10 common IT staff augmentation mistakes to avoid

Acclaim/Blog/Articles/10 common IT staff augmentation mistakes to avoid
  • Comments icon
  • 11 minutes of reading

Whether you have used staff augmentation services before or are a newbie, you may be making some common mistakes. These mistakes can prevent you from being successful with this model. Check out our top 10 mistakes to avoid with IT staff augmentation.

Business owner discussing IT staff augmentation mistakes he made

Are you scared of using IT staff augmentation to grow your team because you do not know how to go about it properly? Well, allow us to unlock the 10 common IT staff augmentation mistakes to avoid.

Why choose IT staff augmentation to extend your team?

Staff augmentation is an example of an outsourced model. It involves temporary workers/ temporary coders filling temporary jobs. This is a collaborative model designed to increase internal staff. All by temporarily hiring developers. Augmented specialists work as part of in-house teams for a specified period of time.

You can hire an IT specialist to help scale your business quickly without making him or her a permanent full-time employee. They can help increase your time to market for various IT projects. Thus you gain more revenue. Also, using a remote team can save you money in terms of having to rent out more office space. You do not have to cover employment costs such as taxes, retirement benefits, healthcare, etc.

Do not make these 10 common IT staff augmentation mistakes

There are 10 common staff augmentation challenges and mistakes people make when trying to use this hiring model. Let’s go through mistakes to avoid in ensure a smooth development process and long-term project success.

Not choosing a reliable staff augmentation company

A struggle many businesses face is choosing a reliable staff augmentation company. There are many staff augmentation companies out there but not all of them are created equal. You will find staffing companies all around the world, offering various solutions. But it’s important to find one that’s right for you.

Some steps to find the right service provider include doing your research online and getting client reviews for each company. Also, check out the service provider’s portfolio to see if the projects they helped complete, align with the technical skills you need.

When you pick the wrong staff augmentation company you run the risk of spending money on a hiring process that does bring you the new hires that you need. Your project may be delayed because you are constantly switching developers to find one that actually meets your needs. Perhaps you hire a coder that needs hand-holding as opposed to pushing your project because they lack the proper experience. These are just some consequences of choosing the wrong company. Also, this is why it’s important to 👉 choose the right IT staff augmentation company 👈.

Not screening the potential software developer(s)

One common mistake is choosing a staff augmentation company that does not screen employees. The developers they rent out are not being screened internally. Or you are unable to screen potential software developers before choosing the hire them from the vendor.

So you could spend money hiring someone who is not suitable for the position you are looking to fill. When making initial chats with potential staff augmentation vendors. Check if they have an 👉 internal recruitment process 👈 that they screen their developers with. Plus check if you can participate in an accelerated interview process. Even if it’s strictly a formality to vet candidates yourself. You want to make sure that the developer has adequate technical skills and soft skills.

No prior English screening

Another common mistake when using IT staff augmentation is not screening candidates and their English proficiency. This can create huge communication problems when trying to work on a software development project.

Here at Swyply, we require a minimum of B2 English language level from all our developers. This is to ensure that they can communicate both verbally and in writing with our customers.

A lack of transparency

A lack of transparency can appear on both sides. The first is on the side of the staffing company. The second is a lack of transparency on the side of the customer.

Lack of transparency from staff augmentation provider

Let’s start with the lack of transparency from the side of the staff augmentation vendor. A provider can be untransparent whether the developer is part of their in-house team or from a partnering software house. They may pretend that all developers are from their in-house team because this is easy to fake. All a company needs to create the developer a company email account and add them to their Slack, or other communication chat.

While many staff augmentation companies have an in-house team of developers that they can lend out to their customers. They may also borrow coders from Software Houses to provide you. However, they may not necessarily disclose that part to the customer. This should not be a secret, especially because if your customer wants to find out where the developer is from, they can check LinkedIn.

How is Swyply transparent with its customers?

Here at Swyply, we tell our customers from the beginning whether they are receiving a software developer that is part of our in-house team. Or the developer is from a partnering Software House.

While doing so, we also highlight the fact that just because a developer is rented out to you from one of our partners, they are not worse than those on our in-house team. These developers are of the same high quality.

