I just realized it is somewhat funny that as a seasoned project manager that I haven’t really blogged about project management before. I’ve been pondering how organizations, both public and private, are responding to the financial crisis, and have come to some interesting conclusions.
1. Despite all the talk about aligning corporate projects with strategic goals, I am amazed at the impact that a financial downtown has on what projects appear to be worthwhile. Projects that were a high priority just 6 months ago are now deemed frivolous, unnecessary, or just plain wasteful. Recently a local school came under fire for the amount of money it spent on a sculpture that sits in its courtyard. The money could have been spent more wisely on improving the quality of education, instead of the looks of the campus.
- The take away for you – it is important to ALWAYS look at your projects and screen them using some sort of criteria that will allow you to determine if it is money and time well spent.
2. You can’t do more with less – if you were efficient before the downturn. Back in the 1980s and early 90s, there was a mantra to do more with less. After a few years, someone finally said… hogwash (or something like this that was more colorful). There comes a point in time where you just can’t get any more water out of a rock. If you find yourself able to do more with less, all this says is that you were inefficient before the downturn. Why not use some of the premises of project management to ensure that you are always being efficient. This does not mean working your staff to the point of exhaustion. Quite to the contrary, it allows for a good balance of life and work and ensures that you are staffed at the right levels.
- Your take away is two fold. 1) ALWAYS try to be efficient. 2) Don’t expect your staff to be able to do everything it did before if you are letting people go. Prioritize the work or you’ll burn them out and they’ll leave when times get better.
All the best,
All the time