Every kitchen has a Kitchenhand. Their tasks include basic food preparation such as washing salad and peeling potatoes. Yet rheir role is essential for the whole kitchen. If they do not come to work or stop doing the preparations, the whole kitchen stops. The chef might remember their names only when the supply is not at hand. Yet, he/she will pay the price if the kitchenhand is not looked after.
I find similarities in the project management world. Picture a big and important decision making meeting, for which the interpretation equipment was not tested and prepared. Or a new service launch day for, which the clients’ applications are not ready. Or an interoperatibility module which has two systems in test mode to connect to.
Basically, any of the above are tasks performed by what is tempting to see as “little people”: an assistant, an IT staff without a corner office, a liaison officer, etc. By my book, these are the most important links in the chain of a project.
Therefore, as a project manager Do:
– check regularly on them, to identify any difficulties they may have;
– help them with anything beyond their control:
a reminder to the supplier/contractor of its obligations under the contract for that interpretation equipment
a meeting with other departments/members of the team on that interoperability,
a cup of coffee or tea if they run out of breath doing all they can for the big project day.