Importance of Resource RetentionMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
The most frequent activity for any organization is joining and leaving of the resources. As a Project Manager, availability of the right resources and their retention rate is one of the most probable risks. I don’t feel that any Risk Register will be complete without this as an identified risk.
For any seasoned Project Manager, time investment and effort starts, on a resource, from the time he/she devises the Job Description for any opening. The effort carries on through the interview/hiring process, resource induction and regular project/team management. A good Project Manager always plans the roadmap for all the resources throughout the above mentioned stages.
Losing a resource not only means the shortage of personnel but also changes in the whole Project Plan, as well as the execution strategy. Good thing about Agile is that the planning part is limited to the current or subsequent sprints. But still when a resource leaves, it does cause some “waves” in the project planning department, which requires additional effort.
When a resource leaves, it is not just time and effort put in by the Project Manager, it also involves the domain knowledge and some specific technical knowledge the resource carried due to his nature of assignment. Generally the resources serve one month notice period and use it for domain knowledge transfer and handing over tasks etc. I think that this time is never enough especially if you need to find some replacement as well. The whole team planning and project planning is affected.
What causes the resources to switch jobs or leave an organization? It can be due to any of the multiple reasons;
- The most common reason shared by resources is “Learning”. The resources feel that he/she might not be learning anything new because the company or his role is based around a small application of a certain domain. They feel that they are not being challenged to learn and excel in the technology they are working with. Also sometimes they are interested in working in other technology or domains and that interest cannot be realized with current organization. Some of the resources actually don’t switch the job, rather put all their professional engagement on hold to pursue higher education or more to other cities or countries.
- Another similar reason shared is that the resources are not happy with their role in the team or department. Most common example is the resources being over-qualified or over-experienced for their current job or role, so it gives a negative feeling to them of being underachieving.
- Similarly, resources may not be satisfied with team arrangement. THey may be working under some person who they don;t go along well or who is less experienced or might be working under him/her previously.
- On the same line, another common reason is not being compatible with the team or some manager. There is an impression that “People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses behind”. The reasons are generally related to role and team issues.
- Another sort of reason is that resources are not happy with the company’s processes and practices. It is observed that if processes are built more around management wishes, then they cause serious issues. The “Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools”.
- One of the most common reasons is the monetary benefits. Switching to a new job is always considered to be at much better terms for the resources. Although the aim is always to upgrade the benefits, that is something which is not considered a good practice especially when you are being interviewed for an important position.
- Other than that, there are often situations when the resource is actually starting his/her own company/business or joining family business etc. In such situations, generally the resource is reluctant to leave the job but has to make an important career call.
- Another reason, which is more of a habit rather than any reason, is the tendency of resources to switch jobs after some time period. It generally has nothing to do with any of the reasons above. As mentioned earlier, it is not considered a good practice.