The Undeniable Value of a Backup

For football fans, the concept of a backup quarterback is common — fans know their team will invest literally millions of dollars per year in a player who could very well sit on the bench the entire season. It’s worth it to the owners – to the team – and to the fans because if the QB goes down, the backup QB will step in knowing everything he needs to do the job. No interruptions, no loss of knowledge.

Whenever “the show must go on”, backup players are common — Broadway companies often have understudies and second understudies. With eight performances per week being the norm for a Broadway run, understudies have to be ready to step in and step up, and make sure the audiences who see them forget that the lead cast member was absent.

In business, cross training is the common way backups and understudies are developed. Cross training will keep the work flowing with minimal disruption. Planning vacations is easier and unexpected absences don’t impact overall production.

In the project management space, it’s rare to see two project managers involved in the same initiative. The backup is the project file instead of an individual and the PM who has to step in unexpectedly is going to have to spend some time catching up. In some cases that delay can put project goals in jeopardy.

Every project manager has found themselves in that position — being the person to fill in or take over and feeling the pressure to learn fast and keep things on track. At BDM Squared, our process for every project includes a backup PM – from day one to completion.

Resource continuity is a cornerstone of our PMaaS offering. Our backup PM attends every status meeting, keeps an eye on the project dashboard and can step in — like the backup QB who comes in facing 2nd-and-12 and gets down the field for a touchdown. Clients never have to worry about changing plans or an interruption to the communication cadence if the primary project manager is away. In a rare instance, one of our PMs had a health issue that forced them to step away from the project entirely. Because our backup PM had been involved from the beginning, there was no impact on the project deadlines. They took over the project and we immediately assigned a new backup – because while lightning isn’t supposed to strike twice, we like to be ready; it’s a promise we make to our clients.

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BDM Squared is a boutique management consulting firm providing project management and business process improvement on demand.  Our mission: help our clients deliver their projects on time and on budget every time. Our edge: real-time access to our constantly updated, comprehensive project dashboard. At any point in the project, know that you’ll have access to every detail – every document – every resource being managed for your benefit.