LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for AFRIK-IT Archives

AFRIK-IT Archives

AFRIK-IT Archives













By Topic:










By Author:











Proportional Font





AFRIK-IT  March 1998

AFRIK-IT March 1998


DEVMODL: Topic 004: Y2k Skills and Staffing


Chris Anderson <[log in to unmask]>


African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List


Sun, 22 Mar 1998 13:13:47 GMT





text/plain (330 lines)

DEVMODL: Topic 004: Skills and Staffing for Y2k

This article forms part of the "Y2k MODEL FOR

A Powerpoint Presentation on this Topic can be
downloaded from

PURPOSE: To address Items 5 and 6 in the Preamble to
the Model:

5. Skills.  Y2k skills are not readily available in the
affected areas.  A communications network will be
necessary to provide remote support for technical

6. Staffing.  Skilled resource will be difficult to
obtain in light of existing world-wide shortages and
escalating rates


We already know that there are Skills shortages and
staffing difficulties in parts of the Developing World.
In fact it will become a World-wide problem.

In South Africa for example, the official statistics
say we are Losing 50 Skills a month (Computing SA Jan
1998).  Unofficial sources put the numbers as high as
250 a month.

It also appears that for Skilled People, Only Overseas
Jobs are being offered, Local firms are not Hiring.

There are many reasons for this.  Interestingly exit
interviews reveal that "Management attitude" is
considered more of an issue than the more obvious
reasons such as "Money attractive", "Urban violence",
"New Labour Law".

I also consider one of the difficulties in finding
staff to be Unrealistic screening. Why are we asking
for candidates with a Degree and 5 years experience for
really quite junior positions?

We expect Skilled People to spring fully trained from
the ground (like Dragons Teeth), but have put no
investment into training of school leavers.

Modern Computing practice has changed the goalposts in
respect of the traditional definition of Programmer and
Analyst.  But I suspect that our selection techniques
have not kept pace, raising the question of
Inappropriate Aptitude testing.

In some parts of the world, Hiring Freezes and cutbacks
in Budget are a reality.

A reality that is also preventing new hires is the
perception "We Don't Know How To Fire Them at The End
Of The Project".  A red flag to any red-blooded Union
representative.  But this is a real world reason for
not hiring permanent staff.  Contractors and Temporary
staff are perceived as a more attractive proposition.

Unemployment in developing countries is on the increase
and we have raised these artificial barriers.

We know we need these Skills, the question is Where do
we get Them?

The Options:

- Retrain existing staff

- Contractors

- Part-time & home-workers

- School-leavers

The Y2k effort is like an Iceberg.  The IT problem,
like the portion of the Iceberg above the Waterline, is
perceived as the entire problem.  This a fallacy.  The
Y2k issue goes far beyond this, the business issues can
be thought of as the hidden "Underwater" portion of the
Iceberg, potentially far bigger than the IT problem.

The Titanic sank because it hit the underwater portion
of the iceberg.

However consider the PROFILE of people we actually NEED
for Y2k:

HINT: it is NOT a technical profile.


We need People who know the Business.  They need to be
able to climb into the systems and procedures and
uncover the flaws.


Y2k results in a mound of paperwork.  Essential Tool
Skills such as Wordprocessing, Spreadsheets etc can be


We need people who can perform repetitive, boring tasks
with accuracy and speed.


We need Project Managers and Administrators.


We know that Testing represents 50% to 75% of the Y2k

Who have more Motivation to make sure that the bugs are
eliminated than the people who are going to Use the
Systems after 2000.

Would you trust anybody else to test a system that you
use every day?

So Where does the Responsibility Lie?

With The End User.  This is after all a Business


We need a Multi-disciplinary Approach to Staffing for
the Y2k Problem.

Here is a suggestion for a Y2k Staffing Model.

Y2k Skills Structure

Y2k Project leader  --> Y2k Project Understudy

Architect (Super Mentor)

Technical Mentor
Team Member --> Assistant --> Assistant

Business Mentor
Team Member --> Assistant --> Assistant



TITLE: Y2k Project Leader

- Full-time position

- Must have In-Depth Knowledge of Business

- Good Project Management Skills

- Negotiation Skills

- An Understudied position

> Cannot afford to lose during project. Good compromise
is one Business, One technical

> Usually has IT background


TITLE: Architect

- Not necessarily a permanent position

- Typically external Consultant

- Requires in-depth Y2k skills

- Responsible for:

> Design of Master Plan

> Training of Project Leaders

> Presentation of Problem at High Level

> Technical Advice & Leadership


TITLE: Business Mentor

- Coopted Internally

- Senior Position

- Knows business and has influence within Organisation

- Negotiation skills

- Responsible for Business Aspects of Project:

> Customers and Vendors

> Infrastructure

> Contingency fallbacks

> Risk Management


TITLE: Technical Mentor

- Senior IT person

- In-depth Knowledge of Existing Systems

- High level of technical expertise

- Responsible for Technical Feasibility

> Verification process

> Risk Management


TITLE: Team Member

- Programmers or Business People coopted internally

- Practical experience

- Return to Business at end of Project


TITLE: Team Assistant

- Clerical people coopted internally

- Have knowledge of business

- Can be taught basic Skills e.g.  Excel, Access etc

- Return to Business at end of Project


TITLE: Trainee

- Junior staff coopted or New Hire

- Clerical Skills

- Require Training in Specific Project related skills

- Absorbed into Business at end of Project



This model assumes a maximum Team Size.

The crucial proportion for team size is 1:3

Obviously multiple teams can report to the same person
but when actually doing work on a subproject task no
more than 3 people should be involved.

This rationale is adapted from a very successful IBM
concept from the 70's.


The logical succession to this model is to examine Y2k

- Nobody has done this before

- Specific Y2k training required for all Participants

- Board and Senior Management also need "Training" to
alert them to the risks and realities of Y2k

- "Tailor-made" task specific training for individuals

And most importantly, Training must be Designed

There is already a source for Introductory Y2k Material

Laragh Courseware
Year 2000: Training for Non-IS Managers
email: [log in to unmask]

But as individual organisations, we still need to
Design and Implement specific training for:

- Project Team

- Technical Team

- Rest of Organisation

- Top Management

Chris Anderson          email:                       [log in to unmask]
Y2K Cinderella Project          [log in to unmask]             Striving for Year 2000 Compliance

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Search Archives

Search Archives

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
September 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
April 2008
March 2008
November 2007
August 2007
July 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
November 2005
October 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995



Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager