Bringing remote developers onto your team via staff augmentation services can be an excellent decision, but it can also be a great challenge. On the one hand, it’s important to take the time to find the right partner who will understand your team's specific staffing needs and provide the exact technical expertise you need. On the other hand, you need to make sure the remote developers are compatible with your in-house team.
In this article, I’m sharing several key practices that should help you make the most of staff augmentation services and hire remote developers that will maximize your project outcome.
How to pick a remote staff provider that fulfills all your needs?
Finding the best partner who will help you with hiring remote developers isn’t as easy as it may seem. Of course, there are multiple staffing agencies and job portals available on the market, but their remote programmers may not always possess the technical skills required for your product development journey. Here’s how to best approach the process of choosing a company that will help you with your remote development team needs.
Assess your requirements
Before you hire remote developers to augment your in-house team, it is critical to thoroughly assess the requirements of your product. Consider the specific goals and objectives, then identify what prevents you from achieving them - what concrete technical skills or roles your in-house team is missing. You may also find that insufficient headcount is just slowing you down and that hiring additional remote employees will help you deliver on time.
At the same time, you may also find that you’re missing experienced developers in a very specific domain. If you monitor the project progress and/or your company's performance on a regular basis, it will be easier to identify areas that need improvement and the roles that should be fulfilled on a short term or long term basis. Hiring remote software developers as augmented staff is an effective way to bridge these tech talent gaps in order to meet current business objectives.
If you struggle with identifying the areas where hiring remote developers could bring an advantage, a staff augmentation provider can help you with that - we certainly can!
Research your options
Once you have a clear understanding of the requirements for your project or product, it is time to start researching potential staff augmentation providers for your remote hiring needs. Look at the specific tech expertise such companies can offer and what kind of projects they were previously working on - these can provide some useful insights as to whether the candidate company could supply remote developers with technical expertise that you require.
Besides verifying the company’s expertise and experience in a given field, try to understand whether it will be a good fit. Looking at reviews on Clutch or Glassdoor can be immensely helpful, just as the referrals that can be found on a company’s website. However, do not rely solely on these reviews. Take a look at their case studies and projects they participated in, which will help you better understand their available skillset.
Finally, reach out to the vendor directly and discuss your requirements regarding remote developers. I include three topics you should tackle with them in the next section - these will help you get a better understanding of whether they will be able to meet your needs.
Look for compatibility
This isn’t solely about company culture compatibility, but also about communication skills (or excellent command of the English language, for that matter), flexibility to meet on a regular basis despite different time zones, and culture in general. Finding a partner that is a near-perfect match for all of these criteria can make work, communication, and the relationship between your company and remote developers smoother and more enjoyable.
Before committing to any partnership, ensure that your prospective vendor aligns with your organization's values and work practices. Even seemingly minor details like project management and communication tools are essential for establishing a successful work dynamic, so be sure to consider them before progressing with any potential vendors. Discuss as many details as possible with regards to the work style and values before hiring remote developers to supplement your team.
Ensure flawless communication
Effective communication is essential on the path to project success. Without effective communication, teamwork is impossible and prevents teams from reaching their goals. When it comes to hiring augmented staff, it is especially important to have good communication between your in-house team and outsourced developers to ensure a successful outcome. Although challenges are unavoidable, communication is the key to overcoming them.
Ensure that your in-house team is well-prepared to work with augmented staff. Define roles clearly, make sure everyone understands them and take time to properly introduce every team member to each other. Allow team members to connect on one-on-one meetings so that they can get to know each other better. This will help to ensure that everyone involved in the project is able to work together effectively on both a technical and cultural level.
Finally, set up relevant communication channels and regular meetings to ensure everybody remains on the same page throughout the duration of the project.
