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SPARTA Trip: (Stop, Drop, and...) ROLES

Chorusline_1 Jim Collins' brilliant assessment of getting the right people on the bus before you take off is so applicable to projects as well.  I've seen projects that are poorly staffed from the beginning, making even the best idea with unlimited resources become nearly impossible to achieve.

At some point during your project recovery effort, you're going to have to figure out who can help you get from despair to glory, the ROLES (our 'R' in SPARTA) to get on the metaphorical bus.  However, whenevery you talk about staffing projects, there's a pretty straightforward laundry list of activities to consider (these apply whether you're recovering a project or just planning it for the first time):

  1. Role Title and Skill Set - What do you need to have accomplished?  Do you need a Java programmer, an Agile tester, a RUP analyst, or an Excel guru?  (DO NOT LIST NAMES YET!!)
  2. Experience Level - this can be variable (new, intermediate, advanced or number of years); just express how well a resource has to perform in the role or if you're willing to accept a little on-the-job training
  3. Secondary Skills - Does your programmer need to have meeting management skills?  Does your business analyst also need to understand MS Project?  What additional skills will make this person more well rounded to fit your project needs?  Are these additional skills non-negotiable or are they nice to have?
  4. Availability - Will this person be needed full-time, half-time, 3 hours every other Friday?  Provide a ball-park estimate.  Task planning will fill in the details.
  5. Names - NOW you can begin assigning people based on the other criteria.  Beware the traps of WUHOTs and GLCTs.  I've been on a few projects where the level of drama and dysfunction kept anything productive from happening... and I wasn't allowed to vote the trouble-makers off the island.

These people will be crucial for your next step of developing the tasks for your project plan.  The cast may change once your plan is developed, but the investment of time to ensure you have the right people on the bus will be crucial for your recovery success.

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Comments

Lucia Mancuso

Number 5 is definitely the hardest. Sometimes the WUHOT's and GLCT's creep up slowly. They seem perfect for a while and then something happens... I'm not sure what... but it happens.
I also find it interesting how some team players can preform so well on some projects and poorly on others within the same scope... consistency... that is my biggest fear when putting together a team... consistency is hard to find.

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