Staff Augmentation vs. Other Development Support Models: How to Choose the Best Option for Your Project

Are you thinking about hiring others to develop your custom application? Check our guide that compares staff augmentation with other development support models!

You might have an idea for a custom application, but your employees lack the necessary skill sets to develop it. This is where careful consideration is vital to choosing the right team extension model. 

Your first guess might be to tap into external resources to fill in the skill gaps or to speed up the development process, but it’s never a good idea to be hasty when hiring. Choosing the right development support model is crucial to the success of an app project.

One of the many development team extension models is staff augmentation, which we’ll cover below.

What Is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is an outsourcing strategy that involves hiring remote workers with specialized skill sets. Decision-makers employing staff augmentation first carefully examine the skill sets of their existing staff, take note of the additional skills required, and then hire contractors to help the organization meet its business objectives.


Why Is Staff Augmentation Important?

Staff augmentation is critical to business success for multiple reasons. This team extension strategy allows you to hire offshore talent while potentially saving on costs compared to hiring full-time employees to fulfill similar functions in house. Staff augmentation also enables you to stay lean and shorten your development cycles. 


What’s more, staff augmentation also enables you to pay a skilled technical expert on an hourly basis. If you like the work they do and appreciate the skill sets they possess, you can consider offering them a full-time opportunity (Toptal, 2020).


Finally, the staff augmentation model lets you retain more control over your business. You are not necessarily outsourcing all the work to an external specialist, but rather using their specific skill sets to meet your objectives. Learn how AppIt helps development teams augment their existing talent and resources.

Staff Augmentation vs Other Team Extension Models

Having discussed some of the perks of the staff augmentation, we will now compare it with other team extension models.

1. Staff Augmentation

As discussed above, the staff augmentation development support model empowers you to obtain technical resources externally to increase the bandwidth capacity of your organization. This model works very well for companies that require specific skill sets in which there is a shortage of experts, such as obscure programming languages or machine learning, and have enough work for multiple full-time employees (Daxx, 2021).

2. Managed Services

Using managed services means that you are outsourcing a project entirely to an external third party for operational and cost efficiencies. 


The advantages of managed services are predictable costs, fast development timelines, and assurance of high-quality deliverables particularly when you have a detailed and well-structured product roadmap at hand. This also allows you to obtain clarity on your budget allocation. Finally, you can also set clear deadlines throughout the development process.


The main downside of managed services is that if you don’t have a clear and focused roadmap, there is a real possibility of delayed rollouts and budget overruns. 


If you have a clear product roadmap with explicit targets, hiring on a managed services basis would be the way to go.

3. Staffing Retainer

If you are looking to hire a blend of specialists, then you will likely find the staffing retainer model more suitable for your needs.


On a staffing retainer basis, you pay a fixed monthly fee to hire a suite of developers who help with your unique project needs, provided you have enough regular work available to fund the monthly retainer.


Most development teams who hire on a staffing retainer typically have a clear technical roadmap fleshed out, and a healthy backlog of tasks organized and outsource-ready.

3. Dedicated In-House Staff

Another way to get help with your development-related tasks would be to bring in dedicated in-house staff. 


Bringing in a dedicated team of technical experts into your company would allow your organization to retain a higher level of control over your workflow, and ensure adherence to quality standards. Plus, when you bring in in-house staff, you can negotiate with them on salary structures and align their schedules with your own.


The upsides to hiring dedicated in-house staff would be that you’d get to work with them for a long-time and they’d learn how your company works, your company values and policies. One downside, however, is the extra training you may need to provide, depending on the existing skills and experience they’re bringing in.

4. Time and Materials

If you are only looking to only make minor tweaks or improvements to your software or web app, then hiring on an hourly basis might make more sense. For instance, if you want minor improvements added to established features or to diagnose and report a bug, then a Time and Materials (T&M) contract  would usually be the way to go. 


You would not receive any additional support for your development projects under a T&M contract, however. This approach can be used as a temporary tool for simple, straightforward order-taking for smaller ad-hoc tasks. Learn More.

5. Outsourcing / Offshoring

Another way to approach your software development needs would be to recruit talent overseas. This allows you to take advantage of lower production costs and decrease budget spending. Another upside to offshoring is that your company gets exposure to foreign markets, which may help improve your market share in the long run.


Offshoring your development needs also enables your company’s development team to focus on core business objectives, while the outsourced developers work on the delegated projects (Alcor, 2021).


That being said, the key to making offshoring work lies in going the extra mile to ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands their own role within the project.

6. Ongoing Support

A major problem that many companies often encounter is that in their attempt to keep costs low, they outsource software development to the cheapest vendor or contractor available. 


But this creates a new problem. They usually don’t have any technical experts in their own company who can help if bugs arise, and for this reason, hiring skilled personnel for ongoing development support may be necessary. 


In fact, AppIt Ventures provides a full blended mix of project management professionals, technical consultants, senior engineers, developers, and QA resources to assist with your development needs.

How to Choose the Right Development Support Model

Choosing the right development model for your business can be tricky. So we created this table to give you an overview of what you can expect from each development support model. 


how-to-choose-the-right-development-support-model
How to Choose a Development Support Model

The Evaluation Process

Evaluating what kind of development support model will work best for you will largely depend on what kind of project you need to help with. 


When making your decision, ask yourself the following questions:


  1. How extensive are your development needs?
  2. How much oversight do you need to have on the development process?
  3. Are you only looking to make minor tweaks to your web app/software?
  4. Would you like to hire a panel of technical experts at super lucrative rates?
  5. Do you already have a pre-built web app and you’re only looking for ongoing support?


We put together a decision tree that can guide you to the right team extension model based on your answers to the above questions. 


Download our FREE decision tree PDF


Key Takeaways

All that being said and done, hiring for your IT and software development needs is something that you need to carefully consider. 


Making the right decision on the type of development support model, including staff augmentation vs. managed services, is critical to the success of your application development project. For more information on AppIt's rapid development model and for a free project call, contact us.


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