The Bad Economy Balance

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

You don’t need me to tell you that the last couple of years have been tough. The global economy has been suffering, and it doesn’t appear to be over yet. Very few organizations have been immune from this, and as PMs the vast majority of us have been asked to do more with less. So how do you make those tradeoffs?

Very few organizations have taken the step of modifying their project execution processes to reflect the reality of reduced resources and more aggressive timelines; it’s therefore left to the PM to determine the tradeoffs that need to be made in order to maximize the chances of success. In this article, I want to look at how you as project managers can strive to balance the reality of managing projects in a tough economy with the desire to still do things “the right way”.

Stakeholders need to recognize reality
The most crucial step for a PM is to work with the project’s stakeholders to discuss how the current challenges will impact the project. It’s really no different from any other constraint that affects the initiative, but it needs to be acknowledged and dealt with up front. Suppose for example an organization has reduced the number of project managers--and as a result you now have to manage more projects than you are used to dealing with (and in all likelihood, more than you can handle “properly”).

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"Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself."

- Charlie Chaplin