Project Management and the Doctors waiting room

I am sat in the doctors waiting room and the doctor is running an hour late. That now puts me an hour late. Somehow I will have to either catch up the time or write it off and hope the some form of karma will give me an hour back sometime in the future.

It makes me think that this is how we can end up having project problems, someone slips on a dependency for you or the resource is not available to start on time. On the face of it what's an hour? Either the resource will pick up the slipped hour or we can do a bit of overtime later if needed. Then later arrives, the person doing the work did not catch up the hour they did the job is 32 hours as estimated, 20 other minor slips happen and you are now 200 hours down and it's Friday and just a weekend before go live, you only have 3 people available to help. How the hell did I get in this mess, nothing major has happenned. Does this sound familiar? Maybe a bit extreme?

As a PM it makes me think we all need to be mindful of these minor slips and been sure that the cumulative effect does not become a major disaster.
When we start late due to resource or dependency slippage on something ask our teams to catch up the hour then, not later. Explain the logic and what's in it for me angle for them, such as avoiding the potential request for 48 hour straight working at short notice.

When provding those milestone updates to stakeholders remember you are a stakeholder. Have you just reported the slip and it cause? What about the recovery? Have we just burnt our contigency which was included to address specific risks and if they arrive we have none left.
So how will gain back my hour? Hopefully this effective use of time writing this note has helped. The time I have lost in the office I will catchup next Monday night in a hotel or I reprioritise some stuff or delegate it to the team.

Thanks for reading and tell your friends if you think my words are useful, if not tell me and I can improve.

The Sunday Lunch Project Manager

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