What the Covid-19 crisis teach us about Project Management?
The current COVID-19 crisis is unfortunate and nobody could have predicted its adverse impact on the entire world. This crisis cannot be merely resolved by referring to any pre-written risk-management policies. To deal with this pandemic organizations need to adopt real-time strategies and improvisations. So let’s see some of the effective measures we can take during this pandemic to manage projects effectively
Analyze finances and expenses
With this sudden state of a global pandemic, the foremost step with regards to project management is to analyze the cash back up we have to run the on-going projects. This will help the project managers to visualize if they can survive through this crisis or not. The important financial questions to be answered are:
- For how many months will this cash reserve help them to survive?
- Are there any pending client payments to be made?
- Are there any high fixed costs pending like paying rents?
- Are there any variable costs that could be avoided?
Embracing remote work
Companies who already follow remote work culture can continue working without any pause. But there are organizations for whom this global outbreak has been nothing less than a nightmare. Moving to a completely remote working phase is not an overnight process even for small organizations. Then it’s needless to mention what ordeal it might cause to bigger organizations who were are completely unprepared. But there are a few initial things they can follow in to get things started:
- Investing in good remote tools to carry on seamless work and communication, these can be good laptops, video conferencing tools like zoom, Microsoft teams, skype for business, etc.
- Good project management and time tools like Google Calendar, JIRA, Trello, Wrike, Basecamp, etc
- Remote file-sharing tools so that the files can be accessed by all one time like google drive, dropbox, one drive, etc.
- The right remote working tools, especially for seamless communication and video
If the organization needs to get their employees back on track they need to do initial investments. This will not hamper the employee’s productivity and also help thave an uninterrupted collaboration even though not being in an office setup. Also, a recent survey by getAbstract states that 45% of the workers will continue to work from even after the pandemic is over. This is due to the benefits like no commute, productivity gains, and flexible work timings. (Savikas, 2020).
Centralize and monitor project data
The project team should maintain all the project data in one centralized location than in different excel sheets. This saves the manager from the trouble to search individual project folder and go through a large trail of emails to find the data he needs. A centralized information system helps the manager to effectively monitor the project details in real-time and take decisions to resolve any problems.
Revise client expectations
The project manager must be very transparent to the clients about any issues they are facing. They should communicate with the client about these issues will be resolved, so that it doesn’t keep the clients in dark and also gives them ample time to respond. One more important fact is not to commit them anything that cannot be delivered and keep enough bandwidth to incorporate any new changes to the project. Also, any changes made to the originally drafted SLA must be communicated with the clients and the development team so there is no confusion and all are on the same page.
Employees are the backbone of any successful project. During this global pandemic outbreak, they too are stressed out and worried about their job security, health, and their future. Protecting them all this crisis and making their lives easier should be the number one priority for any organization. They should take care of not laying off any employees suddenly. They are too liable to pay their EMI and have families dependent on them. And not to forget these are the same people who struggled to get your company at this top position. They can also be paid their salaries in advance owing to cope with any emergencies in the family. Just because the companies are facing a financial crisis doesn’t give them the right to remove their employees. Proper planning and maybe a certain percentage of pay cuts is still acceptable. So any organization that retains its talented workforce during this situation, will surely win many clients post the pandemic crisis.
So to conclude this COVID-19 is not an ordinary situation and will test the management skills even of the best performing workforce. The best thing is to accept the current state and flexibly adapt the changed work practices to smoothly sail through this crisis.
- Savikas, A., 2020. National Survey. [Online] Available at https://journal.getabstract.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ga_remote_survey_2020_compressed.pdf [Accessed 8 October 2020].