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What Tandem Means by “Team Augmentation”


Team augmentation and staff augmentation may sound similar, but to us, they couldn’t be more different.

At traditional staff augmentation firms, clients hire interchangeable developers to stand in for (or supplement) their team. The goal? Just get the work done. Staff augmentation is not where Tandem provides the most value — that’s why we prefer the term team augmentation.

At Tandem, we pride ourselves on providing services that truly bring value to your business and add to your team’s skills. Alongside helping with your coding needs, we deliver continual consultative engagement. Our developers code and consult, advising on architecture and creating documentation to set your team up for future success. And our product designers take a fresh look at the assumptions, workarounds, and roadblocks that have been baked into your team’s workflow over time. Together, we want our team augmentation engagements to provide both immediate and lasting contributions to your goals.

Team Augmentation Leads to Transformation

For a recent client, Tandem’s team augmentation services truly changed how their team worked. The client was having difficulties with the varying levels of experience among team members and developers who didn’t understand how to collaborate with their colleagues. Luckily, working through pain points with both code and people is where our software consultants excel.

When Tandem first joined the client’s team, we noticed that an inward mindset was prevalent among team members. But by shifting the workflow from one person assigned to a ticket to everyone owning the tickets, pair programming became common practice within their workflow. With that shift, the team became more action-oriented, proactive, and most importantly, more collaborative. And while guiding the client through this systemic change, we also wrote a lot of code! We worked to continuously reduce their tech debt while restructuring a backend process connected to three data systems from the ground up. The client said it was the most complex feature they had ever done.

Another big win for this client was building regression test suites. Previously, developers only ran tests on their own machine and opened pull requests. They weren’t comfortable shipping code because they lacked a production-like environment and end-to-end tests across all system applications and third-party services. Tandem helped implement automated regression tests, which has made the team much more comfortable with shipping code.

As software consultants, Tandem’s team members have seen it all — and we absorb learnings and best practices from every client we support. That breadth of experience helps us work through pain points and find ways to improve your processes and team dynamic. Tandem can provide insight and suggestions for your team based on what we’ve seen succeed (or fail!) for our other clients.

For instance, we led an effort to standardize a client’s ticketing system. Instead of a haphazard approach to ticket writing and assignments, we helped the client implement a “Ready for Developer” checklist. This has made their planning, requirement gathering, and prioritization workflows run smoother and gives developers the context they need to do great work. These process improvements will contribute to the client’s long-term productivity and team dynamic, long after Tandem’s engagement concludes.

The Value of Team Augmentation

When Tandem provides team augmentation support to a client, we approach your challenges with fresh ideas and a big-picture business mindset. Because we know how to build culture and trust, we can confidently help grow your department and define processes that lead to successful teams and projects.

Ultimately, there are three different levels of value that augmentation can bring to your team.

The first level is knowing the domain, having the technical skills, and ramping up quickly while providing delivery support to the goal at hand. Staff augmentation stops at this first level.

The next level is being able to question and ensure we understand why we are doing what we’re doing and the value it will bring to your company and your product’s users. While this is more valuable than staff augmentation, it still doesn’t reach the top level because there isn’t the same degree of empathy.

And finally, at the top level, is all of the above: getting the work done plus providing a collective consciousness about tradeoffs and business goals. The top level is team augmentation, which is where loyalty to the success of the project develops. Here is where Tandem’s consultative expertise can truly augment your team.

At Tandem, team augmentation doesn’t mean just hands on keys. As a consultancy, augmentation means we augment your team rather than staff it. Providing continual consultative engagement and high-level communication alongside high-quality code is important to us. If you are looking for that level of support, send us a message and we’ll chat about how we can help you meet your goals.

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We do our best work in close collaboration with our clients. Let’s find some time for you to chat with a member of our team.

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