Covering your projects whilst on holiday

OK so we’ve all been there – summer is fast approaching and you are reaching critical stages in your projects, your holiday has been booked for months and your family are excitedly packing their cases ahead of the break. Short of taking your work mobile and laptop on holiday and praying for a decent WIFI connection by the pool – you need to look at how and who can be trusted to keep momentum on your projects in your absence!

I have learned my lesson sorely by entrusting my critical workload to colleagues who promise the earth but when it comes down to it – they are either far too busy with their own schedules or figure it’s not really their problem. So what can you do to ensure all is not lost in your absence?

  • In an ideal world, there would be enough slack in the budget to cover an interim for the period you are away – but reality often dictates no spare cash for such resource. Depending on the impact on the business due to slippage and current investment – you may be able to present a business case to secure funding for a contractor.
  • Speak to the PMO, in another ideal world – there is an established corporate level PMO in place which holds extensive resource maps, (and should already be aware of your absence) to which they can work around resources to ensure a dedicated individual with experience (who has been briefed) can pick up the reins.
  • Plan ahead and create your very own second in command – from the outset, ideally, employ a project coordinator / junior project manager / project assistant who is not used as an admin tool (although if you cover this aspect in your role then exposure to this is required), he/she works alongside you and learns all about the project, suppliers, stakeholders, business requirements as you work together. OK so you may now be saying this is an expensive resource. Is it? You are offering to provide some strong work experience to a professional who is already on the cusp of promotion into delivering a small project. I think we could all easily write a strong business case for this and also gain good buy in from the person to take the role.

Planning ahead and thinking outside of the box are key requirements for a good project professional, don’t leave it to chance – make sure you have cover in place so you can enjoy your holiday and save yourself from stress when the only thing which should be worrying you is which factor sun cream to use. Or of course in the UK which raincoat to take!

Are you currently using these skills in your role? Does your CV tell us this? Are you missing a trick? Get in touch with your CV for a free review exclusive to Project Management professionals!

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