Resources come and go, whether it’s just for a day when you need to get work done for tomorrow, or a week because people are switched to another project, or permanently because they leave the company, you will have to find a Plan B, even C or D!
Here are some general tips that can help various situations when resources wave goodbye!
1. Manage client expectations appropriately
If resources are switched, or even temporarily absent, chances are, your project will slow down. This means that you may not be able to meet a set deadline. Your client must know this right away, and you may not know when the deadline can be met.
In these cases, do not commit to a specific time and give yourself more time than you think you will need. Instead of “next Monday”, commit to “mid next-week” where you will have some flexibility.
Also, except if it’s a very small “set-back”, you may want to avoid spilling out the reality like “your resource got fired” or “somebody’s sick and we don’t know when he’ll be back”; that will only worry the client and bring absolutely nothing constructive so simply state that you need more time.
2. Switch resources around pro-activaly
If you need someone right away and ask who’s available, chances are everybody will be busy, and those available may not be able to take the task you need done. So you cannot surrender right away, there is often a solution when you move things around taking several projects into consideration. This means different things depending of the situation:
- Check if other projects have more flexibility, and can lend a resource, even if that project as to postpone a delivery; or
- Trade resources between projects so one can free another that could do your specific task;
You may have to use diplomacy, but avoid simply asking around “Do you have time?”, start with that, but if it doesn’t work, start trading!
3. Prepare a backup plan in advance
One thing you can do to plan ahead is use the “Hit by a bus syndrome“, I invite you to read my article on the subject.
4. Have your documentation simple & updated
If you are going to switch to a new resource at the last-minute, you want that resource to be up and running very fast. This means that the information you will give him must get to the point and must be reliable. Every minute may make a difference.
Avoid piling up 30 pages to read, give him only what he needs to know, go right to the point.
5. Stay positive
If you start to whine or panic, you are not going to get anything accomplish, nor are you going to be diplomatic when trying to deal resources, so stay positive and go forward.