Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: Which One Is Right for You?

Staff augmentation vs outsourcing: Two different concepts, suitable in different situations. Let's see how they differ and which one suits your business needs!

As your businesses expands, the need for additional resources and expertise becomes inevitable. Staff augmentation vs outsourcing are two popular strategies that businesses use to address these needs. While they may seem similar, there are fundamental differences between the two.

Key Takeaways

Staff augmentation and outsourcing are two distinct strategies for addressing project needs and skill gaps within organizations.

Staff augmentation allows businesses to retain a high level of control and flexibility by adding specific skills to their existing teams on a temporary basis, with full integration and direct oversight of work.

Outsourcing, on the other hand, involves delegating entire projects or functions to external service providers, shifting the responsibility for project management and execution away from the organization.

Our goal is to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each approach so that you can make informed decisions for your business growth strategy. Let's see the key differences between staff augmentation and outsourcing!

Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: Differences – Bluebird

Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: What is Staff Augmentation?

At one time or another, all companies will find themselves in need of additional staff to fill skill gaps or meet temporary needs. This is where staff augmentation comes into play.

Staff augmentation involves partnering with an external agency to hire additional professionals who can integrate into your existing team. These professionals retain their employment with the agency but work under your direct supervision to provide the skills and expertise you require.

Through staff augmentation, you can achieve greater flexibility and scalability in your operations by supplementing your team with specialized talent without having to manage the recruitment process or the administrative tasks associated with hiring. Additionally, staff augmentation enables you to maintain complete control over project management, ensuring that your business objectives are met on time and within budget.

Staff Augmentation Vs Outsourcing: What is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing involves delegating specific tasks or functions to third-party companies or individuals on behalf of our organization.

The outsourced tasks can range from low-level repetitive tasks to high-level strategic functions like software development, marketing, or customer service. The external party is responsible for completing the job, and, in most cases, the work is performed remotely or on-site, depending on the nature of the job.

Outsourcing offers businesses the chance to tap into specialized knowledge and expertise without incurring the cost of hiring full-time employees. It also provides an opportunity to scale up or down quickly to match business demands.

However, outsourcing does not provide as much control and integration as staff augmentation. The external party may operate independently, which can lead to communication gaps or quality control issues. Additionally, outsourcing may not be suitable for businesses that need direct control over the task's production or maintain confidentiality.

Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: Comparison Table – Bluebird

Staff Augmentation Vs Outsourcing: Key Differences

While staff augmentation and outsourcing are both strategies to address skill shortages and manage workloads, they are distinct in several crucial respects. Below are the primary distinctions between staff augmentation and outsourcing:

Level of Control

In staff augmentation, the professionals you bring on board work under your oversight and become part of your team, allowing you greater influence over their tasks, methodologies, and integration into your existing structure. Outsourcing, however, entails entrusting a project or function to an external service provider, where the management and execution of tasks are handled externally, often with less direct oversight from your side.

Varying Integration

Staff augmentation allows for the seamless integration of professionals into your team, helping them to quickly adapt to your company culture and workflows. In contrast, when outsourcing a project, integration with your internal team is not a concern, as the external service provider independently manages and executes the project, delivering the final outcome without the need for direct assimilation into your organizational processes.

Differing Skill Set Flexibility

Staff augmentation vs outsourcing: Staff augmentation provides the opportunity to handpick individuals whose specific skills and expertise are a perfect fit for your project needs. This approach allows for a high degree of precision in matching skill sets with project requirements. On the other hand, outsourcing simplifies project management by placing trust in a partner to deliver the end result according to your specifications.

Differing Cost Structures

Outsourcing is commonly pursued for potential cost savings, allowing businesses to outsource certain tasks or functions potentially more economically than maintaining them in-house. Staff augmentation, while not inherently a cost-saving approach, provides the advantage of hiring skilled professionals on a project or temporary basis, offering a way to manage expenses by adjusting workforce size according to project demands.

In essence, while both models offer solutions to workforce flexibility and cost management, staff augmentation tends to afford more control and easier integration into your team's culture and processes, whereas outsourcing is geared towards complete project management by an external provider, possibly at a reduced cost.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation offers numerous benefits for businesses looking to fill skill gaps or meet temporary workload demands. Here are some key advantages:

  1. 1
    Cost savings: By hiring additional professionals directly through a staff augmentation agency, businesses can save on the costs associated with recruiting, onboarding, and training new employees. Furthermore, businesses can avoid paying for employee benefits, such as healthcare and retirement plans, as these costs are typically the responsibility of the staff augmentation agency.
  2. 2
    Flexibility: Staff augmentation allows businesses to scale their workforce up or down as needed, without the long-term commitment of hiring full-time employees. This flexibility is especially valuable for businesses with fluctuating workloads or uncertain project timelines.
  3. 3
    Access to specialized skills: Staff augmentation agencies typically have a diverse pool of professionals with specialized skills and experience. This allows businesses to access top talent without the time and expense of finding and hiring these professionals themselves.
  4. 4
    Control: With staff augmentation, businesses retain control over the day-to-day management of the professionals they hire. This ensures that these professionals work seamlessly with the existing team and align with the organization's goals and values.
  5. 5
    Improved productivity: With additional professionals on board, businesses can improve their productivity and efficiency by reallocating tasks and responsibilities to the appropriate personnel.

Understanding these key differences can help you determine which approach is right for your specific business needs.

