COVID-19 Offers Surprising Opportunities for Successful Projects
At the end of this article executives, business and project owners will, hopefully, realize, because they are looking at COVID-19 and seeing only the negatives, they may be missing opportunities.
Never Ending Change: the COVID-19 Opportunity
Change will always be necessary, that much is certain. COVID-19 has made truer than any time in history. Change is necessary in all areas, including behavior, worker and customer protections, operating hours, cleaning and hygienic practices, the number of employees working or customers being served at any given time.
COVID-19 created new challenges for multi-state organizations accustomed to organizational standards. This objective is made more difficult by the pandemic, as businesses must now comply with new local, state, and federal regulations. However desirable, it might not be feasible to establish policies that apply across the entire organization. The response must be flexible enough to be localized.
Despite all of this, you must not give in to your obstacles. There is a solution: resilience. You must be searching for chances.
Look for Opportunities
Where do you look for opportunities?
Banks, stores and other customer facing businesses have innovated by installing Plexiglas shields, creating a safer environment, reducing the chance for employees or customers to transmit airborne contaminants, not just the COVID-19 virus but also those for the flu and common cold.
This presented a chance for shield manufacturing companies. They may not have previously made shields. The shields might now be a new product line, or perhaps the material was leftover scrap from bigger jobs that would have been recycled or thrown away. In any case, it was an unexpected opportunity; are you looking for yours?
If your business has an outdated showroom, remodeling can be a challenge because of the disruption to the sales floor, however, now because of the COVID-19 reduced traffic, this may be the ideal time to remodel.
Equipment is being rearranged in gyms and similar establishments to enable social distancing. Though it makes sense, is this the best they can do? Are there any other improvements or modifications that could be made now that participation is low?
Have you thought about the possibility that your company has a product line that isn’t producing and the cause of the issue? Is the sales force lacking in product knowledge to blame? Update the training course that can be given virtually or in small groups right away. Are you taking advantage of this opportunity to hold training events even though the sales force is not as engaged?
Do you have any hardware, software, or systems that are either operating inefficiently or with excessive downtime? I was hired a few years ago to help the remote sales force with a technology problem. The issue had been examined by several technicians, but they were unable to devote the necessary time to the investigation. Does your situation involve similar difficulties? It took three days to resolve.
Take a moment now or ask someone to assist you in identifying your opportunities!
COVID-19 Success Story
Read this article to learn more about the Salt Lake City Airport’s opening. When the pandemic caused the airport traffic to decrease, Salt Lake was able to expedite passenger area construction, save $300 million, and shorten the project’s timeline.
Virtual Project Meetings
Even during the best of times, finishing projects successfully on time and within budget can be difficult. All projects are susceptible to delays, changes, scope creep, interference, unique requests, and personal agendas, which, if accepted, will derail a project’s timeline and devastate its budget. For distractions to be avoided or at least minimized, business managers must exert control over project managers, team members, and stakeholders.
Project control should be exercised through in-person team and individual meetings, according to the PMBOK, or Project Management Body of Knowledge. These are the times when the executive or project owner can assess the situation and, if necessary, reorient their efforts in order to keep the project on track or get it back on it. Because personal agendas have the power to shift the focus, this is also the point where authority is frequently lost.
COVID-19 makes face-to-face meetings difficult, if not impossible! But those constraints can be overcome by modern technology. Better yet, this is a chance to reconsider the procedure. Use virtual meetings so that you are not constrained by your ability to be present in person. Meetings in person can be challenging to schedule due to travel plans or other issues. Virtual meetings overcome these issues because they are just that “virtual”. They could occur at any time or place. It gets harder to justify reasons for missing meetings.
Virtual Meetings Provide More Control
The project owner has more control over virtual meetings. The organizer can set ground rules dictating that participants must be muted. If someone wants to speak, they may be asked to indicate their interest in doing so, and the organizer may politely cut them off if they veer off-topic.
Mitigating Project Scope Creep
While physical meetings may drag on, virtual meetings shouldn’t. They should have a specific, previously agreed-upon agenda, be scheduled for a specific amount of time (30–60 minutes), and end when the allotted time has passed. To manage and mitigate scope creep, topics that are not a part of the project should be addressed separately.
Social Distancing in Project Meetings
Face-to-face interactions today are much less valuable as a result of social distance and mask use. We have lost the “close up” benefits where we can “read” the other side and see important facial expressions. To truly understand someone else, you must have these.
Virtual meetings do not require masks or social distancing: expressions are still “out in the open”. If your computer screen is large enough and you are seated at a normal distance from it, you can read the facial expressions.
You, business executives and owners, should be wondering what opportunities you have under COVID-19 after reading this article. What tasks do you still need to finish? Spend no more time hesitating—NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!