One of the most common challenges facing Professional Services Organizations (PSOs) today is perpetually staffing successful project teams – or more simply put – getting the right person in the right place at the right time. Where some PSOs go wrong is they tend to staff the role – determining the skills needed for the role and hiring a person that fits. Most often this strategy results in over committing key employees, or A-players, who demonstrate expertise in a specific area or have the ability and knowledge to meaningfully contribute across multiple project concentrations. This strategy can also result in burn out and attrition of key team members which reduces productivity. But more importantly, this strategy can drive down utilization which translates into a loss of profits.
The Solution: Stop Staffing Roles and Start Staffing Teams
Consulting companies staff and manage Teams vs. Roles. Although teams are made up of individuals, we understand that it is the performance and function of the team as a whole that will inevitably have the greatest impact on a project’s success. Successfully transitioning to a focus on staffing a “Team” as opposed to a “Role” requires an iterative focus on your people (their skills and current assignments), the evolving needs of the business (your revenue and resource forecast), and timing (putting in place the governance to gain better visibility).
We have put together a white paper, A-Player Syndrome: How a Handful of Experts are Killing Your Profits – And What You Can do to Fix It which explains the process required to shift from staffing Roles to staffing Teams.
Once implemented, team staffing offers companies more control over their own destiny and staffing becomes an even more strategic component of their overall value proposition. PSOs that make the effort can move beyond “A-Player Syndrome” to more effective team staffing which will enable them to:
- Increase overall utilization
- Improve talent management
- Decrease “firefighting” by PS management
Achieving even small utilization improvements can have a significant impact on your bottom line. The real question is can you afford not to make the shift?