A sudden departure or absence. An extended period pending recruitment. An unexpected business opportunity or problem to evaluate. A suprise drop in performance. A percieved shortfall in control. It is obviously appropriate to apply interim management in such situations.

But you can also use it as part of your regular management strategy. In its simplest form, it allows you to accommodate peaks of workload - or to cover a specific project, implementation or change - without having to pay salary throughout the year.

There are many advantages. You can choose exactly the right person for each particular project, knowing that you will get someone who is focused on the task in hand, unclouded by long-term ambition or political agenda. The interim manager is typically a very experienced person, who will work to his brief in a concentrated and dedicated way to achieve the desired results within the resource frame set. You know exactly what your own commitment will be, in terms of resource and finance. And when that work is completed, you say goodbye with a handshake. No tears, no exit costs.

As a management philosophy, this is difficult to oppose. Indeed, for the principle to be successful, the only essential is the availability of managers with the necessary substance and skills. People like Doug Bedford at Protempore.

He brought some great fresh ideas to our problems.

We're very lean on management. When there's an extra project, we call in an extra person.

We don't yet have full-time need for someone at that level. But short-term ... that was ideal.

To be frank, it was better if the dirty work was done by someone from the outside.

A consultant will tell you what needs to be done. An interim manager will do it.

We desperately needed to change. He was the catalyst.