the timer is "supposed" to help the players become better.
By running away at the first sign of incoming enemy fire, always having heals in reserve, engage from maximum range and let teammates take fire instead.
The timers are a double edged sword. But it has definitely changed my tactics from short range brawling to having some range and threat appreciation and more or less doing damage more efficiently, taking out the immediate threats preemptively etc.
iirc, its after having not died for two full minutes.
However, that only applies to STFs and not to the No Win Scenario on Tribble (if you happen to be testing that). In that, once you hit the cap (have died lots) your respawn remains maxed out, time wise.
1. Crouch. This cuts incoming energy damage by 50% or something to that effect.
2. Always be one step away from hard cover, such as a wall or cover shield. The borg can't shoot you if they don't see you.
3. Use any healing abilities you have. Reroute Power to Shields for engineers counts. The ground STF 2 piece sets have defense/healing abilities as well. Large Hypos are your best friend in STFs.
4. Use the aim button for more ranged damage. If things die faster, you take less return fire.
5. Run into a room together, but send the engineer/medic in first. Engineers and medics can tank the focused fire of two elite tactical drones and several smaller drones if they know what they're doing, leaving the squishy tactical/science to pick off the drones.
Using just these five little things eliminates 90% of all deaths in ground STFs, making the timer a non issue.
Really good players can 2-man most elite ground STFs (including the parts that need three players for control inputs, which still confuses me how they do it). Even three average players can clear an elite ground STF.
Being two players short or carrying the dead weight of two players is rough, but it's certainly doable, and where the tactics I laid out above really shine.