Team Augmentation vs Dedicated Team: What’s the right choice for you?

To say that “hiring highly-skilled developers is challenging” is the understatement of the decade. The job market is very competitive, so the recruitment process alone is costly and time-consuming. There’s also the issue of project roadblocks, which are very likely during a staff shortage. 

So, if you’re considering outsourcing, you’re in good company. Many businesses choose to optimise their costs and deliver projects on time through IT partners. 

However, before signing a contract, you must make some critical decisions. And the most important of them is: team augmentation or dedicated team model? 

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the staff augmentation model and dedicated team, including definitions, benefits and how to figure out which is the right one for you and your company. 

We’re also going to discuss an alternative to these collaboration models: the technology partnership. 

Let’s begin!

What is IT team augmentation? 

IT staff augmentation is an outsourcing model in which you bring in software engineers to work alongside your in-house team. As the name suggests, it means augmenting your team with more skills and expertise whenever you need additional hands to run the project, such as making an on-launch time for a product. However, you can also benefit from adding skillsets that don’t currently exist in your company.

How does the staff augmentation process work?

First, you will need to partner with an outsourcing IT company. This partner already has employees who can work on your project, or they will hire the right tech talent for the job.

Additionally, they will take care of all administrative tasks, including career development and providing the work environment. 

Usually, this outsourcing model is associated with the “time and materials” contract. In short, this type of contract allows you to pay a rate for hours worked. This fee will cover developers’ salaries and the IT providers’ administrative services.

A time and materials model works best with well-defined requirements. So, team augmentation is the top choice for short-term projects. 

What are the most common types of staff augmentation? 

There are three types of staff augmentation services:

  • Commodity: based on certain skills, usually involving manual labour or working in retail 
  • Skill-based: specific skills such as administrative tasks. Think data entry and organising files
  • Highly skilled: critical competencies that are hard to find and usually take many years to train. 

 IT staff augmentation falls into the third category. 

What are the benefits of team augmentation?

This is not an exhaustive list, but it can give you a rough idea of what team augmentation can do for you and your team: 

  • Add highly skilled employees fast: there is no need to look for candidates, be involved in the hiring process or negotiate salaries. It’s all taken care of in a competitive market
  • Frees up essential time: add skills and knowledge your team doesn’t have. Also, delegating tasks is much easier, so your team can focus on high-level assignments
  • A high degree of flexibility: augmented team members work for different clients simultaneously. As a result, you can have more or fewer members depending on the workload. 

An augmented team model brings much-needed flexibility and skills. It also makes your current team’s workload much more manageable.

Staff augmentation example: Future First

Staff augmentation example: Future First
Read more about the Alumni community management case study.

Future First is a UK-based NGO that provides a web platform for building and managing alumni communities. 

In 2017, the client needed help finishing their backlog of functionality before the new school year started. We began with 2 developers, and now we collaborate as a small core augmented team working in 1-week sprints. Additionally, we involved other specialists when needed (e.g. UX/UI). 

The Qubiz augmented team’s main responsibilities include updating and developing new features. While we were not involved in the initial development of the portal, we have made significant improvements to the platform as we worked on migrating the existing infrastructure to Kubernetes.

What is a dedicated team?

A dedicated team handles a project from start to finish. This type of team is more like your existing staff, as you work closely on a long-term basis. However, unlike the augmented staff model, the IT partner can cover more areas, such as UX/UI, QA, software development, business analysis and project management. 

How does a dedicated team work?

Like an augmented team, the IT partner also handles the administrative side and their employees will work for you. However, this team won’t take on other projects and will work exclusively for one client. 

Another important aspect is the pricing model. Usually, most businesses find that a “fixed-price” contract best suits their needs. For example, you pay a flat fee monthly or yearly, which covers salaries and other expenses. 

The dedicated team is the best choice for complex, long-term projects that change their requirements often. Hiring a dedicated team can even help you define the project parameters and set concrete goals.

What are the benefits of a dedicated team model?

A dedicated team has many benefits, such as: 

  • Find and retain highly-skilled employees: a team dedicated to your project and committed to a long-term partnership. You don’t need to worry about turnover as you can leave this aspect to the outsourcing partner 
  • More control over the team: you are not responsible for payroll and other administrative tasks, but you have more control over the processes and how the team works
  • Easy to budget: paying a flat fee that you negotiate with the IT partner means that it’ll be easier to predict the overall costs 
  • Plenty of room for requests: you have a dedicated team ready to handle many changes and requests, including testing and defining the project
  • In-depth industry knowledge: dedicated team gain essential industry knowledge, for example, in healthcare, energy, or logistics. They also have time to familiarise themselves with your company culture and processes. 

In short, a dedicated team feels more like your team “away from home,” bringing a lot of expertise and flexibility to the table. 

Dedicated team example: CORAX WMS

Read more about the warehouse management solution case study. 

Davanti is one of the leading Dutch companies specialising in warehouse management solutions (WMSs). CORAX WMS is their flagship SaaS solution designed for small and medium companies, but also for big warehouses that are highly automated.

We started our collaboration with a pilot project, building a modern and scalable software architecture. This allowed us to demonstrate that we can deliver high-quality work on time. 

