Project Practitioners > 4 Tips for Managing Projects Around Holidays

4 Tips for Managing Projects Around Holidays

By Sinikka Waugh

In celebration of this week's US National Independence Day, I just wanted to take a quick moment to share 4 tips on managing projects around holidays.

Tip 1 - Be Aware:  Whether working with a multinational team or a collocated team, an effective PM is fully aware of national, religious, and local holidays that could impact the work site of the team members.  Will offices be closed on a certain date at a certain location? 

HINT:  Check out a calendar for each of the geographic locations that are important to your project team, and add any known holidays to your master project schedule.

Tip 2 - Be Proactive:  When a major holiday falls in the middle of a week, it's entirely possible that team members will take time off before or after that day to be with their families and friends, or just enjoy time away from work.  What days are team members planning to be gone?

HINT:  Find out how your team members plan to handle upcoming holidays so there are no surprises.  Consult your roles & responsibility matrix to ensure adequate coverage for project roles.

Tip 3 - Be Customer-focused:  Sometimes our customers have different expectations about holiday hours than ours.  If we need something from them or they need something from us, it's important to clear up expectations about how a holiday impacts the schedule.  How does the customer's holiday schedule align with the needs of the project?

HINT:  Talk to your customer about upcoming holidays, and make sure expectations are clear about how meetings and deliverables will be exchanged around holidays.

Tip 4 - Be Personal:  A sensitive exchange of cultural insight or a moment of celebration during an existing meeting can be an appropriate way to foster team spirit.  If those don't suit the current situation, a friendly holiday greeting from the Project Manager or Sponsor might be just the right personal touch.  Can an upcoming holiday that has significance to some team members be used to build relationships within the team?

HINT:  Think about even the simple ways you can boost spirits, build morale, and have a little fun with upcoming holiday, and then take action to make it happen.

Here's wishing you project success and stress-free holidays! 

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