8.5. Acquiring Needed Staff
After you've defined required skills and competencies and identified roles and responsibilities, you have to go about pulling the team together before the project starts. If your project team comes from within your IT team, then you really don't have much to think about here. On the other hand, if you're pulling in resources from other departments, divisions, or companies (vendors, consultants, contractors), you have to give a lot of thought to how you pull it all together. First and foremost, make contact with the person's direct supervisor or manager and gain agreement about the person's participation in the project. Sometimes a person may agree to participate, but his or her manager has other plans such as other, higher priority assignments or issues with the person's work that you're not aware of. Start by contacting the person's manager for an official OK.
If your project requires the use of outside expertise, you need to include a staffing expense in your project budget. If you did not include this type of expense in your project estimate, make sure you add it now. You may also need to compare actual labor rates to the ones you used for estimating to make sure they're accurate. If necessary, discuss any changes or issues with the project sponsor.
Next, you need to think about some of the immediate next steps for your team. Here are a few additional considerations:
One thing to keep in mind with your project team: sometimes you are assigned people you'd rather not have on the team due to a variety of issues. For instance, some departments may toss one of their worst performers your way just to get him or her out of the way. They might give you their most contentious, least-knowledge-able person or they might give you the person just about to be fired. If you find yourself in a situation where you've been assigned someone who will be a serious liability to the project (or even just a non-contributor), you should sit down with your project sponsor and have an honest discussion. Don't let deadweight land on your project team without pushing back. In the end, you may not have any choice but to accept this team member, but hopefully your project sponsor will be savvy enough to understand the risks a non-performer brings to the project. You'll need to be tactful but honest with your project sponsor and most important, go prepared with the name of the person or people you do want. Successful projects depend upon a good project team and as the IT project manager, you should do your best to make sure you don't get stuck with any duds.