PMI’s November 2014 report, Talent Management: Powering Strategic Initiatives in the PMO,
shows that being particular about project staff
produces powerful results. The survey discovered
a clear link between talent management, corporate
strategy and project success. It found, for example,
that organizations waste a third fewer dollars on
projects when they align talent management with
corporate strategy. Furthermore, organizations
with this talent alignment achieve an average
project success rate of 72 percent, compared to 58
percent for organizations without it.
That doesn’t surprise Diego Jaime Dedacek,
Know the Needs
PMP, project management office (PMO) man-
ager at IT company Prominente S.A. in Cór-
doba, Argentina. “Project staffing is one of
the most important matters to consider when
trying to reduce the chances of project fail-
ure,” he says. “This is especially sensitive in
human-intensive industries, such as IT services
and software development. If the professionals
assigned to the project do not fit the project
needs, you are very likely to increase risks that
could adversely affect the project.”
To build teams with the right bandwidth and
expertise, organizations must customize their
approach to project staffing. Here are five steps
project leaders can take to fill talent gaps—and
reduce redundancies—across the portfolio.
Putting people in the right positions starts with a needs analysis, says Eliani
Figueiro Ramos, PMI-RMP, PMP, senior portfolio, program and project manager at software company TOTVS S.A. in Joinville, Brazil.
“Each project is unique,” she explains. “So we analyze project scope, time
and budget to determine how many team members will be required to com-
plete the project.”
This type of up-front understanding also helps project managers strike a bal-
ance of skill sets that will drive success, Ms. Figueiro Ramos says.
“If the project has many simple activities, it is more efficient to have more team
members with lower costs than highly qualified team members who are much
more expensive,” she says. “However, if the project is developing a new technol-
ogy, for example, you will need specialized team members. In cases like this, one
senior member works better than two or three [mid-level] team members.”
To help him define the ideal team, Dan Turner, PMP, senior project manager,
takes a top-down approach to needs assessment at Graymont, a supplier of lime
and lime-based products based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. He
works with the project owner and functional managers to appoint the appropri-
ate team leads, and those individuals outline the capacity required to deliver
the desired results. Using these resource requirements, a group of project and
functional leaders create an overarching staffing plan.
“We start out by looking at what our desired outcome is,” Mr. Turner
explains. “That’s a key factor to determine how many people, and which skill
sets, are needed for a project.”
o make the most of their project staff, organizations strive
to stay in the Goldilocks zone. Teams need to be just
right: not too big or small, not under- or over-qualified.
The perfect mix is required to get the job done.