Project Management

Your First Project…and Now COVID-19 Hits

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.

This probably wasn’t how you saw your first project going. You knew that there would be some challenges that you would need to overcome, some bumps in the road. But you never imagined that the COVID-19 pandemic would hit and disrupt virtually every aspect of your project.

So what do you do? How do you respond without any PM experience to fall back on? You can’t simply look to your sponsor for guidance because they don’t have a clear picture yet, either. And they need you to at least keep things moving until that clarity can be found.

There is no precedent for this
Start by recognizing that none of us are prepared for what is happening now. There has never been anything close to the scale of this level of disruption before, with every country facing severe impacts across multiple industries and parts of society. None of us have any experience to fall back on when trying to figure out how to cope with things this time around.

Having said that, I recognize that PMs with more experience will have more confidence in forging a path through it. They may be “winging it” just as much as you are, but they have some previous experience to guide the direction of their actions. Those more experienced PMs will be only too happy to help you manage your way through this, but bear in mind that they have their own projects to deal with so their time is …

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"One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity there ain't nothing can beat teamwork."

- Mark Twain