Does DevOps Staff Augmentation Make Sense?

Mateusz Dzierzęcki


The history of DevOps is not too long. The term was coined less than 15 years ago, in 2009, when the first DevOps Days conference was held. However, the discussion on how to approach development and operations in IT is a long and significant one. The DevOps approach proved to be successful in this field. No wonder the DevOps market is growing at almost 25% a year, and DevOps engineers are one of the most wanted IT professionals.

This article is going to discuss whether outsourcing DevOps services is a good way to implement DevOps in an organization. First, we’ll briefly touch upon what DevOps is and how companies can benefit from it. And then, we’ll move to the main topic – DevOps staff augmentation.

What is DevOps?

We think it’s safe to assume that if you are interested in the piece about DevOps outsourcing, you are already aware of what DevOps is. However, we think a very brief introduction is not entirely out of place. Especially since many people tend to forget that DevOps is not just a role.

Let’s look at the definition by Atlassian:

DevOps is a set of practices, tools, and a cultural philosophy that automate and integrate the processes between software development and IT teams. It emphasizes team empowerment, cross-team communication and collaboration, and technology automation.

Implementing cultural philosophy is a challenge. And outsourcing it? Is it even possible? We have an entire section devoted to answering this question. But before we get there. Let’s refresh one more thing. Why is taking an interest in DevOps practices worth your while?

The Benefits of DevOps?

There would be no discussion about DevOps methodology if it didn’t come with benefits. No doubt about that. So what are the benefits of implementing DevOps in the organization?

The answer is beloved by everyone – it depends. It depends on what tools and practices are implemented and whether the team and management are 100% convinced to follow them.

However, there are several advantages that one could call key.

Key benefits of implementing DevOps methodology in an organization:

  • Faster time to market
  • Improved collaboration and communication
  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Enhanced reliability and stability
  • Cost savings

Let’s have a closer look at each one.

Faster Time to Market

One of the DevOps pillars is continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI CD). It means that the code is deployed all the time, and releases can be done even a few times a day. Along with other DevOps practices like automation, eliminating bottlenecks, and supporting productivity, it significantly reduces the time needed to deliver features, updates, and bug fixes.

Improved Collaboration and Communication

Cross-team collaboration and communication lie at the core of DevOps methodology. After all, the term DevOps comes from joining Development and Operations. In the traditional model, those teams form siloes, and there is little communication, leading to misunderstandings, blame game when something goes wrong, and an overall lack of trust. DevOps methodology provides tools and practices to break this cycle and make all teams realize they have a common goal.

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Apart from ensuring communication between the teams, DevOps advocates streamlining workflows, automating repetitive tasks, and eliminating manual processes. No wonder companies following DevOps practices see a significant boost in teams’ productivity. With automation, time and energy are invested into what matters and not lost on mundane tasks.

Enhanced Reliability and Stability

Integrating processes into one streamlined and possibly automated delivery process not only speeds up development. It also influences the quality of code. In DevOps culture, teams work together from day zero, and quality assurance is integrated into the process instead of being just a universally hated final obstacle to be overcome before the code is released. Such an environment enables bugs to be caught and fixed at an early stage. Thus when the product is finally available for the user, its quality is significantly improved.

Cost Savings

What’s the result of effective collaboration between the teams, increased efficiency, and enhanced final product reliability? It’s easy – cost reduction. That’s a conclusion every business person would and should get to. No wonder DevOps is growing in popularity.

However, cost reduction is not just the consequence of all the benefits mentioned above. DevOps methodology actively encourages savings by advocating for reducing infrastructure costs and operational expenses. There is even a separate term describing this: FinOps.

Can You Outsource Culture?

What’s the one most common misconception about DevOps? We know. We keep asking easy questions. People tend to believe that DevOps is an engineering role within an organization. In other words, when they hear DevOps, they visualize a nerdy guy.

But DevOps is not a person.

So here comes the tricky question. Finally. If DevOps is not a person, can it be outsourced? And more importantly, does the staff augmentation model apply here?

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the answer to both questions is “yes.” It’s not only possible, but it has many evident and not-so-evident benefits.

How come? Although DevOps is not a role but a set of practices and a cultural transformation of the entire organization, there must be a person (or people) familiar with the tools and processes. Put simply, someone responsible for getting things done (or transformed).

