Time Management: The Indispensable Force behind Successful Disaster Recovery

SECOND EDITION                                                         

Brenda N. Yombo, PMP and James S. DeGenova, PMP

CohnReznick Government

Bethesda, Maryland, USA


Disaster management aims to reduce or avoid potential losses from hazards, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of a disaster, and achieve a rapid and effective recovery. A comparison between the project management process groups and disaster management activities that span all the phases of disaster management indicates that in order to successfully execute a project, the project manager needs to effectively manage time.

Effective time management is critical to the success of any project manager’s work, but it is imperative to a disaster recovery project. Achieving properly timed milestones within the scope of a project will deliver the best outcome over its full lifecycle; conversely, poor time management almost certainly will negatively impact the project as a whole.  Due to the fact that disaster recovery projects involve multiple, often overlapping timelines and deliverables that must be accomplished with minimal delay, it is imperative that project managers incorporate time management accountability mechanisms into each phase of a project. By examining challenges and lessons learned from real-world, firsthand experiences, project managers will be able to extrapolate best practices in time management that they can apply to their own projects and programs, both in the present with tangible results and in the future.


Disaster management aims to reduce or avoid potential losses from hazards, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of a disaster, and achieve a rapid and effective recovery. The disaster management cycle illustrates the ongoing process by which governments, businesses, and civil society plan for and reduce the impact of disasters; react during and immediately following a disaster; and take steps to recover after a disaster has occurred (Warfield, 2005). It is commonly agreed that there is no way of neutralizing all negative impacts resulting from disasters. Efforts can be made, however, to reduce their impacts. In this regard, effective disaster management is a key element in good governance (UN/ISDR, 2002).


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 1st Annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium in College Park, Maryland, USA and included in the conference Proceedings in June 2014. It is republished here with permission of the author and the Project Management Center for Excellence at the University of Maryland.

About the Authors 

pmwj26-sep2014-Yombo-AUTHOR1 YOMBOBrenda N. Yomboflag-usa

Maryland, USA

Brenda N. Yombo, MBA, PMP is a Senior Consultant with CohnReznick Advisory group-Government Services. Brenda has over 12 years of project management, accounting and consulting experience. Brenda has worked on a number of projects providing support and as project Manager. Currently she serves as a team member on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mark-to-Market Multifamily project, a multi-million dollar project analyzing Audited Financial Statements, liaising with HUD Project Managers, property owners and OAHP officials. She also works with the compliance monitoring team on the Illinois Disaster Recovery program (IDRP) testing grants provided to grantees and the work performed on various projects to rebuild Chicago after the IKE disaster. She also assists on various consulting projects in the CohnReznick Advisory Group (CRAG) – Government Services team.

Prior to immigrating to the US in 2010, Brenda gained experience in handling multiple management consultancy contracts, delivering on schedule and within allocated budget. She was a Project Coordinator for projects of Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM) an international non-profit that strives to remove the barriers that marginalize people with disabilities in the most disadvantaged societies in the world. It does this by working with partner organizations in these regions, by influencing policy at all levels and by responding to emergencies and natural disasters. Brenda has a MBA degree (Accounting and Finance) from Maastricht School of Management, Netherlands and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda. A member of the PMI Silver Spring Chapter, Brenda also holds certifications from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Project Management Professional (PMP). She can be contacted at [email protected].

pmwj26-sep2014-Yombo-AUTHOR2 DEGENOVAJames DeGenovaflag-usa

Maryland, USA

James DeGenova, PMP, CFE, is a senior manager at CohnReznick Advisory group-Government Services in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. For over 12 years, James has provided financial management, database creation and maintenance, development and testing of “next gen” IT applications and solutions, cost analyses, accounting, and consulting services to federal, state, and local government agencies and private companies. His technical knowledge of federal laws and regulations aids the Firm’s leadership in pursuing additional business opportunities. James has also planned, executed, and managed numerous budgets for private corporations and has assisted with the creation, implementation, and management of several federal government-sponsored projects.

Presently, James coordinates integrity monitoring activities and oversees anti-fraud, waste and abuse initiatives for the State of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs in its disaster recovery efforts to heal from Hurricane Sandy. Previously, James served as the compliance review monitor for HUD’s Mark-to-Market (M2M) program; currently, he manages direct mortgage portfolios for M2M. His previous experience includes providing litigation consulting, forensic accounting, and project management support to the Department of Interior’s Office of Historical Trust and Accounting in the single largest class action lawsuit levied against the federal government.

James has the unique ability to plan, implement, and manage large-scale government contracts, programs and database administration, IT support, and budgets while tempering risks, oversight, and resolving issues under strict time constraints. His success in pursuing and securing new Firm business opportunities is a result of his “ambassador-style” management approach which sets and maintains a positive tone throughout the lifecycle of each project he leads.

James has a B.A., Economics (with a Specialization in Financial Markets) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and holds the following certifications: Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Internal Controls Auditor (CICA). Professional affiliations include the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). He is actively involved with District Sports, Soccer based non-profit who raises money and awareness through soccer leagues in the District of Columbia to promote community development. James can be contacted at [email protected]