Bracing for the Worst, Hoping for the Best
This was the headline for the New York Times as students across the country made their way back into our schools over the past week or two. This too, may be the sentiment of businesses as we look at the landscape in the US. Inflation is at an all-time high, we are amid what is being deemed the “Great Resignation,” we are still dealing with COVID-19 health issues, and supply chain delays are affecting all facets of project delivery.
Projects have experienced so many disruptions due to the aforementioned issues that I think project teams had a really discontinuous and incongruous year last year. It was really hard to feel like you were making progress day in and day out with so many issues and unexpected, negative project impacts.
As we transition from summer to fall, I am optimistic we have a real shot to align our efforts to better ensure project success in the future. Here are a best practices that may assist us in both managing our projects better as well as navigating the transition in workforce.
1. Agility is key to success. We must be flexible. Agile means being open to adaptation, encourages experimentation and welcomes changes of direction, even in later phases of the project.
2. We must rethink the way we recruit and retain project personnel. For many, workplaces that are inflexible and that don’t provide a pathway to advancement aren’t worth the sacrifice of going back to work. Project teams are ready to lend their time and talents to companies that are willing to work with their schedules and allow some autonomy, all the while having assurances the scope of work will be completed in a timely manner.
3. Plan your work, work your plan, and then replan. Traditional wisdom is that planning and analysis are very important and the more there is in a project, the more successful the project will be. Time spent on these activities will reduce risk and increase project success.
The one thing we know about projects is they are complex and require excellent management to be successful. Additionally, most project teams I am working with now are trying to put their best teams forward, keeping up and reacting to each moment. They have all struggled. But there are many companies trying to capitalize on this moment and build new structures, recruit and train fresh talent, diversify their suppliers, etc. Today’s time is not the norm, but it is really promising to see companies and project teams are trying to adapt and be on purpose to alleviate unnecessary schedule delays or negative cost impacts while delivering a quality product.
- Misty Mayes