Section 8.5. Acquiring Needed Staff

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:

  • Where will the team work? Will people have to travel to a central location for meetings or meet via phone or videoconference?

  • What is the procedure to formally pull someone onto the project? Which managers need to be notified? How and when should they be notified? Are there political issues involved?

  • What is the cost of each team member for the project and how will this be accounted for? In some cases, you may only need to track hours against the project. In other cases you may need to track specific payroll costs and will have to work with Human Resources, Payroll, or Accounting to manage this.

  • When will the team be formally tasked with the project work and when is each team member available? Sometimes changing availability can impact the start or progress of a project to a significant degree.

  • If external people are required, you'll need to identify how those people are acquired. Will you go through a staffing agency? Will you hire them on full-time? How long will you need to find and hire the specific skills and talents your project will require? Working with an experienced recruiter can help you answer many of these questions if you're not experienced in this regard.

  • What will you do if the project start date slips? Which resources will be at risk? Which resources will be lost? What alternatives can you come up with to manage this scenario?

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.

Cheat Sheet…
Good Technical Recruiters…Worth Their Weight in Gold

Whether you're trying to find permanent IT staff or temporary technical people for an IT project, you might consider establishing a relationship with an experienced technical recruiting firm. Even if your job is not to directly find or hire people (that may be solely within the Human Resources department), it won't hurt for you to establish a relationship with a good technical recruiting firm or technical recruiter. "A good recruiter has lots of contacts and resources and is a great source when looking for part-time, temporary or temporary-to-permanent IT staff," explains Chris Landi, President of, a technical recruiting company. "Rather than spending your time and money trying to advertise a position in the "right" places, one call to a good recruiter can get it all done for you, often with better results." Once you establish a working relationship with a good recruiter, your job of locating and retaining the right talent for your IT department or for your IT project will be much easier. If your firm has an internal technical recruiter, you should certainly start there, but having an established contact or two outside your own firm can help fill the gaps.

How to Cheat at IT Project Management
How to Cheat at IT Project Management
ISBN: 1597490377
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 166

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