Partway through a project and a significant holiday kicks in for the PM.

What should the PM take their temporary replacement through before they go - and what should they expect to be handed back to them when they return?

3 Answers 3


If the PM has done her job, the project would be functioning with a high performing team working under well defined roles, high performing processes, a clear direction and a good degree of buy-in with all stakeholders.

Ideally, the PM should be able to leave for a period of time and return with little to no adverse effect.

Before goes: When handing over the reigns for a vacation, current high priority risks and exceptions should be briefed to the temporary PM with clear direction on his tasks to be accomplished during that period.

When returning: Upon return, a counter briefing describing progress against those tasks and where the project is in terms of those risks and exceptions are required. Everything else ought to be running like a well oiled machine.


In my experience, it's best to divide the communication workload between several specialists while the PM is away.

For instance, if we know that we're expecting important calls from clients, I'll forward that to my supervisor and ask him to handle those communications. If the marketing team is waiting for updates on when feature X will be live, I put that communication responsibility on the lead developer. If I know that the development team will need to know what to work on after feature X is completed, I give the lead developer all the information on next tasks.

By dividing the communications, individual project members are still able to focus on their primary objectives while the group as a whole is able to temporarily fill the important parts of the PM role.


that can already be predicted during the holiday, according to the number of phone calls we receive :-)

  • Hehe, if a manager relies in something... I wouldn't like to be in his shoes!
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 2:59

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