How to Maximize Your Efforts with Staff Augmentation

I’m assuming you already know many of the benefits of staff augmentation or you wouldn’t be reading this. Let’s just say for this discussion that staff augmentation can save lots of time, training, and wasteful trial-and-error on important projects.

And because we’re talking staff augmentation, we’re talking about your company bringing on a specialist (short-term or long-term) that you manage to help you complete your project(s), and we’re not talking about complete project outsourcing. There are additional benefits to having a development company take on responsibility for an entire project. But more on that in another article.

The goal here is to help you utilize staff augmentation options to maximize your efforts and save time and money where possible.

Timing

Planning Phase
The best time to initiate staff augmentation is in the planning phase. The insights a Magento expert brings can help save time and resources while achieving the same business goals. A Magento consultant or developer can help you do things better, smarter and faster. Sometimes that might look like exchanging a third party extension for custom development work. Other times that might look like utilizing more resources during different phases of the project to minimize bottlenecks, maximize output, and complete tasks sooner. You might already know this, yet having a third party authority support your strategy ideas might get you the resources you need that otherwise might be more scrutinized.

During Fulfillment
Of course, unforeseen issues arise like a key employee getting sick, technological roadblocks, an employee’s lack of experience or expertise, or other issues that can impede the progress of a project. In those circumstances, bringing in the help of an expert can be critical to the project’s success. In many cases this later entry into the project may stretch the budget a bit. This is another reason get staff augmentation involved sooner, or at least work it into a contingencies portion of the budget. Problems will occur on most any project. Planning for contingencies is a smart move. Over time, and through demonstrated experiences, you can get your supervisors to accept contingency planning in the budget of your projects.

Emergency at the End
Sometimes staff augmentation occurs near the end of a project. There could be one technological hurdle that cannot be overcome, or the project looks like it might breach the timeline goals if immediate help is not brought in. This may be crucial to project’s success. Often times this can bring the most expensive rate. I would encourage you to offer more work for other projects if this your situation. You may end up with a better rate, and may also connect you with a great long-term resource.

Project Rescue
If project timelines and budget are ready to burst on a critical project that needs saving, Salt City Digital can provide a complete project outsourcing rescue. We have experience turning runaway projects around and getting them back on track. This goes a little beyond staff augmentation, but is worth mentioning here.

Expertise

Hiring an experienced Magento developer is too broad of a requirement for your needs. Every developer has interests, experience, and skills that can differ dramatically. Front-end, back-end, database, integration, user experience, and other skill sets abound among Magento developers. Assessing where your team lacks expertise and what strengths would help your team most is essential to maximizing your efforts with staff augmentation. A good consultative discussion with a Magento expert can help you make these determinations.

Think Multiple Projects, Longer-Term

In a near perfect project management world, you would have full authority to make resourcing determinations both long-term and on-the-fly. If you’re like most project managers, you lack sole, unlimited contracting authority. In fact, according to the Zweig Group, only 4{80e463235c561985fcb9d065cb7af58becf1df7010d7a45bb4eb7315e5a8b304} of you have such authority, and only 30{80e463235c561985fcb9d065cb7af58becf1df7010d7a45bb4eb7315e5a8b304} of you have authority to negotiate fees. If you have some profit and loss responsibility for your projects, good for you. That financial responsibility makes that much easier for you to advance your career (read here), and it gives you more control over your projects’ outcomes.

To get the best use of staff augmentation would mean getting resources that learn and know your processes, working on multiple or serial projects. That way management and training become minimized. New hires, even staff augmentation hires, require training to learn your processes and culture. Having longer-term engagements reduces the need to get over this learning curve. Your hired guns can be more productive, already knowing many of your business goals, which helps them provide their best approach to whatever tasks you give them.

This is where you’ll need to do a little educating to your supervisor. It’s easy for upper management to view third party developers as commodities. Yet you know the benefits of keeping resources engaged over longer periods of time. If your development road map includes the need for ongoing Magento expertise, consider engaging staff augmentation over longer periods of time spanning multiple projects. Our happiest clients do this on a consistent basis.

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