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ESR DIY, Wanted: Experts to Borrow

In an effort as big as the Enterprise Systems Renewal program, and with so many moving parts, some work is hard the way astrophysics is hard. Some is hard the way digging a well is hard.

ESR isn’t quite that extreme on either side, but to succeed we’re going to need very smart people to participate. They…we…are going to put in a lot of hard work, too.

One of our most critical decisions was how to staff the program

Many organizations faced with similar challenges hire an outside IT services firm. There are valid reasons for this. A good partner has gone through an enterprise renewal before and knows how to get the job done. It’s also in the business of bringing in the right people at the right time.

We made a different decision

This is going to take us all joining in to be successful. We’re going to run and staff this project ourselves. Chief among the reasons we made this decision are: (1) services firms are expensive; (2) they don’t know about our specific circumstances and would have to learn from us on our nickel; and (3) often, outside services firms deploy generalized “best practices” which may or may not fit their client’s specific circumstances.

Yes, we will bring in consultants for short-term engagements so as to take advantage of their expertise and experience. But for the actual work of the program we’re going to take advantage of the talent and deep knowledge that we, ourselves, can provide.

We have very smart people who work very hard

That’s what will make the ESR program work. Who will be asked to participate? It will not be based on who is most available or the easiest to spare. It will be based on who is the best fit for each role that has to be filled, which leads to the challenge: People already have full-time jobs that need their time and attention. That work isn’t going to go away just so they can work on ESR.

What are we going to do?

Instead of hiring contractors, we’re going to bring our internal expert employees to ESR and backfill the positions, or portions of positions, they’re vacating. We’ll need to be creative and flexible in how we backfill, and have the support of managers and co-workers. Ideally, we will use the backfill opportunities to provide growth opportunities.

We know this will be more disruptive than hiring consultants. However, if we do this right, we will have a successful ESR and a cadre of staff who know the systems inside and out (because they helped build them). We will also have staff who have grown and expanded their skills, knowledge and abilities by stepping up and filling in for others.

So a lot of change is coming, and yes, it will be hard, but if you find yourself working with units that have temporarily “lost” staff to the ESR program or have staff taking on new roles, we ask that you give them as much support as you can. If we all work together as people take on these challenges, we can all make Enterprise Systems Renewal a success. 

Category: ESR Behind the Scenes