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Project Management in the Age of Covid-19

With the Covid-19 crisis, there is no doubt that we are in an unprecedented period of uncertainty. It has meant a considerable slowing of economic growth, business development, and hiring activity.  I think we all believe that “this too shall pass”.  But what will the long-term impacts to your business be? 

Covid-19 is having a drastic impact on project management.  Companies are being forced to evaluate their portfolio of projects and prioritize those that offer the greatest benefit especially in the short term as costs are scrutinized.  The result is project(s) significantly scaled back, being put on the shelf temporarily, or abandoned altogether.

As projects are paused, leaders should use this time as an opportunity to assess overall project performance.  It may be odd to call this period an opportunity, but that can be exactly what it is.  This time can serve as an opportunity to take a step back and assess what can be done differently.  This assessment can provide a roadmap for improved project management, cost control, and stakeholder engagement.

We recommend starting with an honest look at the performance metrics of your project(s). Do the metrics represent a best-case scenario? Or, are the metrics reported with a critical eye, and a transparent assessment of risk?  To expand this further, we recommend surveying the key stakeholders involved in the project, including the customers of the project, and the team delivering that project.  This can be done remotely, which may be required during this period.  The survey can also be administered confidentially with the proper tools.  This may be required to ensure candid and truthful responses.  This combination provides quantitative and qualitative results.

Questions should include:

  • Was the project tracking to the business case and providing the return on investment that was expected?
  • Was leadership engaged and excited about the progress?
  • Was your project on schedule?
  • Was the project on budget?
  • Was the project staying within the defined scope?
  • Were stakeholders engaged?
  • Was communication effective?
  • Was change management an integral part of the project delivery?
  • If consultants or contractors were brought in to assist, where they adding value?
  • Did the project team work together effectively and trust in each other’s abilities?
  • Were innovative delivery approaches used?
  • How likely is it that all project team members will return?
  • What is the cost to the business for the projects delay?
  • Is there a detailed plan to reengage?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, determine why not, then formulate a plan to tackle the areas that need improvement.  As we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, those projects that offer the best return on investment and that are being managed to a superior level of performance will be the likely choice to continue. 

At some point, a new normal will emerge.  Projects will be started, paused projects restarted, stakeholders engaged, and new teams formed.  Will you hope that what you were doing previously will deliver the results?  Or will you use this period as an opportunity to assess your project performance and make any required adjustments?

At Engage we have tools that can be rapidly and remotely deployed, speed up the assessment process, provide valuable feedback, and inform your decision-making process.  Most importantly, we have the expertise to get your project(s) back on track with a renewed sense of purpose when the proper time arrives.  To get started contact us at info@engageeic.com or visit our website at www.engageeic.com.