Also, you do not have to communicate with the partnering Software House. You only communicate with us, the invoicing is done through us. The chain of cooperation is a bit longer but it does not directly affect you, in any way.

Lack of transparency from customer

The biggest problem with customers using staff augmentation is they are not transparent about how long they actually need to rent a software engineer. Let us provide you with two examples of this problem:

Lack of transparency from customer example 1

A customer rents out a developer for 6 months to help with their project. But after two months it turns out that the developer no longer has anything to do. The customer will let the vendor know that you can take the developer back now. But they have a contract for 6 months. And the developer for the moment may not have another project lined up.

So here at Swyply, we have a minimum of 3-month cooperation and require a one-month notice period. When a customer does not communicate outright their needs and timeline, we can come across a huge problem.

Being more transparent from the beginning. Or as soon as you (the customer) are aware of the project timeline difference makes everyone’s life easier.

Lack of transparency from customer example 2

Now the opposite problem can also happen. Where a customer rents out a developer for 6 months but once that time is up they still need him or her for another 3,4,6 months. And they make the vendor aware of this fact, one week before the 6 month period ends.

We understand that projects change and can be unpredictable. But typically if you need more time on a project, you know this quite a bit earlier. Putting the vendor in this type of scenario can be problematic.

While the provider may be happy that the developer has a job for the next X months. There may be a scheduling conflict. Because the vendor already aligned another project for that developer, not knowing he or she will still be needed in your project.

Programmer pointing with his hand to the monitor identifying code

Underestimating how many additional software developers you need

Many businesses will underestimate the number of developers they need to borrow from a staffing partner. They will lowball the figure and come to a staff augmentation vendor saying they only need one or two developers. But as soon as these developers start work on the project, there is a realization that the company needs more than one or two to complete the job.

Then they will contact the staffing company to see if they can get developers ASAP. While it may not be a problem, as typically many providers can add programmers within one week to join your team. You may experience a delay in filling those extra gaps and even a delay in finishing your project.

So how to avoid this mistake?

Well, try using a skills gap audit to better narrow down what you are missing. This type of audit consists of five steps:

  1. Create a list of roles in your organization
  2. For each role write out the skills and responsibilities needed for that role
  3. Create a survey for your workforce to complete. This survey should help you gain a better understanding of what roles you are missing. Perhaps even roles that you do not see as empty.
  4. Survey your IT workforce and analyze the results.
  5. Once you have analyzed your results you can now narrow it down to which skills you need short-term and long-term. Also, you can decide which skills you want to fill using a staff provider.

A skills audit will help you better 👉 close the talent gap in your company 👈 and not underestimate just how many developers you need.

No internal managerial capacity on your side

A common mistake when hiring developers through staff augmentation is not taking them through an onboarding process. There are many circumstances where a developer is placed in a project and left to his or her own devices.

No one takes the time to onboard them to the company. So they are unaware of the procedures and processes in the company they have joined. They are not even introduced to the tasks that they should work on. So the augmented staff member is not sure of what they need to do and may sit idly instead of working.

It is important for your project management team to assign them a buddy. Someone that can help them adjust to your company culture. That can show them the ins and outs of the project. Also, to be there in case the developer has any questions.

This way your cooperation with that developer will be much more fruitful and both parties will be a lot happier.

Not integrating augmented staff with internal developers

Another problem is not integrating a new team member with your internal IT team. Many project managers are not sure how to treat temporary employees. And for some, an even bigger challenge is presented when augmented staff works remotely.

Companies that have success stories with staff augmentation are in part because they have integrated augmented staff. They make temporary developers feel part of the team. They create a collaborative atmosphere between augmented staff & their in-house tech talent. Even if someone is working with you temporarily they need to feel like part of the team. There are a few ways of doing so:

  1. Onboard them to company communication tools such as Slack, Asana, Jira, etc.
  2. Include them in virtual development team meetings. These meetings can be to discuss project details. But they can also have a more casual purpose, such as allowing people to get to know each other.
  3. When speaking to augmented developers, treat them like you would your internal team. Do not make a habit out of emphasizing that they are on your team temporarily.

