Worst Performing Contractors
We received this, about how an agency is threatening to dump the worst performing contractors, is from a reader, Graham.
I don‘t know if you have experienced this before Dr McLaughlin but I haven‘t.
We have a permie Project Manager who is about 28 on the project.
The Contractors have been giving him some advice. However, this has irritated him and he has gone about it his own way.
We all predicted that it would cause problems for the project and so it has.
Asking for Extra Work
He has asked us to do extra work for nothing. He says we are on a day rate and so we have to do as many hours as it takes to get the project back on schedule.
We‘ve all done a little bit extra even though we know that the problems have been caused by him.
I was astonished to get an email from the agent saying that I had to work more hours as I was on a daily rate.
The other contractors from that agency have been getting the same.
Of course, the project is getting further blown off course. That’s because the Project Manager decided to cut out unit testing to save time. He’s going straight on to systems testing.
Now, the agent has emailed all their contractors at the site and said that he is going to terminate the two worst performing contractors. That will take place when our contracts are up for renewal in a couple of months‘ time.
As you can imagine, this is not creating a great atmosphere in the workplace. Contractors now see other contractors not as fellow team members with the same goals but as rivals.
Have you come across this Dr. McLaughlin?
Dr. McLaughlin‘s IT Surgery
I have had the occasional agent getting in touch to say that I needed to work harder.
I‘ve asked them to explain in more detail what needs to get done to get the project back on track.
Any time you talk technical to agents they are immediately on the defensive. That’s because they invariably know nothing about the skills they are selling.
Bad Decisions of the Client
I then explain the reasons why the project is not going well. I tell them how it is the bad decisions of the client which has caused the problems.
I then say that if the agent really wants to help the project come in on time and to budget they should contact the client. They should make him realise that they have to change path if the project is to come in on time.
I tell him that the youthful Project Manager is putting the agency‘s reputation at stake by their bad decisions. This can already be seen by the fact that the PM got in touch with the agency to tell him to get his contractors to work harder.
Perhaps he needs to contact someone higher up at the company to tell him or her what the problems are. He can tell them how they are not the fault of the agency or the contractors there.
If you can, get all the contractors to support an email or document saying what the problems with the project are. It should say how they can be fixed by changing previous bad decisions.
Contact the Client
Of course, the agent is unlikely to contact the client to do this but it puts him on the defensive.
It might have seemed a good idea to him to threaten to sack the worst performing contractors.
Tell him also that his email has meant that a lot of the contractors on the site are now spending more time sending out CVs as their renewal is not secure. Tell him that this might impact the project.
It might be a good idea to start sending out your CV anyway. This sounds a rank rotten project, a very poor Project Manager and an idiot of an agent.
You can do without all of that!