Internal Resources

One of the consequences of the current financial predicament is cost-cutting and restructure of what's left. Yet like the 'Millennium Bug' context there's no doubt that some organisations have used this exercise to masque better internal control over infrastructure, remove political obstacles, or implement regime change.

At a time of financial difficulty, organisations essentially have to cut costs or raise revenue. Often they have to try and do both together, just look at what UK PLC is trying to do for the economy. Savagely and without discernible results in some cases. However, none of this should be to the detriment of customer quality or service delivery. Often cost-cutting pertaining to human resources means voluntary redundancies and early retirements - 'get them out packages' to be blunt. You hope that the better ones will stay, but that's not always the way it works, particularly in the public sector.

If people are good, they don't have too much difficulty doing what they do somewhere else. That includes raising revenue or delivering value for somebody else. So what can happen is you are left with people that do not qualify for or accept the 'package' for whatever reason, and are pushed into doing other things to cover the holes left by the 'good' others that leave. Are these available resources qualified? Are they capable? Are they even interested and engaged? It is possible that they may not have been particularly good at what they were doing before, so what makes you think they can effectively do this new activity alternatively (or in addition) to what they were doing before?

That's the 'internal resource' argument. Resources (including people) that were there before and need to be used or redeployed productively BEFORE you can seek external support or value-adding capability. And at this challenging point in time, you don't really have the budget to re-train these internal resources either. You hope they are up to it, but as the old adage goes, you can't polish a turd.

In project terms, this is where a project resource is deployed because a senior sponsor insists on or authorises its use thereby compromising on quality, inevitably leading to significant issues and/or sub-optimal project delivery. Post-restructure managers newly in their roles arguably need to get their feet properly under the table to understand available delivery capability and competency, irrespective of cost drivers. They otherwise make rash and problematic decisions. What goes around comes around?

So what can you do about it? Futile protest? Live with it but try to cover yourself? Walk away? Compromising severely on quality contributes to project failures = poor outputs and outcomes, that's a given. Such decisions therefore don't deliver benefits. Unsurprisingly business might not be better, or even as usual...

April 2018
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