Staff Augmentation vs Consulting: Know the Differences

Staff Augmentation vs Consulting - Know the Differences

Everything You Wanted to Know About Staff Augmentation vs Consulting: Know the Differences

If you are a business owner today, then you are lucky because you often have a choice to make when it comes to hiring approaches. Both staff augmentation and consulting are valid options when you are considering getting additional outside help for your business to accomplish a particular goal. But how will you know the best choice for your business? If you have never used either, it would be best to know the pros and disadvantages of staff augmentation and its consulting counterpart.

There is no doubt that with the ongoing staff augmentation vs. consulting debate, you might have mixed reactions about which best suits your business requirements. But do not worry! At Sonatafy, we are familiar with both. For example, we have managed projects of all sizes and different involvement levels through our staff augmentation model. Therefore, this piece will help you determine when it is best to use staff augmentation instead of consulting and vice-versa.

But First Things First! What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation or resource augmentation is an outsourcing model that is often useful when a development team is looking for a single developer or a group with specific skills to handle a given project (1). Why would your company need an external expert to join your in-house team?

First, this can arise due to a need for more specific expertise in-house. Secondly, an employee might have moved to work for another firm or shifted their concentration to another project. Lastly, we have encountered scenarios where new project requirements make companies request us to match them with subject matter experts who can help bring their ideas to fruition.

Companies and their teams have set the project’s guidelines in most of these instances. Therefore, they want outsourced developers to fill the areas not covered by existing knowledge and skill silos.

Staff Augmentation Benefits

Most businesses use staff augmentation services for any of the following benefits;

  • Staff augmentation services are ideal when a company wishes to scale an in-house team with new or more specific skill sets as quickly as possible.
  • This outsourcing model is more cost-effective than using project-based consulting services.
  • Companies can spend less time and resources on training or onboarding primarily because they receive specialist skills ready for work.
  • An augmented team comes with fewer risks and commitments than hiring a new full-time workforce.
  • The augmented team collaborates with your internal staff and existing workflow without drastically altering it.
  • Adjusting the working relationship based on deliveries is more flexible with staff augmentation.

While this is just a short list of the benefits of staff augmentation, its a perfect overview of what to expect when choosing this route for your company.

Staff Augmentation Challenges

The common drawbacks associated with the staff augmentation model include the following;

  • The issue of combining varying work techniques
  • Integrating an augmented team into your internal staff can take time and effort.
  • A heavily crowded market can pose the challenge of picking out the best.
  • Sometimes your in-house staff can resent working with an augmented team.
  • Staff augmentation only focuses on specific tasks and may not support the overall project mission.

What is Project-based Consulting?

Now that we have covered the critical aspects of the staff augmentation model, let us move quickly to project-based consulting and how businesses benefit from it.

Project-based consulting, or simply consulting, is also an outsourcing model whereby a company hires a software development team directly from a consulting agency (2):

“At its simplest level, an employee is assigned to work on a single project for a given period of time.”

– Oracle 

In other words, it focuses on collaborating with outside professionals to help a client company achieve ideal outcomes and specific objectives.

Suppose your business only has an entire team with the skills and knowledge needed for a particular project. In that case, we advise you to use project-based consulting services from a consulting agency like Sonatafy. We have proven experts throughout the various stages of software development, from project planning and conceptualization to staffing, project management, and post-launch support.

A consulting agency will play a significant role in determining the vision and scope of your project. That is the opposite of staff augmentation, where an augmented team will typically join a project once your company has already established the parameters.

Project-based Consulting Benefits

Project-based consulting can help you gain significant value for your business. The model supports your company with the skills required to deliver a successful project. 

Here are some expected benefits of using project-based consulting to get additional help;

  • You can access a broader range of general and specific skill sets from a service provider.
  • Project-based consulting can help you with all project stages, from planning and conceptualization to execution.
  • With this outsourcing model, you do not have to worry about hiring new in-house employees and training them.
  • The model helps businesses focus more on project performance by taking the burden off their existing in-house employees.
  • Project-based consulting means you employ experienced project managers. So, you are sure of streamlined project delivery.
  • There is professional consulting and feedback at each stage of the process.

Project-based Consulting Challenges

Although project-based consulting plays a vital role in launching and establishing foundations for your company, it also comes with various challenges.

