SWAT or Rapid Response Team

I’m engaged on a team where rapid interventions are required to fulfill a specific goal.

Basically these interventions are set when an escalation comes from senior customer stakeholder or there are signals of contract breach.

The typical cycle of these interventions are composed by a 12 weeks interventions, with weekly reports to the project sponsor and escalation points with different relevant people of the organization. After the 12 weeks the intervention is evaluated and if extra time is required other period of intervention is prepared with new goals.

Project charter is the formal vehicle used to obtain the formal approval and authorization to work on these activities. If not, I continue working on my account delivery activities of my formal customer.

The initial stage is to analyze the situation (2 weeks), determine short term and medium term goals. Once done, chase the completion of these goals during the next 10 weeks.

Chase, escalate and get the things done is the more time consuming tasks. They are also the ones that consumes more energy: from the existing team, and from myself.

During the analysis is important to gather as much relevant data as possible, contrast the data and turn these facts into indications or root causes of a detected issue. It’s important to contrast the findings and get a common consensus of what happens.

I’m using a mind map tool to enable a visual representation of the root cause vs the proposed short term actions. This helps to senior managers to quickly understand the situation.

Conflicts will arise as soon as special pain points of relevant decisions are touched. In any case, the only goal is to fix the short term action and forget about what happened in the past. The goal of the SWAT team is not to perform a forensic analysis, it’s to fix the issues.

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