Identifying the need is not as easy to do as it may sound. Simply finding someone that meets a job description doesn’t necessarily mean you have the proper resource that will drive success. The title ascribed to a position requested by a client may not appropriately reflect the actual need. In other words, a skill set may be attributed to a position that is not really what is required to get the job done. This is where your expert knowledge and that of your team comes in.
It is very important as a manager to understand the scope of work at hand. Hiring individuals with a technical background to staff a PMO will look very different from hiring team members to perform actual technical work. The former will likely need to possess depth and breadth of skills, and have strong social acumen to work with multiple stakeholders. The latter may be perfectly suited to sit and code.
How do you identify the right fit? Talking with your customers will get you started in the right direction, but a critical step that is often glossed over is talking with your peers and other subject matter experts to identify the right skill set needed to execute the body of work.
I once worked with a client who instructed me to hire “testers” with differing levels of seniority. We spent several hours and resources finding skilled testers that fit the client’s description and brought them onto the program, only to eventually realize there was no testing to be done whatsoever as part of our scope of work. Instead, we needed PMO folks with technical backgrounds and great communication skills to coordinate across the stakeholder base on the progress of testing efforts, helping identify and resolve risks. These are quite different skill sets. Needless to say, we had to let all five testers go.
The same due diligence needs to be conducted when you’re identifying key staff and resumes for a proposal bid. It is critical to ask yourself, “how will these skill sets be applied to this scope of work?” For example, the proposal documentation may call for a project manager, when the skill sets required to fulfill the body of work are those of a project coordinator.
Within the IT arena, the needs are vast, so don’t assume one-size-fits-all. Do your homework up front. It is worth the time and effort laying the ground work in order to avoid unnecessary rework later on in the process.
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