Six IT Team Augmentation Mistakes to Avoid

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MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 19 Aug 2022

IT staffing

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At its best, team augmentation is a goldmine when you need to add team members to your squad and cut back on software development expenses. However, no business is immune to IT team augmentation mistakes, which tend to find their way into the process of building external tech units. So, the reasonable question is – how to overcome team augmentation mistakes? In our post, we rely on our own expertise as a company with more than a decade of experience augmenting tech units for companies globally. We believe that the practices we use will help you grow your IT teams without “growing pains.” 

Choosing the wrong location

When you add staff to your team, their location matters. It's a common staff augmentation mistake to select the most affordable area (for example, Asian countries) while neglecting what comes with it – time difference and potential cultural incompatibility with your internal staff, which may lead to miscommunication and misalignment between your units. 

With that in mind, if you're located in North America, the most favorable zone for you can be Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina). Western European businesses tend to choose Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania), as this zone offers geographic proximity. On the other hand, global businesses prefer Eastern Europe to build their tech unit because of the solid reputation of local developers, adequate English proficiency, strong work ethics, and cultural compatibility. Thus, you can overcome the IT team augmentation mistake associated with location by selecting a country that meets your expectations when it comes to communication, developers’ quality, and English skills. 

READ ALSO: Team Extension in Europe: Overview

No candidate screening on the side of the provider

After you’ve chosen a location, time to move on and pick a team augmentation provider. A common staff augmentation mistake is to partner with a provider that doesn't guarantee the internal screening of candidates. As a result of this, you may waste a lot of time interviewing irrelevant candidates. With that in mind, during your first calls with a potential provider, ask if they pre-screen candidates before bringing them in for interviews with you. If they do, it means you will speak with developers who have made the cut in terms of their tech competency, English proficiency, and culture fit. That way, your future provider facilitates efficiency, ensuring you meet only suitable candidates. 

We at nCube are proponents of a custom approach to building our clients' teams. Before our HR team dives into candidate search, we ask our clients for a detailed candidate profile to gain a thorough understanding of an IT specialist you want to add to your team. Then, we shortlist candidates that match your profile and conduct internal interviews with them. At the pre-screening stage, we check if a candidate has experience in your business vertical and engineering approaches and jibes well with your corporate culture. Most importantly, with each candidate, the decision to hire always belongs to you. 

READ ALSO: IT Team Augmentation: How to Pick the Best Provider

No prior English screening

Making this IT team augmentation mistake puts you at risk of running into a language barrier where important things may get lost in translation. Although English is the lingua franca of the IT world, the proficiency of developers may fluctuate, given that many developers around the globe speak English as their second language.

As you know, confident English is a must for the successful cooperation in a distributed environment. We at nCube always put our candidates to the test to assess their English skills so that our clients interview only those who speak and write it at least at an upper-intermediate level. So, to avoid this team augmentation mistake, ensure your potential provider emphasizes internal English screening, as this will save you time during the interviewing process. 

A lack of transparency 

One of the most exasperating IT team augmentation mistakes is to partner with a vendor with opaque processes when it comes to cooperation. 

In team augmentation, it’s important to know who exactly is working on your project. Thus, choosing this model, you should be involved in every process firsthand, including such crucial aspects as interviewing and hiring developers, team management, and overseeing the direction and progress of the project. 

With nCube, you'll interview all candidates personally and have direct access to each team member after you launch your team. We also increase transparency by guaranteeing that the team we provide will be solely dedicated to the client's goals, working for you Monday through Friday, 40 hours per week. 

Choosing a provider that puts a premium on the transparency of the processes allows you to avoid an IT team augmentation mistake related to a lack of control and dedication from the team. 

READ ALSO: Your Guide to IT Team Augmentation vs. Managed Services Comparison

Betting on the cheapest options

If you are expanding your team on a shoe-string budget, it can be tempting to add a freelancer or hire a firm that offers the lowest rates on the market. While this is a viable option, the implication of selecting this approach for your business can be serious. 

First off, freelancers are notoriously known for their tendency to juggle projects from different clients, losing focus and being unable to stay dedicated to one project at a time. As a result of this, you risk getting a poor outcome, which will inevitably causes stress for the rest of your team. 

This is not to say that adding a freelancer is a team augmentation mistake in all cases. It’s just that reliable professionals working at a low rate are uncommon, and you often have to search far and wide to find them. So, to avoid this IT team augmentation mistake, you need to invest time to sift through freelancing platforms in search of professionals (preferably with a great portfolio and reviews) that also fit the bill when it comes to your budget.

Another potential IT team augmentation mistake can be choosing a firm with the lowest rates. The problem is that such companies are often unable to guarantee skilled developers and rarely invest in team retention. Additionally, providers offering low rates aren’t the most reputable employers on the market, so they aren't attractive for the seasoned specialists you may require. 

It’s important to work with a company that can both add solid developers and retain them, as only this way you will have a sustainable development team you can rely on. For example, nCube has a solid reputation in the labor market in Eastern Europe. The average retention rate of our team members is 3.5 years, which means most developers endure throughout the lifetime of the client’s project without attritions. 

With that in mind, falling for the lowest rates for software developers can be an IT team augmentation mistake. Thus, explore the providers’ websites, portfolios, and testimonials before you commit. It never hurts to go the extra mile and contact previous clients via LinkedIn to ask about their experience with your potential vendor. Chances are you’ll find a firm that offers a reasonable price-quality ratio fast. 

No internal managerial capacity on your side

Without internal experience in managing virtual IT teams, augmenting your IT squad can be problematic. Team augmentation is an approach that means running your team personally. The idea behind this approach is that the added developers will work for your organization alongside your internal team. That way, the IT staff you add to the team will communicate and report to you directly. As a manager, you (or someone in a senior role on your team) need to check in on their progress, assign tasks and be able to deliver feedback. 

READ ALSO: How to Manage Distributed Engineering Teams

Given the intricacy of this process, an IT team augmentation mistake can be choosing this model when you have no internal experience running distributed teams. If this is your case, it’s best to opt for outsourcing where you get a completed product produced by the vendor’s team. 

How our approach lets you avoid team augmentation mistakes  

Our aim is to make IT team augmentation work without a hitch. Below is a rundown of our features that help you avoid common staff augmentation mistakes. 

  • We have access to the most skilled pools of IT talent: Eastern Europe and Latin America have a capacity of more than 2 million developers combined, which lets us build a skilled tech unit fast;
  • We always pre-screen candidates for a variety of competencies, including English proficiency, company fit, and tech skills. That way, we ensure that our clients speak only with relevant candidates. 
  • We provide you with access to each staff member, so you can communicate with them directly. This way, your added staff will work under your leadership, which allows you to retain control over the workflows and processes;
  • A high level of control: You’ll have a direct impact on the development process, from selecting team members to executing your Project Scope. Our approach lets you have a high level of transparency when it comes to the processes and eventually enjoy a predictable result.
  • Your added team members will be solely dedicated to your project, working for you full time, 5 days and 40 hours per week;
  • Transparent pricing: You’ll pay for a full-time hired employee (plus a service fee), which puts you in control when it comes to budget.
  • While you have full control over the team, we take care of staff retention. Our extensive employee benefits package includes a wide range of perks, from health insurance and HR support, to modern IT infrastructure, and team-building events. This creates a comfortable environment for staff, which contributes to a soaring retention rate. 

Let’s connect to chat and see our approach to team augmentation can help you achieve your goals. 

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