Staff Augmentation vs. Full Project Development – What’s Best for Your Business?

By: Joseph Evans

It is an inevitable part of business that at one point or another you will be up against a hard deadline and there won’t be enough hours in the day. Most businesses, at some time or another, need a few more hands on deck. Not just any hands will do either, you need skilled hands that don’t need training, that already have the skillset, and have the certifications you need to complete the job. That’s assuming you already have a team in place but just need some short-term help. What if you have a job to do that is outside of your company’s purview and you don’t have the team to do it?

The bad news is that hiring these people in the traditional way is a time-consuming and drawn-out process. Listing the job, interviewing candidates, checking references, onboarding and endless paperwork. This is unhelpful if your business has mission-critical deadlines to fulfill. The good news is that there are solutions for this problem, and you have choices in how you want to solve it. For some companies, IT companies specifically, staff augmentation could be the secret weapon when you need fast access to skills. For others, guided development or full project development are the answer. Here’s a breakdown of each that can help you decide what’s best for your company’s unique needs.

Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation isn’t a new word for outsourcing. Rather it’s a quick way for business to scale up or down using contractors instead of permanent employees. The strategy brings in outside people to fill gaps in an existing team. Contractors are brought on board to do work that no one currently on the project team can do. Instead of going through a long drawn out hiring process, freelancers fill the need on a short-term basis. An augmentation strategy is good for one off projects until your company has a need for the full time staffing and offers that product and your customers ask for it frequently. In other words, outside experts come in and act as a valuable resource on your project.

Closeing the gap between extremes

Advantages of staff augmentation:

  • Tight control over the staff and project
  • The contractors integrate seamlessly with current best practices
  • Cost effective way to manage IT staffing needs
  • New resources for an ongoing project to meet deadlines
  • Fills knowledge gaps in the existing team

Full Project Development

Full project development is the exact opposite of staff augmentation. An outside company will do your project from start to finish. You tell them what it is you need to accomplish, and they do it from end to end. This approach is good for companies with no capabilities to make their own software solution. This includes companies with no IT department or development team. The companies that need full project development run the gamut and include any business that doesn’t occupy the tech space, like; construction companies, distributors, wholesalers, retail, etc.

improved communication

Advantages of full project development:

  • Ideal for companies with little to no IT staff
  • Results focused
  • Takes the responsibility of the project outside you’re the company and away from management.
  • The solution will go beyond the core competencies of the company.

Guided Development

Guided development is good for fledgling companies that are just getting started and have landed their first big account. They might have one or two capable people but need guidance and help with the specifics that a more experienced company can give. A guide and plan are laid out for them to follow making the end result more predictable. Milestones are set along the way so the “mentor” company can check progress and make sure they are on the right course. This is the perfect middle ground between staff augmentation and full project development.

Company Growth is low


Advantages of guided development:

  • Outside company creates a strategy and gives guidance on completing the project
  • Guarantees best practices and guidelines
  • Goes beyond the core competencies of the company
  • Cost effectively manages the IT staffing needs.
  • Fills knowledge gaps in the existing team.

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