client guides · 25 Apr 2022

What Is Staff Augmentation and How Does It Work?

Kseniya Pilipeyko

Kseniya Pilipeyko

Business Development Manager

Illustration by Amir Kerr

In 2021, the global talent shortage reached 40M skilled workers worldwide, and it’s growing at a blistering pace. According to Korn Ferry, more than 85M jobs could go unfilled by 2030 because there won’t be enough individuals with the skill sets needed to fill them.

In the digital age, developers have become job market royalty. Our reliance on technologies for everyday tasks, from grocery shopping to online booking, has increased due to the pandemic and lockdowns. In turn, this has led to high demand for software engineers to create custom software solutions.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for technology specialists remains high in 2022 and is expected to grow 22% by 2029. So it’ll be challenging enough to find skilled tech specialists even if you’re not limited by time or finances. The shortage of software engineers could exceed 1.2M by 2026 if 545K developers leave their jobs by that time. 

Taking into account all the stats mentioned above, assembling an in-house development team in 2022 can take months. Even now, many companies have unfilled software engineering positions, and solving this shortage isn’t an easy task.

Recruiting and hiring an in-house development team takes time and effort that could cost you revenue. However, there is another way to get your software developed by powering up your existing development team: staff augmentation.

What Is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is one of the outsourcing models that allows you to permanently or temporarily extend your existing team using skilled tech resources. Augmented developers or other specialists can become a part of your in-house team on a contractual basis to fill the expertise and skill gaps. Before adding specialists, you need to determine existing staff capabilities and define what skills or specialists are still required. 

In other words, the following outsourcing method means that you only recruit staff for a specific project when there is a shortage of skills, reducing recruitment, payroll, and implementation costs. In addition, this approach is more flexible and scalable than hiring in-house developers since you can end augmented partnerships much easier than in-house contracts. 

Further, while outstaffing, you shift the responsibility from your business to IT vendors, minimizing HR and employment formalities. Thus, creating more time for you to focus on your core business needs. 

For example, imagine that you have a custom software solution that needs to be updated, but your team doesn’t have the required specialists or skills to update the existing system. Instead of going through the conventional recruitment process, you can contact an IT staff augmentation vendor and find the right specialists for the job. You can save time and resources by bypassing recruitment stages like sourcing, interviewing, and onboarding.

The IT vendor will find the specialists required based on experience and/or previous work on similar projects. Then, the vendor will send over their CVs for you to review. Finally, you can interview the shortlisted candidates and sign a contract when you’ve decided on the right specialist. 

The resource and staff augmentation approach best suits short-term projects that can be completed within less than two years. For instance, say you need to power up your team with an extra engineer while yours is on extended leave, or you need to find a developer with niche skills; this is where IT staff augmentation comes in handy. 

Related: Mobile App Development Team: Structure, Roles and Hiring Models

Staff Augmentation vs. Project-based Outsourcing vs. In-house Team

Choosing an outsourcing business model isn’t easy right off the bat. In this case, a “one-size-fits-all” option doesn’t exist because you’ll need to consider various factors, including:

  • The software development budget
  • Tech skills and project requirements
  • Time-to-market speed and deadlines

Staff augmentation 

When opting for staff augmentation, you gain more control over the development process and your augmented team. You’ll be the one who chooses the candidates and manages the software development processes and the development team, and you won’t have to worry about administrative and organizational hassles. 

Project-based outsourcing 

Project-based outsourcing allows you to get all aspects of software development, from structuring a team to managing processes, off your hands. Further, there is no need to have in-house tech expertise or spend time on your remote development team. However, with project-based outsourcing, customers often don't know who is working on their project, what developers are currently doing, and which decisions are made throughout the development process. 

In-house development team 

By hiring an in-house team, you get total control over your project. As a rule, an in-house team shares your company’s values and cares more about the outcome of a project. 

But assembling an in-house team requires significant investments in terms of money and time. In case when your company isn't tech- or software-oriented, hiring in-house specialists may be an unjustified risk when a company is only building one project. 

After reviewing the criteria above, it is critical to emphasize that every software development project is unique. That's why vendors offer several models that fit the needs of different projects.

