How I saved a project after key staff resigned

how-i-saved-a-project-thumbTristan Sternson founded IT firm Infoready to help businesses make sense of the huge amount of data they have flowing through their systems. Given the emphasis on big data in the past few years, it’s been a success, with the company turning over $7.4 million a year.

But early in the business, some key contractors left in the middle of a project. Sternson tells SmartCompany how he managed to keep the business on track.

So how’s this year been for you?

I wouldn’t call it a breakout year, but it’s been more solid. We just recently received some good awards, including getting on the Deloitte Fast 50 list and a worldwide award from IBM. It’s a good year, lots of stuff happening.

So what happened with these contractors who left?

It was probably at a stage when the business was more a 50-50 mix between permanents and contractors. As you grow, you know, we’ve felt the right mix is about 70-30. But at that stage it was rapid growth, we were getting lots of people in with expertise and we had some great talent pools, as we called them. They were contractors who we knew, who were ready to go, who were pre-qualified and had done work with us and performed the quality of work we expected.

We had a lot of large clients, a lot of big clients asking for a lot of work, and we had to be able to scale quickly and ensure that we could deliver the same outcomes and levels of quality.

So what happened with this instance?

With that particular one, we had key people working on the job. It was an interstate project, we had contractors flying in, commuting and, for unfortunate reasons, it was a couple of people who had left us. But in total it was four contractors who left during that project. Three of them were for personal reasons, you obviously can’t have a contractor going interstate when their wife is pregnant! So they fly back and you just have to acknowledge that.

But this is exactly why you need to have the right mitigation in place and you’ve just got to manage that whole process.

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