The skill mix within the team is important but so is the fact that the team must feel empowered to deliver the project. They must be able to challenge the status quo and offer solutions that impact across the organisation. This means they must have the backing of a sponsor at senior management level who can resolve cross-departmental issues as they arise.
A further consideration that must be addressed is how the participants’ time is allocated to the task in hand.
ie resource devoted fully to project but with clear ‘return path’ following completion of project
- Fully committed to task for duration and has reassurance of returning to established post
- Is seen by the stakeholder community as having an active interest from both perspectives
- May lose currency of knowledge if appropriate networks are not in place
- Could still be summoned back to former post in crisis
ie resource shared between project and established role
- Retains currency of knowledge from established post
- Likely to be drawn back to established post in ‘crisis’ periods as higher priority
- Often ends up doing two ‘full time’ jobs
ie resource devoted fully to project
- Committed to task having severed ties with previous post
- May feel insecure as to eventual role at end of project
- May be viewed by stakeholder community as remote from ‘real’ processes
This decision is dependent on the type and size of the institution and the project although a ‘shared’ secondment route is generally discouraged as the disadvantages listed above very often turn into reality.
In the context of planning and implementation projects, ‘singular’ commitment from individuals tends to reap better rewards (especially in the context of the time constraints previously mentioned), this is however often viewed as something of a luxury afforded to such projects.
If committed resource is available, then the question of secondment or committed post depends largely on the phase of work being undertaken and its duration.
For example, in relation to system implementation projects it might be more suitable to employ full-time secondments to a selection phase but to full-time committed posts in the implementation phase itself. Business process reviews tend usually to be carried out by seconded staff although if an institution is going in for a full-blown re-engineering project it is likely that committed posts will be required to see the changes through the implementation and embedding stages.
Where a project is broken into different phases then ideally some continuity of staffing should link the phases. If not, then issues such as handover and bringing new staff up to speed need to be factored in to the time and resource estimates.