Staffing in IT has two major complications. The first is that the skills needed to address modern business computing architecture are very rare in the workforce. A tiny fraction of college graduates earn degrees in computer science, information technology, engineering, or other relevant majors. Of those that do, it can take years in the workforce to acquire the full set of skills needed to address the problems of enterprise IT systems.
The second complication is that employee career goals can be unpredictable from the perspective of management. As an employee with a high skill set is always in demand, it is very likely that the employee is unofficially “on the market” despite being committed to permanent or long-term contract employment. Even if the employee is not actively seeking a position, it is likely that dozens of headhunters are notifying him or her about persuasive, lucrative openings on a daily basis. It is for this reason that IT teams must expect to become at any moment and tend to think of staffing as a moving target.
One practice that can help mitigate the problem of short-staffing is cross-testing, though it is easier said than done. A team can assign members in pairs to test each other’s fixes and solutions. If there is a sudden departure from the team, there is rarely ever enough time for adequate knowledge transfer. The practice of cross-testing means that at least some of the critical knowledge transfer is integrated into the course of daily work.
However, aside from cross-testing, the one other tactic an organization can really take is matching the offer of any competitor in terms of compensation and benefits. However, for the majority of organizations this is not feasible.
What this leaves as far as addressing the issue of short staffing is trusting in an IT staffing firm such as . With this option, an IT organization can quickly find qualified, screened, background-cleared professionals with proven experience.