The coronavirus pandemic is causing incomprehensible destruction to families and industries, and it will be many years until some impacts can be measured.
Whilst the news is scary and endeavours such as creating a vaccine are out of our hands, those of us that are responsible for managing projects within our organisation need to be more agile and proactive than ever. If we can keep our projects aligned and manage risk properly, we will be giving our colleagues the best chance of returning to a healthy business.
You will have COVID-19 projects that are taking up a lot of attention, but here are some general tips on maintaining balance with your other, business as usual work. Whilst these are written for venue managers, event planners, attractions and the hospitality sector in general, the principles will be applicable to other sectors.
1. Don't abandon your 'normal' projects
Yes, some of your projects will be slowed down, postponed or reduced in scope, and that is right. However, it's too easy to fall into the trap of not giving your regular projects the attention they deserve. If these slip then you might be creating future problems for your business. An example might be maintenance on equipment and facilities.
ACTION: Prioritise your projects, but don't lose sight of everything else.
2. Tag, group, sort and assign
Depending on what system you use to manage your projects, make sure you review how they are grouped and tagged up. Add new tags if needed, combine projects, and make sure users are assigned to the correct tasks so that they can focus on what's important.
ACTION: Review your project and task tags as well as which teams and staff are assigned to items.
3. Automate reporting
Now is not the time to be manually creating lots of reports. Your time is going to be better spent completing the actual work rather than creating status reports for others. This is especially true if some of your colleagues are furloughed or, sadly, made redundant. In practice this may mean losing some of the formatting on how information is presented but this is a price worth paying for getting up-to-date information quickly to those that need to see it.
ACTION: Get the right information to the right people at the right frequency. Use the automated reporting functionality in your system.
4. Align projects with risks & issues register
WeTrack will provide a separate article to help with the specifics of risk, issues and opportunity management but the key is to combine your projects and risks. If risks are confidential, that's fine, but problems occur when every issue an organisation is facing is kept completely isolated from the projects which they impact.
ACTION: Make your risk and issue register a core part of your project plans, not something that is done in isolation.
5. Keep notifications and reminders going, but do not overwhelm users
Notifications are great, most of the time! They are a good way of keeping users informed of changes they need to be aware of, or things that are upcoming or overdue. However, we commonly hear of users being inundated with hundreds of notifications a week. This has the perverse effect of making a user less likely to be able to act on notifications since the important items get lost amongst the noise. Use your system to batch them up and notify users of only the important things more frequently. In addition, maybe it's time to replace some of the notifications with automated reports once a day, week or month (see point 3).
ACTION: Make sure your team isn't getting notification 'blindness' through the sheer volume of messages.
Keeping your company working on what's important and holding people accountable is more important than ever, but don't put on COVID-19 blinkers and ignore everything else that needs to be done.
View our full guide to re-opening your venue, event or attraction during COVID-19 here.