These past two weeks, I have been contacted for advice on what to do with projects in these new and unexpected circumstances. Crisis management, here we come.
While my advice and tips matched the variety of situations the projects were in, I noticed several common take aways:
1. Damage control and remaining in control are strongly interdependent. Analyse what you can control and acknowledge that you cannot control the pandemic and its extent. Unless you are a project manager in a hospital in an epicenter.
2. Analyse your project’s work plan/charts and be honest about what can be done in the period announced by the authorities if your country is in a confinement/quarantine. Have a plan B and be ready to change it, as things evolve. Communicate it well to all concerned: sponsor, stakeholders, providers, consultants.
3. Check all your contracts, the obligations part in particular, both yours and the other parties’. Now it’s the time for forgotten or overlooked things to come to light. Get the help of your organisation’s lawyers, if needed. Check the clauses on causes for suspension and delays for payments. Notify the other party, if required so. For new contracts, check what you can agree on and sign electronically.
4. Now it’s the time to move online if you have not done it yet. There is a variety to choose from, from Trello, Monday, Basecamp to Zoom and clouds. Make the technology work for you.
5. Teams will watch you for cues. So, control yourself, by distinguishing your fears from facts. Acknowledge team members’ fears. Offer a mirror of calm. Help when you can. Summon all your empathy and compassion.