IT development projects come in various shapes and sizes, all with different needs and end goals. In today’s fast-paced business world, more companies are turning to staff augmentation as a quick, affordable way to meet software development needs.

Staff augmentation is when companies hire an external vendor to provide talented, skilled staff to work in-house, alongside a full-time team on a short or long-term basis. It’s become a favored outsourcing approach known for offering flexibility, control, efficiency and access to top tech skills.

Choosing the right IT staff augmentation provider is key to accessing these benefits. Here are our recommended steps when choosing staff augmentation companies for your projects:

Consider Communication Skills

Strong, effective communication underpins every successful software development project. A good augmentation provider should understand this and be able to demonstrate how they facilitate solid communication throughout a project’s lifecycle.
When choosing a provider, consider what communication tools they use, how regularly they provide updates, what their reporting process is like and what workflows they have in place. You can then consider whether or not these processes fit with your business culture. 

A staff augmentation vendor should:

provide a core point of contact for discussing progress and feedback
demonstrate experience using project management tools
prove that they fully understand the brief and intended outcome of the project
be adaptable and flexible to changes in the development lifecycle

Be Clear on What Skills Are Needed

According to ArcGIS’ survey, Six-Figure Tech Salaries: Creating the Next Developer Workforce, nearly a quarter of a million development jobs remain unfilled in the US as a result of the digital skills gap. A key reason for choosing IT staff augmentation is the access it provides to top developer talent, without the associated costs of having to pay for full-time staff.

One of the first considerations you should make is what skills are needed for your project. This can be explored by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your internal team. Any skills gaps that you identify can be outsourced to a staff augmentation partner. For example, an internal team may have strong app development skills but lack understanding in UX design.

Once a company has determined what skills they need to complete their development project, they should seek an augmentation vendor that can provide access to the expertise required.

Consider Potential Language or Cultural Barriers

It’s vital for companies to consider any potential language or cultural barriers when choosing an augmentation partner. Some of the best staff augmentation providers are found in LATAM, Eastern Europe and India, so naturally, language and culture can be a hurdle.

When a project has a mix of different languages and cultures, things can get lost in translation, which can potentially jeopardize the success of a development project. For example, best practices that aren’t fully understood could lead to tasks being executed incorrectly. Similarly, different cultures have different approaches to implementing workflows, which could lead to delays if essential elements are completed on time.

Confirm Their Experience and Reputation in The Market

Reviewing an IT staff augmentation provider’s track record should be a top priority in the selection process. A good staff augmentation provider should be able to provide evidence of a successful track record with similar clients.

Aside from requesting this information from a staff augmentation provider directly, third-party websites like Glassdoor, and LinkedIn can be a good way to read reviews and client testimonials. Carrying out due diligence provides a good indication of how a company is perceived in the market. 

Companies also shouldn’t be afraid to contact a provider’s past clients to ask for an honest review of their work.

Ensure They Uphold Their Commitment to Security

According to Accenture’s Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust report, cybercrime will cost companies $5.2 trillion over the next five years. Ensuring a staff augmentation provider’s commitment to watertight security practices is a must.

More companies are turning to external providers for help when it comes to cybersecurity. Microsoft Store’s Small Business Insights Survey reveals that 70% say they would prefer to pay for support in matters of cybersecurity than do it themselves. 

When selecting an IT staff augmentation provider, ensure that they can clearly demonstrate their experience and knowledge in meeting cybersecurity compliance.  This should include continual quality assurance checking, software testing, and pre-certification and compliance testing.

In summary, a good IT staff augmentation partner can provide flexibility, efficiency and access to top talent. To make sure you choose the right partner for your project, consider how they communicate. Ask what tools they use and they prefer to provide feedback. Evaluate the skills of your internal team and identify any gaps that require outsourcing. Consider how important language skills will be to your project and whether culture will affect the outcome. 

Take the time to research your shortlisted companies by contacting their previous clients and reading reviews of their work on third-party review sites. Ask what their security strategy will be and how they plan to meet all regulations and compliance.