IT Staff Augmentation: A Business Handbook To Guide You

guy working in front of the computer

Struggling to find the right people for your tech project? You’re far from alone. An astonishing 77% of employers — particularly in the IT and data skills sector — are scrambling to close talent gaps.

Many companies now use IT staff augmentation to recruit specialists in a talent-strapped market. Everyone’s doing it — from SMBs to giants like Google (which famously bought Kaggle to access 600,000+ data scientists for its AI products.)

And with spending in talent augmentation set to reach $81.87 billion by 2025, it’s clear that this staffing strategy is a great way to skill up, scale up, and stay ahead.

Here’s what you need to know about software staff augmentation and how you can implement it in your business.

In this article:

What is IT staff augmentation?

IT staff augmentation means hiring skilled professionals from the software development area to blend into your existing team for specific tasks or durations.

Whether you need a software developer to crack tough codes or a project manager to bring order to chaos, staff augmentation services can extend your in-house team with specialized skills pronto. It’s a fast and flexible fix for your immediate requirements.

IT Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Services vs. Software Outsourcing

Staff augmentation is often confused with other IT outsourcing models, but it’s a different strategy.

Here’s a quick look at the differences between managed services vs. staff augmentation vs. outsourcing:

Staff AugmentationDedicated Teams/ Managed ServicesSoftware Development Outsourcing
What you doYou hire individual IT professionals (like developers or system admins) to fill vacancies in your existing team.You collaborate with a whole team of IT specialists from a service provider. This team is dedicated entirely to your project.You outsource your entire IT project to a third-party company located onshore, nearshore, or offshore.
What you getIT professionals who can directly plug into your existing infrastructure and projects, bringing specific skill sets.A consistent, specialized IT team that works exclusively on your project. A typical team could consist of project/product managers, front/backend developers, DevOps engineers, UX/UI designers, and quality assurance testers.

For more information, check out Cheesecake Labs’ approach to dedicated teams.
An all-inclusive team of IT professionals who can take your project from ideation to deployment. 
How it worksYou identify the IT skills and roles you need. The staff augmentation provider sources and helps to integrate these IT specialists into your in-house team.You drive the requirements, and the provider oversees the team. Providers can equip the team with the tools and resources they need for the project or they can work in your environment.You relay your requirements to the outsourcing firm. They manage the entire lifecycle, including staffing, development, and testing. They also manage all the daily operations.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

benefits of staff augmentation

Staff augmentation services can boost your team’s short-term capacity. This flexible model allows swift talent acquisition to cover skill set gaps without locking you into long-term commitments. It offers several benefits, including:

  1. Access to global talent

Why restrict your search to your local region when you can fish for talent in a global pond? With staff augmentation, you can quickly hire skilled professionals whose abilities precisely meet your project’s needs. It’s often a smarter option than permanent hires, especially if you lack those skills in-house and only need them in the short term.

  1. More cost-effective than hiring and training in-house

IT Staff augmentation doesn’t just add skills — it also subtracts costs. You only pay for the hours worked, removing the benefits, insurance, and other overhead expenses tied to full-time hires. This model can also reduce your recruitment and training costs because the augmented staff is vetted, skilled, and ready to jump in. 

  1. Faster than recruiting and filling roles in-house

Staff augmentation services can fast-track the hiring process because you can access vetted candidates who can start immediately. With quicker negotiations and integration, you can extend your budget, maintain your project timelines, and potentially shorten your time-to-market.

  1. Flexible and scalable

Need to ramp up for a big project? Or trim down in lean times? The staff augmentation model is elastic and makes it easy to add or replace team members, so you always have the right skills for the job at hand.

  1. Maintain project visibility

One of the biggest benefits of staff augmentation is that it keeps all work and decision-making in-house. With full visibility into the project’s progress, you maintain total control.

  1. Foster internal acceptance

Bringing in permanent hires with specialized skills can sometimes create tension among existing employees. Staff augmentation reduces internal concerns about job security, keeping your team focused and happy.

  1. See how adding another team member works

If you’re on the fence about needing to make a long-term hire, use staff augmentation as a trial run to fill the gap. It’s a great way to see how well a potential new member fits into your team and company culture before making any full-time employment commitments.

Why choose staff augmentation for your app development project?

why staff augmentation

While there are many ways to get the talent you need to build your mobile or web app, staff augmentation could be the best option if:

  1. You need to fill engineering gaps quickly

With 54% of IT leaders unable to fill at least one vacancy — and 38% failing to fill three or more — it’s clear that the tech sector urgently needs talent. Staff augmentation promptly addresses any deficiencies to keep you ahead of the curve.

