Staffing Unplanned Projects

You've been there. Your IT project plans are outlined and deadlines are set, work is underway and, it jumps up – an unplanned project. The new work must be done, along with what you already have in progress. Your staff is fully engaged and there is no extra time or resources. Now is the time to work some magic or pull a rabbit from the proverbial hat.

What are the alternatives to the unplanned project situation?

  • There is the obvious one – delete some of the original planned projects. You know the downsides of that – projects important to the success of the business will get side-stepped or eliminated.
  • Reduce the scope of current projects. You may free up a resource or two. But, care needs to be taken with reductions. Reducing the scope of a project could have the same effect as a total cancellation by making the result of the project ineffectual.
  • Hard look at delivery timeframes. Short delays may not affect the bottom line of the project or organizational success. By juggling the timeline, resources could potentially work on both the original projects, as well as the new, unexpected project. This is, usually, not an optimal solution, as the net effect is potentially longer hours for the staff.

To staff the unplanned project immediately and maintain work process efficiency is difficult. Obtaining hard-to-find IT skilled professionals who can deliver quality application development and management with minimal training is a challenge.

Staff augmentation is a strategy to "man" an unplanned project and respond to business objectives in the work process. Staff augmentation can be an effective way to leverage existing resources and utilize outside resources for the benefit of your company. How can you benefit from staff augmentation in the most effective way, considering your time and energy limitations? Ask yourself a couple of quick questions:

Where are there disconnects between staffing levels/knowledge and the projects on my plate?Are there day-to-day tasks I could turn over to an outside resource, so that I could redirect full-time staff to the unplanned project?What resources and knowledge base would benefit the unplanned project?

Then, you need to consider a couple of questions specifically related to bringing in outside resources:

Where will the funds come from for the outside resources?

Regardless of where you actually utilize the acquired resource, funding for the person should be factored into the unplanned project budget which caused the need for the increase in headcount. By attaching the cost to the work causing the need, the regular projects will maintain their original cost/benefit model which was developed to justify the project initially.

Will the resource work on-site or remotely?

If you have not embraced the concept of remote workers, now may be the time. By being flexible with your requirements, you could potentially widen the diversity of the available resources. In today's market, the "A" players find work easily and do not have to travel in order to do so. Requiring the individual to work on site, will limit the pool from which you can choose and most likely cause you to select from "B" and "C" players vs. "A".

How do you retain the knowledge from the project within the permanent staff?

The retention of knowledge regarding a project has been an age long concern with bringing in outside staff. A simple solution - consider using the increased resource in maintaining the day-to-day workload, while the permanent staff is redirected to the new project load. This is especially beneficial during merger and acquisition work where retention of conversion knowledge may be considered critical.

It is only natural for you to have concerns over the ability/productivity of the IT staff you may hire from a staffing company. But, a structured recruitment process and comprehensive screening by the staffing company will ensure candidates are chosen based on their past performance and ability to handle the job requirement. Communication with your staffing company is the key to success in obtaining the resource you require.

EDGE Services understands what you are up against and how everything needs to fit together for success in delivering your planned and unplanned projects. We've been there, we've done that! Our banking consultants have successfully completed thousands of different project scenarios.

Calls us. We welcome your questions and want to know the challenges you are facing, what areas need addressed, and where you need support to meet your goals and expectations.

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