Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Engineering Staffing Projections
Project staffing projections at Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) were usually done at the beginning of a program and at ad hoc periods during the program. Follow-on needs were accomplished with minimal relation to engineering skill mix required, and the concept of core members was used to a limited extent in project group assignments. The company soon recognized the need to efficiently and effectively allocate engineering personnel through its growing program environment. The company needed to support product lines with teams of core individuals possessing product knowledge and heritage, as well as optimize the availability of engineers’ critical skills and move them quickly across projects.
The Engineering Project Manager (EPM) is tasked in achieving the project’s technical goals, Cost Performance Index, and Schedule Performance Index. The EPM must also control the tasking of personnel assigned to the team. The desire is to have a team of technical personnel working with Engineering Project Management. The core team stays with the project on a long-term basis, and the staff is efficiently allocated and reassigned as needed.
Stable staffing of key engineers as well as flexible, part-time engineering personnel are desirable. In early 1999, Northrop Grumman DSD developed a method for identifying and forecasting specific staff requirements for functional managers. The method involves the publication of a monthly staffing projection spreadsheet. The spreadsheet lists employees’ names, their skill type, and a designation as either core or shared-across projects. The scheduling forecast covers a six- to 12-month range for various categories (e.g., product line, program, tasking, monthly man hour tasking), and enables functional managers to quickly identify staff shortfall or excess for reallocation.
Since implementing these Engineering Staffing Projection practices, Northrop Grumman DSD has realized several benefits. Among them are manageable staff loads, allocation of team members without department transfers, and lower engineering labor.
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