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"Beach", "Bench", "Between Projects" Management

By md_hashim ·
Most consulting organizations maintain workforce on the bench (beach etc.). Keeping resources occupied on the bench is a challenge in itself.
What is the typical percentage of workforce on bench in your organization? What kind of trainings, activities and exercises does your organization have for resources on the bench? Pls share your thoughts/experiences.

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The way we do it...

by akshay.pat In reply to "Beach", "Bench", "Betwee ...

We have in-house training packages. These are both technical and non-technical (soft skills). Staff between projects are urged to subscribed to training and their applications are evaluated before having them trained.
We also have regular in-house tech presentations and staff who are talented enough get to present techniques to the not so well versed.
We have about 5-8% people between projects typically.
HTH.

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lean and mean

by rob mekel In reply to "Beach", "Bench", "Betwee ...

Instead of keeping staff on the bench I have a small workforce on the staff. If needing some extra workforce on the floor we hire people. This from a preselected group company?s. These pre-selected companies are selected by our HRM-department based on tuff selection-criteria, set by me and my staff AND general criteria HRM sets.

Those hired people have to be carefully managed. So the tasks to my staff is more a managerial task then a technical one, though they should have knowledge in the field there workers/projects are in.

On the cost site of this all there has to be an evaluation on what is cleaver and what isn't. Rule to me is:
normal business -> staff
projects -> hired people (except programmanager)

And even on staff I have the rule that there has to be a flexibility of at least 10% but no more then 35%.

I hope this will help you

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Min 10% and max of 25%

by ajitbhusari In reply to lean and mean

It directly related with the companies roadmap and the funnel. But the practice we follow is to have a 10% as bench at min and 25% at max. This gives a flexibility in balancing resources across projects on need base.

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Most organizations what!?!

by gardoglee In reply to "Beach", "Bench", "Betwee ...

I would strongly dispute your assertion that most companies maintain a bench. From what I've seen at my current employer, and a couple before that, "on the bench" is synonymous with "here's your pink slip". the question about bench is not how many you keep, but how long you can be on the bench before you are automatically terminated. Typically that is somewhere in the two to four week range, sometimes less.

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I agree....no bench

by hemal_sanghvi In reply to Most organizations what!? ...

Having worked for this company for 9+ years, in various departments, I have not seen any "bench" concept. I think a bench is a luxury for an organization driven towards better, faster & cheaper.

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Luxury? Necessity!

by ciacob In reply to I agree....no bench

From my experience with my current employer, I believe it is necessary to have a bench in order to keep IT employees fresh. We don't currently utilize this model, but I have seen how constant project overload with no reserve resources can wear out the best employees and set back other project timelines.

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Necessary for some objectives, but not for others

by gardoglee In reply to Luxury? Necessity!

You are right that it is necessary to have some breathing room to keep employees fresh and motivated, to get their best thoughts and quality work, and to provide the best service levels to your customers, either internal or external. The problem is that in a period where management has finance breathing down their neck, in which it is perceived (rightly or wrongly) that there is a glut of talent looking for work, and where growth is a product of buying out competitors rather than retaining customers, none of those objectives are considered important.

Of course, if your employees (or the managers) have an issue with eighty hour weeks for forty hour salaries, no vacations for literally years at a stretch ("we're sorry, but due to project deadlines all vacations are on hold until further notice..."), no training because it was a "luxury", and back loaded wishful-thinking impossible schedules, you just tell them their job can be outsourced to India.

Perhaps I live on the wrong side of the rainbow, but I don't know anyone anywhere else who hs an employer whose top management even considers the "individual contributors" to be worth noticing, much less considering their job quality.

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As I stated before

by rob mekel In reply to Most organizations what!? ...

Read my earlier answer on thread 1

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Its consulting organizations...

by md_hashim In reply to Most organizations what!? ...

Sorry - I believe you missed "consulting" :)
In India - the BPO hub - consulting is becoming big time! Since most organizations begin with a call support and try to make it to technical support, they tend to hire for later use! Thats where I meant to start this from....
Apologies if I led you off at a tangent.

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'Consulting' can mean many different things

by gardoglee In reply to Its consulting organizati ...

There are many different things which one can mean by consulting, but I would guess that everyone reading this thread is probably familiar with at least several of them. At the low end are Rent-a-Coder vendors, aka body shops. At the high end are specialized experts, sometimes referred to as hired guns. That span of characteristics seems to exist in all IT markets, India included.

Many US based IT workers have the impression that the only services offered by the typical India based shop are the very lowest sort of coders. That is not a realistic picture of all India based companies, but it is true of many of the early entrants into the field, just as it was in the US, Europe and the Middle-East in an earlier day. For that reason, your initial question may have been misinterpreted by many readers.

Technical support center agents are typically no more skilled than entry level coders, whatever the location, so many people who are in the higher end of the 'consulting' business seriously resent being put into the same bucket as a call center agent at a BPO company which is trying to rise into the technical support market. You need to consider that when asking the question.

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