The pilot was a success, so we started working with a dedicated team, including a SCRUM master, a software architect, developers, QA engineers, and UX/UI designers.

We maintain a close relationship through daily remote meetings and face-to-face visits. 

Staff augmentation vs dedicated team: similarities, differences and what should you choose?

With more than 15 years of experience, our Qubiz experts have concluded that one is not better than the other. On the contrary, it’s all about focusing on the quality of the outcome. 

Here are our tips for finding out what works best for you and your team: 

Staff augmentation vs dedicated team: What do they have in common? 

You’ll usually find that both outsourcing models have some common elements, particularly: 

  • The outsourcing company will take care of administrative tasks, including recruiting, hiring, onboarding employees and career development
  • In both cases, there's a remote team, so you’ll need to be mindful of the time zone. Many companies prefer nearshoring because of the minimum time difference  
  • Both are cost-effective options, as long as the contract type (time and materials or fixed rate) matches your workload and project requirements
  • Plenty of flexibility as the team size can be adjusted according to your needs. 

And in both cases, trust, communication and transparency are needed. 

Staff augmentation vs dedicated team: What are the differences?

Here are some key aspects that will help you distinguish between augmented and dedicated teams and choose what works best for your context: 

The differences between augmented and dedicated teams

Augmented vs dedicated team: start with what you want to solve 

In the real world, the business environment is so dynamic and requirements change very often. So it’s hard to predict whether to follow a strict augmented or dedicated model. 

Here are just a few of the challenges that you may encounter when trying to outsource software development:

  • You have a hard time choosing between an augmented and a dedicated team because your requirements and long-term plans don’t fit a specific mould 
  • Finding that your augmented team can’t support your growing needs (adding UI/UX, business analysis, etc.)
  • Training an augmented team member can be challenging, especially if you don’t have concrete goals to help them learn your unique business context
  • A fixed-price model can be limiting in some contexts, especially if the project’s scope changes often. For example, launches don’t always go according to plan, which generates more work and projects become more costly if you can’t correctly estimate the hours you need or the number of team members
  • Quality may suffer if the outsourcing “partner” becomes more of a “supplier” who prefers to complete tasks and doesn’t take a proactive approach

Luckily, you do have a third option that addresses these challenges head-on. The alternative is the technology partnership, a continuous development approach, working incrementally to innovate and help you as your business grows.

Technology partnerships: the pilot project effect

Whatever some sources may claim, augmented and dedicated are equally valuable for companies. Technology partnerships are at the confluence of these two models, depending on what is best suited for your particular context and long-term plans. 

Technology partnership also adds innovation into the mix and is based on mutual trust. The partner is not just someone who supplies you with software development, but takes a consultative approach. The company also understands your business goals and industry, and takes proactive steps to help you and your team to be as efficient as possible in your daily work, by considering event automation of your repetitive tasks.

Qubiz engagement models - team augmentation vs dedicated team
Qubiz engagement models

We call this the pilot project effect. Building a relationship is about trust, which only action and time can decide. For our projects, we first consider a pilot phase, where we test the communication channels, the workflows, the quality, and more. Since it’s challenging to establish these points beforehand, it gives us a much better overview and helps manage expectations. 

For this phase, we recommend using an augmented or dedicated approach for a limited period of time and evaluate accordingly. After the evaluation phase, we will be sure that both parties are ready to adopt a technology partnership. 

Is a technology partnership right for your business?

When choosing a collaboration model, it can be tempting to start with the costs first. However, if you start by defining the scope of the project and the expertise or skills you need, it will be much easier to find the most cost-effective solution. 

At Qubiz, flexibility is the best policy. We provide augmented and dedicated teams, as well as long-term technology partnerships, so our clients don’t need to worry about staying in an augmented or dedicated “box.”

Here are just a few of the benefits of choosing a technology partnership with Qubiz:

  • We advise you depending on your context. In many cases, our clients choose a time and materials model because it goes hand in hand with an Agile process/Scrum framework
  • Easily cover skills gaps with experienced professionals. We have expertise in many industries, such as finance, healthcare and logistics 
  • Expertise in building and maintaining complex web, mobile, cloud and embedded system solutions
  • Benefit from business solutions such as launching pilot projects to see if we are a good match, scalability and innovation
  • Leveraging expertise in automation and machine learning to increase efficiency and productivity
  • Continuous delivery by implementing an Agile and DevOps way of working with best practice processes
  • A simple governance model to avoid deadlocks that often happen in a hierarchical structure
  • We provide a great working environment where each team member understands the project vision. 

Even better, benefit from business solutions such as launching pilot projects to see if we are a good match, scalability and innovation. In this way you can evaluate adequacy on every level. 

Hello, we are Qubiz

Qubiz is a one-stop-shop technology partner, covering the whole application lifecycle, including functional design and consulting, software architecture design, UX/UI design, software development, QA, and maintenance. 

We’ve been in business for enough time to understand that putting people first matters the most. Our unique approach has led to successful collaborations with many Western European companies, big and small, in The Netherlands, The UK and the DACH region. Our clients enjoy a trusted partnership, faster time-to-market and flexibility, among many other advantages.

Learn more about what we do and how to contact us!

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