Be Prepared for Black Swan When Managing Programmes

By Alan Ferguson

Part of MSP For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A ‘black swan’ is something big and unexpected. Just as soon as you begin to get that comfortable feeling that the programme is beginning to settle down, in will flap a giant black swan. You need to be prepared to deal with it.

Key: have a contingency plan.

Situation at the end: You will be saying ‘Well that was a bit busy few days, but we have come out the other end in pretty good shape.’

  • You are very busy, but sit down and think about the information you’ve gathered in the team you’re working with.

  • Imagine the most extreme black swan you can think of – the boss gets sacked, you merge with your biggest competitor, the budget or timescale is cut in half or doubled.

  • Run a simulation with some of your close colleagues are now you to deal with that black swan. Make it a bit of fun. Did at the end of the week, or one evening and provide something nice to eat and some silly prizes. A few beers won’t go amiss if that’s okay in your culture.