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Down but Not Out: How to Keep the Project Rolling While You’re Sick

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You feel a sneeze coming on. Your temperature starts rising. You start coughing uncontrollably. Youre sick, and youre panicking. Theres too much to do, and you cant afford to get sick! Should you push through it and keep working?

Absolutely not!

Youre endangering your health and that of your team. Sometimes the best project management strategy is knowing when to take time off. Ideally, you should focus on getting better, and not work at all. But if you really need to keep the ball rolling while youre home, Ive got some tips that can help you out:

Plan for Emergencies

We all make contingency plans for team members getting sick, or going on vacation. But how many of us plan for being sick ourselves? Not many, Id wager. But we owe it to our team (and the clients) to make sure the project can survive without us.

The best way to do that is to not be the bottleneck. Make project-critical information available to everyoneor at the very least, accessible to a few key people. Make sure everyone is up to date on project progress and where the team is headed.

Use Web Tools to Stay in Touch

Stuck in bed and need to know whats going on? Cloud-based project management software tools allow you to keep tabs on the project from your home. Some even allow teams to upload files for review and have discussion boards that let you participate in the conversation and steer things from out of the office.

Delegate to the Right People

If everyone loses their direction after you leave, youre doing something wrong. You need to delegate. There should be at least a couple of people on your team who can function as your backup while youre away. It doesnt matter what job title they have, so long as you can trust them to keep the ball rolling. Let them field questions and assign tasks, so that you only get asked about the most urgent matters.

Catch up on Reading

If youve already done all of the above and there are no fires to put out from your sickbed, then maybe you can relax and take the time to catch up on some project-related reading. You can proofread technical documentation, or study up on the skills that youll need for the project (whether its programming or otherwise). Catch up on industry trends and see how you can improve your teams process or strategy.

Image credit, Flickr, Tom Gill

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