Project Management

Ready, Set, Pivot! 7 Tips for Dealing with Project Uncertainty

San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

Troy is the CEO and Founder of Aspiri Consulting, Inc. in San Francisco.

In this article, I look at how to deal with project uncertainty by sharing lessons learned after working to secure funds for applications received through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Ready: The Paycheck Protection Program (or PPP) was authorized on March 27, 2020, as part of the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) in the United States. The Small Business Administration (SBA) received $349 billion in funding, later increased to $659 billion, with the directive to get potentially forgivable loans of up to $10 million in the hands of struggling small businesses (500 or less employees) as fast as possible.

Set: To get the funding out fast, the SBA promised small businesses that their financial institutions would begin accepting loan applications in just seven days on April 3rd. To put more pressure on the timeline, it was well known that the demand would quickly outstrip the supply. The race was on for over 5,500 lenders to get their customers approved before the funding ran out (which round one did in just 13 days).

Pivot: Expecting thousands of applications to flood in, we needed to act quickly. In a matter of days, we needed to launch a new loan origination system with a user-friendly customer application portal supported by a streamlined process while reassigning and training a fleet of loan originators, underwriters and processors.

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"If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."

- Chinese Proverb