Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: Which Strategy Is Right For Your Business?

Published January 31, 2023, updated February 21, 2023
by Jeffery Thompson
9 min read
Staff Augmentation
Staff Augmentation vs Consulting - Struggling to decide between staff augmentation and project-based consulting

Staff augmentation and project-based consulting are different approaches to finding resources for your business.

Staff augmentation is when you hire someone full-time or part-time, usually to fill a specific role, such as an engineer or designer. Project-based consulting is when you bring in outside help for a particular project, such as website design or software development.

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the needs of your business. Understanding the differences between the two can help you decide which strategy will yield the best results.

Allow us to help you navigate both options so you can make an informed choice.

What Is Staff Augmentation?

Staff augmentation is a service that provides extra personnel to support a company. It is ideal when you need a long-term solution that will give consistent results. This approach allows you to fill in gaps in your team, whether with a specific skill set or an entire group of professionals. It also helps create a more cohesive work environment as the augmented staff becomes part of the team for the project’s duration.

Staff aug provides skilled professionals in various areas like software engineering, website development, IT support, and digital marketing. This service allows companies to access expertise and resources without hiring additional staff or making long-term commitments.

Types of Staff Augmentation

Below are the three types of staff augmentation services:

  • Full-time Staff Augmentation

This type of staff augmentation involves hiring professionals on a full-time basis. They become part of the team and work closely with the existing in-house team.

  • Part-time Staff Augmentation

This type is suitable for businesses that don’t need staff all the time but still require expertise in specific areas. With this approach, you bring in additional help when needed without making long-term commitments.

  • Freelance Staff Augmentation

This type of staff augmentation is ideal for companies that don’t have a full-time workforce and need extra help on an occasional basis. It allows businesses to access professional services without incurring the costs associated with staff augmentation.

Pros of Staff Augmentation

Staff augmentation can provide companies with many advantages, including:

Cost Savings

Staff augmentation can be more cost-effective than hiring additional in-house employees. Companies don’t need to pay for employee benefits, training, or other associated costs with this approach. So it’s a more attractive option for companies with limited resources.

Access to Expertise

Staff augmentation services give companies access to expertise that may be unavailable within their organization. This can be especially helpful when the company needs specific skills or knowledge to complete a project.

Increased Flexibility

Staff augmentation services allow companies to be more flexible. Companies can use external staff for short-term and long-term projects. This will enable them to scale up or down quickly depending on their needs.

Reduced Time to Market

Using staff augmentation services can help companies reduce their time to market. Leveraging external staff enables them to complete projects faster than if they had done it alone. As a result, they can get products and services out more quickly, giving them a competitive edge.

Cons of Staff Augmentation

Despite the many benefits of staff augmentation, there are also some drawbacks to consider, such as:

Training and onboarding costs

Although staff augmentation can be more cost-effective than hiring additional in-house staff, companies will still incur training and onboarding costs. This can add up quickly if the company uses multiple staff augmentation services.

Security concerns

Using external staff may also pose security concerns. Companies must have adequate security measures to protect their data and other sensitive information.

Lack of control

Using staff augmentation services also means companies have less control over the project. Companies may not be able to ensure the quality or timeliness of the work, which can lead to delays or costly mistakes. Additionally, it may be harder to adjust the project scope if your needs change.

A lack of commitment

Finally, companies may also find that external staff will not be as loyal to the project as their in-house team. As a result, companies may struggle to find the right balance between project cost and quality.

Now that you know what staff augmentation is and the different types, let’s look at project-based consulting and how it differs from staff augmentation.

What Is Project-based Consulting?

Project-based consulting is a consulting service provided by a consulting agency or individual consultant. It focuses on completing a specific project for the client. In this consulting service, the consultant or agency works with the client to determine their project goals and how to best achieve them.

Once the project is underway, the consultant or agency works with the client to ensure that it is completed on time and within budget. The consultant or agency usually provides feedback and advice to ensure the project is successful.

Consulting services are helpful for different projects, from developing a new product to designing a website. It is an important way for companies to get the expert help they need to achieve their goals.

