Superior Project Management required…
Whether you use Waterfall or agile or a hybrid thereof, working during and after this crisis is going to take more diligence, resourcefulness, and adaptability than ever before. Not only are we working with fewer human resources, but we are also, at times, having to deal with clients who have to work with fewer resources themselves, as well as limited funding and with higher risks, since we are not quite sure where the pandemic will go next. To that end, investing time, money, and effort into proper project management is crucial.
For example, of particular interest and concern, we have:
- Scope Management: it is more critical than ever to ensure that the project scope is as detailed and precise as never before. Currently, clients are more sensitive to potential change orders later on in a project since funding is scarce and unsure for many. Of course, we always strive to have a complete and unambiguous scope, but now we must make sure that we do not rely on capturing changes, as minor as they might seem, later on in the project.
- Cost Management: for obvious reasons, we have to make doubly sure that we stay within budget and are creating in our scheduling and planning, should we be required to slow down on a project and speed up at times, should the availability of cash varies in the next few months or years. In other words, plan in enough flexibility so that a project can be stopped on short notice, and then resume later with minimal negative impact. This will be especially crucial in the architecture-engineering-construction (AEC) field.
- Risk Management: since there is so much uncertainty at this time, Risk Management is a crucial component to any project, as well as a way to calm people’s nerves. It is not a cure for uncertainty or personal anxiety. However, identifying, qualifying, and quantifying risks will demystify the current uncertainty and allow clients, team members, and other stakeholders to identify ways in which to address this uncertainty. That helps people realize they do still have some control over risks. Also, include potential positive risks (opportunities), such as ways in which to benefit and contribute to the forthcoming global recovery.
- Procurement Management: : depending on your field of work, local suppliers may best serve procurement than ones from abroad. As we navigate through these times, it has become evident that working close to home and with others around us will be a safer bet for now. That said, do not forget the suppliers and contractors form overseas who had helped you succeed in the past. You may very well need them later.
- Stakeholder Management: this area, in tandem with Communication Management, has to be first and foremost in any project. As noted earlier, we have to navigate through these uncertain times cautiously and as honestly as we can. Therefore, keeping stakeholders informed and engaged, wherever feasible, will help ease concerns, keep the lines of communication open, and allow working together to confront future challenges cooperatively.
- Change Management: in concert with Scope Management, Change Management has to be stronger than ever. Although, as noted earlier, having a detailed scope is critical, depending on the project, it is at times next to impossible to not have any changes within the life od a project. Therefore, to streamline this process, it is essential to have a robust Change Management Plan from the start with buy-in from the client, as well as form other key stakeholders, including the team. This will go a long way in avoiding conflict and claims in the future, should there be a need to make changes and people start to look for a responsible party. Now more than ever, it will be necessary for clients and providers to work cooperatively.
Mind you; I am not suggesting you forget about Quality Management or Schedule Management or any other part of a project. I am merely noting that the above areas are particularly critical at this time. Additionally, it is also an excellent time to carefully select the particular framework that will best work for your project. In other words, and whether you are on the client or provider side if your project would generally function best with an Agile approach, but you are concerned about not having a more fixed budget or schedule, then you may opt for Waterfall or create a hybrid. That said, if you need scope, schedule, and budget flexibility because you are unsure of incoming funds, then you may opt for an Agile even if you are used to using a more traditional Waterfall approach.
Feel free to contact us should you have any questions or comments. We would also be glad to provide consulting and training services to you and your staff regarding change and risk management, as well as other areas of expertise.