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Are skills transferable…?

 

Many organizations to reduce cost resort to swapping tasks from highly skilled employees to minimal or no skilled employees. To certain extend for repetitive tasks it may be OK, bit for complex tasks does it really make sense. At the end you need to pull in SME’s to fix the unfinished/defective work product.  In this process, you lose time, you incur more cost and the final work product barely works. I say barely here because, the requirement s are not captured accurately, the designed is flawed and due to time and budget constraints you resort to fixing the flawed design within the project timeline.

Let me give you a practical example outside out software domain. 

One of the prominent cable TV company started upgrading features to stay competitive. They contacted me and asked if they can install wiring in all rooms so that we can watch cable TV from any room. On the day of installation, they walked around and said they will install cables through the walls and it should not take more than 30 minutes and the job is quick and clean. Finally after 30 minute delay, they started drilling from attic to inset the cable between the walls. I curiously watched these two dynamic chaps drilling. They drilled a hole from the top and it went ½ feet away from the wall. Now, I have a hole on the ceiling. One guy came down and made a sigh and went up and informed the other guy (Note – they have two way communication devices). They drilled again, this time it was no way closer to the wall but close enough to other hole. Then a third try and a forth try. On fifth try they barely made it, almost drilled along the wall.  They assured it will be quick in the other room and they were successful in three tries. Now they called a different person to patch the wall and ceiling. Looks like this cable company saved lot of money!!! It was supposed to take under an hour, but it took almost 2 ½ Hours + patchy walls + wasting my time + overall rating not so satisfactory. I am pretty sure this company decided to save cost and replaced skilled operators with not so skilled ones.

Let extrapolate the same experience to developing a complex SAP object (interface/ enhancement). What do you think will happen?  The time and cost overrun will be 2 to 3 times and the quality of the object bellow par. Added to this you will have maintenance nightmares.

 

Organizations should look into reducing cost to gain competitive advantage. Swapping resources need to be planned and executed appropriately. Junior team members should be paired with skilled team members for a period of time till they are comfortable and confident. Even for repetitive tasks, you need team members to practice before they can do it independently.

 

Next time when you assign resource on your projects…. Think for a moment and our cable boys….

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5 Comments

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  1. Michelle Crapo
    I agree.  Skills should be transferable, BUT only with some mentoring, training, or in my case some good code reviews given to the person.

    BR,

    Michelle

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    1. S Munagavalasa Post author
      Thanks Michelle.
      This is an excellent point – good code reviews will help team members with effective Knowledge sharing platform. Code reviews help validate the solution as well as provide feedback to team members.

      Best Regards, Srini

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    2. S Munagavalasa Post author
      Thanks Michelle.
      This is an excellent point – good code reviews will help team members with effective Knowledge sharing platform. Code reviews help validate the solution as well as provide feedback to team members.

      Best Regards, Srini

      (0) 
  2. Ravishankar Ramamurthy
    Hi Srini,

    Yes I agree to the point that the skills cant be directly transferred.  Whether a functional job or a technical job, the senior member or technically skilled person should impart enough training, then watch other people from close quarters on how they perform and then allow them to perform critical tasks but under close supervision.  I think this is where most of the times it fails where there is no proper guidance or supervision.  Only when both of them are comfortable not just on doing the job but on the quality of output should the job be transferred.  I feel the senior person, junior person and the customer should all be comfortable.

    But having said that, I do feel that at some point in time the juniors have to move to the next level but not at the expense of quality output. 

    Regards,
    Ravi

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