staff members.


Outstaffing and outsourcing work well if:

  • you plan to expand your project in the future, and your in-house team will be able to support it and update it as required once completed;

  • the project isn’t usual for your in-house team, and you don’t want to shift their focus unnecessarily;

  • you need expertise that is not present in your local market or within your current team;

  • your local market doesn’t offer reasonable prices or pricing within your budget for your required skills.


Extend your development team


Boost your development capacity and reduce time spent on recruitment by hiring dedicated offshore engineers.




The Benefits of Outstaffing and Outsourcing


Less Administration


With both outstaffing and outsourcing, there is less management effort required. The company isn’t obligated to recruit, administrate, train, or resolve HR activities. With outsourcing, there is no need for technical supervision by the contractor.


The outsourcing or outstaffing agency will take care of functions like:

  • Payroll and Benefits

  • Buying equipment

  • Licensing

  • Setting up physical workstations

  • Setting up home-working environments

  • Tech support

You only need to provide access, and the team can get started.


Reduced Costs


Partnering with a professional outstaffing or outsourcing agency will almost always improve your return on investment. The latest, highest skilled technical staff can be employed offshore/remotely at low margins. It doesn't carry the cost and time investment of hiring in-house staff. Building an in-house team involves expensive recruitment, HR, legal, onboarding processes, and physical capacity and equipment.


The outstaffing or outsourcing agency carries the cost of taxes, office provisions, maintenance, and operating costs. Once the work is completed, the staff are released. There is no need to formally downsize or shuffle staff as you would with full-time employees.


Lower costs do not mean that companies compromise on quality either. Some of the best developers in the world are based in countries like Ukraine, Estonia, Poland and Vietnam.


Faster Time to Market


Using an outsourced or outstaffed team reduces the time spent on recruitment and setting up, but you can distribute tasks more efficiently to get more critical jobs done in less time. There is no need for your in-house team to juggle several low-priority duties in addition to your more pressing projects, freeing them up to complete the task at hand.


Outsourced and outstaffed teams are used to working on tight deadlines, and because they are laser-focused on your project, you’ll reach your goals in record time.




Improved Security


With both outstaffing and outsourcing, the company moves the cybersecurity responsibility and compliance to the agency. Using the agency adds better cybersecurity skills and improved incident response and management capabilities to your business.


Wider Talent Pool


The outstaffing or outsourcing agency has a constantly evolving pool of trusted software professionals at their fingerprints to fulfill your exact requirements. Background checks and interviews will already have been completed, saving your teams’ time and money as they aren’t tasked with finding the best staff for the job at hand.


Long-Term Cooperation


Outstaffing and outsourcing is designed for long-term collaboration, direct communication, and transparency. Your staff will share responsibilities and communicate with the agency, increasing productivity and complementing one another’s skills and problem-solving techniques.


Not only do you benefit from additional staff working on your project, but your employees will also learn new things from professional developers that they may not otherwise have been exposed to.


Motivation


With outsourcing or outstaffing, the developers are assigned to your project full-time. They don’t need to juggle multiple projects or in-house assignments. They are entirely focused on your project and worked together towards a common goal.


Best-of-Breed Tech


Outsourced and outstaffed teams work on varied projects and in various environments. As a result, they often know the best equipment to get the job done, and as a bonus, they often bring it with them!


The Disadvantages of Outsourcing and Outstaffing


Lack of Control and Insight


If a team is outsourced or outstaffed, there is little direct control over the software development team and processes. This means that no skills are retained by internal staff, and all the knowledge relating to the technical project is kept outside the organization.


Communication


Similarly, cultural differences can be tricky to manage with remote outstaffed, and outsourced teams. Communication gaps may emerge. On the other hand, diversity in organizations is essential, and outstaffing can help expose team members to different cultures.


Insourcing


Insourcing assigns projects or departments within the company instead of outsourcing an outside person or company. It utilizes resources within the company to perform tasks or achieve a goal, creating new processes on-site. Insourcing either hires a new staff member or recruits one from another department internally.


It works particularly well if you do not require a massive team extension. Insourcing is usually done in-house, but third-party resourcing firms can be brought on to perform the necessary talent audits, recruitment, and onboarding needed in some highly specialized fields.


If you do go this route, make sure that you write an extremely detailed job description and use a reputable recruitment agency to assist you.


The Benefits of Insourcing


Hiring staff in-house has many benefits. Here are some of the associated pros of hiring your software developers in-house:


Flexibility


Agility is vital in the tech world. Outsourcing contracts can take time. Finding your staff to work in-house reduces waiting times and allows companies to nurture their innovations and processes.


Quality Control


Over-outsourcing can lead to difficulties in monitoring performance because management is the duty of the third party. In-house hiring places the control firmly in the hands of the business.


Improved Management


As teams work together inside the same office, managers have greater insight into and control over everyday processes and activities. Decisions can be made quickly and proactively as they arise every day.


Many outsourced teams are remote-based. Having teams work in physical proximity can improve skill-sharing and communication.


Fostering a Team Culture


Improved communication can lead to a productive and positive working environment and culture, fostering employee retention and happiness.


Ideal for Start-Ups


Insourcing may be ideal for companies that aren’t handling vast volumes of business yet. Bringing things in-house gives your team time to gain a nuanced understanding of your company goals and day-to-day operations.


Freelancers and outsourced staff can offer broad know-how, but the internal team will come to know the company inside and out. They will become specialists in your industry, processes, and operations.


More Control


With internal hires, you have the final say in their salary and schedule. You’ll have real visibility into their availability and skills.


Transferable Skills


The in-house staff has skills that can be transferred to others as the company grows. Having superstar developers on your team can be a real differentiator for your company.


Motivation