Like most people, we at PM Workshops thought that by now (September 2021), the pandemic would have passed on to the annals of human history. However, we are still in the midst of it and dealing with new uncertainty, such as the variants and the continued impacts on the economy. At the same time, and of course, it is not a coincidence, the new PMBOK (seventh edition) has arrived with a new focus on adaptability and flexibility. And it seems to be what we need right now.
As a business, we have continued to serve our clients but have been more creative in how we deliver our services and what we foresee as future client needs. On a human level, we see family and friends trying to make career and personal changes better to address the pandemic’s impacts on their lives. For some, it is very daunting, but for others, it is a chance to take the leap they have been putting off and finally achieve their career and personal goals. For me, the pandemic has provided the opportunity and market demand to write more, and I am currently writing a book to help people improve their project management skills and become PMP certified if they choose to do so.
What the pandemic has afforded us, as a silver lining, so to speak, is both the time to reflect and experience what happens when the unexpected occurs and how to address it. For some people we know, for example, it has meant working towards ticking items off their “bucket list.” In contrast, for others, it has manifested itself in them becoming more creative and resourceful. However, the individuals and companies we see making the most progress in their plans are the ones who are using the tools and techniques needed to reach their goals.
As a PMP myself, it will l not come as a surprise to read they I always encourage planning everything out in detail. However, what has changed in my perspective is allowing for more agility, adaptability, and flexibility, which is not always easy to accomplish as a civil engineer. For example, in the past, I had mostly dealt with “known unknowns” common in the construction industry, as well as some minor “unknown unknowns.” However, addressing the “unknown unknowns” has become more commonplace for me than ever before. And the main reason for this new phenomenon is the time we live in, of course, and the realization that there are most likely other surprises waiting for us, which we can ride out and even benefit from.
For example, in civil engineering, I am seeing a greater need to plan, design, and build in such a way that addresses California’s fire season. As well, other global warming effects, such as the drought, are also pressing us to consider more water conservation measures, as well as rainwater harvesting, reclamation, and the need to add more green spaces that will absorb stormwater runoff instead of dumping it into the ocean where it becomes salted. And all those these ideas are not new; their immediacy is, as is the need to be, as I wrote earlier, agile, adaptive, and flexible. We are flexible in the way we design, build, and address our stakeholders’ needs and expectations and the approach we need to take to gain support and engagement.