For one reason or another, there seems to be a major shortage of SampleManager resources, right now. It could have to do with the release of version 10, that possibly customers were just waiting for that before starting quite a lot of this work. Or, it could be some change in our industry’s economy. I wonder if some people call me because they know I’m working in 10.2 and have a specific interest in 10.2 experience, but I haven’t asked. Regardless the reason, the problem is that there don’t seem to be enough resources, right now. None of the ideas I’m about to pass along are new, but they’re ones I’ve noticed customers use when they especially want to get a resource during these times. Normally, if you talk to someone and they’re busy, you’d ask if they know anyone to suggest. It’s a shortage — we don’t know anyone. Instead, here are five of those strategies:
1. Wait. If you can wait, eventually someone will become available. It might not happen particularly soon. However, if you’re not in any rush for your upgrade, new features or whatever it is you need done, the easiest thing to do is wait. Once the market loosens-up, you’ll have your pick of a variety of levels of resources, yet again. Also, if you’re not in a hurry and if this is a skill you’d like to have available, long-term, you can hire someone or bring someone in that has other LIMS skills and train them. Obviously, it takes time to develop these resources, and some aren’t going to quite make the cut, but it’s something to consider.
2. Split up the work. Instead of trying to get all your work done in one block, prioritize it and split it up. For example, suppose that you have 20 items on your list but that 5 of those items are of the highest priority. If you’re lucky and they’re relatively easy to accomplish, you might be able to talk someone into merely doing those most important items for you.
3. Remember to think in charge days not calendar days. Even in the best of times, work isn’t done one-to-one between the calendar and time and the charge time. People get sick and there are a variety of reasons why it can take longer than one calendar work week to finish 40 hours of work. Now, it is even more important to keep this in-mind. Thus, while you might have 8 total hours of work, but when the industry is busy, you won’t necessarily get someone to finish the work in a single calendar day. First of all, they might not be able to start your work for a couple weeks. Second of all, it might take them all week, working on it a couple hours at a time to finish it.
4. Change your idea of purchased time increments. These days, calling to ask for someone to allot one or more full weeks to you is a problem. Few people have any full weeks open. In fact, you can’t necessarily even expect full days to be assigned to you. Thus, if you get a couple hours a day of someone’s time, that’s still progress. For a small block of work, that should be sufficient. For a large project, it often needs to be more like 10-20 hours of their time per week to help you make a dent.
5. Get a commitment. When you ask someone to do some work, if you truly have a deadline, you need to say so. They might not be able to meet it. Even if you don’t have a deadline, you need some commitment from them. There are some consulting firms that are good on queuing the work up and finishing it. Personally, I like to be known as truly conscientious in this regard. But other companies get so busy that they forget about your work. If a person can’t give you at least a rough estimate for: i) when your work can begin, ii) how many hours a week they can allot to it; and, iii) some general ending date, you can’t expect to ever truly get your work done. You need at least a general commitment on these three items. Obviously, you need to keep track of this, too. It’s good around the potential start time to check-in to see if your work truly will be starting.