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Coordination Takes More Than a Prayer

Prayer_room Our church has recently been going through a great experience in the form of a 24x7 prayer room.  The concept is really quite simple:  We've designated a couple of rooms in our ministry center that are solely dedicated to prayer, and we have people staffed in hour-long increments to do nothing more than pray while they are in there.  This is not our first time doing this, and each time it improves on many levels.

You may be thinking, "WHOA?  Why are church issues being discussed on a business site?"  Just hold your grail; I'm getting there.  Besides the observation that project management can be a religious experience, the prayer room has provided some excellent lessons on project staffing:

  1. Know the scope of staffing - our prayer room runs for just over 11 days.  Hence, we have a blocked in 270-hour period to fill with resources.  On your projects, let both the resource and their supervisor know the approximate dates they will be needed so they can manage workloads more easily.

  2. Document the need - we have a single sign-up sheet (i.e., one version of the truth) that stays right outside the prayer room and allows everybody to know when they have signed up to staff the room.  In projects, using a tool like MS Project can provide you with reports such as "Who Does What When?" to give you that needed look-ahead.  The key is communicating and setting expectations to avoid surprises.

  3. Have backup - We have one "on call" person for every 24 hours of prayer to handle no-shows and other issues.  In your projects, identify your resources who may be no-shows and develop a contingency plan in case they "sleep through" their assigned task.

  4. Handle logistics - This is our first prayer room in our new ministry center, so one logistic that needed to be addressed was building security, making sure our members could access the building and they were safe the whole time they were in the room.  Do your project resources have the right materials, supplies, equipment, hardware, software, and travel logistics to complete their assigned tasks?

  5. Match skills to tasks - While this isn't a huge issue for our church, since prayer requires a functioning mind, a willing spirit, and the ability to stay awake between 2 and 3 in the morning, it does become a larger issue for your project tasks.  Ensure you have the right people assigned to the right task at the right time.. and do this during planning rather than execution.

  6. Learn and improve - Like I said, this isn't our first time out with this exercise.  Each time, we keep track of lessons learned to make the next experience even better.  Track what went well in your projects to improve it the next time out.  With each project, the staffing challenges should diminish as you learn how to manage them better.

Follow these simple guidelines and you should have people where you want them when you want them.  If not, you may find yourself in need of a more active prayer life in order to get your projects done.

Carpe Factum!

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