Ramping Up Resources
24 Nov. 2011 General
Presales! Presales! Presales! This activity is consuming a big chunk of my office hours since last two months. It is pretty interesting as it opens the opportunity to talk to different people (customers/prospects), which I always enjoyed.
Recently we had submitted a quotation for independent testing to one of the prospect. The prospect wanted to go live in January. We had estimated that the activities in scope would require 4 man months on efforts. These efforts would be consumed by two testers within next two months. The data represented over here has been modified from the actual data.
The client responded that he found the estimation falling on the higher side. A detailed justification of each activity on hourly basis was provided. The client replied back asking to start with one tester and then later ‘ramp up’ with the second tester upon 4 weeks. Reading the word “ramp up” the below two facts ran across my mind,
- When you add people to a team, you do not get an immediate boost in capacity. It takes time for people to be productive on a new project.
- To make matters further challenging, the existing staff are forced to spend time in order to help them obtain the desired speed.
Now, there are many arguments that could be the outcome of ‘Ramping Up’. It is clear that we do not get linear benefit, doubling the team does not double its productivity, because the costs of communication and coordination kicks in and grows.
Having said that, we still require to follow a ramp up on several occasions! How do we address this unavoidable situation?
Lets take a look at few strategies that project teams can adopt:
- Share the big picture of the project. Share the value behind the project and what is driving it.
- Have an effective training plan handy before the resources become part of the team. The training has to be planned for few hours on daily basis. Remaining hours the resources are assigned small/tiny tasks so that hand holding is minimally required. The tasks are defined in such a way that each can be achieved with minimal assistance.
- Identify a team member who becomes the single point of contact to resolve all queries raised by the new team members. This ensures that the additional cost of communication of these resources is capped and does not get out of control.
Other than these few members have been using pair programming technique to make the new resource productive soon. There have also been few instances where the base framework and a blue print of cross cutting classes were developed. The new resources simply copied the initial matter and got engaged smoothly.
Although the above mentioned techniques help, the above facts about resource ramp up still remains universally true.
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