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Best Practice for managing your engineering headcount needs

We are in the process of going through some significant company growth and I am getting requests to add some significant engineering resources.  While our new customer is driving much of the growth, I am trying to understand a better way to determine our needs for engineers, QA and product management resources.  

1. Does anyone one have a guidelines they use manage the headcount requests?  e.g. QA to Engineer Ratio

2. Aside from a new customer or a new product, what really drives the need for adding engineers. Is there any specific metric anyone is using?

 

Answers

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Do you currently measure how much capacity your existing engineer's can handle? How many clients/work load? If you have this type of quantitative data it should help you gauge the necessity to add someone. I have a similar issue in admin. As we continue to add stores and everyone is working at capacity I hate adding overhead unless it's a necessity and I don't like relying on everyone to "tell" me they can't handle more. My philosophy is "show me" so each one of my team has a Task List with Times where they timed each job duty the best they could when they were hired on and once a year I ask them to update it because things change (duties streamline, processes change, etc). The great thing is when I feel the pain of overload in the office an I know we are about to grow I can make an objective decision about what position I need and who needs to offload some duties.

Now, I don't know if it's that simple for engineers to do as I am sure it's so random based on client/project/scope; but if you have some way of measuring output / productivity it should give you an idea of your needs. Hope this helps a little. :)

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