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Piloting the assignment : who is in charge?
Resource management

Piloting the assignment : who is in charge?

Agathe Placet
Content manager
May 3, 2023
5 min

The assignment manager is an individual or group of individuals with a strategic role, at the crossroads of all the issues of a service company.

There are as many different processes and ways of organizing the assignment as there are companies.

And for good reason: assignment is essential for companies organized in project mode. 

In consulting firms, engineering companies or IT services companies, the stakes behind assignment are enormous:

  • For operational performance 
  • For the profitability of projects
  • For employee retention and engagement

These issues are therefore largely the responsibility of those in charge of assignment. So we asked ourselves the question: who bears the main responsibility for assignment in service companies?

Managers assignment full time (100%)

One or more full-time employees are hired to manage assignment at the company level. Often, these profiles are responsible for a defined perimeter. Depending on the size of the company, there is one person in charge of assignment or one person per BU (approximately 1 full-time manager for 150 people). This role can be headed by: HR (Artefact), Operations (Capgemini Invent), Finance (Geometry), a BU manager or a partner.

What are the advantages of this mode? 

The assignment manager benefits from a 360° view of the assignment challenges, which will provide him/her with expertise for operational and financial performance, but also for the skills to have in terms of human resources. 

He will thus be able to arbitrate and settle conflicts perfectly at assignment. 

What are the disadvantages of this mode? 

The full-time assignment manager must succeed in making himself heard by all stakeholders to avoid friction and frustration. Moreover, he is not on the field, he may have a somewhat distant vision without any link with the difficulties encountered by the managers.

The managers assignment half-time (50%)

This mode of operation assumes that one or more employees are responsible, at different levels, for managing assignment in the company (in addition to the missions of their job description). Generally, as in the case of a full-time employee, these profiles are responsible for a defined perimeter, often less than 100 consultants. 

What are the advantages of this mode? 

The manager knows the sector very well, the customer issues and the expected skills. He is in daily contact with his team and their operational issues. And this mode does not suggest additional recruitment for this position

What are the disadvantages of this mode?

This mission requires a strong investment in addition to the initial job description of the operational person and this management time is not billed on the missions.

Since the employee is not trained in HR issues, it is more difficult for him/her to be proactive about the expectations and desires of the consultants upstream of the decisions of assignment. 

The implementation of a cross-assignment mechanism between the different business units is more complex, as the people in charge of assignment do not always have visibility on the other departments.

The assignment manager is the project leader

Under this organization mode, it is the project leaders and managers who directly assign the consultants to the projects for which they are responsible, according to their needs at the time. They select the collaborators within their business units and create their project teams autonomously. 

If there is a conflict over resources to be staffed, the project managers try to reach an agreement among themselves . As a last resort, requests go directly to the General Manager who makes the decision.

What are the advantages of this mode? 

Project managers have a great deal of freedom in choosing their staffing, as they have a very good knowledge of the field and know exactly what resources to mobilize.

The assignment is decentralized, will be conducive to efficiency gains and the budget is properly managed.

This mode reduces the strain on available resources, as project managers easily arbitrate conflicts within their team

What are the disadvantages of this mode?

This mode can generate a assignment wild and create tensions between project managers, but not only, if the resources allocated to the project are not efficient enough, it can create dissatisfaction with the customer

What's more, if assignment is not standardized enough, some project managers may bypass the the assignment tool, making assignment a complex project to manage.

The person in charge assignment is the business engineer or the sales representative

In the IT services companiess, it is the sales representatives and business engineers who are responsible for assignment. They manage the entire discussion chain with the customer. 

They propose profiles and resumes to their clients, hand in hand with the human resources department. Their role is in connection with all the entities of the company, so they have a great need for visibility.

What are the advantages of this mode? 

Sales representatives are given a great deal of autonomy in choosing the resources to be mobilized on assignments. They can respond much more quickly to customer requests (no resource requests, no loss of time, and therefore more projects won). 

This mode creates a strong link between the business department and the human resources department as they work hand in hand to position internal or external resources. 

What are the disadvantages of this mode? 

An employee can be mobilized by several salespeople at the same time, which can create conflicts between salespeople.

Once the project is launched, the sales person does not follow the progress of the project and does not make the steering decisions: the responsibility falls to the project manager.

The human resources department is focused on recruiting rather than coaching on assignments.

The responsibility is rotating

In this mode, one or more people of the company (small size) are in charge of managing the assignment in addition to their activity, and this, for a limited period (6 to 18 months). This mode is based on "delegation" and the designated managers must be real Swiss Army knives

What are the advantages of this mode? 

This mode favors the development of employees' skills on human resources issues and assignment. 

The designated manager knows his or her field, the sector and the client's issues

What are the disadvantages of this mode? 

The fact that the responsibility for assignment changes hands, with handovers on the job every 6-18 months, can create a lack of stability.

The human resources support may be less qualitative and the assignment less efficient, because the designated employees must also take care of their initial missions. 

Things to remember 

The appointment of full-time assignment managers is an important task, they are in charge ofensuring the most adequateplanning possible, and mobilizing the most suitable resources for a project. 

This is a major role in achieving the objectives that guarantee performance and competitiveness.

Would you like to find out more? We've got plenty of resources to help you go further.

To complement this topic, read our assignment management: 4 processes explained.

See also our guides, templates and checklists in the Resources tab.

See you soon at Napta!

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