When things go wrong – identifying risks and what to do if they happen
Today was an interesting day. I learned a few new things. For one, I learned how to expedite an emergency CAB (Change Advisory Board) meeting within my company. That was kind of cool. I also learned what the CAB requires for an approval. I learned how to get certain resources I needed to work on tasks. It was all good. Except it really wasn’t. Something big had gone wrong and I had to lead the troops to fix it. When you get to the point where you NEED an emergency CAB meeting, the shit is hitting the fan. You know what I mean?
So what happens when things go wrong? What is your knee jerk reaction when things don’t go as planned? If your first line of attack is to go back to bed, well then chances are you will still have that problem when you arise. But if you approach problems head on and keep seeking the right solution, then you will probably figure something out that works. It may not always be the way you wanted things to work out, but usually you can find a way to solve the problem that will be satisfactory to all those involved.
But let me back up for a second. For any project manager (and I hope you feel like you are the project manager of your life), one of the key things they teach us is to anticipate risk or problems that may arise. When we are implementing a new technology or hardware, for instance, we go through a checklist of things that can break. Then we create a plan for what we would do if that happens (roll back code, or try another way, etc.) In life, we can’t just “roll back code,” although, wouldn’t we all love to at times? “Uh yeah that relationship? Yes let’s roll that back.” I definitely wish I could do that in more than a few “life projects.” So what CAN we do with our life projects? We can seriously take some time to think what COULD go wrong.
For example, I want to get a new car and I’m saving for it. Buying a new car is really not a major life project, but, it is a necessary evil when your minivan has 250,000 miles and the time is coming when she will need to be put to pasture. I could hit a medical emergency that requires that money. I could see a decrease in income for some reason and not be able to save up as fast. One of my kids cars could need work. Whatever it is, I like to think about what COULD go wrong so that I already have a plan in mind if that does happen. This way if something goes wrong, I generally know how to proceed and I will not be devastated if the plan takes longer than expected.
Now hold up sparky, that isn’t license to go into debilitating worry about all the possible things that could possibly befall you. That is NOT what this is about. I am talking about approaching your life project in a clear, matter of fact way so that you are able to move through the various milestones of that project with less problems and more success. I have never had a project that just went perfectly. There are always things that cause something to be delayed, or there is an extra step that needs to be added in. But when you are prepared for that, it makes it all the easier to move past it.
I always talk about your top 3 life projects… so in those projects, have you thought about risks? Take a few moments and write them down and plan for what you will do if things go wrong. You will go into your project much more prepared, and secretly I believe we ward off the gremlins when we are aware of what could go wrong. When we approach our goals with careful thought processes, we really do achieve them faster and more easily.
Keep up the good work!