Resourcing and Skills – Lessons Learned

Below is a list of lessons learned relating to Resourcing and Skills, taken from a selection of recently completed programmes and projects across the NICS.

Issue 1 - Single points of failure were evident where allocation of insufficient resources to the project were made. There was an underestimation of the volume of work, despite being an off-the-shelf solution.

Recommendation 1 - A linkage to a business unit that within the last two years has had an extensive implementation of the software to gauge the extent of human resourcing required.

Issue 2 - Small teams, working autonomously, hindered integrated delivery. The prioritisation of some tasks proved problematic as every department had their own targets and many staff were supporting “on top of their day job”.

Recommendation 2 - Plan for integrated delivery by designing team structures to be less segregated and by committing resource hours to ensure team members are not fitting project work around other work commitments.

Issue 3 - Key stakeholder provided staff too slowly and on a part-time basis, meaning there were competing priorities.

Recommendation 3 - Project team to include full-time staff and not to be split between project working and stakeholder commitments.

Issue 4 - Stable project team throughout project lifetime reduced learning curves and ensured continuity and building of knowledge. Dedicated, trained professionals who worked as a cohesive team.

Recommendation 4 - Project Team should whenever possible remain consistent throughout the lifetime of the project. There should be arrangements for knowledge transfer across the team to minimise ‘single points of failure’.

Issue 5 - Business units did not come with range of expertise and more SMEs were needed. The workload within business units was not spread across a wide enough range of experts in different fields. There was an underestimation of the complexity underpinning workstreams.

Recommendation 5 - Plan to free up those with the relevant expertise and dedicate on a full-time basis.

Issue 6 - Increased Technical Support Staff would reduce the need for consultancy support costs, especially for the review of test reports, manuals and other large volumes of documentation.

Recommendation 6 - The resourcing needs to be considered early, both in terms of the number and the skills of existing staff. Also, efforts should be taken to build better resilience into the team and support staff through business change.

Issue 7 - The Financial Accountant resource moved to another post and the vacancy was not filled.

Recommendation 7 - A project team resourcing plan should be developed at the start of the project and monitored. Internal resources should be managed, and any resourcing gaps filled. Experienced contract management team should be in place from the start of the contract and processes in place to ensure handover and knowledge transfer to new team members if required.

Issue 8 - Limited number of staff and large workload could have led to staff becoming overwhelmed.

Recommendation 8 - Facilitate staff wellbeing and ensure additional resources are sourced as early as possible.

Issue 9 - Individual tenant projects did not have sufficient technical resources within their project teams.

Recommendation 9 - Early engagement on requirements highlighted the need for technical resources. These should have been provided to each project team as and when required, sharing experiences and lessons learned.

Issue 10 - A number of staff retired or left their post during the project, meaning a level of capability was lost.

Recommendation 10 - It is strongly recommended that any improvement in way of working or knowledge is recorded at the time and disseminated to incoming staff.

Industry guidance/ further reading

Commercial Delivery Group’s Programme and Project Management hub: Roles & Responsibilities in Programme/Project Management | Department of Finance (

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