Staff Augmentation vs. Outsourcing: Which one is right for your business?

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When it comes to staffing your IT team, you have several options to choose from. One of the most popular options is staff augmentation, which allows you to outsource your talent needs to an expert according to your staffing requirements. This means that, instead of going through the recruitment process yourself, you can rely on a staff augmentation service to provide you with the IT professionals you need.

Staff augmentation is a flexible approach to hiring, as you can hire one developer or a whole team, and you will be directly involved with their management, having total control of your team and aiming for their integration into your in-house team. This allows you to customize your team according to your project requirements and to scale up or down as needed.

There are also different types of staff augmentation, and it is important to understand their scope to choose the most appropriate alternative. For example, some staffing agencies may offer staff augmentation for short-term projects, while others may offer it for long-term engagements. Similarly, some staffing agencies may specialize in certain industries or technologies, so it's important to choose an outsourcing partner that has experience in your particular field.

Overall, staff augmentation is a popular option for companies looking to scale their IT teams quickly and cost-effectively, especially in software development. By understanding the different types and the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right choice for your business compared to project outsourcing.

Staff Augmentation

Definition and Explanation

This engagement model occurs where a company expands its in-house staff by temporarily hiring one or several developers or specialists with specialized skills. The staffing company will provide the candidates, guide the hiring process, and deal with payroll and benefits, allowing you to pay a flat rate for your team member services. This model is ideal for adding to your existing team without the commitment of hiring a full-time employee. It essentially reduces the upfront recruitment costs and allows a company to fill a position within weeks. Whether you need a dedicated team for a specific project or just a few specialists to integrate into your current team, staff augmentation can be a flexible and cost-effective solution.

Pros and Cons

1. Cost savings: Staff augmentation can help reduce recruiting and legal costs. By paying a monthly rate that includes everything, you can avoid paying for holidays, days off, taxes, or other perks. If you augment your team in a nearshore location, you can save even more due to lower living costs. This model helps companies reduce upfront costs and fill a position within weeks. IT staff augmentation can help businesses scale their teams quickly and cost-effectively by leveraging specialized expertise.

2. Access to a larger talent pool: Finding the right IT specialist is challenging, but having access to a global talent pool is advantageous. The staff augmentation model simplifies the process of engaging with the right candidates. If you define your technical needs well, staffing agencies have specialized resources to find and hire the most appropriate professionals on your behalf. This allows businesses to access the best talent from all over the world, addressing any skill gap, and to choose from a wide range of candidates with diverse skills and backgrounds.

3. Flexibility: Recruiting, hiring, and firing employees are costly processes, but contracting a staff augmentation firm can help you gain a competitive advantage. You can contract employees based on your project or company objectives without assuming all of the associated costs and responsibilities. This model provides businesses with greater flexibility in terms of hiring and managing employees. Companies can contract employees for specific projects or tasks and can scale up or down as needed. Staff augmentation enables businesses to adapt quickly to changing demands and leverage specialized expertise as needed.

4. Communication challenges: When you engage in software development outsourcing for an entire project, you may lose control of your resources and internal processes, but staff augmentation allows you to communicate and manage directly with your team members. You can keep track of the progress of your projects by being in constant communication. This model provides businesses with greater control over their projects and enables them to communicate directly with their team members. It allows them to keep track of the progress of their projects and make changes if necessary, ensuring that the service provider meets their expectations.

staff augmentation benefits


Outsourcing is the practice of hiring an external company or individual to perform a business function that would otherwise be done by in-house personnel. In the IT world, this means hiring a third-party outsourcing provider to develop software, build a website, or manage your IT infrastructure.

Advantages and disadvantages

1. Control over the project: Outsourcing a whole project means you lose control of your resources and internal processes, but it also means you can delegate the entire project to the outsourcing provider, freeing up your internal resources to focus on other tasks.

2. Cost savings: Software outsourcing can be more cost-effective than hiring in-house staff, as the outsourcing provider usually provides its own equipment, software, and infrastructure. Additionally, the vendor is responsible for managing their employees, which means you are not responsible for benefits, salaries, and other HR costs.

3. Legal issues: The outsourcing model can create legal issues if the vendor does not follow your local laws and regulations, or if they use unlicensed software or copyrighted materials.

4. Quality control challenges: Outsourcing can create quality control challenges if the vendor does not deliver the expected quality of work, or if there are communication challenges between your team and the vendor. Proper communication is essential to ensure that the outsourcing provider meets the project demands and quality expectations.

outsourcing disadvantages

Comparison of Staff Augmentation vs. Outsourcing

Similarities and Differences

Both staff augmentation and outsourcing are effective ways to bring in additional talent to your IT team. However, there are some differences between them. Staff augmentation provides you with complete control over your team members and allows you to hire experts with specific skills according to your project demands. On the other hand, outsourcing gives the vendor more control over the project and involves collaborating with an external team provided by the outsourcing company. Additionally, staff augmentation is typically more cost-effective than outsourcing because you only pay for the services you need, while outsourcing can be more expensive due to the vendor's added costs for leadership and project administration.

Examples of when each strategy may be a better fit

Staff augmentation may be a better fit if you need to expand your in-house team quickly and with minimal upfront costs, or if you need complete control over your team members for a specific short-term project. This approach is ideal if you require specialized skills from a software developer without the commitment of hiring a full-time employee. On the other hand, outsourcing may be a better fit if you need to delegate an entire project to a third-party vendor, or if you need to reduce your internal team's workload significantly.

