Do PMs ever truly go on vacation?
August 24, 2010 | In: Project management
After a long and hard work nothing seems more compelling than a nice vacation with your brain detached from everyday tasks and worries.
Key prerequisite to achieve such state of mind is to make yourself replaceable.
Many people think that being irreplaceable will make them more important and consequently better paid. That they will climb faster up the corporate ladders. The truth is that being irreplaceable usually brings more trouble than benefits.
On rare occasions you are seen as a scarce resource and therefore get to be better paid. Congratulations!
But, most of the time you are just stretched between countless tasks that demand your constant attention. Failing to attend to them causes all sorts of fires to break out.
Consider a regular project team. One or two business analysts, seven or eight developers, everything directed by one PM. It’s not hard to notice that in this setup PM is a Single point of failure (SPOF). If he goes on vacation, there is nobody to cover for him. Or is there…?
Mentoring is a fantastic thing. It encourages knowledge transfer across the company. It increases overall company competence. One way of mentoring is to have a young PM as a help on the project, performing less important and more routine tasks. Gradually, his responsibilities will grow. Having such a help lifts the burden off of PM since he is not a SPOF anymore. There is somebody who can put out a fire if one breaks out.
This is very useful, especially if you are on vacation. It provides that final reassurance that you can leave your BlackBerry at home and that the world will continue to turn in the right direction, even with you detached from it.