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Now is the time to apply project management tools and techniques

Monday, 25 May 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lesley Jane Rider, PMP, Fellow PMSA
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At times of social and/or economic crisis, projects are typically the first victims of corporate scrutiny and axing. In the present situation many projects may have stalled, be undergoing re-planning or have had to terminate early.

However, this is also a time of opportunities.

 What were you trying to achieve – what can you achieve now?

A good place to start is to revisit your objectives, planned deliverables and benefits. Questions to ask include

·        is the project still a priority?

·        are the objectives still applicable and relevant?

·        can they be achieved, partly achieved, or not achieved at all?

·        will the benefits be achieved in the same time frame?

 Constraints and risks

In January, did you update your project risk register with anything associated with Covid-19? Maybe you identified that there could be delays in your supply chain because of products that originate from China but I bet most of you did not think about a global shutdown. We are experiencing what is often termed a ‘Black Swan’ risk event.

The black swan risk theory describes the possibility of the occurrence of an unexpected event (usually negative). Such an event comes as a surprise, has a major effect and, with the benefit of hindsight, may be considered as predictable.

Scheduling and resource management

A scheduling tool that calculates using the activity duration's and relationships plus resource allocation impact provides you with meaningful information to manage the project. You need a tool that can support you in changing activity dependencies, resources allocation and duration's and staff availabilities and to model ‘what if’ situations.

Purchasing and scheduling (supply chain management)

Scheduling work that requires resources (materials, equipment, goods) from outside your locality requires a good understanding of how much time it will take for those resources to arrive. Some items have a ‘long lead time’ and therefore may need purchasing earlier than some approvals are given. With the rolling implementation of lock downs across the world we must try and anticipate delays and new delivery times for many items.

Be realistic and honest about the impact of availability and delivery times.

 Understand what is in your contract(s) and the options you have

If your project has contracts, whether you are the purchaser or the supplier, then you need to look at the detailed clauses of the contract and understand how you are impacted. Can you still meet your obligations? Can you make a claim? Do you have insurance to cover issues that have arisen? Does the contract have a Force Majeure clause, if not what can you do?

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