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May 28, 2024

Deciding on the Best Staff Augmentation Firm for Effective Strategies

5424-1Staff augmentation is an effective way to access specialist expertise and fill gaps in your software development team.

At Accelerance, we recommend using this method sparingly for short to medium-term staffing engagements when you know exactly what you are looking for and have the in-house capacity to properly onboard and manage contractors. 

In part 1 of this series, we looked at the benefits of staff augmentation over traditional staffing models, while in part 2, we explored ways to mitigate risks associated with staff augmentation arrangements.

Successful staff augmentation programs start with building a pipeline of reliable candidates to consider for integration into your existing team. Unless you are happy to rely on your black book of contacts or take your chances on platforms like Upwork, this typically involves working with a recruitment firm specializing in tech-related disciplines and staff augmentation arrangements.

There are a lot of staffing firms out there touting for business. The quality of these services varies widely. They work on a commission basis, claiming a margin of 15 - 25% on the remuneration paid to recruits they place with you. Some firms will assist with onboarding and performance management - but that will all come with an extra fee.

Here are ten things to consider when looking for the right staffing firm to partner with to secure the talent you need to meet your software development requirements:

  1. Define clear objectives and requirements
    Before engaging with a staffing firm, clearly define your project goals, the specific skills and expertise required, and the duration of the engagement. This helps in communicating your needs effectively to the staffing firm and ensures they understand exactly what you are looking for.
  2. Do your due diligence on the staffing firm
    Choose a firm with a proven track record in your industry and with experience in recruiting for the specific roles you need. Some staffing firms are vast multinationals that will claim to cover every type of role in tech. But how regularly are they placing people with the exact type of skills that you need? Look for evidence that they have deep networks in the disciplines that will be integral to your project’s success.
  3. Check their candidate screening process
    Ensure the firm has a thorough candidate screening process, including technical assessments, interviews, and reference checks. This helps in ensuring that the candidates presented to you are well-qualified and a good fit for your requirements.
  4. Assess communication and cultural fit
    Effective communication is crucial for the success of staff augmentation. Ensure the firm maintains open and transparent communication channels and that the augmented staff can integrate seamlessly with your existing team. Cultural fit is also important to foster collaboration and productivity. You need a staffing firm that knows how to smooth the way.
  5. Review performance metrics and KPIs
    Set clear performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the progress and impact of the augmented staff. Ensure the staffing firm is aligned with these metrics and regularly assesses the performance of their candidates. 
  6. Consider flexibility and scalability
    Choose a firm that offers flexibility in scaling your team up or down based on project demands. This ensures you can adapt to changing requirements without long-term commitments. You need to work with a firm that can move at the speed you need to.
  7. Check references and client testimonials
    Look for reviews and testimonials from past clients to gauge the firm’s reliability and effectiveness. Speaking to previous clients can provide insights into the firm’s ability to deliver quality candidates and their overall service quality.
  8. Evaluate their use of technology and tools
    Ensure the firm utilizes advanced tools and technologies for project management, communication, and candidate evaluation. This can enhance collaboration and streamline the recruitment process.
  9. Understand their confidentiality and data security measures
    Given the competitive nature of the software development industry, it’s important to ensure that the firm has robust confidentiality and data security measures in place to protect your intellectual property and sensitive information.
  10. Review their contract terms and exit strategy
    Carefully review the contract terms, including the notice period for scaling the team, confidentiality clauses, and the exit strategy. This ensures you have a clear understanding of the engagement terms and can plan accordingly.

There’s another way… outsourcing to an innovation partner

By keeping these tips in mind, you can select a staffing firm that aligns with your business needs and helps you effectively augment your software development team.

Ultimately, you want the staff you recruit from a staffing firm to be a force multiplier for your software development efforts, helping you build a productive and skilled team. But the problem with staff augmentation is that, too often, firms consider it to be simply cheaper than making permanent staff hires, or partnering with an outsourcing firm.

This can be a false economy. You may feel you are getting hired guns at a bargain rate, but how much time are you having to spend onboarding and managing contractors? Have you considered how destabilizing it could be the team to get sub-par recruits onboard because the staffing firm oversold their capabilities and experience?

Our collective experience over nearly 25 years of working on software development projects is that you shouldn’t bet the firm on staff augmentation. Your strategic first choice should be a combination of employees and innovation partners. 

This allows you to achieve greater velocity in your software development for a lower total cost of ownership than employing the staff augmentation model.

To find out more about the pros and cons of staff augmentation vs. outsourcing to an innovation partner, get in touch with one of our our experienced Accelerance advisors.   


Rich Wanden

As Chief Customer Success Officer, Rich oversees Accelerance marketing and sales operations globally with a focus on helping customers make the best decisions for choosing a software development team and working together. Prior to joining Accelerance, Rich has worked in management consulting, IT advisory and...

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