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Identifying skill gaps through governance assurance

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Did Charles Dickens have experience with IT project delivery? His famous opening line from A Tale of Two Cities certainly captures the hope and despair that can oscillate during the implementation of new projects.

When your team is fully staffed with the right people, delivery can actually be a fun experience – a group of likeminded individuals committed to a common goal, celebrating success together along the way. Even in the face of adversity, vendors and employees will often rally with each other to ensure successful delivery.

When you are understaffed, or worse yet, lacking a critical resource or skill, delivery can be a nightmare – a never-ending battle that seemingly can’t be won no matter how hard you try. Without the correct data, material or skill set, there’s just no getting up that hill. In fact, resource and skill gaps hindering delivery are often cited as one of the most significant barriers to organizational transformation.

So what’s the workaround? You can’t conjure more money, people or know-how out of thin air. But governance assurance can help.

Mind the gap

It can be a challenge getting the right mix of people with the right skills assigned to a project. Information technology is so broad – and evolving at such a rapid pace – that it can be difficult to find the specific technical or industry experience your project requires. Deep experience is needed in many fields, and successful delivery means having the right balance of skills to guide your projects from source technology to destination. In an ideal world, a handful of savants could fulfill the needs of every project. In reality, we often have one or two experts and make up for specific skill gaps by engaging experienced individuals who are willing and able to learn as needs change.

Budget restrictions and competing priorities often lead to sharing team members across projects, but those who are spread too thin can unintentionally end up creating more problems than they solve. Over-worked individuals forced to switch their focus from task to task are prevented from providing their greatest value – creative solutioning that results from deep thought and time spent examining a problem. Over a prolonged period, the project-sharing tug-of-war can lead to burnout and disengagement, resulting in a costly loss of knowledge at a critical juncture.

Which leads to governance assurance. The best thing you can do to fill the gaps in your delivery plan is to equip your team with someone who can navigate the battlefield with a singular focus on success for all parties.

Third-party governance

A fundamental benefit of implementing a governance assurance strategy is that it forces organizations to discuss resource risk. It tests the viability of personnel assignments and allocations, making clear just how hard your team members are being worked and for how long.

An effective governance assurance process will reveal the skill coverage you have on any given project and highlight where resources are overloaded, at risk, or seemingly unbalanced. A proper plan will specifically evaluate people risk as part of the model, providing a risk score and mitigation plan if needed. For example, a project assessment that exposes a high risk associated with the lack of key skill sets will address mitigation in the form of hiring, training and knowledge-sharing as part of the plan so that time and budget are allocated for the addition or transfer of key skills.

Forcing these considerations to the surface shines a light on resource and skill gaps and possible solutions to create a more engaged and in turn, more effective, delivery team. But the conversations can be challenging. Which usually means they're best undertaken by someone from outside the organization. Someone who, independent of delivery responsibility, can survey the big picture with an eye for delivery process improvements.

By observing and analyzing your team’s collaborative output, an independent governance assurance specialist can help highlight potential strategies for fostering productivity. They can advocate for small but meaningful changes in process or tools to improve collaboration, ensure a shared understanding of scope and success criteria, and identify resource gaps in time for mitigation.

Let us help

At cShell, we help organizations fine-tune their delivery mechanisms by assisting with governance setup and oversight. We provide critical project assessments tailored to fit your existing process. By enhancing the governance committee of your key projects with a third-party perspective, you can gain valuable insight into your risk profile and benefit from the experience of those who have been where you are – and lived to tell the tale.

Don’t wait until you have a critical resource gap to engage us. Find greater success by enlisting us from the start.

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