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  • 1.  Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 15, 2010 03:11 PM
    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to reach out to the user community to get any ideas on best practices when rolling out resource skills, any process help I can get will be great. How does your company keep the resource skills updated, is this done when performance reviews are due? Any help I can get will be great.


  • 2.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 17, 2010 11:26 AM
    My organization is not currently using resource skills, but I have in the past been with companies that do.

    There are a number of things to remember about setting up skills in any environment is that the process is the most important. Skills management is normally also part of the HR department. Here are a few things to think about:

    1) Who is the owner of the skills library and is responsible for the addition, deletion, and changes to the skills in the database.
    2) Who is allowed to enter skills for the resources?
    3) How does one evaluate the competency of a resources skill in a particular area? What constitutes varous levels of competency?
    4) How does one depreciate a resources skill in a particular area?
    5) Does your HR department already manage a skills database? if so, are you going to implement another in Clarity? Which is the system of record? How will you keep them in sync?
    6) Any union issues around tracking employee skills?
    7) What level of granularity are you going to track? (DBA, DBA Oracle, DBA Oracle SQL, DBA Oracle performance, etc..)?
    8) How often are each resources skills reviewed and updated?
    9) What is the cost/benefit to the organization for setting up a skills database?

    Hope this helps.

  • 3.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 17, 2010 11:57 AM
    Hi Tammi.
    We should chat on this one, but I'll ramble on here for posterity. I'll try my best to make this the thread I wish I would have found 2 years ago...

    We're on our 4th skills schema/plan. We know 3 ways not to do it. Basically, my biggest challenge was getting people to understand what skills are used for in the Clarity tool and what they're not to be used for.

    What they're used for:
    1) Skills are used during scoping to better define a Resource Requirement (metadata).
    Role: Developer
    Staff OBS Unit: Web Team
    Skill: ASP.NET <-- this Requirement says "I need an ASP developer from the web team for this work".
    2) Once a good Resource Requirement is built, Skills on the Resource allows Resource Finder to find "matches" for the requirement with the proper skills and availability.
    3) Yes, one can leverage this information to "mine" for resources with a skill, but this isn't primary tool functionality requirement.

    Things not to do:
    1) Based on the above, you need to get people focused on project staffing skills.
    Example: Yes, I understand you're really good at fixing the copier. No, we will not have an Unfilled Requirement on our projects for copier fixer. "Copier Repair" is not a valid Clarity skill.
    2) This is not the HR system. HR systems help HR people staff an organization ("Copy Repair" may be important to HR). Again, Clarity is Project staffing.
    3) Get people to understand the difference between tool and skill. Visual Studio is a tool. ASP.NET is a skill.
    4) Keep it manageable! Like Roles, they can creep on you. You'll need to establish a discipline to not let it creep.

    Establishing the Skills Schema
    1) Form a team that is responsible for the schema. Make sure they understand and adhere to the above (this was our first 3 failures).
    - We went with a 2 level schema. Parent Skill is more like a category. Child skill is the real skill.
    2) Once the schema is set, vet it and get the appropriate approval.
    3) Establish a skills schema review process & cadence. During this review skills may be added, but also look at skills to sunset.
    4) Establish a skills add/request process. No, emailing the administrator to add a skill because manager X wants it is not valid. I want us to establish a "Skills Czar" but so far no one is biting on this (I'd like us to staff a centralized resource planner - I'll nominate them the czar when and if we ever staff this).

    Establish Operational Process:
    1) Each new hire is given our Clarity Skills schema. They sit with their manager and do a self assessment. Again, this is work the resource and the manager wishes the resource to be "available to project work" for. Just because someone has a skill doesn't always mean they're the right resource for the job.
    - The tendency (we've seen) is to "brag" in skills. Clarity Skills don't affect your pay. Stay focused on the skills that the resource is to be made available for project work, regardless if many other skills are applicable. Just because you can do a job, doesn't mean you should.
    2) We require the skills to be defined on the resource within 60 days of hire (this is written into our Manager's performance expectations).
    - I have a report that is automagically runs each month and is sent to our HR person to show violators. They follow up with the managers to ensure this gets done.
    3) We require that a resource's skills be reviewed and re-assessed during their annual review.
    - I've prototype some solutions to track whether this is done but all are kludgey. We're on the honor system for this one right now.

