Growing software companies need to scale their engineering teams. It’s difficult to find the right developers that can help speed up projects or provide a helping hand to stay on time.

Two options outside of hiring in-house employees are outsourcing and staff augmentation. Both are potential solutions to staffing problems but choosing one over the other can be a tough decision. It’s important to understand how each one works before committing to an approach.

Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation works by collaborating with a dev shop that specializes in staffing engineers and software developers who are qualified to meet the needs of your engineering department. Since these workers are already highly skilled, you will need to provide them with minimal training, mostly related to your internal processes.

One big advantage of staff augmentation is that you can easily scale up (or scale down) as needed – it’s just a matter of contacting the dev shop. You are not paying these employees directly – the dev shop is – so you are not incurring any liabilities for healthcare or other expenses. Following lean development principles can help reduce the need for additional management for augmented resources.


Outsourcing works by hiring a full team at a dev shop which takes responsibility for managing the project and producing the final deliverables. This structure provides a different set of values. Companies don’t incur training costs and don’t need to have in-house expertise for building the technology they need. Outsourcing the project allows them to focus on their core business and spend less time building non-critical parts of the business. Dev shop are experienced in working with companies from different industries and can help provide cost effective solutions for your challenges.

Deciding between the benefits of staff augmentation and outsourcing depends on your company’s trajectory. It would make sense to consider staff augmentation if you already have a talented engineering team in place and need more helping hands. However, if you need to build software that is not your company’s core competency, it makes more sense to outsource the project to a dev shop that can add value from their experience.