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Driving organisational success through project management amid COVID-19

By Gloria Nwafor 
06 April 2021   |   3:03 am
A recent report published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) from its 2020 Pulse of the Profession data, shows that on average, about 11.4 per cent of investment

A recent report published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) from its 2020 Pulse of the Profession data, shows that on average, about 11.4 per cent of investment was wasted as a result of poor project performance.

According to the research, many companies lack mature project management as a strategic competency for driving change, exposing them to failure two times more than the companies that are efficiently managing their projects.

Already, the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in new realities such as lockdowns, economic loss, businesses working remotely, and the uncertainty that surrounds when the world will overcome the pandemic.

Even before COVID-19, the workplace was already undergoing rapid and disruptive changes, the report stated that organisations needed to adapt entirely to new ways of working to succeed in a post-pandemic world.

Amidst the environment of uncertainty and ambiguity, the report hinted that organisations without a project management structure in place are likely to lose more investments than ever before.

The Pulse of the Profession analysis highlighted that 67 per cent of organisations that underestimated project management as a strategic competence to implement change failed.

In light of the challenges posed by the pandemic, the report stated that it had become more crucial than ever for organisations to develop a contingency plan that would ensure ongoing success.

It explained that it was essential to be aware of risks while addressing temporary threats.

According to the report, it pays to understand information technology and use mature project management practices to ensure proper change implementation without exposing the business to avoidable risks.

It stated that project professionals play a crucial role in ensuring that analysis is organised and risks prioritised, noting that findings from the analysis would reveal all areas that needed improvement and allowed business leaders to make decisions on how to mitigate threats.

The report added that project managers must cultivate the right blend of practical knowledge, people-centered ‘power skills’, and experience to ensure proper coordination and efficiency of teams and projects during this time that remote working was the order of the day.

Speaking on the new work ecosystem that has emerged, Business Development Lead in Africa, Project Management Institute (PMI), George Asamani, said the pandemic had transformed lives, reshape industries and revealed threats that none would have thought possible a year ago.

He said individuals and enterprises alike would need to adapt to a new work ecosystem to succeed in a post-pandemic world.

According to him, they must become ‘gymnastic’ and adopt an agile mindset, proactively shape the future rather than wait for change and refresh skillsets or require new ones to complete projects successfully.

He emphasised how PMI is helping enterprises and individuals master the skills and capabilities necessary to operate in the new work ecosystem, ensuring outcomes are achieved, even in the face of daunting challenges.

He said: “No doubt, the ongoing global pandemic somewhat offers an opportunity for extraordinary change and disruption that is driven by technology. There is so much talk about the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Without the right skills in place, organisations will be left behind. Future-fit organisations are not only willing to reimagine their vision and purpose, but also eager to adopt new ways of thinking that will allow them to thrive in the project economy, the emerging paradigm in which work is increasingly oriented around projects and project-based work.”

He said organisations with the knowledge that project management was key to their business have benefited from keeping up with the evolving demands in the marketplace and have been able to maintain pace with technology in a world where digital transformation was impacting all aspects of work.

He added: “These organisations are also readily prepared for future shocks to the system such as the next COVID-like global crisis that is yet to be predicted.

“Instead of looking to the past, it is critical that organisations increasingly shape their future and embrace change, rather than trying to avoid it.

“In the post-COVID era, businesses will never go back to normal. A lot of organisations have come to adopt the idea of working remotely or incorporate a hybrid solution. This will necessitate the need for up-skilling talents to ensure they are capable of delivering on projects end-to-end because projects are embedded in our daily life.”