How does a project manager lead in a project crisis and turn the ship around before it sinks? (by Sean)
If the project manager (PM) waits until a crisis hits before preparing, there’s little doubt why the project is in crisis. Regardless of a project’s scope and scale, the prudent PM first performs a Vulnerability Assessment on the overall project. S/he needs to:
- Brainstorm the potential risks;
- Prioritize them into a ranked order of likely occurrence;
- Identify a person responsible for managing each of these potential outcomes who, in turn, prepares a detailed response plan for that potentiality;
- Communicate to the project team who is responsible for each risk; and,
- Condense all the individual vulnerabilities and remediation strategies from the responsible manager(s) into a single document that is frequently tested and widely shared across the project team.
As a wise senior leader once shared, “You can delegate responsibility but you can never delegate accountability.” Following that axiom, the PM holds ultimate accountability but successfully managing a crisis is not a one-person job. If the team accurately assessed its most vulnerable areas and then effectively executed the response plan, then the team will have successfully managed the crisis. If the team failed to properly identify all of its vulnerabilities, then no pithy soundbite to a news reporter or sizable donation to a community charity will erase the stigma of the team’s failure.
As an aside, in The Institute for Crisis Management’s 30-year history, it has found more than 50% of all companies are unprepared for when crisis hits so its never a shock when a prospective client advises no contingency plan exists.
Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Sean Clancy