Business Project Delivery

COVID-19 And Its Impact On Projects – Start, Stop, or Refocus?

COVID-19 is probably the most overheard term of 2020. Across all parts of life, COVID-19 has forced the rethinking of living, working, and playing. For many businesses, governments, and organizations, COVID-19 has been the most significant operational and financial resilience test in modern history.

As the tide begins to turn, and we move to a ‘new normal,’ there will be an abundance of opportunity to initiate new projects, review existing ones and revisit the impact of previously completed projects. With that in mind, which projects should you start, which should you stop, and which should you refocus? We explore these below.

Start

Among others, if COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that communication and remote connectivity have greater importance than we previously gave significance too. While your organization may have invested in collaboration tools in the past, no one foresaw how business-critical they would become in a time where that is the only and primary mode of interacting with teams, clients, and suppliers. To future proof your business, start initiating projects which put a collaborative ecosystem front and center.

Beyond a Teams meeting and a Zoom call, a collaborative ecosystem also looks like an integrated document management system for easy sharing and collaboration, an automated request process for procurement, greater emphasis on self-service, and flexible diary management opportunities to collaborate.

Stop

Not all projects are beneficial in response to COVID-19. Instead, they could be detrimental and create a false economy. Avoid the temptation to initiate projects just because it seems like a requirement to respond to the sudden change that COVID-19 has forced.

Stop projects that have a high capital investment to execute. The priority as a business right now is survival – pure and simple. Investing in projects which have a large capital outlay to initial could prove risky a) if things do not improve speedily in the short-term b) if the return on this investment takes longer to realize due to COVID. Additionally, stop projects which are not business-critical.

Business-critical projects depend on the nature of your organizations’ operations, but if you can survive/operate optimally in the short term without the project being implemented. Stop it. Instead, use those resources to refocus.

Refocus

It is not always possible to completely stop a project, if it isn’t possible to do this, consider whether it’s possible to refocus the project to ensure it is future-proofed. Refocusing needing be rescoping; instead, it is looking at the project with fresh eyes, current circumstances in consideration, and adjusting the parameters of what the project is meant to deliver and making it relevant.

Re-focusing can look like digitizing a new process designed to optimize client retention. It may look like introducing automation to leverage the speed of response in lieu of availability of resources. It could also mean pivoting the resources allocated to the project from one team to another.

It is a time to review and revise in light of COVID-19; however, doing this without due consideration may cause more harm to your organization than the impacts of COVID. By starting, stopping, and rec-focusing, your organization can take stock of the effect of COVID and respond for a longer-term outlook.

Author

Sarah Andrews

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