  • The consulting agency can offer limited availability in cases where it serves multiple clients simultaneously.
  • This model may come with a higher impact on your budget. Therefore, it may be more expensive than the staff augmentation model because of its broader range of capabilities and skills.
  • The one-size-fits-all approach of most consulting services may need to be customized for you.

What are the Differences Between Staff Augmentation & Project-based Consulting?

Businesses commonly use staff augmentation when they need a professional specializing in a specific area onboard an ongoing project. Conversely, consulting involves hiring an entire team to work on a project from start to end. While this primarily differentiates staff augmentation and consulting, our advice is to ensure you first analyze your business needs and requirements before settling for one. Sonatafy has more than 100 years of combined experience thanks to the staff augmentation benefits we have shared with our clients.

How to choose between staff augmentation vs. project-based consulting

Your unique requirements will dictate which options will suit you. First, note that staff augmentation perfectly fits situations where you must fill temporary job positions with specific readily available skills. This is the case with smaller projects in most cases.

Secondly, remember that project-based consulting is suitable for projects requiring you to look for multiple generalists and specialists. In consulting, the staff from the consulting agency should help you with project planning and management.

In addition, remember to consider what your budget can afford. Is it more cost-effective to pay a higher hourly rate minus the employee benefits in staff augmentation or its project-based consulting counterpart? Also, consider what you think would best fit your company culture. Lastly, encourage your internal staff to share their opinions and thoughts on bringing an augmented team into the fold.

.Net Developers Frequently Asked Questions About Staff Augmentation vs Consulting: Know the Differences

What is the meaning of staff augmentation?

In simple terms, staff augmentation means an outsourcing model that fills a company’s short-term job positions using temporary employees. Some people also refer to staff augmentation as business augmentation or resource augmentation. To expound further, this is when your project requires you to find a few more hands on deck.

The model helps your business save time and the costs associated with recruiting new employees, onboarding, and maintenance. So, next time you need to staff a project and respond to business objectives, we highly recommend using this outsourcing strategy of staff augmentation.

Thinking of using the staff augmentation strategy for your business? Sonatafy can help! Book a meeting or click to learn more about our process. We are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.

What is the difference between staff augmentation and outsourcing

The main difference between staff augmentation and outsourcing lies in the management process. The outsourcing vendor will develop milestones and manage the entire process. However, in staff augmentation, the staff augmentation vendor will only get you some expert developers, depending on your project requirements, and leave the management of the entire process to your technical leader.

Staff augmentation and outsourcing are different strategies, but most people mix or use them interchangeably. Differentiating these two helps you decide which one will best fit your firm’s specific situation, especially with the strengths and weaknesses of each model at your fingertips.

What is meant by resource augmentation?

Resource augmentation, staff augmentation, or business augmentation, as some people may call it, is one of the most cost-effective and flexible outsourcing approaches (3). This model refers to when a company hires tech talent from a third party on an employment-contract basis to augment your organization’s capacity. In most cases, before hiring outside personnel, the company should define the project’s length and how long the additional help is needed.

If your business intends to avoid permanently committing to recruiting extra staff but it needs additional expertise, we recommend using resource augmentation to help meet your targets on time.

What’s Consulting, and When Is It Best to Use?

Consulting is an outsourcing strategy where consulting experts support you and your business in every project stage, including project planning, conceptualizing, staffing, and post-launch support. Consulting is best applicable when you want to avoid hiring permanent staff but need additional help. Hiring expert consultants who will see your project from the beginning to the end may be the best choice.

What is team augmentation in agile?

Team augmentation in agile is one of the flexible outsourcing strategies that helps companies and organizations hire the kind of talent they need. This outsourcing strategy is applicable when your company already features a formed team, and you only need additional expertise to fill a vacancy temporarily for a defined period.

The staff augmentation model at Sonatafy helps you hire proven experts in days or even hours. We know that cutting costs while maintaining quality service has been most businesses’ ultimate aim.



1. IT Staff Augmentation: A Unique Talent Option For Startups
2. “At its simplest level, an employee is assigned to work on a single project for a given period of time.” – Oracle Quote
3. How do I Make Optimum Use of Business Resources?