Obvious Benefits of DevOps Outsourcing

Introducing DevOps in an organization is not an easy job. It requires dedication and understanding of both the management and the teams involved in the process. Outsourcing such change to an independent provider may be a good idea.

An external provider, by definition, possesses all the required knowledge; they can start just after signing the contract, and last but not least, they can provide more experts should the demand go up. And, spoiler alert, it usually does.


Companies providing DevOps services are bound to have high-class experts onboard. Their experience can be trusted as they worked for many companies across different industries. They have seen and tested various tools and setups. Their job is to share their expertise and educate the clients on the pros and cons of different solutions.

In the staff augmentation model, the contractor is not an unknown consultant. They work hand in hand with the team to figure out the best way to introduce DevOps practices. They also take care of the practical execution of tasks connected with them.

Immediate Availability

If the consultant works and behaves like an employee, why not recruit an in-house DevOps engineer? That’s a perfectly valid question that’s always asked before choosing to outsource. And there is also a simple answer: time.

It’s no secret that there is a shortage of DevOps engineers on the market. Finding a candidate whose experience and preferences are aligned with the organization takes time and effort.

Outsourcing lets the company experience the DevOps transformation in a fraction of the time needed to hire an in-house engineer. The project can start almost instantly.


It is often the case that organizations test new solutions in isolated projects for easier results tracking. Implementing DevOps practices tends to follow this pattern.

Let’s imagine the situation that an organization hires an in-house DevOps engineer to test this approach. The results are breathtaking. But the problem mentioned in the above paragraph is still valid. Finding another DevOps engineer requires time and resources. Time and resources that could be spent on transforming another project.

But if the DevOps engineer were recruited under the staff augmentation contract, onboarding another one would be a question of a phone call or an e-mail.

One of the most significant benefits of outsourcing is scalability. You can frictionlessly adjust the team to the current needs.

Nuanced Benefits of DevOps Outsourcing

Expertise, availability, and scalability are obvious advantages of any outsourcing. When it comes to DevOps staff augmentation, there are at least three not-so-obvious ones we would like to mention.

Fresh Perspective

When implementing a cultural change like DevOps, it’s inevitable to assess current workflows and culture. Of course, a newly hired DevOps engineer should be perfectly capable of performing this task. Still, people are people, and starting a new job is a stressful event. Assessing the company a person just joined is a very challenging task.

An outside consultant is, by definition, an outsider. They work in-house, but they bring a new perspective to the table. And since they are not directly hired by the company, it is easier for them to deliver the news – whatever they might be.

An external expert will easily spot unnecessary complexities or pointless tasks.


Implementing DevOps practices is a transformative experience for an entire organization. And as with any changes, a backlash from the team can be expected. It’s easy for colleagues who have been in a company for a long time to (gently) persuade a newly hired DevOps engineer to abandon implementing practices they don’t like or (yet) understand.

When a company hires an external expert, things look a little different. The consultant has a specific job to do. And their expertise gives them authority to push for the changes they see beneficial.


Another unobvious benefit of DevOps outsourcing stems from similar reasons. An outside contractor, even working on-site, doesn’t have to fit in and worry about being liked by the rest of the team. Also, they have more freedom talking to the management. Their job is clearly defined, and they have to deliver. All other concerns put aside.

Obviously, there shouldn’t be any discussion that the best scenario is when everybody is working together and understand the changes. No doubt, any DevOps engineer, internal or external, should do their best to achieve this. Yet, when things go south, sometimes being an outsider comes with an advantage.

Does DevOps Staff Augmentation Make Sense?

It may seem counterintuitive to apply the words staff augmentation to DevOps, knowing that, in its essence, DevOps is not a role. We undestand that maybe it’s easier to imagine outsourcing the entire DevOps team to a third-party provider. However, smaller organizations might not need a full team. They may benefit from onboarding someone who knows how to implement changes and push the company in the right direction. Such a person can later take responsibility for the tools and processes they have implemented.

Given the shortage of DevOps engineers on the market and the responsibility that goes with the role, trusting an external company to deliver an experienced professional might be the wisest possible choice. External consultants are in a better position to advocate for necessary changes than the new team member, whatever their experience).


The decision to outsource is never an easy one. It is especially true when talking about such complex processes as DevOps services. Nevertheless, considering the shortage of professionals, the time needed for onboarding, and the challenges that go with the DevOps transformation. Choosing a trusted partner to provide a skilled and experienced professional might be the best possible option.

Mateusz Dzierzęcki