Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has altered how the world operates, causing substantial shifts in project management. Seeing as no person, business, or corporation went unscathed, Project Managers (PMs) have had to adapt.
These adaptations have forced PMs to develop creative planning strategies to manage and complete their projects, while continuing to be the day-to-day point of contact for the customer and their needs. To adapt to these changes, our team, like many others – have had to increase our flexibility and adapt to the continuous changes in the project planning structure, all while adjusting to our new norm.
Planning a project during the pandemic has added an additional stress factor to the project life cycle model. Defining and sequencing project activities and developing a project schedule is simple, or perhaps just not as daunting as executing and meeting project deadlines has become.
Materials and equipment have become increasingly more difficult to procure industry wide. As a result of a lack of resources available, projects in the telecommunications sector have been largely affected. For example, client A wants to build a point-to-point link to support a new wireless network. The proposal/award clearly states the expected completion date of that link. However, the vendor-specific radios have significant delays for procurement. PMs must adjust their project schedules based on availability and set client expectations for completion. Other industries around the world have seen shortages and telecommunications is no exception. However, because we are in the business of connecting the world to one another, PMs are having to overcome the obstacle by learning to appropriately forecast what materials/equipment will be available for their project and abide by the set deadlines.
Another setback caused by the pandemic is cost management. PMs are given a budget to complete the project and must control the budget throughout the entire process. The cost of materials, equipment, and expenses (travel, hotels, food, gas) have skyrocketed over the last year. Item costs may have risen from the time the project is awarded to the time the materials have been ordered. No one likes change orders, but to make projects successful for all parties, it is often necessary. Communicating with your client and providing various pricing options can help ease concerns and build greater trust between the PM and the client, showcasing we have the customers best interest top of mind.
Additionally, new social distancing guidelines have transformed the project environment. PMs must consider the environment and ensure that social distancing is maintained, and the customer is comfortable with the setting. Ultimately, if the team is unable to meet, the duration it takes to complete a task will need to be adjusted, which can ultimately push your timeline back. Not all customers follow the same guidelines, therefore, PMs need to plan accordingly.
As we move into a post-pandemic world, society, as we know it will never be the same. As PMs continue to tackle life’s new challenges it is critical for project survival to: plan ahead, communicate early, and adhere to current regulations. At Scientel, we continue to make the necessary adjustments to manage projects through COVID-19. Our commitment to our customers and quality of work proves why we are the innovative leader of the industry.