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Outsourcing vs Outstaffing

Let’s face it: if you aren’t a software development company yourself, then there’s no need to hire an inhouse team to build software for you. That’s the sort of task you want to contract out.

In 2019, there are plenty of different contracting models floating about. Remote working contracts are attractive because they’re often more affordable, the developers can often have more expertise than folks in your current area, and you don’t require the staffing floorspace/resources/setup on your own premises that inhouse contractors demand.

Two such remote working contracting options are outsourcing and outstaffing. Both of these options are worth considering when you’re looking to develop software.

How does outsourcing work?

The term outsourcing refers to seeking out the services of an external provider to perform an entire business function.

The outsourcing provider may be a single person, or it might be a whole department. For example, if you owned a small business and wanted someone to answer your phone calls every day, then you’d hire one phone operator. If you owned a large business, then you’d probably need an entire call centre to handle your customer service enquiries by phone.

The same goes with software development. If you have a small, simple project, you may be able to hire a single developer to do the work, but if it’s a large project then you can outsource a whole team to do the job (including design, development, testing, and support) from a software development services house.

How does outstaffing work?

Outstaffing is similar and yet different to outsourcing a whole team. By outstaffing, you’re putting together the team itself (remotely) to do the function, rather than choosing a pre-built team.

Whether you’re doing the hiring and management yourself, or you’re hiring someone to do that task for you, the effect is the same. It’s building the team before embarking on the task at hand.

When you’re outstaffing for software development, this means you have granular control over hiring, rather than just choosing someone else’s pre-prepared team. In this way, it’s similar to hiring inhouse developers - you get to pick and choose.

What it boils down to is contracting a disparate team of remote developers, either by yourself, or with the help of a project manager / remote recruiting specialist.

If you’re looking for developers with specific experience or technologies, this may be a good option. Often outsourcing companies offer the chance to hire their developers via outstaffing, too, or outstaff on their own teams when they need specific help for a project.

Benefits of outsourcing vs outstaffing

Outsourcing is great because you get everything in the one neat package. It’s far less hands on than outstaffing. If you are outsourcing your software development, you need to ensure that your provider is professional, knowledgeable, reliable, and proven in the field. It’s up to them to seek out extra staff to add to their team if they feel your project requires specific knowledge or more hands on deck.

If you are outstaffing, then you need to be in charge of coordination of a remote team. This is best left to those that have experience in this practice, or who feel confident hiring a remote team project manager / hiring expert who can do the do the job for you. It will take longer to put together a team and this is better suited to larger and longer projects with unique tasks or required technologies. With outstaffing, it’s up to you to decide when and if you need more (or less) staff on the team.

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