There are only two fundamental reasons why managers hire additional team members: either they can make more money or avoid losing money they are already making.
Convince the management to hire more staff by showing a chance for the firm’s growth or by emphasizing a risk that the organization has with limited team members.
This time it doesn’t really matter what methodology you are using. Whether it’s waterfall, lean production, agile, or any other management framework – it will always be the same motivation. Either we can earn more – or we can’t afford to lose. Sometimes it’s both, but there is nothing else that really matters for management.
A good team leader recognizes those situations and should influence the management to make the right choice.
In simple terms – there is money lying around the street and we just have to kneel to pick it up.
Of course, the chance has to be authentic and almost within reach of our team/company.
It could be for example opportunities to:
- expand the market of our products or services
- launch a new product or service
- independently execute outsourced services
- partnership with another company
If a firm wants to grow and wishes to expand the market then in most cases it needs to hire. However, it may be the case that only you can see the chance standing in front of the company.
Maybe you know how to create that chance by hiring people with suitable skills.
Or maybe it is obvious only to you that an additional team member can be a game changer when trying to reach more clients.
If it’s a new product we are talking about then usually the entire team has to be hired. But sometimes a slightly modified existing product can make a difference and reach different clients. In this case, we have to be very specific in planning the implementation of a new idea. It can really turn into a serious investment and a big enterprise. It can involve new research that requires additional specialists. But it also can be a job for one or two additional employees who will make a significant outcome.
In a startup phase, there is no point to have all the specialists to run a business on board from day one. In most cases, there is not enough work for a full-time accountant, graphic designer, or coach. Small businesses tend to outsource different competencies as there is simply no budget for all the vacancies. The outsourced specialists are usually more expensive for an hour of work but if they work for example 5 hours a week then it is surely cheaper than a full-time employee.
The firm grows and the needs grow with it. Before the management knows it we could be accepting a very expensive 4o hours a week, invoice from let’s say a graphic designer. That’s a full-time job that maybe we could do ourselves much cheaper.
That is of course when you come in with a genius idea of how to do the same work cheaper and independently. Maybe we could hire somebody?
Working along with another company instead of competing with it is sometimes the best option. This maneuver alone is kind of hiring new staff. And the motivation behind this endeavor is a topic for a different post.
A partnership or a fusion can never commence without solicitors who have experience in this kind of business activity.
Long before the first official talks take place, there can be an opportunity to make a good foundation for the future. Expanding the business to fields that will be a partnership enabler – probably some new people can add value to this plan. If you know who – you can convince someone to hire them.
If you can prove to the management that there is a big risk in developing or maintaining a product or a service with a team so small – then you are close to convincing them to hire more staff.
By showing what is at stake if we stay in the status quo – insufficient team size – the management should make the right decision.
Let’s say your team is developing and maintaining a critical service.
By critical I mean that if this service stops – there will be specific and massive consequences. The company can lose money, clients, and reputation, and then lose more clients and more money. The severity of those consequences is related to the time you spend taking the service back online.
Single point of failure
The worst-case scenario is when most of the knowledge about how this service is run is held by one man. A so-called competency silo. This situation is obvious and you should be already looking for someone to be able to disperse this knowledge.
When you have a competency silo then the probability of failure is high – simply because one man can not be accessible at all times. A man can be sick, have a vacation, or make an error and no one will notice because only he has the competency to see the bug.
Also, the severity of consequences is high – simply because it can take a lot of time to fix the problem for one man. Even reaching that one man in case of emergency can be problematic – and the clock is ticking 😛
The high probability of the cause of the breakdown and the high severity of consequences make the risk very high – all because of only one man that the company relies on.
If an employee has unique skills and a product is based on those skills then we have another competency silo. This time it is not just about the knowledge about the product but about the technology of the production. If no one else in the company has a clue about the technology then there is no one you can propagate knowledge to. You first have to train people in this specific region of expertise and then familiarize those employees with the production nuances.
Unfortunately, often this situation occurs when a company still uses technology that is outdated. This is why it is difficult to acquire people with those specific skills. Even worse – people don’t want to invest time to learn those skills because they will not be able to use them elsewhere.
This is a big risk – this case doesn’t really apply to our topic because management most likely knows about this problem and unless you know a man who can solve it – keep a low profile 🙂
This is a story about people that are versatile and perform many different tasks. In many cases, those tasks are usually performed by different roles in an organization. Those people are great, very intelligent, energetic, and reliable. Collaboration with those colleagues is pure satisfaction and fun.
All is great… until it isn’t.
Not because a man changes rapidly and the next day doesn’t want to do half of what was done yesterday. But simply because… shit happens. If that someone is sick or decides to change the job – then we have a problem multiplied by the number of roles he or she was performing.
Isn’t there something simple we can do about it? … ah yes – hire someone 🙂
If a team is developing the first version of a product – let’s say a software service. The first release is coming and after that more features are in the queue to be developed. The amount of work will apparently rise because of the maintenance that will be added to the job. Either we agree to the significant drop in new features development velocity or guess what – let’s hire someone!
In this example, the risk is the slowdown of the team’s ability to deliver new product increments. If this situation hasn’t been foreseen then the management has to invest in the staff – especially if the agreement with the client has fixed deadlines.
If you feel that the company relies on you and your understaffed team – it is time to convince someone in the management to hire more people.
Convince them that there is a big risk of blowing out or paralyzing the production instead of earning big sacks of money for the company.
It is a lot easier when you have a risk analysis process in your company – there should be always a man factor pointed out. If there is no risk analysis – you should make your own and show it to your boss 😉
If you have a hunch that there is a low-hanging fruit just around the corner and all we need is another pair of hands – convince the management that there is a chance to turn up the organization’s results.
Sometimes little output means a big outcome.