For the first time since the pandemic began, we have been on a family holiday this week, skiing in the French Alps. It’s great to have a break together, but the weather has not been so kind.

Wind, snow, rain, more wind, low cloud, a bit more snow and visibility below 50 yards have created challenging skiing conditions. Most of the time, the visibility has been so bad that it’s been difficult to determine whether you’re about to ski on powder or ice, where the edges of the piste are and how steep or shallow the slope will be a few yards ahead.

So, rather than simply setting off down the piste, enjoying the views and meeting up at the bottom of the run, we’ve had to take a different approach to skiing this week. We’ve been a lot more careful on the slopes, skiing more slowly, making sure our turns are as technically secure as we can manage and stopping as a group every few hundred yards.

Similarly, some projects are the equivalent of sunny day’s skiing. Here, the objectives are clear, the milestones and KPIs are agreed and everyone knows what’s expected of them. The team may need to check-in each week, but the focus will be on managing specific issues and a lighter-touch approach is possible.

Other projects, though, are more like skiing in this week’s conditions. For these projects, the goals may have been agreed, but the best way to achieve them still needs to be established and specific roles, KPIs and milestones remain unclear. As a result, project meetings will need to be more frequent and more time-intense. You will spend more time working out the best way forward and making sure that everyone is clear on next steps. These meetings involve progress reviews, but are more about planning ahead.

How are you flexing your project management approach to reflect the underlying conditions of each project and its specific needs?

Off The Record: Why Does It Always Rain On Me? by Travis

Why does it always rain on me?

Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?

What does it always rain on me?

Even when the sun is shining, I can’t avoid the lightning