<img alt="" src="https://secure.coup7cold.com/202326.png" style="display:none;">

Project Management During The COVID-19 Pandemic Panel Recap

Posted by Jason Kinder on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The College of Performance Management (CPM) Washington, DC (WDC) chapter recently held their monthly virtual event. We began the meeting with networking and then Brian Leach from Steelray Software demonstrated prototypes for two new products. 

The first, which they are calling Analyzer for P6, performs schedule quality analysis for Primavera P6 schedules. The second technology, Steelray Delay Analyzer, provides real-time forensic delay analysis and visualization of how the critical path changes over time. If you are interested in their early access program, you can send them an email at ea@steelray.com. 

After the software demo, Jason Kinder moderated a panel discussion with three project management experts about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their profession. The panelists included Matthew Raposo, Basil Soutos and Tej Sujlana. The first question posed to the panelists was the biggest single impact they have encountered during the pandemic. Matthew, Basil and Tej all agreed that communication needed to be handled in a different way, citing that you can no longer walk down the hall to check in on project status with another team member.

Communication, which is vital to project management success, proves to be even more important with many employees now working virtually. Tej indicated that his organization had to equip 12,000+ employees with various forms of communication tools, such as Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams to continue working effectively.

We then dove into how organizations were adapting to a new normal. “A crisis management team was established at each line of business and initially met on a daily basis,” said Tej. At Vigor, a risk management board was established to ensure that the organization was on top of any potential project impacts due to vendors and contractors ability to meet program deliverables.

They also mentioned personnel health and well-being had to be approached in a different manor. Basil responded that a project he was working on implemented personnel safety checks as a way to keep up with how peers were coping with the pandemic. Matthew said that building trust was critical to maintaining project success and they instituted performance metrics to enable that trust. Tej noted that with 98% of staff now working from home, empathy was key to employees’ work-life balance. By starting each call with ‘why are we here’ he said is has led to an increase in productivity by eliminating many futile meetings.

Moving forward, all the panelists agreed that working from home is here to stay and organizations must learn how to pivot. As Matthew stated, “By having a more virtual staff you can hire the best resources without worrying about where they live and that also increases opportunities for employees looking to change jobs.”

In closing, Basil noted that many people have an opportunity to re-evaluate their career paths by not being constrained to a physical location, while Matthew said that gaining trust will be more difficult in this new environment.

The biggest take-away for me, was that empathy will be vital to project success. We must learn how to communicate differently, yet effectively, to ensure delivery of projects on-time and on-budget.

The next CPM WDC event will be held on Thursday, March 18th and will feature Eric Uyttewaal discussing forecasting programs. We hope to see you there!


Topics: Aerospace & Defense, Energy, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Engineering & Construction, Earned Value Management (EVM), Integrated Program Management (IPM), Technology, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Oracle Primavera, Government & Public Sector, forProject Technology, Encore Analytics Empower

Jason Kinder

By Jason Kinder

Jason has extensive experience in Earned Value Management, project controls, project management, and engagement management. He is a frequent speaker at the IPM Workshop, EVM World and numerous project management software vendor conferences. He is an active participant with the NDIA Integrated Program Management Division (IPMD) and the Planning and Scheduling Working Group. He currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the College of Performance Management (CPM).

More articles by Jason Kinder