Surprises ! How to manage ?

There is a meeting about to be started in 10 minutes, you have prepared for this meeting along with your Technical expert in team and Client has also called his other team members that are generally very tough to be gathered for a meeting due to the differences in time zones. This meeting was planned a few days back and everybody required has already excepted this meeting, even before 10 minutes there was a reminder sent for joining the call and nobody responded back about any absence. Agenda is to understand a few technical deployments related questions and discuss the solution.

Looks like all is set and this meeting will go as usual, agenda is set, and we are also prepared with all the required details. I have dialed 7 minutes before the call’s time and waiting for the Client’s organizer to start the meeting.

It is already around 9 pm and everybody else attending this call have their morning time in office, I have decided to take this call from home and so is everybody else in my team. We have gone through the does and don’t training for taking conference calls multiple times and it has been a great value add.

This meeting had one online joining tool and few dials in numbers, I have joined through online tool.

My phone rings!

Me: Hello S (My team’s technical expert), have you joined?

S: Actually, I am trying since sometime and there is some internet issues at my place and looks like I won’t be able to join online, also I have tried a couple of times dialing in as well and that is also not going through, what shall I do?

Me: OH! but without you this meeting is of no use as all the discussions were with you only, but now you do not have even time to try to find some other alternate internet option as well nearby.

S: Yes, I am very sorry, but we need to postpone.

Exactly my fear! last minute surprise, impossible to manager and very difficult to control as well.

First, I told S about keeping this instance as a reference and mitigate this risk in future by avoiding taking important call outside of office if there is any possibility of internet or network issues.

I immediately pulled up agenda and tried to gather bits and pieces that I can discuss. Then marked those points where S is the best person to answer, I listed all the points that I know first and rest in the end, the call started, and everybody joined except of-coarse S.

I started by letting everybody know about the last-minute issue with S and impact due to his absence in today’s call. Then I also asked that whether we should continue our call without him and later I will inform him about our discussion. There would be a few points on which I will get back after discussion with S. This is the best way we can utilize this call and make this as helpful as possible.

Everybody agrees to this and we go ahead with each of the agenda items and mostly points are covered and there are few action items for a few of us and then some points that are to be specifically discussed with S and then let everybody know.

WOW! I have handles the surprise well this time!

There are surprises in the life of a Project Manager and the best way is to manage them rather than panic on them. The more you start managing the Surprise, the more you learn.

There are various other instances, in fact everybody comes with a new surprise and nest one is even big and tough and when you handle it well there is a smile on your face, this is the achievement that only you can celebrate.

What’s your surprise?


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Adil is 15 years experienced IT Professional currently working as Project Manager managing multiple projects deliveries. He started as a Programmer and continuously progressed with increased responsibilities, he has worked on more than 100 IT projects with small, medium to large Client accounts. Adil's interests are to get into new technologies and start delivering successfully.

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