Why Remote Staff Makes Sense in Agile Environments

In tough economic times, the business mantra tends to be “do more with less.” The focus shifts from enabling growth to efficiency and the right use of resources while still meeting roadmaps. Outsourcing is one option software engineering teams often look to achieve these goals.  

Beyond Project Outsourcing

Traditional outsourcing models where a client hands off an entire project to an offshore organization pre-date agile software engineering. “In a traditional outsourcing relationship, an IT team ‘throws a project over the wall’ to a vendor; the vendor, in turn, completes its tasks and throws the project back,” according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

This model might work for a project with strictly defined requirements and success criteria. Examples may be application integration, where the integration points and rules are well defined and documented, and for migrations, where the beginning and end states are already known. 

Grow with Customer Needs

But most software is now designed to grow with business needs, and the agile development method is used to create continually evolving products. These software projects are never really “complete” because development is iterative and ongoing, and they don’t lend themselves to a project outsourcing model. Products are built, tested, and delivered in small increments. Users provide feedback, and products are continuously improved. 

Breaking Barriers with Remote Staff Augmentation

Software engineering has become a team sport. That’s why remote staff augmentation is becoming a preferred method of outsourcing development. “To foster this working relationship, companies should partner with vendors, tearing down the walls and enabling agile team members to work side by side, whether virtually or physically, to achieve their goals,” BCG said. “All team members participate as equals and work with a one-team mindset to understand the end user’s needs and to find solutions.”

Remote staff augmentation is more about partnerships than projects. The best staff augmentation firms recruit, hire, onboard, pay, and provide benefits for offshore developers that can be deployed on-demand and join teams as extended, embedded members as long as needed. They do indeed work side-by-side, though virtually, and bring a one-team mindset.

Other benefits of remote engineering staff augmentation include:

  • Specialization--you get the specific skills and experience you need to fill gaps in your team, as long as you need them.
  • Diversity--if you’re making a global product, a global perspective is invaluable when it comes to critical elements like user experience.
  • Investment in your business--Staff augmentation teams are invested in your long-term success and are accountable to you.
  • Product delivery--in the end, it is about meeting roadmaps with great products. Embedded engineers learn your product, codeset, culture, and processes with your oversight and review. 

More Important in Challenging Times

Remote staff augmentation in an agile environment prioritizes quality over commodity. Software engineers work together with a common goal to build great products. This model of outsourcing is especially valuable in uncertain times because it offers the ability to scale up quickly and to scale back if needed as well, without the cost and risk associated with full-time hires. The client maintains control over the product at all times. 

If your team is looking for more resources but cautious about hiring full-time staff at this time, download this e-book, Making the Shift: Experts Share How to Rapidly Build and Scale Distributed Teams. 

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