Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Keeping a backup plan

The reality of healthcare and much of life is that much of it is a crapshoot. Emergencies can happen and make critical work quite difficult to complete. For instance I recently experienced this first hand when I was experiencing stomach pain this past Sunday night. It developed into and was diagnosed as appendicitis. Normally, this would not be a big deal, but knowing that I had a significant amount of work due at the end of the month, it became clear that I would need to use my backups.

What I mean by my backups is different for various circumstances. For existing projects that are currently in use, this means to make sure that there are people and processes in place to do whatever is needed to handle day to day tasks.

For projects in development, this means having documentation available that shows next steps. This documentation can provide what is needed to proceed forward even if I am not available.

These backups are critical for important projects and tasks that must continue no matter what. So, in considering these types of tasks, you can make sure you have a task backup plan by doing the following:

1. Keep a plan or task list updated for important projects.
2. Designate and train at least one reliable resource to help you in an emergency.
3. Maintain good relationships with key people for the task. A backup plan is useless if the person who is backing up is not trusted.

These are the steps I take and they worked well for me during this recent illness. What strategies do you try?

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