Say you launched a restaurant web app with online ordering and delivery features six months ago. Sales have started out well, and you’ve decided to create a native mobile app. But since your in-house team is already handling lots of development tasks, you’re thinking of hiring extra developers.

Let’s be realistic: Hiring a mobile app developer can take one or two months. But this will delay your launch and deprive your business of revenue. With staff augmentation, you can cut the hiring time in half.

What is staff augmentation in IT? In short, it’s a way of complementing an in-house team with outside talent to augment an organization’s capacity. Staff augmentation companies provide businesses with the right developers, designers, testers, and marketers to meet their requirements. 

Staff augmentation vs product outsourcing

When businesses can’t access the employees they need in-house, they see staff augmentation and product outsourcing as their basic solutions. With project outsourcing, companies delegate all software development responsibilities to a third-party vendor’s development team. This qualified team then carries out all delegated development services using their own in-house QA engineers, designers, developers, DevOps, project managers, etc.

Staff augmentation, on the contrary, is the choice of businesses that have their own in-house teams but lack specific knowledge and technical skills. IT staff augmentation enables businesses to add specialists to their existing teams. Contractors are hired for a certain period of time to complete a set scope of work. During this time, contractors function as in-house team members and work under the supervision of in-house managers.

Types and classes of IT staff augmentation

Timewise, there are two basic types of staff augmentation:

  • Short-term staff augmentation works for the most hectic times or when an in-house developer is on sick leave or on vacation.
  • Long-term staff augmentation complements a business’s in-house team to match prolonged development requirements.

Toptal divides staff augmentation into three general classes:

  • Commodity — Businesses are looking for reliable employees for manual labor. No specific skill set is required. 
  • Skill-based — Businesses require employees with a certain skill set, yet the relative level of skills isn’t critical.
  • Highly skilled — Businesses need employees with advanced skills attained via training and experience. The skill level is important. 

In the IT sector, companies need highly skilled specialists. There are several options for finding and hiring IT specialists to augment existing teams. Below, Toptal compares six options based on the type of talent, use cases, advantages, challenges, and examples of real-world staff augmentation providers:

staff augmentation services
source: Toptal

Technical staff augmentation use cases

Staff augmentation services help businesses reduce their recruitment expenses and avoid development delays. There are five scenarios in which you may want to consider staff augmentation.

  • You need to reinforce your in-house team

Though you have an in-house team of developers, improving your existing expertise has become a must when launching a new project or supporting existing apps.

  • You have no time for recruitment

IT staff augmentation companies can rapidly adjust to your needs whether you sign a short- or long-term agreement. While you need around one or two months for recruiting and hiring, with access to a large pool of software engineers, a staff augmentation team can provide talents within weeks.

  • You need high-level skills

You have no time to train a talented junior developer. What your team lacks is a middle to senior software engineer with high-level development skills to join the project right away.

  • Your in-house team lacks certain expertise

You need to expand your team at short notice by adding a narrowly focused technician (data scientist, DevOps, quality assurance engineer, or business analyst). 

  • You have an in-house CTO or PM

Specialists acquired through staff augmentation will report directly to your in-house project manager or chief technology officer, allowing you to keep things under control.

Five ways staff augmentation benefits your business

  • Reduced costs

IT staff augmentation services can cut expenses at different levels. This works especially well when you hire specialists from Asia or Eastern Europe. 

Staff augmentation
Source: Fulcrum

Steelkiwi’s note: You’ll save another big chunk of money by not needing to cover paid vacations, maternity leave, or sick leave.

  • Better control

When outsourcing project development, you can’t fully track the development process and become dependent on your outsourcing team. With the staff augmentation model, you can monitor the development process and employees’ efforts in real time. Plus, you can take action immediately.

  • Increased scalability and flexibility

Staff augmentation allows businesses to scale their workforces on demand and scale their businesses faster than they could by recruiting and training in-house staff. IT outstaffing services allow you to take on more businesses without making sacrifices to your project under development. 

  • Access top-tier talents

Staff augmentation services hand-pick specialists at the top of their fields to fill project gaps. With this hiring model, your project will stay on schedule.

  • Minimum legal requirements

Traditional hiring goes hand in hand with lots of legal responsibilities: taxes, payroll, health insurance. Under a staff augmentation model, the staffing vendor becomes the developer’s official employer. Thus, it’s the vendor that takes on all legal responsibilities and handles the paperwork. 

How to choose a staff augmentation partner

staff augmantation partner


  • Assess your team’s gaps 

To hire an IT staff augmentation service provider, determine what experience and skill set you need. Seek advice from your tech leads and HR executives to see where your projects need a boost. Based on this internal research, create a staffing blueprint that defines essential employee requirements.

  • Explore what markets your potential vendor serves

Confirm that an IT outstaffing company has contacts in your market. If your business is global, working with multiple vendors can add complexity to the recruitment process. Choose an IT augmentation company with a global reach. If your business is local, hire a vendor that has resources in your key market.

  • Check the vendor’s expertise

Verify your potential partner’s expertise through:

  • Getting in touch with past clients
  • Reviewing the vendor’s portfolio
  • Making sure the vendor can provide the staff you require
  • Reading reviews on websites like Glassdoor and Clutch
  • Ensure the vendor can meet your timeline

Answer these two questions:

  • How fast can the vendor execute your project?
  • How nimble is the vendor?

It’s obvious that waiting 40 to 60 days to fill a team’s gaps isn’t cost-effective. Your potential vendor should help you move your project forward rapidly.

  • Assess your contract

Avoid working with companies offering one-size-fits-all contracts. This kind of contract shows that a vendor lacks the experience to handle specific staffing requirements. Instead, choose agencies that offer to tailor all work agreements to meet your needs. 

IT staff augmentation services at Steelkiwi

Steelkiwi has been providing information technology staff augmentation services for a decade and pays particular attention to industry-specific requirements.

With Steelkiwi as their strategic staff augmentation vendor, businesses benefit from transparency, quick recruitment for critical positions, scalability to handle any load, ad-hoc services, and lower operating costs.

Here’s how Steelkiwi searches for best-fit candidates for your project:

Staff augmantation services

We bridge the software development demand–supply gap through a three-step hiring process and quick onboarding. This allows our clients to ramp up their teams within weeks, not months. Send us a request for details and we’ll get back to you with more information about IT outstaffing with Steelkiwi.