Parthenon Software Group

What to Expect from Staff Augmentation and Project-based Engagements

When it comes to outsourcing projects, there are multiple strategies that can be taken, staff augmentation and project-based engagements being some of the most common. While both routes share a final objective, there has been some confusion as to the extent to which each goes as well as their differences. Such distinctions are significant and shouldn’t be overlooked. Let’s take a look at some things you can anticipate from both strategies.

Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is an outsourcing strategy that makes use of a resource/s with existing skills. Moreover, not all technical skills will necessarily be covered by your team. Employing a staff augmentation allows you get the assistance you need. Moreover, this approach also allows for more cost effective allocation as you are not taking on more full-time employees and can take on augmented resources on an “as needed” basis.

To that end, what can you expect to see from a Staff Augmentation?

  • Dedicated resources that act as an extension of your development team.

    • Based on your needs, you have access to multiple resources from web developers to UI/UX designers, software engineers, system administrators and so on.

  • Direct Communication

    • You can speak with your resource when you need to by whatever method works best for you (IM, Skype, email, etc). There are no middlemen.

  • Prioritization

    • During the time of engagement, your resource won’t be working on anything other than what you have given/assigned to them. Their sole focus is on assisting you and your team.

  • Longer Commitments

    • Resources are available anywhere from 6 months to a year or more depending on your needs.

  • Less Constraints on Software Requirements

    • As you will be working directly with the resource, the need for defined specifications is less urgent.

What about Project-Based Engagements?

As the name suggests, project-based engagements involve taking on ventures on a project-by-project basis. This course involves handing over a project to a developer/development company for them to complete the entire project/s. In generally these projects have tended to be smaller and one-time things.

What can you expect from Project-based Engagements?

  • Less Prioritization

    • There may be multiple projects in the works for different organizations. As all must be completed in a timely manner, it stands to reason that the resource will be working on 2 or more at the same time.

  • Less Direct Contact

    • Depending on the project, you may only communicate with the resource once a week. All other communication will go through a project manager who will see that communication is passed along and things run smoothly.

  • Well Defined Requirements are a Must

    • A delivery schedule needs to be put in place. In order to do this, there must be clear instructions so that all pieces can be accomplished to everyone’s satisfaction.

  • Availability for any Length of Time

    • If your project takes anywhere from a couple months to over a year, resources are available to cover the allotted time.

  • Project Management Methodology

    • A Project Manager will oversee the project from beginning to completion, though you always have final say over all decisions.

How do you decide if you need a staff augmentation or a project-based engagement?

Ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Do we need additional resources to complete our project. If so, how large is that need?

  • Should we consider an outsourced strategy and what are our options?

  • How large is the project and  long will it take for it to be completed?

  • Do we have defined deliverables and scope?

  • Is the project a one-time thing or will it require long-term maintenance and support?

There are those to spout the accolades of project-based engagements over staff augmentation and vice-versa. But it’s important to decide for yourself what will work the best with your needs.

A Hybrid Approach?

Consider also, that like most things, one size does not fit all. It’s possible that part of your project will be better served by a staff augmentation while another part will be best served by a project-based engagement.


No matter what strategy you choose, the big takeaway is to understand just want you will be getting out of each strategy so that you can draw on a variety of technical skills and roles more effectively. Why choose a staff augmentation when a project-based engagement is better and vice versa? Or maybe a hybrid is the right option for you. Just make sure you have the necessary pieces in place so you can proceed as productively as possible.

If you’re ready to get something started with any of the aforementioned strategies, please contact us today!

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