Project’s End: The Career Progress Dilemma

In more than one project, there’s been lots of happy talk about people’s future roles in the organization. Yet everyone knew that some colleagues simply wouldn’t have a place after the project, including themselves.

Beyond the formal career path discussions — if such things exist in your firm — I suggest that one should be very clear about the fact that this is a project. It’s incumbent on the project team to think about “what’s next?”. My experience is that while project may not lead to something within one’s own company, what it can lead to may be even better. As long as firms are clear about this potential trade-off, they’ll be able to recruit a better mix of colleagues to the project team.

To that end, I was struck by the Alliance approach suggested by two principals of LinkedIn itself: Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. Follow this link to an Econ Talk podcast and further information. A longish quote (Ben, I believe) from the podcast transcript will give you flavor of their argument:

[A]ctually I think one of the themes we are navigating here in The Alliance is both trying to get employees to sign up for an inspiring company mission. At the same time, you the company are trying to understand what that employee’s personal mission or vision is in their own life. And trying to define it toward the view that it’s both of those missions at once. Right? So it’s no longer: Subsume yourself toward corporate mission–rather than: Hey, maybe your long-term vision is you want to start your own company someday. Or you are really interested in some other field in addition to this field. So you are going to sign up for a tour because you care about our mission, sure. You really care about your mission. And we’re going to make sure that this tour of duty helps you get closer to being able to fulfill that mission. But it’s that recognition of the fact that there may be some difference. And that you are only looking for sufficient alignment, for a specific tour of duty.

Adapted from a LinkedIn comment regarding this post by Don McAlister.

Not having enough resources is normal

I came across a post from CA’s IT Governance evangelist Steve Romero on resource constraints and project portfolio management.  His post “Never say again, ‘We don’t have enough resources to get the work done'” is an extended riff off this observation that:

[A] problem that besets every organization I have encountered in the 30+ years I’ve been working in IT. It is a statement I hear again and again: “We don’t have enough resources to get the work done.” Even though I get the affirming head-nods when I mention this problem, I ask folks in my audiences if they have enough resources to get the work done. Out of thousands of people, only one has raised their hand.

Romero goes on to promote a fact-based approach — centered on solid demand and resource management processes — to make sure that we’re “choosing the right things”, which should remove the need to make the “not enough resources claim.

I don’t buy much of his proposed approach, largely because I disagree with his definition of “choosing the right things” (below):

First, organizations must determine if a project or program should be done. If the investment promises appropriate value the next determination is, can it be done?

From my reading, Romero is saying that if one can’t do a project, then the project isn’t a “right thing”, and therefore you don’t have a resource problem.   Doesn’t this beg the question of having enough resources by making “can” we do the project dominate “should” we do the project?

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