his projects at a semiconductor manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, USA, partially ;ooding operating equipment and electrical control panels, his crisis
management plan gave the team the tools it needed
to shut down the facility and limit the damage.
Mr. Huddleston quickly mobilized teams, including one that was tasked with identifying the cause
and another that rushed to remove water with
vacuums and squeegees. ;e team also set up an
operations control room with blackboards and
charts to help assign each crisis activity (e.g., replacing pipes) to a team leader who created sub-groups
that reported back hourly to the command center.
In the short term, the team replaced a section of
the broken PVC pipe. ;is divide-and-conquer
approach helped the team get the facility back up
and running as quickly as possible.
“When you shut everything down, that’s going
to cost millions of [U.S.] dollars per day,” Mr. Hud-
dleston says. “You can’t let a problem like that drag
on for two or three days.”
His team also used the crisis as an opportunity
to plan ahead. It mitigated the risk of future ;ood
damage by replacing PVC pipe with stainless steel
pipe and by installing new ;oor drains that would
reduce future recovery times. And the project team
asked engineers to identify and rank the items
within their systems that had the highest risk of
future failure. ;is allowed the team to stockpile
spare parts or determine how to acquire the parts
immediately in the event of an emergency, he says.
response time is everything. Whether it’s a last-minute request to move up a looming deadline or
an equipment failure that forces a facility shutdown,
even a small brush;re can quickly rage out of control. And project managers are often the ;rst line
“As the project manager, you have to limit the
oxygen feeding the ;re,” says Adriano Mota, PMP,
a technology operations manager with the
Organizing Committee for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
As tensions rise and tempers ;are in an
overheated crisis environment, a project
manager must stay focused and provide
calm, clear directions, says Dennis Huddleston, site manager at CH2M, an engineering and construction design company
based in Englewood, Colorado, USA.
“;at calming e;ect can have a tremendous impact on your team,” he says. “You
want to clear their minds and focus, help
them understand the hurdles and get those
out of the way.”
In crisis mode, time is money. To avoid
hemorrhaging funds while teams struggle
with a suture, project managers need a proactive crisis management plan that focuses on communication and cooperation, says Mr. Huddleston.
When a cooling water return line burst on one of
CAN HAVE A
—Dennis Huddleston, CH2M, Englewood,