Staff augmentation is a process that allows businesses to bring in temporary staff to supplement their existing workforce. The purpose of staff augmentation is to bring in additional skills and capabilities to help the organization achieve its goals. It can be a fantastic way to improve efficiency and productivity within an organization. However, effective project management is critical for success when using staff augmentation. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the biggest challenges that come with managing a staff augmentation project.
What is staff augmentation?
Staff augmentation is a process of supplementing the staff of an organization with contract or temporary workers. Team members are formally employed by the staff augmentation provider, but join the client's team just like internal team members. Payroll and administrative tasks are handled by the provider, though these team members do answer directly to the client regarding their everyday tasks.
The benefits of staff augmentation
This model of building and maintaining software teams can be extremely helpful for companies who need to ramp up their staff's efficiency quickly for a particular project, or who need extra help during busy periods. Staff augmentation can provide businesses with access to specialized skills and expertise that they may not have in-house. It also allows organizations to quickly bring in staff with specific skills and capabilities, helping them to fill skill gaps or complete projects in a shorter amount of time. It can also help reduce labor costs by only bringing staff in when they are needed and not having to pay staff that aren't contributing regularly.
- High flexibility: staff augmentation allows staff to be added and removed quickly and easily, which provides businesses with high flexibility when it comes to their staffing requirements.
- Cost savings: staff augmentation can help businesses reduce labor costs by only bringing staff in when they are needed, rather than having a permanent staff member on the payroll.
- Access to specialized skills: staff augmentation provides businesses with access to staff with specialized skills and expertise that they may not have in-house.
- Lower risk: staff augmentation can be a much lower-risk option than hiring staff on a permanent basis, as businesses are not locked into long-term contracts and do not invest as much into the recruitment process.
- Vetted experts: staff augmentation companies provide staff that have been vetted and chosen based on their skill sets and experience, meaning businesses can be sure they are getting the staff they need with the right qualifications.
However, staff augmentation also brings with it some unique challenges for IT project managers.
The challenges of managing an augmented team
Project management needs to be highly effective in order to make sure that the staff are working together efficiently and effectively. It is important to have a good understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each staff member, as well as clear expectations and timelines. Additionally, it is important to ensure that staff are kept up to date with changes in the project, and that there is clear communication between staff members.
Clear expectations and roles
Staff augmentation can make it difficult to have a clear understanding of staff roles and responsibilities. It is important for any IT project manager to make sure staff know what their role is and what expectations they need to meet in order for the project to be successful. It is also crucial for the current project objective to be understood by all team members.
Time management and project schedule
Staff augmentation requires effective time management in order to ensure that staff are working on the correct tasks, and that staff are aware of deadlines they need to meet. IT team managers need to be able to effectively manage the project schedule in order to get the most out of staff augmentation.
This can involve analyzing the project scope and project timeline carefully, to identify periods of time during which each specific team member will be necessary. In the staff augmentation model, the entire team does not need to be involved at every step, which means no software developer will be idly waiting for their next task.
Staff augmentation can make communication more challenging, as staff may not always be available or available at the same time. An IT project manager handling an augmented software development team needs to ensure staff have clear lines of communication and can easily keep up with any changes in the project.
They also need to know current business objectives as well as stay up to date with requirements and changes to the composition of the in-house team. Thanks to this, the augmented IT workforce will be able to proactively suggest when their knowledge, technical expertise and particular skills may benefit the software development process.
Access to resources
It is important for staff augmentation staff to have access to the necessary resources in order to effectively complete their tasks. IT project management involves making sure that all software developers on the team are aware of available resources and can easily access them when needed.
Staff augmentation can make it more difficult to build staff rapport and a sense of team unity, as staff may not always be working together in the same physical location. IT team managers need to ensure staff are collaborating and communicating effectively, even when staff members are not physically present.
IT staff members need to be able to cooperate and work together effectively, in order to get the most out of staff augmentation. IT team managers need to ensure staff are aware of their roles, expectations and deadlines, as well as having a clear understanding of how staff can work together.
IT staff members should be treated fairly and given the same opportunities, regardless of whether they are permanent staff or staff provided via staff augmentation. IT team managers need to ensure staff augmentation staff have the same respect and access to resources as those who are part of the permanent staff.
Staff augmentation staff often have access to sensitive information, which can put security at risk. IT team managers need to make sure staff are aware of the importance of data security and take appropriate measures to protect confidential data.
Agency and ownership
IT staff members should be given the freedom and autonomy to take ownership of projects, in order to make sure they can work on them effectively. IT team managers need to ensure staff are encouraged to take initiative and feel comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions.
Staff augmentation staff may not be familiar with the company culture and values, which can make it difficult for staff to feel comfortable in their roles. IT team managers need to ensure staff are aware of the company culture and values, and that staff are being supported in order to integrate into the team effectively.
However, experienced staff augmentation providers like DEVTALENTS understand the importance of culture fit and take steps to ensure that there will be no mismatch between augmented staff and clients. They provide team members with training and support that allows them to seamlessly integrate into any team. Additionally, when issues arise and cannot be solved efficiently, it is simple to replace team members through staff augmentation.
How project managers can make the most out of staff augmentation services
In conclusion, staff augmentation services can be a great way for businesses to supplement their staff and access specialized skills and expertise. However, it also brings some unique management challenges that need to be addressed in order for staff augmentation projects to be successful. By understanding the roles of each staff member, having clear expectations and timelines, keeping staff updated on changes in the project, and ensuring clear communication between staff members, IT team managers can overcome these challenges and ensure staff augmentation projects are successful.