The holidays are wonderful. Family, friends, much needed time off…there’s something for everyone. But there’s a cost to the holiday season, besides the money spent on gifts. Productivity goes through the floor. Everyone’s mind is somewhere else. People aren’t working as hard. People are making travel plans, they’re planning holiday parties, and their attention is elsewhere. And you’re a project manager, and those deadlines aren’t going anywhere. You know the week after New Years, when the holiday season ends, management is going to be livid when things are behind schedule. Project management during holiday season is a challenge. Here are the ways to meet that challenge head on.
Project Management During Holiday Season: Three Strategies
A Personal Touch
One of the things that happens during holiday season is people dial back their efforts at work. Concentration is elsewhere. You, as project manager, need to prioritize what tasks are super-necessary to the plan, and which are time sensitive. These are the tasks you want to be on top of. Send reminders. Check in with people. Project management during holiday season takes on a more personal feel – the best way to ensure things are done is by talking to your team constantly. You have limited time, and you therefore need to leverage it wisely. Make sure you’re pushing the tasks that are crucial.
This personal feel is important for team morale, too. Ask them about their holiday plans. Make a show, where possible, of pushing back a task deadline so they can have an enjoyable holiday. Your team notices this, and they’ll respond to being appreciated.
Incorporate the Holidays
Have a holiday lunch at work. Do secret Santa for the team. When possible, provide gifts from the company, or yourself…or both. Holiday season provides many different opportunities for out of the office programming, team building exercises, morale building, and more. Grab this opportunity! It is invaluable for the long term health of your team and the project. Use the levity of the season for team morale. Your team will love it. And when they return from the holiday season, they’ll be ready to roll up their sleeves and jump in to work.
Your vendors are also celebrating the holidays. So is the help desk for your software. Your suppliers too. Everything during holiday season runs at limited availability, with limited hours, and limited manpower. You must plan ahead, more so than usual, or one small problem can quickly become unsolvable. Ideally, everything in your project plan from the end of November until the second week of January should be meticulously planned and sourced, with contingency plans for every task. Risk management during holiday season is paramount.
Project Management During Holiday Season: The Summary
- maximize the personal approach during this season
- use the holidays to your advantage, especially with team building and morale
- your project plan must be ironclad and foolproof for the holiday season