What can we learn from Robocop and the Terminator about staff augmentation?


Image Source = Robocop Movie Poster

“Part man, part machine, all cop.” ~ RoboCop
“The Terminator is an infiltration unit, part man, part machine.” ~ Kyle Reese in Terminator

When most people use the term augmentation, you may think about changes, either physical or mental, via cybernetics or genetics. If your frame of reference for augmentation is augmented reality, then you may think about using computers to manipulate the sight and sound. Staff augmentation is a strategy by which you evaluate the existing resources and skills and then bring in additional resources with a speciality in what is missing.

As we learned in the movie RoboCop, a set of biological components were available but required the addition of robotic elements in order to transform Alex Murphy into RoboCop. Elements like the heads-up display, heavy protective chassis, and, of course, the massive automatic gun stored in the leg were technological augmentations that enabled RoboCop to catch, stop, and kill the arch-criminals of Delta City.


Image Source = Terminator Promotional Poster

From the Terminator T-800 series, we learned that the metal endoskeletons were fitted with biological augmentation in order to better infiltrate the human resistance cells. These augmentations included skin, hair, and small internal organs that were used to keep up the appearance of the Terminators as passable humans. This is what made the machines more effective in achieving their goal of wiping out the resistance, since humans wouldn’t be able to distinguish the Terminators from other people.

In a project environment, understanding what is within the capability and capacity of your team to complete tasks necessary for your objectives is crucial. Though not without its challenges, augmentation of a workforce to include people who have specific capabilities and capacities can minimize the time it takes achieve your project objective versus building up the existing team.

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