Pros and cons of staff augmentation vs. outsourced testing

Whatever the reason

In the world of IT operations, and in all forms of business from software development to IT departments, there is usually a reason to outsource IT talent at some time throughout the process. Sometimes the need is only for a single project where the employees are allocated elsewhere, while some teams may bring in skilled IT professionals to accelerate their program overall.

Whatever the reason, IT service providers may suggest the option of either staff augmentation or complete project outsourcing to supplement internal talent. As you ponder between the two models, here are some distinctions between the two that will help you determine which model will best benefit the needs of your organization.


Staff augmentation: you have a team but need a few more members

You have an actively engaged in-house testing team, but you need a few more for a defined period. Staff augmentation gives your testing team the temporary boost you need, whether it’s throughout the project or at a specific point in time. The staff augmentation approach can provide you with the temporary help you need while keeping your margins the same or higher than before.

Staff augmentation advantages (pros)

  1. Organizations enjoy flexibility from augmentation when it comes to scaling up or down their teams. Organizations with rapidly changing needs will especially appreciate this flexibility.
  2. Augmentation negates the need for recruiting, hiring, HR concerns, and professional development, in addition to the other added expenses and complexities that come with full-time employees.
  3. Supplemental staff assimilates and works alongside your in-house team while their managers maintain control over the integration and cooperation.
  4. Skill gaps in-house are easily remedied by outside talent.
  5. Overhead cost savings coming from the expenses associated with employees.
  6. Employees feel less threatened with an augmented resource over a new internal hire, which speeds up the team-building process and produces results more quickly for the business.

Staff augmentation drawbacks (cons)

  1. The management team will need to supervise the augmented team members and provide the required resources.
  2. Even with the most skilled candidates, expect some necessary training for your team’s processes and cadence.
  3. Managers maintain the responsibility for planning and managing the testing tasks, resources, and deliverables.

Project outsourcing: you need an entire team

The big difference between project outsourcing versus staff augmentation is the size of the need. With staff augmentation, you are supplementing your existing team, while with project outsourcing, you are bringing in a completely separate team to meet your objectives. Essentially, you are buying the outcome of the project versus merely supplementing your current capability. In either case, the vendor agency handles all of the hiring, recruiting, tax, compliance, benefits, and professional development requirements of the contractors, so you don’t have to. Project outsourcing provides the benefits of external expertise, risk mitigation, and cost management while enabling companies to concentrate their existing resources on core operations.

Project outsourcing advantages (pros)

  1. Reduced and predictable costs are the most enjoyed advantage of project outsourcing. Once the contract deliverables are agreed and signed, the outsourcing vendor takes on the burden of setting up, training, and managing the remote team, along with the final result.
  2. Outsourcers bear the responsibility for the adoption, maintenance, and consistent improvement of best industry practices. With Lighthouse, that is our True North Testing Methodology.
  3. There is a better opportunity for leverage when negotiating large outsourcing contracts. Outsourcers leverage their internal economies of scale within their core competencies with project work.
  4. Management overhead is reduced as the outsourcer takes on all management of the outsourced testing team.
  5. Project outsourcing avoids the fuzzy lines of employee vs. contractor interactions.

Project outsourcing drawbacks (cons)

  1. When outsourcing with a testing firm for the first time, concerns about quality and final results are present with concerns about remaining technical debt from undetected defects.
  2. Smaller projects may be less cost-effective with project outsourcing over the staff augmentation model.
  3. Sophisticated and unique internal processes may be more challenging to integrate into an outsourced team.

Capitalizing Contract Services

Choosing the right model (either staff aug or project-based work) for your software testing doesn’t need to be complicated, and if you contact us at Lighthouse Technologies, we can work with you to find the best approach. However, until then, here are some other considerations to keep in mind so your initial goals are met and milestones are achieved.

Budgeting: please be sure to evaluate the worth of augmenting your team so you can take every opportunity to get as much done as possible, while also capitalizing the cost of that work at every possible point in time. The reason being, FTEs and your internal staff most likely aren’t capitalizable resources, but by hiring Lighthouse Technologies to take on your projects, you’re more likely to find yourself is an excellent, tax-advantaged, position when it comes to paying for the cost of getting that work done. So, some thoughtful strategizing may prove beneficial to your bottom line.

When seeking out a vendor, look True North to Lighthouse

At the end of the day, regardless of your needs, as your company continues to grow, you can alter your model selection. Ideally, having an established relationship with a vendor that can accommodate both needs will work to your benefit.

Your best course of action is to work with an experienced vendor to meet all of your QA staffing challenges, both today and looking forward. Maintain a consulting relationship so they can sense and know when to recommend a shift to another staffing model to suit your changing needs and keep you competitive.

We at Lighthouse Technologies are that vendor. Our True North Testing Methodology is our vehicle to achieve successful best practices, and The GauntletTM  is our gauge for identifying the best resources for our clients. Together, both facilitate a cost-effective solution to our customers with the highest level of quality results. Contact us to learn how Lighthouse is the answer to your testing resource needs.

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