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Showing posts from April, 2017

Skills aren't Trivial

Everyone struggles with ramping up new consultants, getting them billable is often a frustratingly long process. I’m sharing a simple mental model I’ve using to speed up the process, help project teams with critical milestones and keep my new hires sane. It’s a model that’s easy and works especially well for early stage or fast growing situations and can also be applied to non-consulting roles.

Think about games you’ve played – games that make you collect tokens or points to win – Trivial Pursuit, for example. In Trivial Pursuit you collect six little pie pieces representing six different knowledge areas to win. As you go, you store them in a pie shaped playing piece. Now, imagine that’s your new hire and those six items are the six skills they need for their job.

Now that you have the visual image, work with your team to figure out the six skills – probably a combination of tools, processes and knowledge. For example: documentation, product configuration, training clie…

High Performance Teams

Every time I read about organizing people into teams I got excited about the way people will become more efficient by working in consistent teams, how its more interesting for people to work on a variety of projects and how self-directed teams improve morale. Then I’d have trouble implementing it in my organization. There was a person who had the scarce skills, I couldn’t get my backlog to fit well with the skills and availability of the team members or I couldn’t figure out how to fit managers into the picture – something was always awkward and hard.

So, I started to think about a structure that combined self-directed teams with Helpers who would assist with parts of a project – a model that looks more like an atom with a team as the nucleus and Helpers as the free electrons that orbit them.
Let’s take a closer look at how you might develop a similar model for your organization. Disclaimer – the math in my examples works out perfectly – in the real world mine doesn’t and yours won’t…

How to Run a New Hire Bootcamp

This article will help you run a boot camp – a rapid training program for new hires. It’s a great approach if your team is growing fast and you’re hiring several people into similar roles.

Step One – Hiring: Schedule your boot camps a few weeks in the future then give the people you’re hiring the same start date. (Start dates that leave a gap before the next boot camp can erode your bottom line because untrained new hires aren’t very productive.)

Step Two – Think about travel and HR on boarding: I hire people from all over the country and my company has a standard half-day HR orientation program. With this in mind, I know my training has to start Monday afternoon after the HR on boarding and I want to leave Friday afternoon free for travel. In return for letting my new hires travel home Friday afternoon, I run boot camps from 8:00 to 6:00 Monday through Thursday and from 8:00 to noon on Friday.

Step Three – Variety: Most new hires need a mix of soft skill, industry and p…