If you aren’t sure which outsourcing model would be suitable for your project, the best thing to do is to consult with your vendor. Describe your project, requirements, timeline, and budget constraints. And don’t forget to mention whether you have an in-house team and the flexibility you’ll require.

CriteriaStaff AugmentationProject-Based OutsourcingIn-house Team
TeamFully dedicated and exclusively recruited teamSelected from the service provider’s employeesFully dedicated and exclusively recruited team
Tech stack selectionClientService providerClient
Office and workstations provided byService providerService providerClient
HR managementService providerService providerClient
PayrollService providerService providerClient
Project managementClientService providerClient

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

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Benefits of Staff Augmentation


Outstaffing several specialists can be more affordable than assembling an in-house team. Many IT staff vendors are offering affordable rates worldwide. Specifically, the most popular staff augmentation hubs are Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and India. For instance, Eastern Europe has become a powerful IT hub due to a significant amount of qualified tech talent, low taxes, and government support for the IT sector. 

In addition, you don’t need to spend your time and money on hiring and administrative issues since outstaffing takes these issues off your hands. From a cost perspective, augmenting IT staff is typically lower than maintaining an in-house development team since you need only to pay the IT staff vendor for hours worked.


Assembling an in-house team is time-consuming. Every time you need to hire a new team member, you have to go through all stages of the hiring process. Outstaffing can help you get the labor resources you need quicker. 

Moreover, you can scale up or down anytime while outstaffing. You can make your team bigger or smaller depending on your business needs. Flexible hiring allows you to expand your business on a trial basis without hiring full-time specialists. 

Access to expert talent 

The IT staff augmentation market offers a vast pool of skilled engineers. As a result, you can get the right specialists in a few days, not months. In addition, staff augmentation provides unlimited hiring opportunities because you consider different specialists from all over the world. 

Direct communication

When outsourcing software development, the vendor takes care of the project. However, when outstaffing, you will be the one to assign tasks, plan sprints, and fully control the development of your projects through project management tools like Jira, Trello, or Confluence. With this approach, tech specialists will report directly to you or your PM and always be in touch. 

Higher productivity

A need to augment the development team often arises when your project requires more hands and heads, but you don’t have enough time or budget to hire full-time specialists. Outstaffing additional specialists can lighten your team’s workload. 

Alternatively, staff augmentation means your team is entirely focused on your project. With this approach, your augmented team’s efficiency can be higher than outsourcing teams’ efficiency since project-based outsourcing teams may work on several projects simultaneously.

Challenges of Staff Augmentation

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Challenges of Staff Augmentation

Time and language barriers  

Since your staff augmentation partner can be located in any part of the world, several issues can break down communication. Luckily, the language barrier has generally become a problem of the past since a vast majority of IT specialists speak fluent English. However, time differences remain one of the most common communication-related issues when augmenting the dev team.

At Orangesoft, we’ve taken multiple steps to solve these common communication issues. For instance, thanks to the convenient location of our Eastern European hubs, we share overlapping office hours that facilitate communication. This approach has become a fairly common practice for other companies in the industry, too.

Security concerns

IT staff augmentation means sharing information with a third party and integrating them into your internal operations. The top security concern is a client’s data, which can be at risk.

As a software development agency, we undertake periodic security audits to prevent all security threats and hazards. At Orangesoft, we follow all security protocols and sign NDAs to guarantee your total security. 

Tech expertise and skills

If your augmented team’s performance isn’t living up to your expectations, it’s time to reassess your development team and tech leads. In most cases, vendors don’t assign a project manager, manage the development processes, or bear the responsibility for staff efficiency. 

Staff Augmentation with Orangesoft 

At Orangesoft, we provide a full cycle of app development services, and we are not limited to project-based outsourcing services. 

We also provide flexible IT staff augmentation services regardless of how many specialists you need. You can hire our IT specialists, including software developers, UI/UX designers, QA engineers, Project Managers, and Business Analysts. Powering up your team with Orangsoft means that you get highly skilled tech professionals who will devote their time solely to your product. 

