Common challenges from IT staff augmentation (and how to resolve them)

Staff Augmentation


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Each time more companies choose staff augmentation for their IT projects and the partners who provide these services offer different experiences to fulfill this request. However, there are some common obstacles you can encounter when subcontracting IT staff.

Up next we will mention four challenges you could be facing with the staff augmentation model, and what you can do to solve them in a proactive way and grant your project’s success.

Four challenges you could be facing with the staff augmentation model

1. Expectations are not met

In the software development process it might happen that the client’s expectations don’t match the final product, reason why many executives and decision makers of the companies face several drawbacks in their first staff augmentation experience.

Since it is an exhaustive process, in which a lot of time is dedicated to conceptualization, onboarding of the right team and tests of the software’s quality, to the point which the final product meets all the user’s requirements, it is quite a challenge to realize that the client and it’s augmented teams have a different understanding of how the final product should work and look like.

How to resolve it?

In order to overcome this issue, clear expectations need to be communicated to your staff augmentation partner from the beginning. If you think first about what your objectives are, it will be easier to identify the development partner with the right skills to help you achieve them.

Once you’ve chosen your next staff augmentation partner, you need to make sure you document the project’s parameters, the response times, and the communication schedule, this way, both parties will have a clear idea of what the expectations are and which way to go.

If you work in your project’s development with methodologies such as Scrum, it is possible to add a Product Owner, who is the one in charge of making sure that the team contributes value to the business; this person represents the stakeholders both internal and external, which is why he needs to comprehend all the necessities of every stakeholder in the business. This person will have the vision of what the final product should be like. 

2. Service quality

One of the biggest challenges you will face when choosing the IT staff augmentation model is service quality. It is common to feel that your provider will not meet the standard quality of the augmented staff that will work in your next project, nor the team that will be in charge of it. 

How to resolve it?

In order to prevent you from facing incorrect code lines, cost overrun, delays in the projects, among other problems, you need to do a complete research on the potential companies taking into account factors such as case studies and other client’s comments. 

You can make the choice about the staffing partner after evaluating previous projects in which they’ve worked on, the developer’s skills and experience and the results obtained. For that, you can also request personalized interviews with the candidates, that way, it is possible to clarify the level of knowledge that they have and the adaptation skills to the work culture. 

In addition,  you can consider requesting that your staff providing partner gives you the results of the different technical and psycho-technical tests that they perform on the possible candidates. Lastly, only augment the staff once you verify the service quality.

3. Communication

This is one of the most common challenges of IT staff augmentation. Without a doubt, bad communication contributes to the fact that many projects fail or end up not being what you expected, which is why you cannot allow a barrier to be set between the augmented staff that will come and the team you already have, neither between your new partner and your company.

How to resolve it?

Best thing you can do to avoid communication barriers is having a solid communication plan from the beginning. Consider using every collaborative and communicative tools necessary so that your project’s development process is performed without a problem. Using communicative tools, you can have a clear idea about the project’s progress and it will help you and your development team to be perfectly attached. 

Some tools you can implement are: 

  • Task management: Trello, Jira
  • Messaging: Slack, Skype, Telegram
  • Videoconference: Skype, Zoom, Meet 

On the other hand, using a working methodology such as Scrum, can also help you mitigate the impact from the communication challenges. By using some main ceremonies from this methodology, like the daily meetings, you can get all the team members to be always informed about the progress and tasks of the project.

Lastly, make sure your partner evaluates the employees in terms of their English level and their professional communication skills, so that they can work without having any difficulty with other teams that do not speak in the same language as them. 

4. Legal aspects and costs

The legal procedures of hiring are a challenge that can create many questions when it comes to trying to build an IT development team. Is possible that you are not sure about how you need to proceed when the time of augmenting your staff comes, what permits you need to carry out, what the procedure is like and what expenses you will have to cover.

How to resolve it?

Usually, the partner providing this service is the one in charge of resolving all the permits and the legal procedures of hiring, which is why as a contracting party, you won’t have to worry about that aspect. Also, in the IT staff augmentation you will pay for the amount of hours the developers spend working in your project, while when working with the internal team you will incur in expenses such as infrastructure, medical insurance, retirement benefits, developer’s compensation, legal requirements, training, among others. 

If you want to augment your staff  outside the United States, this process is done through the W8 form, provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which allows the companies to declare that a worker is being hired independently and also, that they live outside of the country.

In conclusion

IT staff augmentation is an efficient and very useful option for personalized software development, however, it is important that you clarify all your doubts and have into account the possible challenges you may face if you have a deficient partner that will create frustration, and an unsatisfactory final product.

Even though you might feel that there are too many challenges when choosing the staff augmentation model, you need to have into account what was mentioned above in order to achieve all the goals with your new augmented staff. Make sure both parties have the same expectations, make sure you do a deep research before selecting the next partner and of implementing the tools to communicate properly. Having all that together, the challenges that might seem like obstacles can be easily overcome.