  1. You can’t find the talent you need while recruiting for your in-house team

Sometimes, the skills you need just aren’t available through traditional recruitment channels. Perhaps you require blockchain or AI expertise, which are niche fields with fewer qualified candidates. Staff augmentation is a more flexible and lower-risk approach to sourcing specialists.

  1. You want a more cost-effective solution versus hiring in-house

Compared to in-house hires, staff augmentation is more cost-effective. It lets you avoid the long-term costs of benefits, training, and recruitment, allowing you to allocate resources more efficiently. And because you only pay for the skills and time you actually need, you can optimize your budget.

  1. You want to plug skills gaps within your existing team

Running multiple projects usually means you’ll need a diverse set of skills. Staff augmentation lets you dynamically adapt to project-specific demands without having to invest in long-term training for your existing team. 

  1. You need to scale fast

Need to grow right away? Have an ambitious project with a tight deadline? Staff augmentation is a nimble approach to scaling up your development team and meeting the demands of your evolving projects.

  1. You need to accelerate your time-to-market

Did you know that being just six months late to market can slash a product’s five-year profits by 33%? Augmented staff can accelerate project timelines, so you can capture market share before your competitors. And the sooner you earn from your app, the sooner you can recoup the costs of product development and fuel further innovation.

  1. IT is not your company’s core competency

Not an IT expert? No worries. You can still launch an app (or any tech product) with staff augmentation. Your in-house team can focus on what they do best while the augmented staff takes care of the tech-heavy lifting.

  1. You need IT experts immediately

Need help stat? Do you need to add machine learning algorithms into your app at the last minute, for instance? Staff augmentation is a quick way to add specialized skills that your in-house team may lack.

  1. You’re looking for fresh perspectives

Even innovative companies can get stuck in a rut. An influx of fresh talent can provide new viewpoints and methodologies to invigorate your team and projects. For example, augmented staff experienced in Agile development can introduce efficiencies and new workflows that your team may not have considered.

How to manage IT staffing augmentation

Staff augmentation services can position your project for timely execution and great results — all done on a leaner budget. But that’s just half the equation. You also need effective management for a successful staff augmentation project.

How do you optimize your contract team’s performance? Here are some staff augmentation best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Clearly define job roles and responsibilities

First, identify skill gaps in your current team to pinpoint the ideal candidates to fill those voids. Set clear project goals, schedules, and expected tasks to make the hiring process simpler. Short on time or expertise? Consider appointing a project manager to supervise the project and assist in hiring.

  1. Set up security processes and confidentiality agreements

In a hypercompetitive tech market, confidentiality agreements can safeguard your trade secrets and intellectual property. Rigorous security protocols also minimize potential risks to sensitive data and proprietary information.

  1. Set up a communication plan with augmented staff members

Efficient communication allows for real-time issue resolution and relationship building. After all, well-connected teams are 20% to 25% more productive. Use tools like Slack for day-to-day interactions and video conferencing platforms like Zoom for more in-depth conversations.

  1. Make them feel like they’re a part of your team

Inclusion matters, even in a temporary arrangement like staff augmentation. Make augmented staff feel as much a part of your team as permanent employees to improve collaboration and productivity.

Involve them in team meetings, include them in decision-making processes where appropriate, and give them access to the same resources as your in-house team. Not only does this foster a sense of belonging — it also encourages augmented staff to invest emotionally in your project, leading to better results.

  1. Get them familiar with your team’s processes, tools, and documentation

Share all relevant documentation and procedures with your augmented staff to put everyone on the same page. Tools like Google Drive for document sharing and Slack or Jira for task management can go a long way. Assign a point person (usually a project manager) to oversee knowledge transfer.

  1. Stay involved throughout the project execution process

Regular check-ins help align your external experts with your project goals and deadlines. If you can’t manage this yourself, delegate the responsibility to a liaison between you and the augmented staff.

  1. Acknowledge cultural and time zone differences

When you bring in people from around the globe, you’re also inviting a range of cultural norms and time zones into your workspace. Acknowledging these differences isn’t just respectful — it’s also good for business. After all, a harmonious team can focus on achieving shared goals.

Be aware of various holidays, work styles, or communication preferences to prevent misunderstandings and foster a more inclusive environment. Stay mindful of time zone differences so you can schedule meetings or deadlines in a way that respects everyone’s work-life balance.

  1. Recognize and appreciate their efforts

Though your relationship may be temporary, recognition boosts morale and can lead to better work outcomes. Offer feedback both privately and publicly to motivate your augmented team and affirm their value.

  1. Plan for easy scaling 

Do you expect your project demands to evolve down the road? Be sure to agree on notice periods for scaling up or down. This can help you and the provider anticipate and adapt to project demands efficiently.

