In a Professional Services Organization (PSO), resources aren’t just hard to attain— sometimes they are hard to retain. The reason that pops into everyone’s head is that are source may leave the company. However, in PSOs, sometimes are source is needed on a new project, and as a Project Manager (PM) you may not have the power to hold onto to that resource for your project. So, how does a PM react, or the better question is, how does a PM negotiate with management to leave are source on his or her project? Here are some scenarios that may be familiar to you.
Don’t panic and have logical reasons to keep the resource
As soon as you start your project, your resources become familiar with the project and the client. Take notes on successes that the resource has provided to the client. These will be excellent examples of why this resource is part of the success of your project. Also, if the resource has been with the project since the kickoff, that resource knows where everything is, and not just files. They have become familiar with the client’s structure and sometimes know the client better than the client knows themselves. Also make note of the fact that this resource has been your go-to resource for the duration of the project, and give specific reasons why.
The resource has a valued skill needed for your specific project
Skills are especially valuable if are source is a technical one. If the project requires a resource to have experience with Java, for example, and that project cannot be successful without that resource on the project from the beginning to the end, is a valuable reason for keeping the resource on the project. If the resource has worked with the client before and the client specifically asks for that resource, it is because the resource has knowledge of the client’s structure, particularly the client’s management structure. With this experience, there is some leverage you should be using.
Use the client card, but not often
If the client has used your organization’s services in the past and has had a revolving door of resources, the client may react negatively to changing a resource mid-project. This is a very tricky reason and you cannot use it often. One of the reasons a PSO is in existence is to bring in revenue for services. If a resource is used for the beginning of any project, your management may expect you to expect short services for any resource. This is a hard pill to swallow, but in my experiences with PSOs, this is usually the case.
In the end, it is how you react to the inevitable possibility of changing resources. Your management will judge you the PM on how you react to their decision and how you explain this to the client and manage their reaction. Saying that this is part of a PM’s job does not make this reality easier. Being prepared for it will.
I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.