The New Normal – The Role of Project Management

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As we approach what many refer to as the ‘New Normal’, it got us thinking here in the office of what this ‘New Normal’ holds for us; and the role we can play in it. Commentary is saying the New Normal will hold the following:

  1. the continuation of social distancing.
  2. businesses which have been driven to a virtual set-up since mid-March may need to change how they work and have in place the kind of social distancing measures.
  3. queues will become the norm, like those seen outside supermarkets and stores.
  4. one-way systems will become part of how we manage the flow of human traffic going forward.
  5. there will be a continued use of personal protective equipment.

This all sound pretty challenging but we do believe this will be our norm and is our way of operating for the foreseeable future.

So then to our next question; what can our profession (project management) do to assist / help or be part of this. There’s more to it than just spending on the latest in technology. Instead, a higher investment needs to be made ensuring that we, as project managers, can really focus on what is required from us to run our projects, to ensure our teams are comfortable and most importantly to ensure we, as professionals, become a pillar of our communities. This is a tall order and one that requires, in our view, for project managers to re-look at how we do business.

As always in our blogs posts, we give you steps / tips in what and how to do this and this post is no different in that regard. Here are our four recommendations for projects managers in this New Normal:

  • Recommendation 1: – Don’t Put Yourself First, Prioritise those Around You. Investments in others is now at the top of the list. This is not just the team but the community at large. As a Project Management Community, we should look of ways of harnessing the motives of those around us and ensuring the project we deliver are not just for commercial success but for community benefit
  • Recommendation 2: – Build your ‘Digital Fluency’ in how you deliver projects. It is no longer going to be enough to have just one person who understands the data. We need to be able to share this across the team in a seamless way. That will require knowledge in technology and delivery, along with many other areas. It is now crucial we relinquish the right to data ownership and allow a seamless access to all types of data.
  • Recommendation 3: – Be a Leader and not a Manager. As leaders, we need to change our current ideas of how we work and how others work around us. We got to be open to new practices; or even old practices. Don’t flinch in exploring to keep our teams pulse moving in this new-normal. Think about leadership skills and business management skills and how these can be used to learn and keep pace with the environment.
  • Recommendation 4: – Accept the New Normal in What Can We Do rather than What Can’t We Do. Please don’t flinch and please don’t panic, this is not of our choosing but it is our reality. As an old colleague once said to me; nobody and even you, don’t really want to hear about your problems. Our position is about leading those around us, and the mindset should be ‘what we can do’ rather than ‘what we cannot do’. This is not taking about positivity, it is referring to minimising the obstacles and focusing on the results.

None of chose this New Normal, but this New Normal is our New Reality. Lets embrace it as project managers and show the pathway forward.

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