Engineering staff augmentation for startups

Rapid Engineering Staff Augmentation: The Ultimate Guide to Temporarily Hire a Developer

Nowadays, numerous businesses hire outsourced developers to help in the development of their websites and applications, technological platforms and tools, software products, and innovative solutions. However, not all of you need a whole remote development team for your projects. Some need just a reliable dedicated developer to help with minor tasks. This is the main reason why the term ‘rapid software development team extension’ or ‘engineering staff augmentation’ was born.

This type of business relationship is no news. According to ILO research, many organizations hire independent workers for short-term engagement in a mode of engagement called the ‘gig’ economy. Well, when it comes to outsourcing developers, this is the closest way to explain the staff augmentation model.

We created this guide for people who are looking for dedicated software engineers and team extensions. Likewise, by the end of this 15-minute read, you will understand what staff augmentation (or team extension) is in outsourcing and its main differences from other forms of engagement.

We will also explore if this solution is the best for your company by diving deeper into its benefits. Finally, we will mention some valuable tips to help you rapidly extend your development process with professionals. Without further ado, let’s start with the most important question: what is staff augmentation/team extension in outsourcing?

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What Does Staff Augmentation in Outsourcing Mean?

In a few words, staff augmentation (team extension) is the type of engagement where you hire an outsourced engineer to work for you on a project with a limited scope of work. Thus, if you need an experienced developer to solve a particular software product problem, team extension is the best way to go.

Accordingly, team extension is a great way to solve problems or rapidly augment your in-house development team. For example, if you can’t find the right talent locally (or quickly), but you need someone with specific programming knowledge, rapid team extension offers you exactly that.

To be more precise, let’s say you need a professional in a programming language like Python to solve a long-standing problem, and it better be quick. With staff augmentation, you need to approach a development company with strong expertise in Python. They will suggest candidates that match your particular needs (tech stack, experience, availability. etc.). It’s up to you to choose those candidates who fit your team the best. After this, you sign a contract with the dev company and “rent” these developers for as long as you need them. Even though they are located in another country and work from the office of another company, they will dedicate all working hours solely to your tasks and will be managed directly by you. Just till the moment, you don’t need them anymore. When their scope of work in your company is done and you’re ready to terminate their contract, these engineers will return to their dev shop and start working on another project.

This hiring model is easy to realize when you need only one developer. As soon as you need two, three, or even the whole team, the situation becomes more difficult because not every development company has so many available resources at the same time.

A good solution for hiring several dedicated developers remotely is a platform like YouTeam.

YouTeam is a marketplace for on-demand engineering staff augmentation that connects companies that need to hire developers with trustworthy outsourcing partners In this way, through one interaction, you approach not a single dev shop but all development companies from Eastern Europe and Latin America with relevant tech stack. This model helps to get the first candidates in 48 hours or less.

Overall, staff augmentation model in outsourcing is:

  • Staff augmentation, or team extension, involves hiring outsourced engineers for a specific project or limited scope of work.
  • It offers a flexible solution to quickly augment in-house development teams or solve specific problems.
  • Development companies suggest candidates who match your needs, and you choose the best fit for your team.
  • Outsourced developers work remotely and are managed directly by you until their contract is terminated.
  • The team extension model offers the advantage of quickly getting candidates within 48 hours or less through streamlined interactions.

If you are not sure yet that this is the perfect solution for your company, let’s look at the main differences between the team extension model and other hiring methods.

How is the Staff Augmentation Model Different from Other Hiring Methods?

If your company wants to hire a developer, you can choose between three different types of engagement. You have the option to hire a freelancer, an in-house developer, or an outsourced engineer. We could say that rapid IT team extension is a submodel to outsourced development. However, team extension focuses on speed and effectiveness and gives you more control over the development process.

If you need to decide what model is the best for your company, it is crucial to define your goals and priorities. If you know that, you will find it easier to decide. Let’s have a look at the similarities and differences of team extension to the three engagement types separately.

Development Staff Augmentation vs. In-house Hiring: Similarities and Differences

In-house hiring is the traditional way of hiring. With in-house hiring, you will add a developer to your internal team by offering a monthly salary. Let’s have a look at the similarities and differences between this hiring method and team extension.

What’s Similar Between Staff Augmentation & In-house Hiring?

  • In both cases, the management remains within your company, meaning you have the ultimate control over the development process.
  • Both developers are involved with the specific project(s) you assign. Thus, you directly know what your developers are working on.
  • Although in-house developers are always there to communicate with, the same thing happens with dedicated developers. Due to remote technology, working from a distance has become easier than ever. In this way, any tech issues happening in your project will be fixed with no delay.
  • Finally, both outsourced and in-house developers prove to be loyal and highly motivated to finish your tasks successfully.

What are the Differences Between Staff Augmentation & In-house Hiring?

  • You commit less with an outsourced team extension: your new developer is not a full-fledged member of your team but a temporary extension.
  • With team extension, you don’t have to pay pension fund contributions or any other taxes.
  • Onboarding is easier and faster than in-house hiring: your new employee will only be a part of your development team (and not your company’s team).
  • Finding an outsourced developer is easy, as outsourcing companies usually have numerous professionals available for you anytime.
  • Hiring through team extension is more comfortable to scale. Thus, increasing the number of your employees is faster than with traditional hiring.