    Tools we've built to support this:
    1) "Skills List" (portlet) that shows the Parent/Child relationship and allows datamining.
    2) "Skills Analyzer" (portlet) that allows datamining on all resource/skill combinations.
    - This has a "Skills Defined" Yes/No drop box to allow us to see the "unskilled" ;P
    3) "60 Day Exception" report (Webi) that simply looks for NULL skills 60 days > from Date of Hire.
    4) "Skills Survey" form (Webi) - this simply pulls current skills out. This is the form filled out by the new hire.

    What's next: We plan to "productize" a Resource Requirements schema in hopes of doing gap analysis reporting to help make future staffing decisions based off of upcoming demand. We also want to do a "next availability" burn down chart for the Resources that match the requirements. Big dreams, more work to do but it's working. We really need a Centralized Resource Planner to drive this to the next level IMHO.

  • 4.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 17, 2010 12:54 PM
    I'll echo Michael's point about the granularity. Here again, we used looking at this with the end state in mind (a quality Resource Requirement) as a means to control granularity. The Resource Requirement is a combination of Role and Skill.
    Example: We have Oracle Developers on our Data Warehouse team, but our DBAs are on our Midrange/SAN team. From our PM's perspective, they need to communicate "I need an Oracle DBA and I need an Oracle Developer."

    Role: Developer
    Skill: Oracle
    Staffing OBS: Data Warehouse

    Role: Administrator
    Skill: Oracle
    Staffing OBS: Midrange/SAN

    In the Resume Keywords we've instructed PMs to put in anything specific about the requirement they feel the Requirement doesn't communicate "DBA must know performance tuning" (BTW, we're not checking resumes into Clarity, we simply use this text entry field as supporting metadata).

    Using this perspective & process we keep the skills tight: we only need one Oracle.

    Also echoing Michael, our HR system can manage skills but the functionality has not been rolled on and is not on their roadmap. This forced our hand to take on the work in Clarity. If you have an HR system where this is already being managed you probably won't want to duplicate the work.

    I'll toss this out: Who is syncing Skills/Resource associations from their HR system? We identified where "HR relevant skills" and "Project staffing relevant skills" aren't always the same. Is anybody experiencing any "project staffing pain" pulling skills data and resource relationships from their HR system where the intended use of the skills is slightly different?

  • 5.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 18, 2010 12:34 AM
    This is GREAT information, I am so grateful. Rob, I think we are on point, the HR team is completely involved in this process, they sat down with a committee of department heads to go over these skills before they were uploaded in Clarity. We went live with 12.0.4 and we have not rolled out skills to the resources as of yet but the skills are in the system and ready to go. Currently our HR team does not have a system in which they track their skills so really the HR team should own it and once the new skill has been approved then I would add the skills to our database. Some reporting would be great so we could see who has not updated their skills in the past 6 months or a year. I would love to seem some of those reports Bob.

    Thanks again Mike for the detailed questions which really sets up the foundation and immediately puts that question out as to who owns the skills database. I truly thank you and will be reaching out to you guys with more questions when the time comes if you don't mind. :happy:happy

  • 6.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 18, 2010 11:50 AM
    Feel free to contact me at any time.

    Michael Thibault

  • 7.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 20, 2010 09:47 AM
    Thanks Mike and Bob, I wish there was a better way to reach out to each other privately as opposed to wall to wall but I will add you as friend and reach out to you once we are ready to roll this out.


  • 8.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 20, 2010 09:59 AM
    I can be contacted at the following address

  • 9.  RE: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Sep 20, 2010 12:18 PM
    Thanks Mike!

  • 10.  Re: Rolling Out Resource Skills

    Posted Jan 27, 2017 01:18 PM

    I am Michael, and am using this account.

  is no longer valid. You can contact me at: