Posted by: kerrywills | August 18, 2017

Preparing for fire drills


On any given week there can be 1-3 fire drills at work. This includes requests from organizations for information, data, presentations or meetings and generally with a very fast turnaround. Since many of these can not be avoided, my strategy is to make sure that my portfolio is prepared to respond to them. This means having diligence and transparency in our portfolio information. Here are some examples where we have “living” information that can be used when a fire drill arises..

  • Status – Having multiple layers of current status and risks with actions allows me to give a timely snapshot when asked by any stakeholder
  • Financials – Financial reports with proper details on variances allows me to respond to any financial question with real-time information
  • Historical Information – Many of my portfolios are multi-year and I am asked every few weeks for some aggregation of historical information and having a clean folder structure and information allows for this
  • Milestones – Keeping key milestones and critical path information current allows me to answer any schedule questions

So keeping information updated and “clean” is not just good program/portfolio management but it helps when these urgent requests come in so they don’t become large fire drills that distract the team. In fact, by having the information available, many times my program managers are not even aware that a request came in because we already took care of it…which means they can focus on delivering on the commitments.

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