Dear PM Advisor. July 29, 2013

Dear PM Advisor, We have a priority list for all our projects. We have thirteen active projects, five in the scarcity zone and a bunch below the line, waiting for other projects to finish up. But now my project, number eight on the list, is missing a specific resource due to a maternity leave. Does this mean we have to move it down below number thirteen into the scarcity zone? 

Scared in Maryland

Dear Scared,

Don't confuse priority with lack of resources. Your project was ranked number eight in importance because that was what the result of this project was worth for the company. Losing resources doesn't lower this priority.

But you still have a problem. You lost a resource and need to resolve this. I suggest you make an immediate appeal to your company's steering committee. Reinforce the importance of the project to your company. Show them the impact of the loss of this resource to your project's timeline. Ask that they provide a replacement resource immediately. This resource can be a new employee, a temporary employee for the duration of the maternity leave or a consultant. Outline the cost of this resource but be sure you indicate that this is not an additional cost since the company is not paying the lost resource during this time. Allow the steering committee to make the decision and adjust the project plan accordingly.

If teh steering committee refuses to provide the resource, limp along the best you can but don't lower the project's priority. That is not your job.

Good luck,

PM Advisor

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