While recruiting for new talent, project managers have to optimize existing team members as best they can. Some times people may be moved from one project to another, but such changes can make it hard to control the triple constraint of cost, quality and schedule.
Here are my observations on how so many moving parts can impact project delivery:
1. Long-running projects require more time for people to adjust. New team members need about six to eight months to understand the project and its processes.
2. Learning curves vary. An experienced newcomer can still take awhile to become 100 percent productive. Someone just starting out may take more than a year.
3. Getting the highest-quality team members may not be feasible because of the urgency, availability and cost involved. Leverage the strong resources you have.
4. Team leaders may have less time to devote to the project. Taking on new project members could force the team leader to focus on daily tracking, resolving team issues and client communication, and less time to work on the project.
5. Implement an induction plan. It can take three to four weeks to get a replacement for a team member who resigns or leaves the team. Teams can most effectively deploy new additions by following a regular induction plan to get them up to speed on the project and culture.
6. Be flexible. Some people may perform poorly because of the project's complexity, domain, technical knowledge or their interest level. However, that same team member might do well in a different project.
7. The estimate for completing a task always differs from the actual effort. This is more severe in long-running projects. The client expects us to have complete knowledge of the system, which is not always true because of internal movement among team members.
8. Teams can work smarter on projects on a fixed bid and when work approval comes in small modules. You can have multiple modules running parallel in different phases, but there will always be some idle time in between.
What do you say?