Embedded Teams vs Traditional Staff Augmentation

An embedded team seamlessly integrates into your processes, culture, and long-term roadmap. They cultivate profound expertise in your business domain through continuous collaboration.
24 March 2024
Instead of the traditional staff augmentation approach of temporarily adding contractors when you need extra capacity, consider embedding a dedicated product team into your organization. An embedded team fully integrates into your processes, culture, and long-term roadmap. They develop deep expertise in your business domain through consistent collaboration. With skin in the game, they act as a true force-multiplier - seamlessly augmenting your team, sharing context, and focused solely on your success. An embedded team allows you to move faster with higher quality results.
Embedded Teams

What is an Embedded Development Team?

An embedded team is a group of proficient professionals who are eager to join your organization and commence contributing immediately upon the emergence of new projects or requirements. An embedded team isn't just for permanent employees, it's also for your embedded development team.

The core advantage of an embedded team model is consistency. You collaborate with a similar pool of professionals across multiple assignments. This allows team members to become deeply familiar with your companies processes, tools, and ways of working.

When an embedded engineering staff augmentation team is incorporated into your organization, they are capable of immediately commencing their duties and seamlessly integrating with your in-house personnel. There's no ramp-up period or learning curve to overcome. The embedded team is already familiar with your environment and can begin identifying and executing priority tasks immediately.

Additionally, teams that are embedded can be flexible and offer expertise when needed. You can easily scale the size of the software engineer staff augmentation team up or down based on changing project needs and timelines. And since the team has a diverse skill set, you can ensure the right professional is assigned to every task for maximum productivity.
Embedded Teams
The greatest advantages of an embedded team are availability and cost efficiency. Instead of hiring permanent employees, you only compensate the embedded team for their time working on your initiatives. Our pay-as-you-go approach aligns staffing costs with your actual requirements while providing you with access to a highly skilled workforce.

An embedded team model provides consistent, seamless access to top talent without the overhead of permanent hires, whether you need to augment capacity for a short-term project or build out a complete extended team for longer requirements. It's like having your own personal pool of on-demand experts ready to make an impact.

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The Pitfalls of Traditional Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation is the practice of bringing in outside developers on a temporary basis to give your in-house team a boost. You rent the extra hands from a staffing firm for a set period of time.

Having more hands on deck sounds like the perfect solution when your software team is struggling to keep up, right? By adding some temporary developers through staff augmentation, you can boost your capacity and get projects done faster. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

It sounds straightforward enough. But there are some serious downsides and complications that staff augmentation firms conveniently leave out:

1. The "More Hands = Faster Work" assumption is wrong

The core premise of staff augmentation is flawed. It assumes that by simply adding more developers, your team's output will increase proportionally. But that's just not how real software development works.

2. All developers are not created equa

Staff augmentation firms treat developers as interchangeable commodities that can be swapped in and out at will. But the reality is, not all developers have the same skills, experience levels, problem-solving abilities, or communication styles.

If you get a bad match, you could end up paying premium rates for low-quality work or conflicting personalities that disrupt your team's dynamic. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to developers.

3. Lack of preexisting team cohesion

Even a talented developer can struggle when they first join an unfamiliar team. They lack the insider knowledge, working relationships, and trust that your core group has built up over time. This social disconnect leads to preventable miscommunications and inefficiencies as the new hires get spun up.

4. Masking Deeper Underlying Issues

Staff augmentation is often used as a quick band-aid when development velocity is lagging. But adding temp labor doesn't fix the root causes behind why your team is underperforming - things like poor processes, technical debt, skills gaps, or management issues.

The Smarter Alternative: Embedded Teams

So if staff augmentation is so flawed, what's the better solution when you need to boost your software team's bandwidth? Embedded teams.

An embedded team is a pre-built, cohesive unit from an embedded software developer company that integrates directly into your own processes and culture. As a complete team-within-a-team, they provide:
  • specialized expertise tailored to your exact tech stack and needs;
  • instant scalability without the ramp-up delays of individual hires;
  • a self-managing unit that requires little hands-on oversight;
  • fresh outside perspectives to identify systemic issues holding you back;
  • streamlined collaboration by working as an integrated unit;
  • knowledge sharing and mentorship to upskill your internal team.
By embedding seamlessly into your existing team structures, they can start sprinting towards delivering value from day one. No ramp-up period, no individual onboarding curves to overcome.
And because they remain tapped into their agency's collective knowledge base, embedded teams provide exponentially more brainpower than their headcount suggests. When they get stuck on a gnarly problem, they can crowdsource solutions from a broad pool of experience.
Ultimately, embedded teams not only accelerate your current project workstreams but they also transfer knowledge to make your overall development processes more robust and sustainable long-term.

Software engineer staff augmentation focuses narrowly on adding labor capacity. Embedded teams enhance your entire software delivery capabilities holistically.

Before you resort to renting extra heads through staff augmentation, explore bringing in an elite embedded team to truly move your projects forward. You'll get the scalability you need now, plus lasting advantages that equip your team for future success.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Question:
    What exactly is an embedded team? How is it different than traditional staff augmentation?
    An embedded team is a pre-built group of developers that integrates directly into your company and existing processes. Unlike traditional staff augmentation where you get temporary workers, an embedded team becomes an extension of your core team for the long haul.
  • Question:
    Why should I choose an embedded team instead of just hiring more developers myself?
    An embedded team solves two big problems - it lets you instantly scale your capacity without a long ramp-up period, and you tap into a diverse set of skills without having to find and vet each hire yourself. It's a huge time-saver.
  • Question:
    What if we need to scale the team size up or down as requirements change?
    No problem at all. The embedded team model allows you to be extremely flexible. You can easily resize the team at any point by adding or removing developers based on your changing bandwidth needs.
  • Question:
    How does an embedded team transfer knowledge to upskill my internal developers?
    Through their continuous integration, embedded teams will perform mentoring, pair programming, code reviews and more. This allows your developers to learn new skills and best practices, leading to lasting improvements.
Sergio Art is the entrepreneurial mind behind the Offshore Development Center (ODC), which he launched in 2010 to support U.S. businesses in their digital transformation efforts through access to skilled software engineers.

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