A Tribute to Chris Holt

This week’s blog is a little different. It is a tribute to a dear friend and colleague who made a significant impact on us both professionally and personally. Recently we learned with sadness of the death of Chris Holt who has been a CUPE International Consultant and his company (CHIM) an Affiliate for a decade. Chris was also instrumental in bringing together the CUPE Agile ‘Tribe’ who meet every few weeks (virtually) to discuss areas of interest. Chris brought a great deal of experience, wisdom, practical understanding and common sense to his professional practice. We are richer for having known Chris and are in touch with his partner in Germany. This blog is dedicated to Chris.

Chris managed a complex life where home was in Munich, work was based in Basel, Switzerland and part of each week based in Marburg in Germany. He commuted between the three locations, delivered AgilePM Training, ran his business and maintained his relationship with his partner, family and friends. We are proud to have been counted in his friends, as well as business colleagues. We saw Chris in September at the Agile Business Conference where he had volunteered as a facilitator despite the complexity of his life, which is typical of his generosity. He was looking forward to completing the current contract and reducing some of the stresses of his multi-centre lifestyle and spending more time with his partner. Unfortunately this opportunity has not been afforded to him.

In projects we are all under more stress than in the average job. We thrive on many aspects, as working in projects provides interest, variety, worthwhile work and we meet so many interesting people. The other side is that there can be unrealistic expectations, people who do not understand or commit to their roles, conflict, pressure to meet unreasonable timelines and many more potential stresses. Chris felt this as much as anyone. We should consider the humanity of projects alongside the project vision, deliverables, timelines and costs.

We will look at the subject of project team resilience in later blogs, but this one is to acknowledge Chris as an excellent project and programme manager, Agile Trainer, Project Consultant and most importantly a fantastic person. Chris mastered most things he became involved in. He spoke three languages, was an SAP specialist, took on the role of Trainer, and maintained an interest in history and most of all retained a sense of humour.

The lesson which Chris has taught us, sadly, is to address lifestyle choices early and not to put off making changes while we complete just the next task, phase or project. The adage that we should treat every interaction with thought and consideration is so true. We can look back on our last conversations with Chris knowing that we were supportive and interested in him as well as his work with the converse also true. We will miss Chris and our heartfelt condolences go out to Chris’s Partner and family. However, Chris would want us to celebrate his life and to optimise our own lives. We will do so when we meet for his memorial later this year in acknowledgement of Chris. Thank you Chris for being part of the CUPE family.