Striking a Balance in Staffing a Successful Project Team

November 22, 2016

Written by: Elisabeth Jordan

Finding balance in the work environment is hard under the best of circumstances. With organizations running leaner than ever, balance becomes increasingly difficult. When you’re responsible for putting together a project team, balance can seem like too lofty a goal. Balance is not impossible though, and for a successful project, it’s critical!

When we start looking at resources to staff a project team, we often look at factors like availability, cost, seniority, or who we know will play nicely with others. These may be important factors, but they should not be the only things we consider. When evaluating your needs for your next team for an HRIS project, here are some other things you may want to look at:

“Many hands make for light work” versus “Too many cooks in the kitchen”

Make sure you’re including enough people so that nobody is absorbing too much of the burden, without having so many that the project becomes impossible to manage. One way to strike a balance is to identify different levels of participation. With this approach, you can identify different tiers, like a Core Project Team, a Collaboration Group, and a User Acceptance Group. The Core Project Team might be comprised of the critical resources that you’ll need to be fully engaged in the project; the Collaboration Group might consist of the resources that have a stake in the project and can provide valuable input or feedback, but would likely not be assigned individual tasks on the project plan; and the User Acceptance Group might include end users that have not been involved in the daily activities of the project, but will be expected to utilize the tool or follow the process that will be implemented. This approach ensures you get the help and input you need, while still having a core group driving the project that is small enough to manage.

“The Doers” versus “The Decision Makers”

How many times have you been on a project where you have a room full of people that can make decisions (the “Decision Makers”), but none of the people that will have to do the work (the “Doers”), have been included? When this happens, you may find that you can speed through the planning stages and make quick decisions, but when it comes to putting your plan into action, you hit hurdles every five steps. Without having the Doers included in the core project team, processes and special circumstances may not have been accounted for in your planning, and you might end up having to redesign your strategy.

Have you ever been on a project where you have all the “Doers” in the room, but no Decision Makers? It can really slow things down if you have everyone moving towards a common path, only to find halfway through that the Decision Makers had a completely different idea. Back to the drawing board you go, over and over and over again.

Find your balance by having both Doers and Decision Makers closely tied to the project, with inclusion in design meetings, weekly touchpoints, and project planning meetings.  This can mean the difference between HCM technology that is a well-oiled machine, versus an old clunker that you have to tow.

Experience versus Fresh Ideas

It’s always good to have experienced people on a project team. They’ve been there, they’ve done that, they have the t-shirts! They’re battle tested, and they know where the hurdles might pop up in front of you. We all lean on these people, look to them for guidance, and trust their input, but it’s just as important to have some new fresh faces on the team though, to help you think in new innovative ways. They’ll help push you out of the box, and challenge the “this is how we’ve always done it” tendencies. When you balance experience with fresh ideas, you’re sure to get the most out of your team!

Before you begin your next HCM technology implementation, leverage HRchitect to help you with pre-implementation planning and defining and creating a balanced team for your project. With over two decades of HCM technology consulting experience having completed over a thousand successful engagements for clients of all sizes and Industries across the globe, HRchitect can quickly identify roles, team size, and levels of involvement needed for your specific HCM technology project and find the right balance of doers and decision makers with the best combination of personalities with experience as well as fresh ideas. Talk to the experts at HRchitect to ensure a smooth implementation and to help you get the most from your investment.

Elisabeth Jordan

About Elisabeth Jordan

Elisabeth Jordan is a Senior HCM Implementation Services Consultant with the HRchitect Consulting team. She has more than 15 years of experience in talent management and recruiting, with a focus on HR technology implementation and management with Oracle PeopleSoft and Taleo.