In a tight data warehousing hiring market where talent is hard to come by, initiating a personnel "skills inventory matrix" and conducting a follow-up gap analysis can help managers overcome productivity problems. The purpose of the matrix is getting employees and managers to self-assess their business, project planning and technical skills. A typical matrix, for instance, breaks out workers into novice, intermediate, advanced and expert categories. The matrix, written in the form of a questionnaire, may ask IT workers to rate themselves as a "novice" or "expert" for a data warehousing function such as performing E/R data modeling or designing a source data detection and extraction process. Once the results are compiled, the IT manager can then assess where the department has the best technical and business skill sets and where management may need to hire an additional worker or bring in a consultant to fix a particular problem. "The matrix and gap analysis tells you where the problems are and how you can find solutions," says Kelly Gilmore, co-founder of Littleton, Colo.-based Connect, The Knowledge Network, which conducted a seminar Monday at TDWI World Conference -- Spring 2001 in Washington, D.C. A "skills inventory matrix" may help more companies assess their personnel. But data warehousing professionals also asked about timing. For instance, Cornell University is trying to consolidate several data marts into a more centralized data warehouse and the school's nine-member implementation staff is already coping with managing multiple projects. "It's a question of finding the time to do these kinds of assessment projects," says Stephanie Herrick, programmer/analyst specialist at Cornell.

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