Staff augmentation is one of the most fruitful forms of outsourcing IT functions and roles today. However, that doesn't mean that it's not riddled with challenges. As a company that has been providing IT specialists for many years to businesses all over the world, we probably encountered every single of these problems. When starting a collaboration with a new client, we make sure to educate them about how to make the most out of staff augmentation services.
We wanted to share some of our insights with you in this article. We want to help everyone looking for extra resources via staff augmentation to realize what they need to do beforehand to avoid the most common problems.
Here are the 5 most common issues experienced by businesses that choose staff augmentation – together with their solutions.
The client isn't ready for a remote collaboration
If your company doesn't perform proper needs analysis, entering into an outsourcing relationship is going to be tricky, no matter how experienced and professional your provider is. After all, staff augmentation helps to add the necessary IT talent you need to ship features faster, build a new solution, or accelerate your time-to-market.
If you don't know what problems you want to solve with staff augmentation, the chances are that this or any other outsourcing model is going to bring you only poor results.
So, take a close look at your business, identify your needs, and check which tasks could be outsourced successfully. Then start looking for the right provider. A professional staff augmentation agency should ask about your business goals and problems as well. If you don't get this type of question, consider it a red flag and move on.
The candidate isn't ready for a remote collaboration
Another common problem that arises in staff augmentation related to the ability of the provider to judge whether a candidate is ready for remote collaboration or not.
In our experience, most of the time, it's down to issues arising in candidate onboarding or monitoring - more specifically, from the lack of them. If the onboarding process is poorly designed or there's no onboarding process altogether, entering into a remote collaboration with an in-house technical team is going to be very difficult. This holds true whether the team is on the other side of the planet or works in the same building. That's why a well-designed onboarding process is a critical part of a fruitful collaboration.
Another problem that affects the candidate's performance is the lack of monitoring. Since staff augmentation assumes that it's the provider's job to take care of employees, the staffing agency you choose should offer a wide range of services centered on monitoring the performance of the candidates it provides. Monitoring is the best method of spotting any problems or misalignment before they become serious issues affecting the speed of development.
The reality differs from the promise
Some IT staffing agencies try to sell their junior candidates as senior candidates. However, by exaggerating the descriptions of candidate skills, these companies aren't going to gain anything. Sooner or later, someone is going to check them in a real software development project.
But the problem can also be a little more nuanced. For example, different companies might have different definitions of seniority. One company might define a mid-level developer as a person with two years of experience. For another company, this might be a person with five years of experience on the job. These differences might become a point of discord in staff augmentation when the candidates provided simply don't deliver on the promise.
Note that some IT staffing agencies out there are just intermediaries. This means that they don't actually hire anyone. It might come as a surprise, but they actually outsource candidates themselves. As a result, they practically have no control over candidates – and this might negatively affect service delivery.
Generic skills might not be enough
To ensure the continuity of work for their people, software development agencies need to employ workers with generic skill sets and do generic things rather than expert skills with advanced knowledge in specific technologies. For example, instead of offering very narrow technologies that match the demands of very specific applications, such a company can go for a combination of Python/Django + React skills that can address most standard needs.
A software development agency doesn’t usually require specific domain or industry knowledge from the average developer. That’s because that person will work on many different projects.
But a company that specializes in IT staff augmentation can easily find talented developers with experience in specific technologies or industries.
At Teams by Sunscrapers, we can search for the exact combination of skills and experience you need. We don’t have to make any compromises because we are recruiting a specific person for a specific project. We don’t need to worry whether their skillset is general enough to match some future projects. Once the project is finished, their engagement finishes as well. This is our advantage over software development companies that focus on hire generalists whose skill sets match a broader range of projects.
Cultural or communication problems
Not every IT staffing provider verifies soft skills like communication or checks whether a candidate is a good culture fit for the client. Moreover, not every Polish IT company out here understands the standards and expectations of businesses operating in various corners of the world.
At Teams, we do our best to meet our clients halfway by carefully vetting every single candidate. We take the cultural match and communication skills into account. For instance, all the candidates provided by us can easily communicate in English. That way, we make sure that candidates easily adapt to the client's work environment.
We hope that this article opens your eyes to what could possibly go wrong in staff augmentation and what issues to look out for. By preparing yourself for these issues, you'll be able to nip them in the bud so they never grow full-blown problems.
If you have any questions about how staff augmentation works and how to make it better, get in touch with us. Our consultants are here to help you solve problems by providing you with specialized candidates with the right skills and culture fit.