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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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by Corporate Refugee In reply to Most organizations what!? ...

I have been on the bench since November 1 2005...And I have to say I am sick of it. I took holidays owing over christmas and have come back to find that I am still no closer to a placement. I now feel as though I am wasting my time and have begun to look around for another position. This time of year is traditionally slow, but I am sick and tired of waiting around doing the IT equivalent of reorganising a sock drawer. I am also afraid that I will get the first crappy role that comes in or alternatively get landed with work that is not career enhancing. In some ways it would be better to get laid off...
Thoughts anyone ?

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A suggestion

by gardoglee In reply to hmmm

One of the more successful guys I've ever met (started as a single consultant, now has a company with 50 consultants, and a packaged software development division) had an idea for hoiw to deal with not having a contract. he would go out to potential custoimers and offer them 2-4 weeks of free consulting for some small project. People thought he was crazy, but every one of the companies for which he did this ended up hiring him for an engagement, and hiring his other guys later. He made sure they knew he was the real deal before they had to invest a lot.

I don't know whether that is something which your employer would accept, but it is better than sitting around waiting for someone to notice you aren't producing revenue.

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by Corporate Refugee In reply to A suggestion

thanks for the response...I have in fact been doing some small pieces of work for different businesses. These however have not unfortunetly led to a longer term committment. Hence my comment about sock drawer re alignment.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that I should pursue a role out of consulting given the amount of downtime I have experienced and try to get a "real job" on the client side rather than the vendor side. Most of the roles I have had working for a consultancy ( except my last placement) were very ordinary and as a result I do not feel I my career will develop within my current firm. In essence I feel that they have a bottom feeder approach and will shop you out to where ever they can, regardless of your skills and experience. Very dissapointing from my perspective.

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You have been trapped in a body shop

by gardoglee In reply to

There are many 'consultancies' which operate the way you say. Whether you call them a body shop, rent-a-coder, or some other disparaging name, they are lousy places to work for exactly the reasons you state.

Keep the hope up. While the vast majority of places do seem to be body shops, they are not all that. There are still some actual consultant agencies worthy of the name. You just have to be both damned lucky and damned good to get into one.

And of course, some places are actually worse than a body shop. Some firms will suck you in young, bleed you dry with 100-hour mandatory work weeks (on a forty-hour salary) doing poor quality work, and spit you out as a lifeless husk. All the while you have to lie to the customer about what you are doing, lest they catch on that they are being conned.

Getting a job in-house is sometimes the way out of the fix you are in. For example, you are in one place long enough to learn both the first and last names of some of your coworkers. It can be quite a novelty!

The downsides of being in-house can include having to deal with more internal politics (contractors typically can avoid some of the infighting), or getting dead-ended into supporting some legacy pig of a system while the veterans get all the new development. So there is no guaranteed cure for the IT blues.

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Thanks for this 1

by md_hashim In reply to A suggestion

The idea of "extending" services free was a good one. Tried that in-house - loaning apt people to other BUs and that seems bring back some motivation. The learning here is well taken too.
Another task thats bringing results is BD support. S&M were requested to share RFPs and RFIs with techies and they're slowly becoming a market savvy lot! :)

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The last few contract firms

by Too Old For IT In reply to "Beach", "Bench", "Betwee ...

The last few contract firms I have been with throw you under the bus the instant the contract terminates. Notice is in the range of 1 - 2 hours.

I find this builds intense employee loyalty. I know I am just waiting by the phone for them to call with yet another 2 week project.

<sarcasm mode off>

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Do yourself a favor....

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

Don't keep a bench, unless you don't like making money for your organization.

Small consulting companies have changed their buiness models to no bench. Meaning hire a consultant as a 1099, or W2 for an engagment or project.

Now, I think if the market continues to pickup as it has show us in the past 6 months, then the model might change, and consulting companies will begin to hire employees again, and pay them a ton of money because resources will be hard to come by.

For now, don't keep a bench!

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