The pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses all over the globe. What some people might have expected was a world struggling to accomplish things whilst working apart from the rest of their team, this was simply not the case. Some of the projects that were pulled together, whether by teams working apart or working in the same place but observing the distancing rules where necessary were astounding.
All over the world, countries build temporary hospitals in record time, in the UK our NHS Nightingale hospitals were a shining example of this – contractors, NHS staff and even army personnel working together to complete a huge complex project in record time. Project management skills showing just what can be achieved when organisation and the right team of people work together.
It’s not just the big things that can teach us
Let’s not forget those projects completed on a smaller scale either from local sewing groups rallying round to make scrubs and masks for hospitals and schools using their technology departments to make face masks – a whole country, organised and working together to fulfil a very important gap.
It is interesting to note that in a recent survey by APM it was discovered that even one the lockdown had been introduced on 23rd March a bigger number of project managers reported that projects were being brought forward and not cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
Of course, this does not overshadow the huge number that found themselves facings cuts to their budget or changes to timescales. What this in fact shows is that the project management sector has a resilience and flexibility that allows it to rise to any challenge and handle change.
Rapid delivery within constraints
There is also emphasis in the survey about the ability we have in this climate to meet any new criteria for success, which seems to revolve around the concept of rapid delivery, whilst still meeting any other iron triangle constraints. The NHS Nightingale hospitals would not have been given the same reception in the summer following the first peak as they did when they were completed in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic, no matter whether they had met their targets for costs and with the appropriate quality. The readiness and rapidity with which they were completed made them a success. They were ready to use when they were needed most.
This is a situation that was undoubtedly echoed all over the world where the success that you might see with a project only happened when it was ready at the right time. This is something that has an impact on everyone regardless of how big, or small, a company they are.
Time to upskill?
For those people who work it the field of project management there really has never been a better time to take a look at those all-important skills. It looks like the pandemic will be here to stay with us for quite a while and in the months to come there are likely to be bigger and more urgent projects that will need the right touch if they want to success. If you are considering PM accreditation then now is the time to look at improving the skillset that you do have so that when you need them you can bring your all to the role.
It looks like this will be out new normal for the foreseeable future, and therefore, we need to use our skills to make the best of it that we can.