IT staff augmentation allows a company to add staff to their teams based on the additional
skills required to support their initiatives. Resources are employed by the staff augmentation
Control over staff
When there is a need to closely manage resources, staff augmentation is ideal.
Integration with internal processes: Companies can find it more effective to integrate staff
augmentation resources with existing business processes than to align those processes with
external project teams. After all, an individual can adapt more quickly to the processes of an
organization than two separate organizations can align with each other.
Leverages existing resources
By adding new skill sets to the team, a company can take advantage of both external and
internal resources for the completion of their IT projects.
Specialist expertise: When project team gaps mainly consist of specialized skills, staff
augmentation can efficiently fill those gaps.
Rapidly changing staffing needs
Companies with staffing needs in constant flux can meet those needs through staff augmentation.
It’s relatively easy to add or subtract resources to match demand.
Reduce cost of acquiring skills
Avoids the cost of investing in internal skill development.
Reduce employer burdens
Avoids costs and liabilities of direct employees.
Meet aggressive project timelines
When an active project has a need for more resources in order to be completed on time, staff
augmentation is typically the best option, and is often the only option.
Existing employees often embrace a staff augmentation model more than a project outsourcing
model. Existing employees are less likely to feel threatened by augmenting staff with a few
individuals than by outsourcing entire projects.
Ease of adoption
It’s easier to adopt a staff augmentation model than a project outsourcing model. Companies are
already used to hiring employees. Staff augmentation is just a small shift from what companies
Can still be training intensive
Although companies avoid the cost of training staff augmentation resources in the skills they
are bringing to the table, there may still be training involved in bringing resources up to
speed with the company processes, tools, and general domain knowledge.
Reliance on internal processes
If there are flaws in internal processes, staff augmentation resources will be affected
negatively by these just as internal employees. Companies with process flaws are typically not
going to enjoy the benefits of implementing industry best practices through staff augmentation.
Lack of economies of scale
As a company’s need for more resources grow, the cost structure doesn’t typically improve in a
significant fashion, since resources are added incrementally and rates are typically negotiated
on a per resources basis.
Adding resources through staff augmentation will increase management overhead due to the
increased need to supervise the growing number of staff augmentation resources.
Resource centric model
Ultimately the goal of staff augmentation is to deliver results. While using a quality staff
augmentation firm will aid in the delivery of those results, the responsibility for the results
stays within the company when using a staff augmentation model. Companies are purchasing
resources, ideally high quality resources, but not results. Companies remain responsible for
planning and managing the project, tasks, resources and deliverables.
Employee vs. contractor distinction
Companies shoulder the burden of ensuring that their staff augmentation resources cannot be
construed as employees.
IT project outsourcing allows a company to execute entire projects using the resources of
another firm. In some cases, this can also take the form of “out tasking”, where specific tasks
of a project might be outsourced to a sub team which is staffed and managed by the outsourcer.
Reduce training costs
Training and skill development is the responsibility of the outsourcer.
Taking advantage of industry best practices can be accomplished simply by using an outsourcer
who follows best practices. Outsourcers shoulder the responsibility of investing in the
adoption, maintenance and improvement of best practices.
Just as it is easy to add or subtract staff augmentation resources, it is also easy to ramp up
and down with project outsourcing.
Economies of scale
There is significant leverage when negotiating large contracts with outsourcers. Outsourcers
also take advantage of their own internal economies of scale for project work within their core
Reduce management overhead
Management is the responsibility of the outsourcer.
Results centric mode
The responsibility for delivering results lies with the outsourcer. Companies are buying agreed
upon results. Outsourcers are sharing in the risk and rewards of the IT project.
Keeps the focus on the core business
Because the responsibility for delivering results lies with the outsourcer, companies can stay
focused on the results and their core business.
Employee vs. Contractor
Project outsourcing avoids navigating the legal landscape of employee vs. contractor issues.
Overcomes a lack of internal capabilities
Companies that lack the internal capability to complete certain projects will typically find it
more cost effective to outsource their project needs as opposed to developing those capabilities
internally. This is especially true for one time and intermittent needs and companies with no IT
department or no development staff.
Variable cost structure
Shifts fixed costs (employees) to variable costs (project costs) which change in proportion to
the current level of project activity. This improves operating leverage.
Opportunity for legal redress
When a project is performed internally, any project failures or liabilities which arise are the
company’s responsibility. When a project is outsourced, contracts are typically structured such
that the outsourcer takes on that risk.
Lack of control
Control of everything from high level processes down to individual resources rests with the
Some within a company may feel threatened by a project outsourcing model. Although most project
outsourcing serves the purpose of overcoming a lack of internal capabilities, some internal
employees may be concerned that this model will lead to cutting back internal staff in favor of
Finding a quality outsourcer
When a company looks to meet a need which is beyond the scope of their core competencies, it
may be difficult for them to assess the quality of potential outsourcing firms.
Smaller projects may be less cost effective under a project outsourcing model than a staff
augmentation model. Some outsourcers may be reluctant to take on small projects and may charge a
premium to take on such work.
Integration with internal processes
Integration with complex and unique internal processes may be more difficult under a project
outsourcing model, which increases demand on Business-IT alignment.