Project Management

I Give Up: What the Heck Is a Disaster Planner? (Part 3 of 3)

Bob Weinstein is a journalist who covers technology, project management, the workplace and career development.

Even if you have some real disaster training under your belt, there are no proven and tested solutions for managing a disaster. That reality is driven home when your own people are dying and there is nothing you can do about it, asserts Newburyport, Massachusetts-based project manager Lisa Olsen.

Stress? Forget conventional definitions of stress. You’ll get a whole new perspective on stress when you’re listening to people screaming on frequency. You’ll know people are dying, and many of them report to you. During those horrific moments, you need to pull your team together, gather the most reliable information you can get your hands on so you can make the best decisions possible.

To get a chilling replay of what happened, “wait for the postmortems to begin,” says Olsen. “That's when you'll get the most information about what happened--what went wrong and maybe potential solutions. 

What would you do?
Olsen offers this final what-if scenario: “If you were summoned at 3 a.m. to manage a disaster and you were dropped into an area that was just hit by a flood, hurricane, tornado or fire with nothing but your personal laptop, what would you do?” she asks. “You have no fancy corporate networked software or ‘approved’ methodology -- just your laptop. You were yanked into this awful mess because you have a reputation for being good at coordinating stuff.”

What are your chances of …

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