Fact NOT Fiction “- Gene Wilder. You are Project Big’s project manager. It’s Friday afternoon. This is your project status. Your team is two days behind schedule. The deadline is critical for the project and team members are working on critical path activities. They have agreed to stay up late tonight and work on Saturday and Sunday to get the project back on track. Just a few minutes ago, your sponsor sent you a text asking about the status of the project. Your sponsor doesn’t know that the team is two days behind schedule. She was on vacation for two weeks and is now back in the office. Everything was fine when she left. She will be able to take a vacation from that experience. These are some options to consider:

  • You feel confident that everything will be fine and you want to assure her that everything is fine. You think that her text is a check-in to let you know she is back from vacation and that she still cares about the project. Everything will be fine once she is able to pay attention.
  • You can reply that you will arrange some catch-up time for Monday with her. You can then have a project overview with her on Monday and discuss the status of the project. The team may have completed the work and be back on track. However, they may not be on schedule. You can still talk about the hard work they put in all weekend. You may be secretly hoping that they are back on track.
  • You can ignore her text until later in weekend, and then send her an update once you have gotten back on track. This is because a text message is not considered a formal communication in your company culture. There have been instances when you sent a text to your sponsor and she didn’t respond for 24 hours. You feel justified in waiting. This will let you see how much has been accomplished today and tomorrow. You hope that the team completes the work as planned. If this happens, you can text her to let her know.
  • Tell her the truth about the situation and the plan. Right now, we are two days behind. We are working the weekend to get back on track. This makes for a lengthy text. You can be concise and reassuring if she prefers to text. You can call her or send a short email to her.
  • What do you think? One of the above or none of the above? What would you do?