Staff Augmentation and App Development: How to Get Started
App development has a lot of moving parts that need to be planned for in advance and monitored while in progress. Even with meticulous planning, there will be times when it’s necessary to bolster your in-house team to make sure deadlines are met, and processes are handled by the most skilled software developers you can bring on board.
If you’re looking at the necessity of staff augmentation in the near or distant future, here are some steps to build the most cost-effective and impactful team for your app.
What is Staff Augmentation?
Staff augmentation is a model of hiring in which personnel is brought in for timely tasks in the lifetime of a project. This model of hiring is different from hiring someone as a contract employee or consultant, which we’ll get into later. The beauty of staff augmentation is, engagements can be as long or as short as you’d like to ensure you have the personnel to get the job done at whatever point you’re at in the project.
The first step in staff augmentation is determining whether or not choosing this route is the best course of action to take. Bringing extra ‘bodies’ onto your team is determined by how long you will need them, how much oversight you need to have, and whether or not you’re willing to offer benefits and the training necessary to pull in someone new.
The benefit of this model of hiring means you are not required to train, onboard, or offer employment benefits as you would if you brought on someone as a full-time employee.
People hired through a third party are immediately a working part of your dedicated team and they will receive the same direct oversight as their counterparts.
This is a great way to achieve better control over the outcome of your projects!
Typically, staff augmentation is implemented in the app development process when launch dates are set in advance, or when you know a specific team is falling behind and you aren’t able to redistribute the work necessary across teams. This is when bringing in someone short-term to bridge the gap can be especially helpful.
Our staff here at Zco perform duties as members of augmented staff on development teams where additional resources in existing technology are needed, or in instances where a customer’s team is lacking a resource completely that we can assist with. For example, perhaps a team is sufficiently staffed with backend developers, but they don’t have the mobile developers to cover every task in the development process.
What It’s Not For
While the staff augmentation model could be the right fit for your project, there are instances where it might not be the best.
If you have an app idea but don’t want to build an in-house development team or bring in outside help for short-term stages of the mobile app development process, outsourcing or a freelance model could be a more cost-effective solution.
If your team needs someone with more internal knowledge of how your company works and the ability to navigate the intricacies of cross-departmental dependencies, having short-term personnel for periods of only a few weeks or months might not be a solution.
If you have high-stakes projects due that requires intimate knowledge of the company, it may be better to pull someone from another team or project temporarily instead of hiring someone from outside.
How To Pay Them
There’s little dispute that app development can get pricey. The average costs for developing an app vary by the platforms necessary and the number of backend integrations required to complete the app. Typically, the more the app is going to do, the more it will cost to both develop and maintain.
This is why staff augmentation is such a useful model for staying within budget and getting the most value out of the talent available. Of course, this means doing some up-front research and finding a vendor that can offer the best talent that fits within what you are willing to pay.
If bringing in the right talent means a higher price tag to your overall development costs, exploring supplemental funding options might be the next step. If you have time, try looking into small business loans for additional funding. If you need cash available with a quick turnaround, look for institutions that offer a business line of credit with a fast approval rate.
How To Find Who You Need
If you’ve decided the staff augmentation model is the right fit, start your search by determining the gaps of expertise you are currently experiencing, and compare that to what services outsourcing companies have to offer. For instance, if your team is fluent in Android development, your main focus should be to look for iOS or cross-platform developers that can help expand the team’s knowledge base.
Once you establish a relationship with a company, they can often connect you with people who can start working with your team in just a few days, or at a set date in the future. This is also likely going to be a huge deciding factor when you choose a talent pool to work with.
Another great aspect of staff augmentation is the flexibility with which you can expand or reduce the size of your team. If you were to onboard someone with a six-month contract, you are tied down to working with that person regardless of their ability to integrate into the team and be an effective contributor to the project.
With the staff augmentation model, you can bring on individuals, get a quick sense of their abilities, and decide in a shorter time frame whether or not this person will be a key asset. If things don’t go smoothly, you have the option to terminate their responsibilities in favor of hiring another person who better fits your team’s needs. This low-commitment style of hiring means your team can stay agile as obstacles come your way during development.
Often, this is a great way to see if your team can work long-term with a set number of people, or whether you’ll need to bring someone on permanently to gain strength in numbers. This is especially true if your team plans to build mobile apps with highly complex requirements such as specialized APIs and/or backend infrastructures.
The app development process and the timeline for your launch date are good places to start when you’re deciding to bring on additional developers. Is your team light on experience with the design? Have someone come on board to put together wireframes and UI/UX click-through prototypes that can help the entire team envision how the app will look on both iOS and Android mobile devices.
The building and testing process of building an app can be time-consuming and requires meticulous review by people who know what they’re doing. If you know your team will get burned out quickly because of low numbers, prepare to hire more people to come in at this stage in the process.
The Importance of Planning
Whenever you decide to bring new people into the project timeline, it’s important to clearly define their start date, and if possible, their last day with the team so they can plan appropriately and stay on top of deadlines. Many times, the people who work in this industry are helping multiple clients and have a busy schedule to work with.
Identify how many hours you will need their assistance and clearly define their responsibilities at the start. There’s nothing worse than wasting valuable time because the people you’ve hired don’t have a clear understanding of where their expertise is needed.
Having temporary personnel on board has the potential to raise your risk exposure. Make sure protocols are in place for what level of access augmented staff has to your databases.
Most importantly, ensure they have the appropriate tools to complete the work you’ve assigned from the beginning. Often, valuable time is wasted because access hasn’t been granted to crucial programs and files. Having temporary user profiles ready from day one for all necessary software will save everyone a lot of time and headaches!
Saving Time and Money
Not only does staff augmentation have the ability to save you money by cutting out the expense of hiring full-time employees, but it can also save you extremely valuable time as well.
The time it takes to hire a developer (depending on their expertise) can vary from 12 to 35 days! That might be 12 or 35 days too long if your teams are strapped for time to complete an MVP or get mockups to investors.
Having an augmented staff means you’ll be ready and able to handle heavy workloads and bolster employee morale as duties are evenly distributed among those on your team. If someone has to leave unexpectedly or a person quits with little notice, augmenting your staff can stop the gap and prevent downtime that often happens in these instances – especially if your team is already small!
Why Choose Zco for Staff Augmentation?
Give your app the best chance of converting from concept to launch by augmenting your teams with people who can help keep the momentum going. Knowing when you’ll need to recruit someone, either short-term or long-term, is the first step to staying agile and ensuring you’re consistently meeting set benchmarks in your development process and beyond!
Getting up and running is easy. We’re experienced with all the most popular tools for project communication like Slack and Jira as well as code repositories like GitHub and Bitbucket.
We have unmatched experience with legacy technologies as well as more recent languages like React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, Swift, Kotlin, and Blazor. See the full list of our development capabilities here.
Our development team has over 250 architects and engineers that have passed through our rigorous hiring process. Even better, our rates are very competitive at less than $50 an hour.