Disasters in project management isnt the same thing as a city in distress, but the same lessons still apply:
When things start to look bad, its important to keep your cool and think. Rash decisions can land you in deeper water than before. This is true whether youre driving down the road or driving a project forward. And dont forget that you need to keep others calm too.
I dont know about you, but my kitchen wasnt stocked for storm situations, and so last night we dined on yogurt and cold noodles. Preparation can save you a lot of griefand may even save the day! Cloud storage, backup generators, duplicate fileseach of these redundancies can help the project weather the storm intact.
Have a Backup Plan
Most people get into trouble in emergency situations because they have no idea what to do. We flounder and fumble because we have no direction. But having a backup plan of actioneven a basic one like call this number or meet up here is enough to make a difference. Of course, if you have a more detailed or comprehensive contingency plan, thats even better!
Learn to Compromise
Youre headed home, but the subways down and the roads are flooded. Which is smarter, braving the waters and rain, or finding shelter somewhere close? When disaster strikes, sometimes its no longer possible to meet your original goal. Work with your team and client to find a suitable compromise based on what resources you can realistically use.
Whether its up to the minute status updates or regular contact between teams, clear and timely communication is essential for tackling any disaster. Project managers need to know whats going on if theyre to properly manage a bad situation, and communicate with the team working to resolve it. And dont forget, clients need to know whats going on, too!
Help is Where You Ask for It
Unless your situation is extremely dire, most rescue crews will expect you to fend for yourself. The same thing applies to project management. If you need help, ask. Otherwise, your co-workers may assume that youve got the situation well in hand.
So the next time problems start raining down, keep the above tips in mind. Hopefully itll help you weather the storm and keep you on course.
Image credit, Flickr, Ian Britton