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how to deal with resource changes (decided by upper management)

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    I’m PM for IT Infrastructure projects for several customers. Last week, I had an issue with 1 of our customers.
    Let me short describe the situation:
    There are 2 small IT infrastructure projects at the same customer: 1 is MS Exchange upgrade to 2010, the other is Active Directory & Printserver migration.
    I’ve made a planning together with the customers. System Engineer A should go on first week of February to do the exchange upgrade, System Engineer B should go week 3 to do the AD & printserver migration.
    End of january, system engineer A left our company. During the rest of February and March he was planned on another different big project managed by another PM. Upper management took system engineer B to replace A on the big project.
    This means that 2 of my reserved & planned engineers couldn’t work on my project anymore. Engineer A is nothing to do about (“force of god”). I cannot forsee that he will leave the company.
    System engineer B is taken away by the upper management because they find the other big project more important.
    My question: How to tell the customer?
    I was honest about A & B but he said it wasn’t his problem of the internal problems of our company. I had 2 replacements for A and B, but in his eyes I should have kept system engineer B as planned. How should I tell the next time?
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    Hello Thiery Moens –
    “Force of God” and “law of attraction” is something that are unknown events — events if known, you would have stopped it from happening or have identified an alternative.
    My question is do you have risk management in place. Have you documented the uncertain events that may happen – process, people, technology, etc – thought about how to respond to them. If you priortize them based on the severity and engage the customer in this process – it is sure the customer will appreciate the effort, rather than seeing it as surprise later.
    Hope this helps
    — Sai, PMP, PMI-SP, MCTS Project
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