Project Management

How Do We Get Out of This Pandemic?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

We’ve all been on a journey, these last few months. Not one we chose or signed up for, but we all found ourselves aboard for the ride, nonetheless. It has been difficult. It has been challenging. It has been painful, at times. It has been inconsistently experienced.

We now find ourselves on the verge of finding out what happens next. Lockdowns are being lifted, restrictions are being lessened, businesses are re-opening. This has some people happy, and others fearful. There is still a disease out there that we know too little about, that we have insufficient resources in place to test and trace, and for which a vaccine does not exist (and likely will not for some months).

So the answer to the question “How do we get out of this?” should be “Very carefully.”

All of this is important to keep in mind as we think about supporting our teams in their return to work and the workplace. There is an enormous, understandable and very human desire for things to “get back to normal.” What is equally true is that we are not at normal, and we are unlikely to be for some time. The physical reality of the coronavirus epidemic isn’t going away soon, and there will inevitably be future waves of infection in various parts of the world. Which is not to say “elsewhere.” Wherever we find …

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- Chinese Proverb