Run a Lean Team
Effective project staffing also means shedding redundant and unneeded
resources when necessary, says Mr. Gower. His organization avoids carrying
extra weight by capping the number of internal project
managers based on current business volume.
“The level of demand for projects from our customers
will go up and down, so we tend to augment project teams
as needed with third-party project managers from various
suppliers,” he says.
To make sure everyone is working at his or her full
capacity, Mr. Turner clearly defines team members’ roles
at the beginning of every new project. By outlining specific
responsibilities, he avoids redundancy and minimizes the
need for cuts in the future.
“It’s really important that everybody understands their roles and responsibilities, and that those are well-defined at the beginning and well-communicated
throughout the life cycle of the project,” Mr. Turner says.
on the Radar
It’s always possible that talent needs will change during a project, requiring
shifts in the team’s size or skills profile. To avoid getting caught off guard,
project managers should highlight staffing concerns on their risk registers, Mr.
“You’re going to run into situations where you’re
not going to have the right skill set when you need it.
A new project manager might have little experience,
a team might be unevenly dispersed across multiple
sites, or somebody could be injured and end up off the
project,” he says.
Once they understand staffing risks, project managers should create mitigation plans to address them, Mr.
Turner says. And they shouldn’t despair. “If a project falls
into high-risk territory due to resource availability, this
doesn’t mean it’s doomed. It just means the project’s leadership must plan and
“The level of demand for projects from
our customers will go up and down,
so we tend to augment project teams
as needed with third-party project
managers from various suppliers.”
—Richard Gower, PMP
“If a project falls into high-risk
territory due to resource availability,
plan and lead accordingly.”
—Dan Turner, PMP