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I have been involved with enough implementation projects of various sizes, to have seen no end of risk and issue registers. Some RAID logs are but a few lines, others in tens of megabytes and looking more like Tolstoy’s War & Peace. They come in all shapes and sizes and all projects should clearly have one.
I have often seen people reluctant to add ‘Weather’, ‘Earthquake’ or ‘Bushfire’ on their risk registers, although I understand ones down under come Pre-printed with the latter these days. Climate is becoming more unpredictable, whatever your belief in man-made climate change.
The last big historic project related weather event I remember was in Jan 2010. There was serious snow, below zero temperatures and disruption. The weather prevented locals getting to a meeting in Blandford, Dorset when I had made it with colleagues from the North West. Apparently Dorset only had one snowplough. Who knew?
So lets face it, weather related risks used to be very unlikely. Well I think no more.
Last month over at a client where I am working as a Critical Friend, for a large integrated housing and contractor system project, I came face to face with how climate change, can affect a project. For the second time this year, (firstly Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire), floods of an almost biblical proportion, have stopped us in our tracks.
The severe South Yorkshire floods in Doncaster and Sheffield looked horrendous on the news. I for one would have preferred to see it classified as an emergency sooner, particularly having worked with the fabulous people up there at St Leger Homes and Doncaster MBC, over the last year or so. Brilliant down to earth folk. I always thought when watching the footage, that many in our project team, would be dragged off to assist. I wasn’t wrong.
While my heart goes out to the 80 or so families evacuated from the terrible floods, three weeks of many staff across the organisations, needing to be involved in a ‘Silver Alert’, takes its toll on a complex system and ICT transformation project. A few weeks of cancelled implementation and configuration sessions, leave a big gap, which is difficult to easily mitigate. Forward sessions in the project plan cannot go ahead, as previous config and preparation has not been completed.
This causes issues internally at the client and at supplier(s). Most suppliers try to allocate resources at least six weeks ahead, so cancelling sessions can mean a five week or more wait to reschedule. This often surprises clients, who often I hear say, “I was hoping for next week”! When I was an implementer that’s how it generally was and also these days when organising consultancy days. It should not be a surprise, to anyone involved in a project. At St Leger Homes, we are still on track for our target go-live, although I for one will be keeping out a weather eye going forward.
So, my Takeaway (or Carryout for readers in Scotland), is to plan more seriously around the risk of weather related disruption, regardless of how you feel about the cause or evidence of human caused Climate Change.
Related Post: Are some of your transformation and ICT projects taking far too long, or never coming to completion 🤔?
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Jeff Buckley- When The Levee Breaks.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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