Can anyone suggest ways to better persuade upper management that hiring a new resource is in their best interest? I am currently implementing a new portal framework for the company and my team of 8 will not be able to support the increasing number of new requests. We will do our best and hopefully I can get some consultants, but I really need to hire one more Java developer.

My current write ups are not effective enough to persuade upper management and I was hoping for some suggestions. Thank you in advance -- Dan

gpeden's picture

Do you have the data to back up your 'gut'?  If you came to me as a direct I would ask to see your analysis (work breakdown structure, resource planning, hard vs. soft-book analysis, hire vs. contract, etc.?). Are you solving a short term 'hot spot' - or are you hiring for long term capacity?  What if things slow down - are you going to have to turn around and lay people off? What are you doing to be more efficient and effective with the staff you have? What are doing doing that you could stop doing?  What trade-offs did you give?

Coming to management with only one option isn't really bringing options.

You can do this in Excel, MS Project, whatever. Layout your schedule / plan with the work to be done, and show any overbookings as red - and show that its a permanent capacity issue.

Fact based decision making takes the emotion out of it - you will lose most of time against your boss if you don't have a defensible position based on hard data.  Unless they have already come to the same conclusion as you - in which case you aren't really adding that much value bringing a problem that has already been identified.


If you show that your staff will have to 60 hours a week for the next 6 months - and that you risk attrition, burn out, etc. - I think you will have a better chance.  I will tell you from experience though, if your management still thinks that heroics is a good thing you may be in for an uphill battle.




 DiSC 7412

dhorton's picture

Thank you for the quick response and the advice. I've tried reviewing the details with my Boss, but it is almost impossible to get an ok for additional head count.  Based on your recommendations, I will take my write-ups a step further and really detail out the gaps.

For example, I had a consultant for 2 years and during that time he worked on several projects. When he left all the projects slipped due to the missing resource. Even then they agreed but I was not able to get approval.

Hopefully this will help.



jhack's picture

Sometimes, you simply won't get what you need.

A change of process, a change in priorities, or shifting people into new roles can improve your productivity. Bosses like it when you do more with the same staff. That's what demonstrates executive talent.

Have you listened to the "Juggling Koan" cast? It's an older one, and quite relevant to your situation.


John Hack

RichRuh's picture
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I agree with John.

It's important to remember the following (simplified) formula:  Revenue - Cost = Profit

Most companies have revenue forecasts and profit targets.  You solve the equation for Cost, and some portion of that is what you get to spend on salaries.  As frustrating as it can be, note that "Amount of Work" does not appear in the equation.  :-(

"Oh, but if I hire somebody for X, I'll make more than an additional X in revenue."  Yes.  Maybe.  And maybe the guy in the next department over can hire someone with an even higher rate of return.



cjp147's picture

I think a good place to start is if you can show what your current resource utilization is and what it will be with the portal in place.  Additionally, if you get consultant-ing money, you can work that into your argument.  For example, if your management approves a consultant for 3-6 months that is close to the cost of an FTE for a year (or partial year), I think that gives you a little more leverage. 

Regarding resource utilization, I would stress that if your team is running >85-90% now, that going much higher is really going to affect team morale (b/c it will possibly affect vacation schedules, training, etc.).  And then if morale gets low, you'll be back filling for people who have left.