Project Management

Navigating Crisis Without Sinking: 6 Practical Tips for Project Managers

PMI Toronto Chapter

Bruce is the founder of, a resource for growing IT project managers.

Let me start with something different. In the classic science-fiction novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, we read the following:

"It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words 'DON'T PANIC' in large, friendly letters on the cover."

That simple phrase—don't panic—is an excellent guiding principle in this period of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. By all means, take advice from public health organizations and take reasonable precautions (e.g., work from home as much as possible). However, panic-fueled activities are unlikely to help yourself or others. Worse, panic can paralyze us from taking action of any kind.

To help you become more proactive in this age of COVID-19, let's look at a few ways project managers can choose to keep moving:

1. Recommend project cancellations for the near term. Every day, we hear about more event cancellations (the Tokyo Olympics have already been officially postponed). To keep your team members and everyone else safe, consider canceling and postponing events. While no project manager likes to recommend eliminating a project, it is sometimes the right move.

  • Action item:

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I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso.

- Rita Rudner