Hiring/Staffing Tools and Guidelines — Avoiding the Experience Trap

NOTE: 8th post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap.

While this point is more general — recommending project-focused decision tools and guidelines — I think PMs need to focus on the specific example given: the impact of staffing decisions.

When a manager makes several hires, there is a hiring delay and an assimilation delay with each. Over time it becomes difficult for the manager to assess current and predict future team productivity, especially if the staff suffers attrition.

One of the most common mistakes I see — that that I’ve made — is not accounting for leads and lags in hiring times.  It is much better to start filling the pipeline with appropriate candidates ASAP, rather than waiting in order to somehow “save budget” or “wait until the headcount is approved.”

But if the manager is provided with tools that can calculate the effects of additions and turnover for several periods, he will obtain a clearer picture of the expected cumulative impact on team productivity over the medium term.

I’m not sold on tools — how well do these tools actually work without the appropriate training, coaching, etc?  As stated in earlier posts, PMs seemed to ignore this information when provided.  This seems like a nice to have, but useless unless one knows how to use it.


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