The case of the ill project manager

The call came in at around 0915. The doctor suggested that she would need at least 2 weeks off.

What to do?

Life goes on and so do projects? But do they? The loss of one key person was well dealt with by this team because:

  • the team were experienced at delivering projects. The team had been put together carefully to reflect the challenges they would face. Losing the project manager was not on the list but they coped because of their experience. Would your project?
  • project management paperwork was excellent. The project manager kept really good paper trails and the team were able to pick up where she had left off. Would you be able to do this?
  • the project sponsor took over the consultation work the project manager was going to do. The sponsor had the seniority and recognised the importance of this part of the project and after being asked, took it on. Would your sponsor take over an aspect of the project?
  • risk assessment; in putting the risk log together the project team talked through what would happen if they lost anyone from the team – including the project manager. There is no doubt that this scenario planning helped them cope without the project manager.

What would happen if you lost a key member of the project team?

What are your paper trails like, could someone pick up the project after a brief study of the documents?

Can you engage with the sponsor to take over some of the work needed? Sometimes, no matter how experienced, you need someone senior!

Big questions. But what are your answers?

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