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Trudy Robinson - Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Some people are far more important to a project than others (despit what the others may think!).  And, as is often the case, it's those that you need the most who have had holidays booked in advance for years and they just happen to be away at the critical time where their input is needed in your project.

You can't keep them there.
You can't clone them.
You can't do without them.

What do you do? 

You prioritise well in advance and ensure those essential deliverables that cannot be done by others are delivered before departure.
You drain their brain of every element possible before they depart.
You ensure their manager knows who they have "handed over" to.
You look for others who know parts of the picture.
You get access to historical records and review these for understanding before the departure.
You prioritise the project deliverables/products.  You prioritise the priorities.  You make sure you have the priorities approved.  You hammer the priorities.  You act as the visual/physical and emotional barrier between the deliverer and the rest of the world.  You do whatever you can to ensure what you need has total focus.

Then you let them go. 
And you don't try to track them down in the backblocks of Africa to approve your system design (or whatever!) - you leave them alone.
Time out for weary team members is as important to your project as them being fully focused while there.

People management is not all one sided - giving them time, space, health and exercise helps bring team loyalty and focus when you need it.

I hope someone has treated you well today.
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