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Staff Augmentation vs Project Outsourcing – The Key Differences

All IT companies around the world share the same goal: 

Build the best team. 

Unfortunately, it sounds easier than it is. Although the market is rich in talent, finding the exact fit might prove a challenge. 

That’s where strategies like staff augmentation and project outsourcing prove to be crucial. 

But are there any key differences? And what are the main things you need to know? 

In this article, we’ll answer all your burning questions. So, staff augmentation vs project outsourcing – which one do you need?  

What Is Staff Augmentation? 

To fully grasp the difference between staff augmentation and project outsourcing, you need to understand what each strategy entails.  

First things first: 

What is the meaning of staff augmentation? 

To put it simply, it is an outsourcing method that involves adding skilled personnel to an organization’s existing workforce. However, this is only temporarily – the talent is working with your company to: 

  • Tackle a specific project  
  • Reduce workload spikes 
  • Bring specialized skills on the table 

Or for any similar scenario. 

This enables companies to fill talent gaps, scale teams, and meet project deadlines without the need to hire full-time employees. 

staff augmentation pros and cons

Staff Augmentation Benefits 

Now that we know what staff augmentation is and how it works, let’s address the elephant in the room: 

How does it benefit you? 

The biggest advantages are: 

  • Cost-effectiveness – choosing staff augmentation will cost you less than hiring someone full-time. It eliminates the associated legislation taxes, employee benefit expenses, etc.  
  • Abundance of IT talent – can’t find the right person in your city? Don’t worry – staff augmentation enables you to dip your toes into the global pool of IT experts. 
  • Expertise on demand – you can access specialized skills and expertise that may not be available in-house. As a result, you’ll also be saving time, as the new hires won’t require training. 
  • Seamless integration with existing teams – augmented staff join your team to lend existing knowledge, making it easier to collaborate with your employees. The temporary hires won’t need to get through the motions of being introduced to the whole company before they begin working. 
  • Flexibility and scalability – you’ll be able to easily increase and decrease team capacity according to the current needs of the company. 

As you can see, there’s a lot to gain. The best part is that there are companies that can do the heavy lifting for you 

However, we first need to discuss something else: 

Staff Augmentation Disadvantages 

Okay, so where is the trick? 

Honestly, there isn’t one. With good planning all issues can be avoided. However, you might want to consider the following factors: 

  • Time-zone difference – the main concern of many employers. It can easily be tackled if you choose staff from locations close to your country or state.  
  • Language barrier – it won’t be as easy to communicate with someone if you’re not fluent in their mother tongue. However, in today’s day and age, most people speak English well enough to get their point across. 
  • Inconsistent availability – if someone has a niche tech skill, they might be high in demand. This can lead to delays in project start times and completion. 

You shouldn’t worry, though. There is one solution to all of the above – hire a company that specializes in staff augmentation. It’s one of the things we at Expert Allies excel at. Contact us today and let’s discuss how we can help you. 

What Is Project Outsourcing? 

project outsourcing pros and cons

Project outsourcing also involves relying on experts outside your company. Unlike with staff augmentation, however, you won’t integrate them into your team. You hire an external service provider to manage and execute a specific project or set of tasks. Project outsourcing can encompass a wide range of services, including but not limited to: 

  • IT development  
  • marketing 
  • manufacturing  
  • customer support 

Project Outsourcing Benefits 

There are a lot of advantages of partnering with external providers to handle specific projects and/or tasks. For example: 

  • Time to focus on core business activities – by hiring experts to tackle certain tasks that don’t require extensive background in your company, you have more time to focus on your core activities.  
  • Enhanced efficiency – trusting another company means relying on their experience. They will be able to take care of your project faster and more efficiently than your in-house employees.  
  • Risk mitigation – external providers often have robust risk management processes in place. This reduces the issues associated with project execution, including compliance, quality control, and meeting deadlines. 
  • Access to advanced technology and expertise – outsourcing your project enables you to make use of external expertise and technology you might not have in-house. This eliminates the need to make new investments. 
  • Reduction in management overhead – this strategy reduces the need for extensive internal management. Your managers will be to focus on strategic oversight rather than day-to-day operations. 

There is always another side of the coin, however. 

Project Outsourcing Disadvantages 

We know, we know – it sounds too good to be true.  

There are several downsides of software or any type of project outsourcing: 

  • Costlier than staff augmentation – this strategy involves paying a whole team to handle certain tasks or projects. So, project outsourcing will cost you more than just scaling up your team temporarily. 
  • Limited oversight – entrusting another company to take care of your projects mean having limited control over it. It might be difficult to maintain your business standards and to define performance metrics. 
  • Dependency on external providers – if your chosen provider faces any challenges or decides to end the partnership, it can disrupt your company’s operations. It can also impact the deadlines for the tasks you’ve outsourced.  

Don’t get scared, though – project outsourcing might just be what you need, despite the few hiccups. 

Staff Augmentation vs Project Outsourcing – Which Is Better? 

Here’s how to make the right choice: 

Now that you know the difference between staff augmentation and project outsourcing, you’ve probably figured out which is better for you. 

Don’t worry, if you haven’t. Both approaches offer unique benefits and drawbacks, so it is not an easy decision to make. The truth is it will largely depend on several factors: 

  • Your budget 
  • Long-term goals 
  • Type of project 

Staff augmentation involves scaling up an existing team with additional members. This approach is particularly beneficial when an organization needs to quickly fill skill gaps or increase its workforce for a temporary period. It’s also cheaper than a contract with a whole other company. 

Project outsourcing is more expensive, but it sometimes gives you access to technology and expertise you might not have in-house. However, it also means you’re letting someone else take the wheel and that might have varying results.  

So, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether staff augmentation or project outsourcing is better. You should decide based on a careful analysis of the project requirements, long-term goals, available resources, and risk tolerance of your company. It will help you see which strategy best aligns with your business ambitions. 

Wrap Up 

Here’s the thing: 

There’s no real winner in the staff augmentation vs project outsourcing debate.  

It all boils down to your specific needs. While outsourcing offers comprehensive management and expertise, augmentation provides flexibility and direct integration. Understanding the difference ensures that you can strategically deploy resources to meet your goals effectively. 

staff augmentation


What is the difference between project outsourcing and staff augmentation? 

Project outsourcing involves contracting an external firm to manage and execute an entire project or significant parts of it. This company takes care of the planning, execution, and delivery. Staff augmentation means hiring temporary employees to supplement your existing workforce. This staff works under your direct supervision, integrating closely with internal teams to fill skill gaps or meet short-term resource needs.  

Is staff augmentation good? 

Yes, staff augmentation can be very good for organizations. It enables them to quickly fill skill gaps, scale their workforce, and access specialized expertise. All of this without committing to long-term employment and the costs that come with it.  

What is staff augmentation vs. consulting? 

Staff augmentation involves hiring temporary staff for specific projects or tasks. Those people work under the direct supervision and management of your company. Consulting typically involves external experts or firms providing advisory services and strategic guidance. They are not involved in the day-to-day operations or project execution. 

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