3 areas to discuss with potential staff augmentation provider
When looking to hire remote developers from a staff augmentation provider, prepare a list of questions you will ask the company so that later you can pick the best fit based on their answers. While you should have questions specific to your project, it’s also good to ask them about the following three areas:
The company’s vetting process
What does the company’s vetting process look like? No matter what size of staff augmentation firm you’re considering, it is critical to evaluate their hiring process. Larger firms and staffing agencies may focus more on the numbers rather than the quality of the candidate. To gain a better understanding of their technical screening, it is worth looking further into the following aspects:
- Who were they evaluated by? You want to make sure that a senior technical staff was/will be involved in the process.
- What demonstrable experience do they have in the specific technical area? You want to make sure they are actually able to participate in a production grade software development project, moving beyond answering the interview questions.
The point here is that staff augmentation agencies often fill their engineering teams with beginner or mid-level developers with a narrow range of skills, as they care more about the number of developers they have on board rather than how they approach ownership and self-development.
In contrast, a company that creates bespoke software for its clients also has know-how and experience. It’s better to work with a software development company that makes its specialists available to work externally as they will bring on unique expertise and a sense of ownership for the project.
Of course - both options can be a good fit for your needs. Understanding the company’s screening process can help you better understand the caliber of the applicants you are considering.
The employee’s experience
Find out what specific contributions did the candidate make to prior projects. You need to ensure that the candidate is a suitable fit for your project. Simply stating that they have the necessary skills is not enough; you need to get the company to explain why a specific candidate they recommend is a good fit for your needs. This will help you avoid situations where low quality developers are assigned to a project, which is something you should strive to avoid.
Software development companies that provide staff augmentation services will typically have developers on staff who can provide answers to specialized technical queries. These developers are held personally accountable for their work, and as a result, have a more comprehensive understanding of the tech stack, such as devops and integration skills.
Software projects are often met with unforeseen events and surprises that require developers to take on extra responsibility and have a wider range of skills. Those who are able to adapt their existing code or suggest new technologies are better equipped to handle any changes that arise.
What will the relationship with augmented staff look like?
It is essential to ensure that any developers you bring on - whether they be outsourced or internal - possess both technical proficiency and a culture that values hard work and transparency. During the vetting process, it is crucial to ask questions that will determine how well the developer or team fits into your culture and how they will interact with the other members of your team.
It would be beneficial to inquire about the communication environment beforehand. What tools will be used by the augmented staff? What is their availability like? Will they be available during the same hours and attend the same scrum meeting (or other methodology) and retrospectives?
Areas to discuss with augmented team candidates
Interviewing candidates to join your team as augmented staff requires some extra considerations for the job in question. It is important to thoroughly vet and interview the candidate just like you would any other internal developer, so that when they join the team, everyone understands that they are qualified and have earned the spot.
At the same time, you want to make sure that the augmented staff remain engaged in the project and make a genuine contribution, even though they work as outsourced employees. Inquire about the following job aspects:
- Do they understand how their past projects were deployed and scaled in production or did they just understand their small module?
- How do they ensure they contribute to the project’s success while working remotely?
- How do they feel about being delegated to work on a project with an external company?
Higher quality developers are not only knowledgeable in the development processes and communication principles necessary for more advanced project engagement, but also have a thorough understanding of the specific project requirements. In general, developers with a wider range of skills and the capacity to assume greater responsibility are better suited to tackle the unknown and unexpected elements of software projects.
Hire remote software developers from RST Software
Augmenting your in-house team with remote developers sourced on a temporary basis is a common practice amid the ongoing talent shortages in the IT industry. It allows companies to quickly fill their talent gaps on an ad-hoc, temporary basis, while eliminating the costs related to the recruitment process and and onboarding. If approached right, hiring remote developers can add value and elevate the quality of your projects - not just fill your staffing shortages.
If you’re interested in working with our talented developers, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll discuss our offering. Besides working with technologies such as React, Node.JS, Camunda or Admin.JS, we can help you with projects that involve the development of location-based services, media streaming and chat applications or fill dedicated project manager roles.