With specialist profiles the cost of turnover is almost always vastly underestimated. Keeping the good people on board and motivated is really important.
I’ve had projects where the main player in my project quit, got transferred or even was fired right under my nose without me being consulted. All situations caused irrecoverable damage, just by neglecting the value of that one person. Things like this happen, you’ll find a solution but the shininess of your project will be a distant memory.
Look at this type of situations as a risk, it’s what’s often called the truck number, or more respectfully, the lottery number for a certain key role in a project. The lower the number, the higher the risk. Should anyone in that key role get run over by a truck or win the lottery, they’d be gone and the project would be stuck in a rut.
Should you be dealing with this kind of risk, look into Brook’s law which says that adding people to a late project makes it only later, the same goes for finding replacements and the resulting team dynamics are the same.
Some time ago I wrote an article on project manager switching, which often is a project’s death sentence (or at least a budget death sentence) if not done properly: Neglected Truths in a Project Hand Over.
I found this great list of the cost that a lost employee will bring along:
If your HR department can identify key employees and help out in keeping them, they are worth their weight in gold. Yet, I still have to meet the second HR professional that comes by the PMO and asks who’s indispensable for anything (the first one got promoted). Don’t get me wrong, people management is a shared responsibility that HR shouldn’t bear by itself, that goes without saying.
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