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Recommendations on program and project management in the context of the Corona crisis

Projects create change and innovation. The future viability of the company needs to ensure that they continue as continuously as possible in times of crisis, so as not to be overtaken by the competition in these times. Also, small, short-term projects must be carried out, for example, to establish active, lightning-fast crisis management.

The way projects are carried out and the way they are collaborated on has already changed due to progressive digitalization. However, COVID-19 has accelerated this process considerably and abolished resistance against virtual teams.

This is an irreversible process to which each individual must adjust and which is intensified by the following effects, among others:

  • Lower CO2 consumption and reduction of project costs by reducing travel expenses
  • More efficient use of working hours, because there is no need to travel to and from work
  • Greater attractiveness of the projects for talents of the Y/Z generation

Now it is necessary to overcome the Corona economic crisis by the following measures:

  1. Especially in times of crisis, the evaluation and prioritization of all current and planned projects according to future criticality, value enhancement potential and urgency is of fundamental importance. Strategically important projects such as the development of digital platforms should be given high priority in addition to the implementation of projects generated from the crisis, such as a supply chain risk analysis paired with data analytics in the company.
  2. Increasing agility in project portfolio management: Using a "digital project portfolio & management cockpit" it is shown in real-time which risks and problems need to be reacted to quickly. New information can no longer wait until the next month's project status report but must be made transparent immediately to be able to act faster. This also includes a staged business continuity plan, which is developed using a scenario technique and ensures greater planning reliability. High speed in communication and transparency of information is the basis for pragmatic decisions and in a crisis the success factors.
  3. Immediate investment in virtual collaboration: For collaboration to continue to function, the technical possibilities must be fully exploited. The home office becomes a Smart Workplace and is equipped with collaboration tools (MS Teams, Slack, Zoom, etc.), virtual whiteboards and online voting tools (Menti, etc.) in addition to the infrastructure for video conferences. An accompanying adoption program is necessary to train employees in the use of the tools and to change their behavior to the new situation. Virtual teamwork requires a change in working methods, e.g. with daily check-ins and checkouts, weekly team planning and closing meetings and of course "virtual coffee drinking" with colleagues for socializing.

But: Crisis management must not become the complete focus of work and determine everyday life. Now is also the time to take advantage of the existing circumstances and to align the program and project culture in the company in a future-oriented way. Leading companies today are already looking ahead to the time after the crisis.

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