These are just some ways to help integrate and 👉 manage augmented teams 👈 to ensure success with this outsourcing model.

Focusing on the short-term partnership, not the big picture

When working with staffing partners we tend to only look at our short-term goals. So for example you may see that by renting X developer, you can finish a specific development project. But you do not look at how this can help your business goals as a whole.

Also, you may want to look at how partnering with a staff augmentation company in the long term can help your company. Some benefits of using augmented development teams include:

  • Gain software engineers on demand for longer projects. The longer a developer is a part of your team, the more productive they become. So, the overall efficiency should also improve.
  • Your company is also able to optimize its operational costs. The 👉 price to hire coders via staff augmentation 👈 is predictable. You only pay for the developer you use and for as long as you use them. You pay a daily rate that is multiplied by the number of days at the end of the month. You receive one invoice and that’s it. There are no hidden fees and you do not have to pay for typical employee expenses such as health insurance, taxes, etc.
  • Also, staff augmentation allows you to reduce software developer attrition. You do not have to worry about an employee slot being empty for a long time. Even if an augmented developer needs to leave your team, that chair will be filled with a replacement ASAP.

So do not think small, because cooperating with a staff augmentation company may be a key stepping stone long term.

Businesswoman showing coins with white piggybank on desk

Choosing the cheapest staff augmentation services

Do not use the cheapest option out there. You may think that you are saving money. But in the long run, choosing one of the cheapest staff augmentation vendors on the market will only lower the quality of developers you rent.

When you choose a really inexpensive staff augmentation vendor you run into some of the following risks:

  • You hire developers that have not been previously screened so you truly do not know who you are getting
  • The company may not be transparent with you in terms of where the developers are from, so they are working on more than one project at a time. They may work for more than one company at a time.
  • The quality of your software development project may be significantly lowered due to unvetted developers
  • You may find that you have to end your cooperation with this cheap staff augmentation company and find another one. Thus delaying your project and costing you more money.

So it’s always best to choose a few steps higher than the cheapest option.

Group of business people having a meeting to discuss higher efficiency

Not establishing a clear direction for your project and collaboration

So you have chosen a staff augmentation provider and rented a developer or multiple developers to help complete your project. You think you’re all set and it’s downhill from here. Well, it can be if you establish a clear direction for your project and overall collaboration.

Many business owners make the mistake of not setting clear expectations with the staffing company. Or for the coders hired from that company.

Some problems that may arise from not setting clear expectations with the augmented developers include poor communication. This can be between the new hire and yourself. This can take place between you and the provider.

Also, you may not receive tech documentation because you did not mention that’s a need. It’s important to remember tech documentation is not a standard. So if you need it, it’s best to let people know from the beginning. Also, not explaining how you effectively run knowledge transfer procedures in your company. So you may run into a scenario where the developer finishes working for you and you are missing vital info.

You need to set clear expectations in terms of effective communication. Also, if you need technical documentation from IT specialists, make that clear. Lastly, let it be known how you transfer knowledge in your company to avoid any data loss. Plus make sure that the way you transfer information does not cause security issues. You can do so by signing an NDA and a win-win contract.

TL;DR: Wrap up of IT staff augmentation mistakes

Let’s sum up the top 10 staff augmentation mistakes to avoid:

  1. Not choosing a reliable staff augmentation company
  2. Not screening the potential software developer(s)
  3. No prior English screening
  4. A lack of transparency
  5. Underestimating how many additional software developers you need
  6. No internal managerial capacity on your side
  7. Not integrating augmented staff with internal developers
  8. Focusing on the short-term partnership, not the big picture
  9. Choosing the cheapest staff augmentation services
  10. Not establishing a clear direction for your project and collaboration

If you want to learn more about these mistakes, 👉 drop us line 👈. Let’s chat about how to use staff augmentation successfully in your company. Also, let us know if we missed any mistakes to avoid with IT staffing augmentation.

Related articles

The Impact of IT Staff Augmentation on Project Flexibility

One strategy that has gained significant traction in recent years is IT staff augmentation—a practice that empowers organizations to bolster their project with more flexibility. Project flexibility is a standard in the IT industry. Check out how IT staffing impacts project flexibility.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.