Staff Augmentation vs. Project-Based Services for DevOps and Cloud Projects

August 4, 2020 / CloudOps

DevOps tools and practices accelerate software release cycles, but their adoption can be a tricky process. The supply of skilled engineers has not always kept up with demand, there is an overwhelming array of tools to choose from, and the cultural changes required can meet resistance. You might be struggling to find clearly defined blueprints for navigating the DevOps and application platform landscapes, and you may be evaluating staff augmentation or project-based services, which include both consulting and professional services, as ways to accelerate your initiatives. This blog post will show you the merits of these approaches.

What is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is the practice of bringing in qualified, certified workers for a duration to help out as needed. The third-party will help you code your vision into being by increasing the manpower of your team. It’s ideal for projects involving well-established technologies that have been around for a while and whose expertise can be trusted with certifications.

Project-Based Services

In project-based services, the third-party takes ownership for the entire design and execution of a project or part of a project, and their experience makes them accountable for the outcome. Project-based services can take the form of consulting or professional services.

What are Consulting Services?

Consulting services focus on finding unknown technical solutions to known (or even unknown) business problems. They are used to provide teams with a fresh perspective on their tools and processes, helping them identify gaps and understand problems where commonly known solutions are incomplete or do not apply. Consulting services may additionally include the implementation of the solution once discovered. This makes them most suited for DevOps teams who are uncertain how best to complete a project and require a high-level view of their infrastructure and application platform.

What are Professional Services?

Professional services involve the execution of a project, which can involve building or operating an application platform or part(s) of an application platform. While consulting services find unknown solutions, professional services deliver known solutions. This makes them ideal for implementing frameworks that may be well known but require expertise to implement well.

Why Project-Based Services Deliver More Value Than Staff Augmentation

There are many reasons why we at CloudOps offer professional and consulting services but not staff augmentation on its own. Here are a few of them.

1. Project-based services benefit from the skills, knowledge, and experience of a team of experts

While the benefits of staff augmentation are limited to the skills and knowledge of the individuals brought in, project-based services benefit from the collective knowledge of a team of experts and the experience they carry from all projects worked on before. This tends to lead to more informed and innovative solutions with open-ended benefits.

2. Project-based services include ‘smart defaults’

Our consulting team often creates smart defaults as technical mechanisms for developing expertise and automation around common areas of interest. These components can later become shared automation recipes that the third-party can replicate in future projects to increase efficiency. Our smart defaults provide value to many different platforms and customers. Not only do project-based services provide wider sets of skills and deeper pools of knowledge and experience than staff augmentation, they benefit from libraries of automation recipes. Smart defaults can be reused and customized to build, operate, and transfer value in the application platform.

3. Staff augmentation takes longer and costs more

Staff augmentation may look cheaper on paper but will ultimately cost more as it can take much longer. Individual technical managers planning and executing DevOps projects for the first time may be less certain how to avoid and overcome challenges than our teams who have the skills, knowledge, experience, and automation recipes that come with years of working on similar projects. Our services can help you git there faster, completing projects more quickly than would otherwise be taken with staff augmentation.

4. Project-based services transfer knowledge to your organization

Some companies keep their arms around their knowledge, only delivering it where needed. However, CloudOps’ services are designed to transfer the knowledge required to operate the application platform components we build for you. With Ops in our name, we understand the importance of thinking about long-term operations when designing an architecture. Our delivery model involves building, operating, and transferring value in the application platform. This will empower your technical teams to operate the application platform components well into the future with a depth of understanding that documentation alone can’t offer. Our hands-on DevOps workshops are designed to accelerate that transfer and have led to us becoming one of the world’s first certified Kubernetes Training Partners. The knowledge transfer that CloudOps’ consulting services offer will lead to more long-term success as it is based on partnership.

5. Project-based services are based on partnership

We partner with our customers for their long-term success and consider the wider impacts of DevOps on their organizations. We have more of a vested interest in the longevity of a project as we take accountability for an entire portion of the project.

The Cynefin framework is sometimes used to help decision-makers understand problems. Situations are obvious when they can be easily treated with best practices, complicated when they require an expert, complex when they require different perspectives from multiple experts, and chaotic when it’s never been treated before.

Staff augmentation should be leveraged when projects are obvious, professional services when complicated, and consulting when complex or chaotic.

Staff augmentation can become a trap for organizations who overlook key gaps in their infrastructure or application platform modernization plans. In particular, knowledgeable decision-makers who research and create detailed project plans but underestimate the constantly changing complexity of the DevOps and cloud native landscapes are especially prone to overseeing projects that become delayed by unexpected challenges and result in release cycles that don’t fully respond to the business’ needs. Staff augmentation becomes a trap in these situations, as it helps team leaders execute their previously-defined visions but won’t help them improve their strategies.

CloudOps’ consulting services and professional services are both planned models. We’re accountable for the success of the solution, which we train our partners to use. With almost fifteen years of industry experience, our teams of experts have a wealth of collective knowledge that let us finish projects more quickly and efficiently than those starting DevOps journeys for the first time. We pride ourselves on remaining tool- and platform-agnostic, meaning we have the breadth of experience to implement whichever solutions are most suited to your unique requirements. We promise to help our customers own their destinies in the cloud.

To receive an actionable blueprint for accelerating your feature velocity, download our white paper ‘How to Initiate DevOps Transformation by Assessing Culture and Processes.’