Partners in Delivery: Andela’s Model of Remote Software Engineering Staff Augmentation

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are looking to streamline operations and find new efficiencies. Remote staff augmentation is emerging as an option that can help by building scalability and flexibility into software engineering programs. There are several models of remote staff augmentation for software engineering teams--from highly transactional temp-type agencies to full-service partnerships focused on product delivery, which is Andela’s model. This article explains what Andela offers its staff augmentation partners and our focus on exceptional product delivery. 

Technical Competency Assessment

It all starts with technical competency assessments so that we can agree on what is expected of an engineer. Andela assesses and measures engineers’ knowledge and experience of languages and frameworks, data stores, testing, security, tooling, monitoring, and alerting. Technical testing includes coding challenges and pair programming exercises where skills are measured and documented. We then build detailed profiles that outline what partners will get from engineers based on the role and the seniority that is desired.

Validate Everything

We don’t just interview our engineers, we test them using tools like HackerRank and code-review-as-a-service tools. We use a 30 question rubric to identify seniority and stack experience and level that assessment against an industry-validated 45-point engineering competency framework. Finally, we also perform detailed background checks that include information about any criminal activity as well as education and employment verification. This assures that the experience that is on an engineer’s profile is real and validated. What you see on our engineers’ profiles is what you will get.

Communication and Leadership

We also assess and measure soft skills including leadership and communication. We know that software development is a team sport, and the soft skills we assess include stakeholder management, setting and meeting goals, communicating with other team members, taking ownership of responsibilities, sharing knowledge, and accepting accountability. This is a big part of what we mean by a partnership. It is shared ownership of your business and a shared investment in your team’s success.

Delivery Mindset

What managers care about most are product delivery and meeting roadmaps. We have developed a comprehensive set of processes to help ensure that engineers are productive and successful in your environment, including:

  • A 24-step onboarding process based on our experience placing 1,000 engineers with hundreds of businesses.
  • A team of 50+ senior engineers that manage and support Andela engineers placed with partner teams to help them solve problems and remove blocks.
  • A peer network that Andela engineers use to help and support one another.

Accountable to You

Our goal at Andela is to provide engineers that engage in your processes just like your internal engineerings do. Unlike other staffing models, Andela engineers don’t work for multiple clients. They are embedded in your organization and are accountable to you. Our model is built for longer-term engagements where you need specific skills and you also need team members that are committed to your success. This is why we use the term “partnership” to describe our model. It is not designed for one-off projects. It is a way to quickly scale your team without the time and cost of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding; and without the overhead of payroll, taxes, and benefits. 

Scalability and Flexibility

In software engineering, you are only as good as your people. Andela strives to raise teams’ skill sets and teamwork with hard and soft competencies that have been measured and proven. Our mission is always to improve product quality and accelerate product delivery while enabling partners to adapt to changing business conditions. We know that roadmaps and priorities change, which is why we have built flexibility and scalability into our model. This flexibility is one reason that hundreds of businesses have partnered with us to build distributed engineering teams. 

Transition to Remote Workforce

Andela engineers have always worked on distributed teams, supporting partners in the U.S. from home offices or from our African campuses. When the campuses closed due to shelter-in-place requirements, our teams seamlessly shifted to home offices using our remote work protocols.  Andela engineers are uniquely equipped to help development teams new to all-remote work, having mastered best practices for communication, collaboration, and culture that accelerate and improve product delivery.

The Ability to Move Fast

The pandemic and its aftermath have demonstrated the need for organizations to be nimble and to move quickly as economic conditions change. Andela’s remote software engineering staff augmentation model is designed to enable this kind of rapid deployment of skills. We have teams ready to go at all times and have processes in place to get the right resources to the right team at the right time. 

For more information about building and scaling distributed engineering teams using staff augmentation, view our recorded webinar, Best Practices for Remote Engineering Teams where Andela CTO David Blair and GitHub VP of Engineering Sha Ma share best practices for creating and sustaining high-performing, distributed engineering teams.

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