IT Staff Augmentation vs Delivery Teams — the Pros & Cons
One of the key tools for managers looking for amazing software production, alongside boosting their company’s capability, is software outsourcing. The two most popular models are autonomous delivery teams and staff augmentation — in this article we look at the pros and cons of each one.
Autonomous Delivery Teams
In this model the outside team usually consists of key personnel which would include an experienced manager, software engineers and experienced testers. This allows the in-house team space to focus on concept without involving them in the more time-consuming development stage. The outside team can then complete the process with little involvement from the in-house team.
There are 3 major pros in favor of autonomous delivery teams:
Rapid Response — managers can respond quickly to market demands, producing custom software in a timely manner. This cuts out the need for lengthy recruitment processes and means that development can start immediately with an experienced team in place.
Eases the burden on managers — in-house development often means heavy supervision. This is removed with outsourcing to an autonomous team leaving the manager free to focus on other, more productive, areas of the business. The day-to-day project management is taken over by the outsourced team leader and provides a key communication point between the delivery team and the in-house management.
Reduces financial risk — the huge costs associated with planning, development and creation of custom software are much reduced with this method meaning that if the software fails there is less financial loss. Outside teams are often very specialized and can overcome challenges in a timely manner. Fnal payment is often related to delivery of a successful software thus ensuring that the outside team is invested in completing the project quickly and successfully.
There are 2 main drawbacks when using outsourced teams:
Less control — control over day-to-day tasks is taken from in-house managers and this may prove frustrating. This can be ameliorated by establishing good communication early on, with updates given at key points of the project.
Finding a good team — a company needs to have a huge amount of trust in any company they hire because of the autonomous nature of the team; if the team is poor then the product will not be up to standard. It is vital, therefore, that managers do their research before they hire looking at reputation, past projects and ensuring that the finished product is likely to meet expectations.
Staff augmentation is where a manager hires additional contractors to supplement the work of an existing in-house team. These contractors come in during the busiest times and provide expertise in key stages of a project with the aim of saving both time and money.
The 2 main selling points of this model are:
Access to talent — there is a current shortage of talent in the US and demand is increasing all the time, so finding someone who can provide quality input is a competitive advantage. The world is now better connected than ever so hiring outside national borders is easy and allows for seamless communications and integrated work with an in-house team.
Flexibility — The Lean approach has become synonymous with tech business and one of the results of this is a flexible and agile approach to staffing, supplementing existing staff with outside contractors as required. Staff augmentation means managers can access high quality workers without having to give a long-term commitment. This helps the company budget and provides the necessary skills needed for key projects.
Management responsibility — the main drawback with this is that, unlike with an autonomous team there is much more involvement for the in-house managers who remain responsible for supervising the off-site staff as well as the permanent staff members in house. This is the main factor that drives managers towards autonomous delivery teams.
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