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Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: A Manager’s Guide to Their Differences

FinTech Consulting

You can find many solutions to scale up your business productivity when we talk about software development services. However, these solutions impact your budget, and hiring a new team member isn’t always the best solution. Here’s when the debate between staff augmentation vs. consulting takes place. Are these better options than hiring in-house staff? Which one is right for your business? 

Especially for digital businesses, it’s crucial to be flexible and introduce new technologies and strategies to grow a business and stand up to competitors. Let’s examine the differences between staff augmentation and consulting to understand what’s best for your business.

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: What’s the Difference? 

The difference between staff augmentation and consulting lies in the type of expertise and support you need. On the one hand, staff augmentation is a temporary collaboration on a specific aspect of an ongoing and established project. Usually, this type of collaboration supports an in-house team providing expertise and specific skills. On the other hand, the consulting agency takes over an aspect of your project from the beginning to the end. This type of collaboration can happen at the very beginning of a project and support a forming team to launch a service and establish an efficient workflow. 

Project-based consulting is a project-specific solution for those launching a new project or seeking a structured roadmap for maximizing time and resources. On the other hand, staff augmentation suits best-established companies looking for specific expertise or temporary fill-in. 

Both options can be valuable for your business and support your team’s growth. However, the best option for you depends on multiple factors, including your project, team, and budget. Let’s zoom into both practices to highlight staff augmentation benefits in contrast to consulting.

What Is Consulting? 

Project-based consulting agencies provide a wide range of services for a company. Usually, consulting experts support you in project planning and task management conceptualizing, covering everything from staffing to post-launch support.

With project-based consulting projects, the point is to hire expert consultants instead of permanent staff. For example, you need to hire an external app development agency to support only the mobile-friendly features of your eCommerce. Especially if you are launching a new business, a consultant agency can take care of technical support while you focus on promotional campaigns and networking.

Project-based consulting services can bring significant value to your company, supporting you with the specific skill set you need to deliver a quality product. Consulting can play a crucial role also in launching and establishing foundations for your business. Finally, you can count on professional feedback and supervision, selecting the set service package that suits you the most. 

However, consider that agencies usually take more than a client at the time. So, in the hiring process, clearly establish the commitment you need for the project. 

Project-Based Consulting Advantages and Disadvantages 

Pros Cons 
A wider range of specific and general skills from a service provider assistance in planning, structuring, and executing the project from the start focus on project performance instead of hiring new in-house employees and training them professional feedback and consulting at each step of the process.Higher impact on a budget.  The agency might follow more clients and provide limited availability. Fixed service packages are often not customizable

What’s Staff Augmentation? 

Staff augmentation means temporarily hiring expert resources to support your in-house team. Resource augmentation experts aren’t part of the company, unlike other team members. Instead, they fill a specific need or issue for an ongoing project. If a consulting agency can support the project launch, the staff is already trained to complete the project. 

Usually, augmented staff work on a temporary base and have specific goals to meet. They collaborate with other team members only on specific project elements stitching to existing guidelines and parameters.

Staff Augmentation Advantages and Disadvantages 

Ideal to quickly scale an in-house team with specific skill setsCost-effective compared to a project-based consulting agencyMore flexibility to adjust the working relationship based on deliveries No training or onboarding neededNo need to change your existing workflow Challenge in combining different work methodsWide variety of cost and skillset differences between staff augmentation portfolios It doesn’t support the overall project mission but only specific tasks 

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: What’s Best For Your Business?

Following this overview of the differences between staff augmentation vs. consulting, it’s time to look at what it’s important to consider before making a decision:

  • Team members: The first thing to do is evaluate your team and define their skill set, weaknesses, and strengths. After this initial assessment as a manager, you should organize a meeting and speak to your team to understand what are their needs in terms of workflow and performance. 
  • Firms’ work culture: After that, you and your team should do market research to understand the best firms for your project and their company culture. Staff augmentation and consulting are external support but deal with your team members every day. So, it’s wiser to contact companies with similar work cultures and values. 
  • Budget: At the end of the day, the last word belongs to budget. Make a budget planning for both options, and select your maximum budget, including all the services you need. When you find the option that suits you most, you can compare the budget and understand where to take out or add. 

Staff Augmentation vs. Consulting: Comparison For Managers  

After you consider your team’s needs and budget options, it’s time to compare staff augmentation vs. project-based consulting. Both solutions can bring value to your project, but one of them will be more effective in the long run. 

Here is a comparison between staff augmentation and consulting according to their pros and cons: 


As mentioned before, staff augmentation is the most effective option to cut costs on specific tasks. However, staff aug isn’t the best solution if you need temporary support regularly. First, you will spend more money than hiring an in-house employee. Second, you might have to look for another professional if your usual contact is busy. So, when you realize you need more than one expertise, consulting is a more effective solution for budget and continuity. 


Flexibility is crucial for digital businesses. Staff augmentation can allow you to expand your business by picking different experts based on your needs. In this case, it’s the best solution to stay agile and flexible on the market. 


As a consulting agency takes care of specific elements of the project from the beginning to the end, it feels like you have less control. On the other hand, having separated workflows doesn’t mean a lack of collaboration. The agency works on the project from the start and regularly checks with team members sharing progress and pitfalls. You have full control over staff aug as they work on specific tasks for an established project. 

Lower Risk

Cybersecurity is the top priority for most businesses. Hiring consulting services or staff aug means being extra-careful with data-sensitive projects. Make sure to set separate accounts – especially for temporary hires – and agree on a strategy to monitor and control your data status.

When to Employ Project-Based Consulting

Digital market is quickly changing how customers interact with products and services. As a result, companies must constantly be up to date about new software and technologies to stand out from competitors and create ad-hoc features for their customers. 

A project-based consultant can support you with several challenges, especially in the process of establishing a new business. As field experts, they can advise you on tools, promotional strategies, and market standards to grow your business in your area. 

It’s best to employ project-based consulting when you need: 

  • Strategic guidance in a new field
  • Support for industry compliance and standards 
  • Project-specific resource commitment

When to Employ IT Staff Augmentation

To recap, staff augmentation means expertise and temporary collaboration. It’s the most effective option for more established enterprises seeking flexibility and specific skills to improve in-house team capabilities. Or when you need additional support to meet deadlines and scale up your team’s productivity.

Generally speaking, it’s best to employ staff augmentation when you need: 

  • Scale-up development of an established project
  • Quick onboarding and minimal training 
  • Talent flexibility based on specific demands


To conclude, staff augmentation and consult are both effective strategies. Beyond differences, it’s essential to look at your team members, project needs, and budget. Especially for online businesses, flexibility is a must. And you can use both options based on what you need or the stage of your company. If you balance your present needs and future requirements, you will find the right solution for you and your team! 

Human resources technology for operational efficiency
Human resources reporting software
Jason Skidmore

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