Our augmented specialists will be indispensable parts of your development team, and you’ll take care of all the management issues like planning, supervision, and other important activities. You'll be the one to manage your IT specialists, so they'll feel like part of your core team. In case an issue arises that you or your augmented team need to discuss, an Account Manager will help you facilitate the process. 

Here’s the process you’ll experience when signing a staff augmentation contract with Orangesoft: 

Staff Augmentation Process with Orangesoft 

Reviewing your initial request 

When we receive your request for staff augmentation services, our IT managers and BAs will carefully analyze it. Before requesting these services, there are a few basic questions you’ll need to consider:

  • How many specialists do you need for your staff augmentation project?
  • What level of specialist do you need? Junior, middle, or senior?
  • When should the required specialists get started?
  • What is your project’s deadline?
  • Is it a new or ongoing project?

Our managers will need 16 business hours to review your request and create a unique team augmentation strategy. Then, we will schedule a call with you or your representative to discuss all the details.

Choosing the specialists 

After we have signed an NDA and reviewed your project’s requirements and specifications, we can start finding specialists with the exact skills and experience needed. Then, we will send you the first CVs in two business days. 

Interviewing IT specialists

After you approve the CVs, we’ll arrange interviews with the selected specialists. As a rule, such interviews consist of two parts – one with a CTО and the other with a CEO or product owner. You only pay for the professionals you hire, no matter how many candidates you've interviewed. 

Signing a contract

When all the interviews are carried out, we can sign a contract and start our staff augmentation project. Once everything is approved, you can integrate the selected specialists into your workflows and development processes. Also, we will assign an Account Manager who will work with your developers and help you build a productive relationship with your augmented team.

Recently, we’ve completed our staff augmentation project for one of the biggest tech companies. Initially, the client required three web and six mobile engineers to power up their existing development team. 

The client was highly satisfied with our specialists and decided to extend the number of specialists involved as well as our agreement. As a result, the project was delivered on time and met its goals thanks to the developers' relevant expertise. 

Contact us to learn more about our staff augmentation services, and our experts will help you find the right solution for your business.

What is an example of staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation refers to the business practice of bringing outsourced staff in house to accelerate product development. For example, your company is looking to build a video streaming app, and the ideal team structure for this project includes six developers. However, your company only has four on-site and lacks the time and resources to spend another month looking for new hires with the right set of skills. So, you reach out to an outsourcing vendor and augment your team with two developers. Staff augmentation also means that the outsourced talent becomes your team for a specified amount of time.

What is staff augmentation vs consulting?

Augmented teams bring their expertise to internal teams, assisting on-site developers in bringing their projects across the goal line. Staff augmentation also helps you cover your talent gaps and ramp up the in-house capacity. Conversely, consulting services don’t fill out your talent shortages but rather address your knowledge gaps. Consultants provide guidance and share their unique expertise while working as employees of other firms or as independent contractors.

What is the difference between IT staff augmentation and outsourcing?

Staff augmentation is considered to be a form of outsourcing whereby a company requests additional resources from the in-house team to accelerate development. Also, IT project outsourcing is usually referred to as a business practice of delegating end-to-end product development to a vendor.

What is the difference between contractors and staff augmentation?

Augmentation services are usually provided by a professional software development agency, while contractors are self-employed. Also, augmented developers become a part of the company and its culture, dive deep into the project, and work as dedicated employees, contributing their time and effort exclusively to one project. Independent contractors don’t connect with the company at such a deep level. They perform specific tasks for the team and may work with multiple companies at the same time.

What do you mean by staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a hiring strategy businesses use to cover a skill gap for a specific project. However, unlike traditional hiring, augmented specialists are usually employed by the agency and don’t make it on the permanent staff of a company.

What are the different types of staff augmentation services?

Staff augmentation services fall into three categories, including commodity, skill-based, and highly-skilled augmentation. Companies opt for commodity augmentation when looking for employees with basic skill sets that can fill the talent gaps fast. Skill-based augmentation is associated with more demanding requirements, while highly-skilled hiring gets you experienced employees with strong skill sets.

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