How to choose the best staff augmentation company

Now that we’ve discussed how to manage IT staffing augmentation let’s go deeper into how to select a staff augmentation company for your project.

  1. Ask about their hiring and vetting process

How do they hire and vet their candidates? The answer will give you insights into the caliber of professionals you’re likely to get. Staff augmentation companies with rigorous vetting processes are more likely to provide high-quality team members who are experts in their fields. Make sure the company conducts multiple rounds of interviews, and technical tests, and reviews candidates’ work experience and expertise to ensure competency and reliability. Their process should take the pressure off of you — you won’t need to do in-depth interviews since it will already be done for you.

  1. Evaluate their talent depth and retention strategy

Choose a provider that has both a broad talent pool and low turnover rates. They’ll likely be better at accommodating changes in your project’s size and scope.

  1. Assess their reputation

Look for indicators of reliability and competence, including positive client testimonials and comprehensive case studies demonstrating a track record of success. A provider with strong employer branding is also likely to attract and keep top talent and can offer you a stable pool of skilled candidates to minimize turnover.

  1. Choose nearshore staff augmentation

Nearshore staff augmentation means outsourcing your project tasks to a country that is geographically close to your own, usually in the same or a similar time zone. For countries in North America and Western Europe, this means Latin America. Brazil, in particular, is one of the best staff augmentation countries for several reasons:

  • Cost-effective: Nearshoring to Brazil is more budget-friendly than onshore or in-house development. This cost-efficiency lets you pursue projects that may have been too expensive to develop locally.
  • Cultural similarities: Brazil is often described as the best staff augmentation country in Latin America because its cultural nuances closely align with those of the US and Western Europe. This reduces potential miscommunication risks. Brazilian teams are also well-versed in your target market, positioning them to make informed decisions and strategies right away.
  • Tech education and IT talent: With an increasing focus on tech education and numerous government programs fueling the IT workforce, Brazil boasts a vast talent pool of over 500,000 developers.
  • High English proficiency: Latin America has seen growing English proficiency rates. This eliminates language barriers for clear and effective communication. For example, at Cheesecake Labs, all of our team members speak English.
  • Minimal time difference: Brazil’s time zone aligns well with the US, Canada, and Western Europe. For example, if it’s 12:00 pm in São Paulo, it’s 11:00 am in New York City and Toronto, and 4:00 pm in London. This time zone compatibility makes synchronous communication easier and more efficient.

Hire the best-augmented staff

Looking for world-class software development staff augmentation? Cheesecake Labs has a lot to offer. There’s a reason we’re the  #1 app developer in Brazil and we’ve been certified as a Great Place to Work for several years in a row!

How Cheesecake Labs approaches staff augmentation

Unlike other companies that hire per project, we have a pool of exceptional talent ready to jump into your project, ensuring quick scaling and staffing. Our vetted and onboarded specialists are the same high-quality professionals who work on the projects we fully manage.

Our top-tier hiring process means we always hire the right people with the right skills. Here’s what the Talent Acquisition Lead, Natalia, has to say about our lean, laser-focused process: 

At Cheesecake Labs, our hiring process is meticulously designed to ensure that we not only provide a positive experience for our candidates but also guide them through a journey that reflects what it means to be a ‘Caker.’

Natalia Ferreia, Lead Talent Acquisition at Cheesecake Labs

When we hire to fill out our talent pool, these are the steps we take:

  • We prioritize aligning talent with our culture and technical expertise
  • We carry out a two-step evaluation of hard and soft skills
  • Our recruitment team works closely with technically savvy leaders who are trained to uncover and develop valuable skills and potential

We support several different roles to help you fill any talent gap. We can help you augment your staff with the following:

  • Software Engineers (cross-platform, mobile, and web)
  • UX / UI Designers
  • DevOps Engineers
  • Project & Product Managers
  • Product Owners
Check out the full review from SDF’s on Clutch:

We’ll also work with you to ensure our experts have experience with your tech stack. Here are just a few things the Cheesecake Labs team has expertise in:

Our approach to hiring means we can consistently deliver a WOW experience for our clients looking for staff augmentation. If you want to know more about our IT staff augmentation services, let’s chat! We’ll help you build the best-outsourced development team for your business’s needs.

About the author.

Jeremy Stephan
Jeremy Stephan

Jeremy Stephan is no stranger to building digital products. In fact, he's worked with Disney, NBC, Mercedes-Benz, HotelTonight, and many other companies in helping to guide them through the app design and development process. Jeremy has led client engagement in the digital space for over 10 years and served as a mentor within the TechStars network.