Horror Tropes Save Lives: Why Team Registers Are The #1 Critical Tool For Crisis Management

betrayal at house on the hill

This month, Texas was slapped in the face by Winter Storm Uri. There was initial amusement from those in states who routinely receive feet of snow every year at how we were freaking out over the storm. Then reports of the struggling power grid and a real understanding of how unprepared we are for this kind of weather became a real crisis.

Between the ice, snow, and then more ice, people were trapped in homes without heat or water. If they could even get out, there was no where to go as most of the city was also without, the hotels were full and price gouging, and DOT has no infrastructure for clearing and de-icing roads. And not for nothing, during a pandemic when grouping together isn’t recommended.

Thinking to horror movies or even a game like Betrayal at House on the Hill, I’m reminded of something so basic. Don’t split up. And if you have to split up, you have to have a have to keep tabs on each other so you can continue to work together and keep everyone alive.

So why do team registers matter?

We all know who we work with. We have each other’s emails. Until there’s no power, mobile data is choked (if accessible), and you are trying to make sure you’ve accounted for everyone.

I had a functional org chart and access to most phone numbers through our Slack profiles, but when I actually went over the list there were tons of holes or stale data. I was able to patch together information from leads and HR, but in some cases, they also had old information.

Eventually, we were able to track down with some very scary near misses:

  • One of our team members was stuck in a building without water for 2 days by the time we reached them and they were super dehydrated. We were able to get a team member with a capable vehicle out to them to deliver bottled water.
  • One of our team members was completely non-responsive and we were unable to verify if contact info was correct or not. We sent wellness checks to their home and we eventually found that they were in the hospital.

Lesson Learned?

I will never not have a team register again, maintained and as up to date as possible. It’s one of those things that seems boring, red tape, and low priority, until it isn’t. Every minute matters and I may not be so lucky again to be able to track down the information so quickly.

Know where your team is and what help they need. It’s not a stretch to say these days that there’s a hellmouth somewhere trying to swallow us up.

Crystal Larsh is a strategic leader, fierce DEI advocate, and delivery professional leading global teams out of Austin, TX. She has been working in the project and product space since 2001 and has focused on organizational design and operational improvements over the last several years. She has earned an MBA in eCommerce, a Masters in Project Management, a number of certifications (NPDP, PMP, CSM), and actively pursues opportunities for growth (DEI Blueprint, SAFe SPC training, and more). She uses her education and over 20 years of experience to help bring up the next generation, particularly women in tech.

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