Let's compare these with the benefits of outsourcing:

Benefits of Outsourcing

Outsourcing offers several benefits for businesses, including:

  1. 1
    Cost savings: Outsourcing tasks to countries with lower labor costs can significantly reduce expenses. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses with limited budgets.
  2. 2
    Access to specialized expertise: Outsourcing allows businesses to tap into the expertise of professionals who may not be available in-house. This can help organizations develop new products, services, or processes faster.
  3. 3
    Improved efficiency: By outsourcing non-core tasks, businesses can focus on their primary objectives. This improves overall efficiency and productivity by minimizing distractions.
  4. 4
    Scalability: Outsourcing enables businesses to quickly and efficiently scale operations up or down based on changing needs. This makes it ideal for businesses that experience fluctuations in demand.
  5. 5
    Reduced risk: Outsourcing can help businesses mitigate risk associated with changes in technology, regulation, or market demand. External parties can often provide more options and solutions when navigating these changes.

Whether you are considering IT Staff augmentation or outsourcing on a project scope basis, you can count on Bluebird. Which of our services are you interested in?

Need extra hands or specialized skills on your tech project?


Whether it's for a fixed duration or a longer period of time, our staff augmentation services enable you to scale your tech team lightning fast—with the experienced professionals your project needs. From one extra team member to 50+, we're here to help.

Want your project completed without the hassle of direct oversight?


Sometimes, the best approach to a project is a hands-off one, especially when time and resources are scarce. Provide us with your goals, and we'll see them through from beginning to end, allowing you to focus on core business.

Staff Augmentation Vs Outsourcing: How to Decide?

At times, it's easy to decide between the two—and at times, it's not. When choosing between staff augmentation and outsourcing, you should carefully consider several key factors to determine which option best aligns with your business strategies, project requirements, and operational constraints (if any).

Here are some considerations to guide the decision-making process.

How Much Project Control and Oversight Do You Need?

If retaining direct control over the project's execution and the professionals working on it is crucial, staff augmentation is the preferable choice. This model allows for closer collaboration and oversight, ensuring that the work aligns with the company's standards and methodologies.

Is Integration with Existing Team Important?

Consider how important it is for the individuals working on the project to integrate with the existing team and understand the company culture. Staff augmentation is beneficial if the project requires a high level of integration and collaboration with the current team members.

What Are Your Skill Requirements?

Evaluate the specificity and level of expertise required for the project. If you need highly specialized skills that are not present within your current team, staff augmentation can provide the targeted expertise. For broader project requirements or when a complete solution is needed without specifying individual skills, outsourcing might be the better option.

What's Your Project's Duration? Do You Need Flexibility?

Think about the project's timeline and how much flexibility you need in scaling your team. Staff augmentation offers the flexibility to adjust the workforce size based on the project's phase and demands, which is advantageous for projects with variable intensity. Outsourcing might be more suitable for projects with a defined scope and timeline, where flexibility is less of a concern.

Cost Considerations: Do Costs Need to Be Predictible?

Assess the cost implications of both approaches. While outsourcing can potentially offer cost savings by leveraging economies of scale and lower labor costs from the service provider, staff augmentation allows for more predictable costs tied directly to the duration and number of professionals hired.

What's Your Approach to Risk Management?

Consider which approach better aligns with your risk management strategy. Outsourcing transfers a significant portion of the project risk to the service provider, including the responsibility to deliver on time and within budget. With staff augmentation, the company retains more control, which can mitigate some risks but also requires a robust internal management capability.

Staff Augmentation vs Outsourcing: FAQs

What is the difference between staff augmentation and outsourcing?

Staff augmentation involves hiring additional professionals to work under your direct supervision and become part of your organization, while outsourcing involves contracting third-party companies or individuals to perform specific tasks or functions on your behalf.

What is staff augmentation?

Staff augmentation refers to the process of hiring and incorporating additional professionals into your existing team to bridge skill gaps or meet temporary workload demands. They work under your direct supervision and become an integrated part of your organization while maintaining their employment with the staff augmentation agency.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing involves contracting third-party companies or individuals to perform specific tasks or functions on behalf of your organization. Unlike staff augmentation, outsourcing entails transferring the responsibility of the tasks to the external party, who may work independently and may not be directly managed by your organization.

Staff augmentation vs outsourcing: What are the key differences?

The key differences between staff augmentation vs outsourcing include control, integration, skill set, and cost structure. With staff augmentation, you have more control and integration as the professionals become part of your organization, while outsourcing involves handing off tasks to an external party. Skill gaps are addressed through staff augmentation, whereas outsourcing relies on the expertise of the contracted party. Cost structure also varies, with staff augmentation typically being more cost-effective for long-term projects.

What are the benefits of staff augmentation?

Depending on your requirements. If you have prior experience with remote developers, we recommend working with remote programmers. Bluebird could find the ideal candidate with a predetermined level of experience and technological expertise much more quickly. On the other hand, if you work with remote developers, the daily fee could be significantly lower because the cost of living should be lower than in your location.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

Outsourcing provides advantages such as access to expertise and resources not available in-house, cost savings through reduced overhead expenses, increased efficiency and productivity, improved focus on core business functions, and the ability to leverage external innovation and industry best practices.

How do I choose between staff augmentation and outsourcing?

Choosing between staff augmentation vs outsourcing depends on your specific business needs and objectives. Consider factors such as the level of control and integration required, the duration and nature of the project, the need for specialized skills, and the associated cost implications. Assessing these factors will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business growth strategy.