To have a better understanding of the similarities and differences, let’s review it in the table below:

Shared Attributes of Staff Augmentation & In-house Hiring Unique Attributes of Staff Augmentation & In-house Hiring
Management remains within your company Outsourced team extension commits fewer
Developers are involved with specific projects assigned While outsourcing, you don’t need to pay pension fund contributions or taxes
Direct knowledge of what your developers are working on Easier and faster onboarding with in-house hiring
Remote technology allows for easy communication Finding outsourced developers is easy
Loyal and motivated developers Outsourcing is comfortable for scaling hiring

Development Staff Augmentation vs. Hiring a Freelancer: Similarities and Differences

Due to the competition on freelance platforms, you will find a developer who will do a quick job at a relatively low price. Let’s explore the similarities and differences between freelancers and team extension hiring:

What’s Similar Between Staff Augmentation vs. Hiring a Freelancer?

  • In both cases, your company will have full control over the development project or task.
  • As with team extension, you don’t have to pay any benefits or taxes when hiring a freelancer. The only thing you have to pay (apart from the project’s value) is the commission of freelance platforms.
  • Both solutions are great for a limited amount of tasks.

What are the Differences Between Staff Augmentation vs. Hiring a Freelancer?

  • In most cases, a freelance developer is not committed: this means that hiring freelancers might not be a perfect solution for a whole project but smaller individual tasks.
  • Hiring a freelancer takes longer: in fact, you have to examine each freelancer’s experience and value yourself. On the other hand, when hiring through staff augmentation, all those criteria have been checked by the outsourcing company.
  • Freelancing is harder to scale: That means that every time you hire a new freelancer, you must invest time in searching. However, with team extension, you have a partner who helps you find the best candidate in each case.
  • Onboarding is usually faster (or missing) for freelancers than temporary employees.
  • In most cases, developers found for rapid team extension are more experienced than freelancers.

Here is a brief overview of how different and similar staff augmentation and freelance hiring are:

Similarities of Staff Augmentation vs. Hiring a Freelancer Differences of Staff Augmentation vs. Hiring a Freelancer
Full control over development project or task Freelancers may not be committed for a whole project
No need to pay benefits or taxes Longer hiring process for freelancers
Great for limited tasks Harder to scale freelancing
Faster onboarding for freelancers
Staff augmentation developers are often more experienced than freelancers

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Development Staff Augmentation vs. Dedicated Development Team

As we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, a development team extension is similar to a dedicated development team. However, hiring a dedicated development team is a more permanent solution, a complete outsourcing model. Let’s have an in-depth look at the two models’ similarities and differences.

What’s Similar Between Staff Augmentation & Dedicated Development Team?

  • In both cases, you hire developers through an outsourcing company that acts as an intermediary to help you solve any upcoming issues with the developers (regulations, organization, relationships).
  • Hiring through an outsourcing company is quick, and you can easily find the perfect candidate for each project.

What are the Differences Between Staff Augmentation & Dedicated Development Team?

  • If you need a quick turnaround, rapid team extension is a better solution.
  • If you want to have the ultimate control over the project, then the development team extension is better because the client remains to be a direct manager for hired freelancers. Thus, if you know exactly what your business needs but you don’t have enough human resources, this is the smartest choice.
  • On the contrary, in most cases, the contractor manages your dedicated team. For this reason, a dedicated team is better if you don’t know what to do, and you need a professional team to start and finish a large development workflow.
  • On the other hand, some people argue that hiring dedicated engineers is a more risky model. For this reason, if you want to be sure that the outcome meets your expectations, the team extension is a more reliable choice as you have constant influence over the developer.

Let’s also look briefly at the similarities and differences between staff augmentation and a dedicated development team in the table below:

Similarities of Staff Augmentation & Dedicated Development Team Differences of Staff Augmentation & Dedicated Development Team
Hire developers through an outsourcing company Rapid team extension for quick turnaround
Outsourcing company acts as an intermediary to solve issues Development team extension for ultimate control
Quick hiring process Contractor manages dedicated team
Perfect candidate can be easily found Dedicated team for large development workflow
Hiring dedicated engineers can be riskier

What Types of Businesses Use the Engineering Staff Augmentation Model?

A vast number of businesses hire software engineers via this innovative team extension model for different reasons. From our experience, most of the companies that try staff augmentation are well-established startups (Seed, Series A, or more) that do have an in-house team with several developers. In most cases, those companies have good tech leadership and a deep understanding of their projects’ tech needs. So, why do their project managers prefer this way of hiring?

The longer a company exists,  the bigger and bigger those projects grow. Together with the company grows also a technical debt and secondary backlog.  All this brings the need to extend the team temporarily and rapidly. Hiring in-house is not fast, hiring freelancers is not the way to get a dedicated employee. For that reason, the team extension model is the best solution to hire one or more full-time outsourced developers.

