iStock_000013478234XSmall-300x225What most project managers won’t admit to, is that there is too much unknown at the start of a major project to ensure the resources they have and the roles they need to fill cover all the eventualities.

To help ensure success you’re better off holding on to business and technology experts and ensuring you put 1-3 people, who we like to call Swiss Army Knives, into key positions.  These folks are easily adaptable, quick to gain the trust of the team and have the intelligence to handle and learn new situations quickly.   The goal is to utilize these people to firefight and be responsible for the critical path items that are known and those that will arise.

Why use Swiss Army Knives?:

1)  Need fewer people!  Instead of planning to have all your needs met using different individuals, you can have folks that transition easily to front burner issues and critical sub projects.

2) When you need to move a Swiss Army Knife to a pressing issue/area, their old position is usually well planned out and has been put back on solid ground. You can then put in an easier to find junior individual to execute to the SAKs plan.

3) You don’t have to be a psychic anymore.  You can focus on the pressing issues at hand while knowing you’ve stacked your team to be future proof.

4) You don’t have to do everything anymore.  Once your swiss army knives are seasoned, you have trusted folks that can take real issues off your plate.

5) An idea proven in industry.  Many large corporations including GE use rotational assignments to groom their top talent.  You can use a micro version of this approach to inject some adrenaline into your project.

6) Your business team and stakeholders will love you.  Swiss Army Knives tend to be those individuals who have a knack for quickly understanding the business goals and ensuring they are met while navigating tough technical decisions and trade-offs