Types of Project-based Consulting

There are two types of project-based consulting services, which are:

  • Strategy Consulting

This type of project-based consulting focuses on developing strategies for businesses. It includes researching markets, analyzing data, and creating plans to achieve project goals. This type of project-based consulting helps companies make informed decisions about their projects.

  • Implementation Consulting

This type of project-based consulting focuses on executing the project. It includes setting up processes and procedures, providing project management support, and ensuring the team meets project goals. It’s especially helpful for complex projects that require detailed planning and execution.

Pros of Project-based Consulting

There are many reasons to employ project-based consulting services, including:

Cost Savings

Hiring staff augmentation services can be more cost-effective than hiring additional in-house employees. Companies don’t need to pay for employee benefits, training, or other associated costs when using staff augmentation. This can make staff augmentation a more attractive option for companies with limited resources.

Access to Expertise

Staff augmentation can provide access to highly specialized skills and expertise that may not be available within a company’s workforce. This can help companies maintain their competitive edge, as they can acquire the exact skillset needed for any project.


Staff augmentation allows companies to scale their workforce up or down as needed, allowing for greater flexibility and responsiveness to changing business needs. This is especially beneficial in industries where demand fluctuates over time, such as the technology industry.

Reduced Time to Market

By leveraging staff augmentation services, companies can drastically reduce their time to market for any project. This is because the external staff members already possess the necessary skills and expertise to complete the project quickly and efficiently.

Cons of Project-based Consulting Services

Although consulting can offer numerous benefits, there are also some potential downsides. These include:

Lack of Loyalty

As project-based consulting involves external staff members, there may be a lack of loyalty and commitment to the project. This can lead to a lack of motivation and, ultimately, inferior results.

Lack of Knowledge Transfer

Consulting can mean that the external staff members may not be as familiar with the company’s processes and systems. This can lead to inefficient project management and a lack of knowledge transfer from the external staff members to the internal team.

More Expensive

Hiring consulting services can be more expensive than using internal staff. This is because the consultant or agency charges additional fees for their services, as well as any associated costs.

Risk of Conflict

There is a risk of conflict between external staff members and the internal team, as the two may have different ideas about how to approach the project. This can lead to delays and disagreements, ultimately affecting the project’s success.

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: What Should You Choose?

Choosing between staff augmentation and consulting services depends on the needs of your business. Staff augmentation may be more cost-effective if you need access to specialized skills or expertise for a short period. On the other hand, project-based consulting can help in managing a complex project from start to finish.

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: What Should You Choose? - Infographics by BIT Studios

Consider these factors to make the best decision for your business:

When To Use Staff Augmentation Services

1. When you need specialized skills and expertise for a short period.

2. When you want to scale up or down quickly in response to changing business needs.

3. When you are looking for cost-effective solutions.

4. When you need additional resources for specific projects or tasks.

5. When you don’t have the in-house expertise to complete a project.

When To Hire Consulting Agencies

1. When you need someone to manage a complex project from start to finish.

2. When you require access to specialized skills and expertise for an extended time.

3. When you need additional skills or expertise that your in-house team does not have.

4. When you need help with training and knowledge transfer.

5. When you need to get a project up and running quickly and efficiently.

Final Thoughts

Staff augmentation and project-based consulting can benefit companies seeking specialized skills and expertise. But each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Now that you know the difference between project-based consulting and staff augmentation, it’s important to research more about them. Take the time to talk to experienced professionals in the industry who can provide valuable insights and advice on choosing between project-based consulting and staff augmentation. Don’t forget to consider your project goals and budget when making your decision.

With careful consideration, you should be able to make the best choice for your business.

Find the Best Strategy For Your Software Development Project

Both staff augmentation and project-based consulting can help expand and empower your software development team. But you don’t need to decide alone – let BIT Studios help you navigate the complex world of outsourcing and consulting services.

We’ll be happy to assist you in finding the best solution for your project. Get in touch with us today.

Jeff eats and breathes technology. His undying passion for software development inspired him to establish BIT Studios, a reputable custom software development company that caters to SMEs and Fortune 500 companies. Jeff is a strategic thinker who combines creativity and expertise to build digital ...
Originally published January 31, 2023, updated February 21, 2023

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