During the summer, for example, temperatures can reach as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius).
Project managers working with or in the Muslim world also need to plan for Ramadan, when the majority of the population fasts between sunrise and sunset. Then there's Eid al-Fitr, a national holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Its importance is similar in scale to Christmas or Yom Kippur.
These combined events mean project managers must plan meticulously to ensure minimum disruption to their project schedules.
During this one month, the expected impact on the construction sector alone is a reduction of productivity by 40 to 60 percent. The main causes are heat and a fasting workforce that is unable to work at full capacity.
Additionally, project managers in construction face government constraints, which forbid laborers to work more than six-hour shifts in the day. They must stop working at noon and wait until it gets cooler to start again.
To keep project schedules moving during the very hot weather and major holiday, the key is to plan, plan -- and plan some more. These planning best practices can help:
- Begin planning for special events about three months prior. The project manger should meet with the customer, contractors and suppliers to agree on expectations, tasks and deadlines.
- Determine activities that can be moved up or delayed to compensate for risks during the special event, such as climate, absent staff and lower productivity.
- Employ more staff to compensate for loss of productivity.
- Keep a sharp eye on daily logs. Doing so will minimize risk -- especially in cases where work hours or the calendar have been altered and extra resources have been employed.
- Communicate with teams on when they expect to complete tasks. Coordinate dates and lines of escalation in the absence of managers.
- Ensure health and safety of employees in the work place. In the case of heat, plan for generators to cool work sites, for example. Provide plenty of water, appropriate clothing and equipment.