Personnel challenges don’t need to be occurring within the project management team itself to significantly affect your digital transformation initiative. The range of disciplines needed to get even a relatively simple modernization project over the finish line is enormous. And project teams may find increased difficulties today, with the pool of technology talent continuing to be lean and the need for these professionals expanding.
Project teams are already adept at managing many of the aspects of digital transformation initiatives. Estimating task durations and identifying risks are core competencies and the foundational elements translate well when managing technology-focused projects. But without the right talent available at the right times, your efforts will face a risky uphill climb.
Timing is key
When it comes to securing skilled people—whether you intend to bring them on as employees or as contractors—your organization may be up against a staggering amount of competition. Candidates with niche technology expertise are sought after by businesses of all sizes and from all sectors, and you can’t count on finding someone quickly.
Your project plan should prioritize recruiting efforts and contract discussions early in the process to give you ample time to locate, evaluate, and onboard the right personnel resources. It’s also important to identify the project phases that require specific skillsets, so you can pull in the expertise you need without delaying key milestones or causing downstream scheduling problems.
Understand the need
While there are some common themes that run across the entire technology stack, the skills needed to execute your project may be considerably different from the competencies that helped move your previous digital transformation initiatives to a successful completion. Even an upgrade of an existing system could require an entirely new set of skills to accommodate a different underlying software structure, for example, or newer types of programming practices or cybersecurity tools.
Working closely with stakeholders, including internal system experts as well as outside implementation partners, is essential to developing a thorough understanding of the skills necessary to meet your project’s requirements.
With limited technology talent available and competition for candidates coming from all corners, savvy project teams are reassessing how they hire software programmers, system administrators, cybersecurity and compliance experts, trainers, data analysts, and other roles. Skillsets that have traditionally been kept in-house may need to be contracted out to meet the project’s timeline requirements. In contrast, you may want to transition niche expertise, which was once primarily accessed through outside consultants, into a full-time employment role to meet regulatory requirements or to create more consistency in areas that need it.
Sourcing the right skills in today’s hiring environment also means you need to cast a wider net than before. By proactively tapping a variety of recruitment and talent acquisition channels, you’ll connect with quality professionals faster and build a network that enables you to maintain a reserve of potential experts in case you need more help than anticipated.
Remember the value of soft skills
As you evaluate your digital transformation project’s requirements for technology competencies, keep in mind that many of these roles also need a blend of soft skills to be successful. Those responsible for software customizations may also be called upon to manage stakeholders’ expectations around rollout schedules and testing phases. Trainers need to be skilled in the technologies they teach and adept at tailoring sessions and materials to users’ own skill levels. And if your modernization initiative has ongoing maintenance or administration requirements, then individuals capable of orchestrating those types of recurring activities across the user base and coordinating with the various departments will be in high demand.