Staff Augmentation vs Other Types of Outsourcing

When it comes to outsourcing, there are various options available to companies. Here are some key differences to consider between staff augmentation and other types of outsourcing:

  • Staff augmentation vs contractors: Hiring freelancers means you are responsible for payroll, communication, and management. However, you don't have a legal bond with the employee, which reduces their accountability. Contractors may also face limitations regarding access to certain company information and data. On the other hand, staff augmentation is a cost-effective and flexible solution that allows you to integrate augmented staff seamlessly into your own team without any limitations. This approach is ideal when you need specific skills to meet project demands quickly.

  • Staff augmentation vs managed services: With managed services, the staffing vendor manages all aspects of the customer's non-core process when providing talent. This is helpful for companies that lack an in-house engineering team or want to focus on their core business processes. By choosing this type of outsourcing, businesses can rely on the outsourcing vendor to handle their needs efficiently.

Staff augmentation vs dedicated teams: When you staff your team with a staff augmentation model, you have full control of your team on a full-time engagement. On the other hand, with dedicated teams, the vendor has total control of the team, which may not necessarily be on a full-time engagement, as the team can work with different customers on any given day. This method is particularly useful for outsourcing software development projects where continuous oversight and specific skills are required.

staff augmentation vs other types of outsourcing

Case studies of companies that have used both strategies

Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon are among the companies that have utilized both strategies. These industry giants have leveraged this competitive advantage to scale their operations in a flexible manner. However, thousands of mid-sized and small-sized companies and startups prefer to outsource their projects or talent needs.

BetterWay Devs provides a transparent staff augmentation model with a diverse customer base that includes tech-savvy companies from different industries such as e-commerce, Edtech, cleaning, and household products. Examples of companies that have used BetterWay Devs services are NEEC, Sunrise Integration, and Groove. All these companies have a CTO and clear development goals and procedures in common.

How to Choose the Right Strategy for Your Business

Criteria to consider

When choosing between staff augmentation and outsourcing, there are several criteria to consider:

  1. Project requirements: Consider the scope of your project and whether you need to delegate the entire project or just a few tasks.
  2. Budget: Consider your budget and whether staff augmentation or outsourcing is more cost-effective for your business.
  3. Timeline: Consider your timeline and whether staff augmentation or outsourcing can deliver the results you need within the desired timeframe.
  4. Company culture: Consider your company culture and whether staff augmentation or outsourcing aligns with your values and goals.

Checklist of questions to ask when evaluating potential providers

When evaluating potential providers, ask the following questions:

  1. What is your experience with staff augmentation/outsourcing?
  2. What is your process for recruiting and hiring candidates?
  3. What are your rates and pricing models?
  4. What is your timeline to deliver candidates?
  5. What is your policy for communication and project management?

Tips on how to negotiate the terms of the contract

When negotiating the terms of the contract, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Be clear about your project requirements and expectations.
  2. Negotiate rates and pricing models that fit within your budget.
  3. Clarify your communication and project management expectations.
  4. Include termination clauses and other legal protections in the contract.

Future Trends and Predictions

Emerging trends in staff augmentation and outsourcing include the use of AI and machine learning to match talent with projects, the rise of remote work, and the increasing demand for specialized IT skills.

Use of AI and machine learning to match talent with projects

AI and machine learning are being used by outsourcing companies to match talent with projects more efficiently and effectively. This technology can analyze job descriptions, resumes, and other data to identify the most qualified candidates for a job. By leveraging AI, businesses can better align their core competencies with external professionals who possess the required skills.

Rise of remote work and its impact on both strategies

The rise of remote work is significantly impacting both staff augmentation and outsourcing strategies. Remote work allows companies to hire talent from anywhere in the world, including nearshore staff augmentation, and it also allows employees to work from anywhere. This trend is likely to continue in the coming years, and it will impact how companies approach staffing their IT teams. By adapting to remote work, businesses can access a broader talent pool and integrate external professionals seamlessly into their projects.


Staff augmentation and outsourcing are both effective ways to bring in additional talent to your IT team. The best strategy for your business will depend on your project requirements, budget, timeline, and company culture. By evaluating these criteria and asking the right questions, you can choose the right strategy and provider for your business.

If you're looking for a reliable and experienced staff augmentation provider, consider BetterWay Devs. With a diverse customer base that includes tech-savvy companies from different industries, BetterWay Devs is a leader in staff augmentation services. They specialize in providing the right developers from South America to help you scale your team quickly and efficiently.

Take the first step towards scaling your IT team today by scheduling a call with BetterWay Devs.


1. What is staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a model in which a company expands its in-house staff by temporarily hiring one or several developers or specialists through a staffing agency.

2. What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the practice of hiring an external company or individual to perform a business function that would otherwise be done by in-house personnel.

3. Which strategy is more cost-effective?

Staff augmentation is typically more cost-effective than outsourcing, as you only pay for the services you need, while outsourcing can be more expensive due to the vendor's added costs.

Paula Tellez

BetterWay Devs Inbound Marketing Manager

Suggested Readings

Mastering IT staff augmentation enhancing your it capabilities

Recommended staff augmentation firms to hire long-term software developers in South America

Tips for Effective Onboarding of Team Augmentation Members

Scaling IT Teams: The Power of Staff Augmentation in South America

Exploring Staff Augmentation: Understanding the Meaning, Benefits, and Future Trends

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