So there is a large crawl through the US holiday season near year-end that program leadership tends to desire a push through, or schedule deadlines in, and can at times overlook the realities that the holidays create for digital business transformation programs.
What I am looking to address with this article are some food for thought viewpoints, rather than a solution to overcoming the holiday obstacles that are experienced. There are a plethora of articles on how to manage employees, and consultants during the holiday crawl. EVERY program is different in terms of (as my CMO often states) Human Dynamics that interfere, interrupt, or just plain decimate your year-end schedule. So handling of employees and consultants on YOUR program are to be filtered with only an understanding of the program and the people that comprise it, and the methodologies employed within the scope of it.
The reality, as most smaller entrepreneurs are aware, that large organizations tend to overlook or forget when creating a roadmap for is that the week of Thanksgiving, and half the week after, as well as December 15th through January 15th are a dead zone. Meaning that the majority of companies, employees tend to check out, dull their optics on their tasks, or simply take advantage of online deals and social media during these periods. In other words, work tends to slow or simply just not get done.
When creating a program roadmap for your digital business transformation, you must consider and account for the holiday crawl, and the effects it has on the programs and project timelines within. In doing this, the expectancy is an efficiency decline of 50% potentially.
Why is this time year such a problem. The Human Dynamics aspect says that the employees and consultants will take their vacation time, and or try to expend their built up store house of personal time, depending on organizational policy of the carry over concerning both or the lack of carry over for them, whatever the case may be. More often than not, these two are the efficiency killers, as key employees and or consultants may not be accessible within that time, delaying critical or time sensitive parameters of a project or the program as a whole.
The other key culprit of the crawl is in part to the afore mentioned reasoning, as employees and or consultants that are left in office, but their direct report, managers, or integral team member being gone has opened the door to unsupervised unproductive behaviors. Meaning, if it cannot be approved, why the hard push to complete? Though misguided, yet often adopted, this mentality tends to expedite the holiday crawl and budgets, timelines suffer as a result.
One last factor to consider is the holiday schedule from the country of origin. Meaning, your team, especially consultants, will come from all walks of life, and at times are utilized as off-shore resources. This means that holidays that might affect within the US might differ in other countries, or individuals from those other countries. Taking this into account in either the HR or PMO planning is paramount to limiting the oversights that might transpire otherwise.
I would go so far as to suggest that in contract negotiations with large consulting firms or vendors, that their key management have their holidays confirmed and expressed to the PMO BEFORE signing an agreement as to not have any issues once boots are on the ground.
As I mentioned, this post is not to solve an issue, but be a part of your roadmap that is baked in, so leadership doesn’t necessarily create or stumble into scope creep or unexpected delays as a result of no consideration being given to this topic.
I welcome your thought’s and feedback on this topic, and happy holidays to you and yours!