Kenway took difficult steps to help a project that was too dependent on an external resource.
Industry: Financial Services
To always, under all circumstances and under all economic conditions, do what we believe is “right” for the client, even when what is “right” may directly lead to less business and lower revenues.
To include in all engagements, a plan to transition knowledge to clients through training, tools and alternative resources.
Kenway embarked upon a short term project for a new client involving project management and business analysis services. Based on the short duration and low volume of scope of the project, it was decided that only one resource was required to complete the project. After six months, the scope expanded with new phases and Kenway recognized the optimal staffing model required different skill sets than the original resource was equipped to provide. For this reason, Kenway recommended staffing the project with the skills needed, while lowering the capacity of the existing resource, who was no longer needed for the same volume now that a solution had been determined. During the initial phases of the project, it became clear that the client was heavily dependent on the original Kenway team member on the project. The client was hesitant to bring in other resources— internal, Kenway, or other external. The client’s unwillingness to allow Kenway to staff the right skills mix caused significant risks to the success of the project as it was becoming overly dependent on one individual who had to master each element of the project and created a ”key resource” risk—a situation where nobody else understood the project.
Kenway identified the resource risk and presented a mitigation strategy to the project sponsor and senior management. This strategy involved leveraging skill sets of existing team members, cross-training other resources to build their knowledge, and identifying resource gaps that needed to be filled either internally or externally.
Beyond the decreased resource dependency, this mitigation strategy would have had additional benefits to the overall project. It would have reduced project costs by bringing in the proper experience levels at specific project points, it would have brought the flexibility to increase and decrease resources depending on needs, and it would have brought overall efficiency to the project as skill sets were more properly leveraged.
The client was reluctant to implement any of the options recommended by Kenway Consulting. They insisted that their culture required a single resource to manage and execute all aspects of the project. As a result, Kenway Consulting offered referrals for other potential vendors who may be willing to operate in that manner. Kenway Consulting continued providing services until the client identified a new resource to whom the work was transitioned.
By ignoring the dependency risk and agreeing to operate in a staff augmentation fashion, Kenway Consulting could have continued to bill more hours due to the increased scope of work and new, similar opportunities could have been identified. However, this was not in the client’s best interests, because they were too dependent on the knowledge and availability of a single external resource, but also were on a path to spending too much time and money on mismatched skill sets for upcoming phases of the project. Under these circumstances, Kenway believed that the right thing to do for the client was to transition the work while foregoing ongoing revenue in this area.
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