This hiring model is perfect for those of you who prefer hiring a full-time engineer as a contractor and not as a permanent employee. Thus, team extension is an ideal solution if you need a rapid addition to your development team to handle specific tasks.

Let’s have a more detailed look at when the development team extension model is an excellent solution for your business.

When Does Your Company Benefit From Augmenting Its Team With Offshore Developers? 

There are numerous occasions when adding a professional developer to your existing team is crucial for your business. However, hiring an in-house developer or a remote team every time something pops up isn’t a great idea. This is the main reason why dedicated developers are top-rated for the following instances:

Reason Benefit of Team Extension
Task backlog Hire a remote team to solve secondary tasks while your in-house team focuses on critical ones.
Rapid project completion Use team extension when you need to finish a project quickly, but your in-house team doesn’t have enough resources.
Finding specialists quickly Outsourcing platforms can help you find software experts quickly, saving you time and money compared to seeking one locally.
Lean operations Hiring outsourced engineers allows you to keep your in-house team lean and avoid managing multiple employees.

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Benefits Of Staff Augmentation

We have already mentioned a few of the significant advantages of this model. However, it is essential to have a full understanding of team extension’s benefits for a business. Let’s have a look at them.

Benefit of Staff Augmentation Explanation
Urgency/Quick Hires Team extension is the ideal solution for urgent projects with strict deadlines. Hiring an in-house or dedicated team of developers takes time, while creating milestones for freelancers is more time-consuming.
No Commitment Team extension is perfect for companies with a limited planning horizon that don’t want to commit to full-time in-house or dedicated engineers.
Other Restrictions Team extension is an excellent solution for companies that need a rapid outsourcing solution without the expense and complexity of hiring additional full-time staff.

How to Swiftly Extend Your Development Team Size With Professionals?

Since we have analyzed all the benefits of team extensions for your business, let’s look at the hiring process of this model. By the end of this chapter, you will know everything about hiring a top software developer through rapid team extension.

There are two main parameters you should take into account to make sure you hire the best candidates. The first and most crucial step is to trust the right outsourcing contractor.

Choosing The Right Outsourcing Company

How to Pick The Right Outstaffing Platform: a List of Valuable Tips

All outsourcing platforms claim that they have found the best developers to help your company with different projects. Thus, how do you know which one to trust? Well, there are specific methodologies to follow before you cooperate with an outstaffing partner.

First of all, a trustworthy company will have numerous recommendations and reviews from previous clients for you to check. Another smart thing to do is check how much time the company is on the market, as this directly affects its reliability. This is also what makes a company large, meaning it will have numerous developers to help with different projects.

Moreover, having a look at the company’s project portfolio is a smart thing to do. This will let you know if your needs and tools match what their developers can offer. Finally, it is important to ensure that your time zones match (at least 4 hours) for your cooperation to run fluidly.

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Why is YouTeam The Best Solution For The Rapid Development Team Extension? 

Let’s dive deeper into the main reasons why YouTeam is the best partner for you to choose. When it comes to hiring through rapid development team extension, YouTeam meets all the requirements mentioned above.

  • With YouTeam as your partner, you can access a better quality of talent much faster. This is possible because it is the only marketplace for engineering staff augmentation. Likewise, YouTeam has created a unique talent pool of thousands of vetted engineers.
  • Thus, YouTeam demonstrates a better quality of candidates than all particular dev shops.
  • Our company also provides you with first candidates faster than any dev shop, 48 hours to be precise.
  • YouTeam has engineers who match with the skill set you need and are always available, whether a dev shop will need to recruit them, usually asking for an absolute customer commitment. For the same reason, we can find the right candidates many times faster than any dev shop.
  • As a YC-backed (Y Combinator) marketplace, YouTeam is more trusted than any small-sized dev shop. For that reason, during the past four years, 200 US and EU tech companies (40 Y Combinator startups and 2 Fortune 1000 companies) augmented their engineering teams by trusting YouTeam.
  • As a marketplace in general, YouTeam is presumed to have a fantastic vetting process. For this reason, it is an extremely reliable solution.
  • Thanks to its network of 50,000 vetted engineers, YouTeam allows you to compare candidates from different dev shops at once.

How to Choose The Right Candidate? 

After choosing the best outsourcing company for your needs, the next step is to pick the right candidate for your project. There are two main categories of skills you should check before hiring a developer.

  1. Ask for code samples or verify the candidate’s hard skills: you can either ask for the previous programming samples of a developer or demonstrate his/her hard skills through real-time online code tests like Woven or Hatchways.
  2. Check a candidate’s soft skills and culture fit: hard skills are not the only requirement you should have when hiring an engineer. Evaluating a candidate’s soft skills and culture fit with your company is equally crucial for your cooperation to be successful.

Wrap Up

To summarize, we have analyzed the characteristics of the rapid development team extension model and its differences from the rest of the hiring models. We also had a look at why this is an excellent solution for specific occasions and businesses. Finally, we concluded that using YouTeam’s platform to extend your development team rapidly proves to be the most reliable and cost-effective choice for your company.

Written by
Svetlana Shevchuk

Digital Marketing Specialist at YouTeam, a Y Combinator-backed marketplace for building remote dev teams.

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