Project Management

Projects and Holidays

From the Taking the Plunge Blog
In case you actually read this description, the beginning of the blog is about preparing for the PMP exam. It then evolved into maintaining my credential. After taking a break for a few years, I'm back and will be blogging about project management, in general, and probably a bit of agile on a regular basis.

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It's that time of year again.  You know what I mean.  The time of year when you try to find your project team and ask yourself, "Why did I commit to a deadline between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve?"

For those of you who don't work with US teams, you probably have a similar experience around other holidays.  I worked with a team located in Europe and found that August was not a good time for deadlines.  Golden week, in China, is not the most productive time, either.  Fortunately,we can account for these events in our schedule.

I'm finding that a bigger challenge is trying to run a distributed agile team with three sets of holidays.  The running joke is that Argentina is always on holiday and Peru never gets a holiday.  As long as the developers don't have urgent questions for the product owners, over US holidays, their productivity is not greatly affected.  It's not actually hard, it just slows the work down, and we need to coordinate our release dates a little more carefully.

I enjoy what I do at work, and I also enjoy being able to step away from it, over the holidays, and focus on things other than project management.  That's where I'm at, this year.  Unlike the person in the video below, when I step away from work for the holidays, project management the last thing I want to think about (except for my blog, of course). You don't have to watch the video; it's just six minutes of someone's preparation for and execution of Thanksgiving, shown in Jira. Masochist.

An Agile Thanksgiving with Jira

If this is you and your holidays, I hope it's by choice.  If I had to use project planning software to schedule my vacation, I would look forward to going back to work so that I could take a break.  My only plan for the long weekend about to start is to smoke a turkey.  Deboning it is a chore, but it is soooo worth it.

Whenever your holidays are, I hope you get to enjoy some combination of good food, good friends, family, and doing things you enjoy.

Posted on: November 23, 2016 12:17 AM | Permalink

Comments (15)

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Very Interesting Blog - Thanks for sharing. I have a question though:

What is the Golden Week in China ? I worked there for 3 years but never heard of it, maybe you meant Chinese New Year ?

For the project I was on, it was tied to Chinese New Year, but apparently there is another Golden Week connected to National Day, in October. My project was over by then. The team told me they were celebrating Chinese New Year and would be out of the office for Golden Week.

Yes you are right, we used to get One Week during CNY and another during the National Holiday but I never new they were called Golden Weeks. I guess it makes sense since it is golden to take time off :-)

Great stuff Aaron. Definitely a consideration of that time b/t Thanksgiving and the New Year. We also have to coordinate with the Change Freeze as well. For those in UAT, if there is a desire for a Production deployment prior to the New Year, better get the approval prior to December!

Fun video. Many have iPads in the kitchen, easy to update. There is even smart refrigerators now too!

great increased my knowledge... thanks

Interesting, but only one point regarding August wasn't a good time in Europe, it is a typical topic.

I don't want to be rude, but take in mind, that not all Europe companies are the same, and not all European countries work and schedule their holidays or vacations in the same way.

Managing cultural differences is an amazing topic and we can learn about others history, the culture at the same time that we lead a team.

You're not being rude. I appreciate the feedback. I was only speaking to my own experience. If there are variances in global holidays that US project managers should be aware of, you are more than welcome to post them here.

Nice write-up, we need to be culturally aware of what holidays are relevant and has a great significance.

To be honest, it is really issue when the project running. My project usually be delayed due to Europe holiday, althoug I took account it into my schedule.

Thanks Aaron, interesting topic!

Yes whenever I go over my project plan I always start looking for holidays that could impact the schedule. Even 4th of July week usually causes us to lose a week of productivity due to vacations and out of office.

From my experience as long as your aware of the local holidays and factor it you will be in a good place.

The only issues would be if something urgent occurs, for example a part breaks but the vendor is on holiday that you run into delays in turning those types of situations around.

Interesting Article, Thanks Aaron

It is always wise to factor in local holidays in project schedule. There can be other constraints like severe weather (rainy season or snow or extreme hot), especially for construction projects as the construction work comes to a standstill for months.
Thanks Aaron for an interesting article and video.

Dear Aaron
Interesting your perspective on the topic: "Projects and Holidays"

Thanks for sharing

Important point to remember:: "
Whenever your holidays are, I hope you get to enjoy some combination of good food, good friends, family, and doing things you enjoy."

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