Vijay Kanabar, PhD, PMP, says he’ll know the recession is truly over when
employers return to campus recruiting events in big numbers. Companies
might want to head over soon—graduates may be just what’s needed right now.
“Students are the best choice for a lot of these companies because they are
low-budget employees whom they can mold to the new industry environment
that they have evolved into,” says Dr. Kanabar, Boston University, Boston,
Massachusetts, USA. “Small companies will have re-engineered themselves
completely for the new environment, so they need a new kind of employee.”
Despite glimmers of hope, the
lessons of the recession should
not be forgotten. During good
times, memories are short
and there’s a tendency to get
reckless with spending, says
Vijay Kanabar, PhD, PMP,
Boston University, Boston,
Massachusetts, USA. Post-recession, companies should
maintain cautious, balanced,
lean and mean practices.
“From a project management
have to make sure they are still
aligned with their strategy
and have a good portfolio of
projects that they are focused
on,” he says.
Projects that help companies tap new
markets for existing products or bring
new products to market are likely to get
the go-ahead, says Michelle LaBrosse,
PMP, CEO of Cheetah Learning,
Carson City, Nevada, USA.
“While it’s important to focus on
projects to improve productivity and
reduce costs, it is the projects that will help
a company increase revenues that will help
a company grow and thrive,” she says.
With just the wisps of a recovery,
that’s still a tough sell.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Tough times are bringing risk aversion and
financial conservatism to the forefront,
fundamentally changing the way project
managers do business. Once-tolerated
waste and haziness of purpose are now
considered cardinal sins. And many
companies are more wary than ever.
“The crunch hit with warning signs
no one deciphered at the early stages,”
says Mr. Gheorghiu. “We need better
early-warning tools and better risk-
Even as the economy starts to show
signs of a turnaround, project managers
are under even greater pressure to
demonstrate and quantify their value.
“The economic crisis has meant
that organizations look at how they
spend their money and there is a
greater onus on justification,” says Mr.
Parker. “In many ways, the crisis has
forced project managers to be smarter
about how they pitch their ideas, skills
and services to their potential new
clients. That means they must be
adding real value to a business if they
are able to gain work. I think the eco-
nomic crisis will shake a few lazy cats
from their comfort zones.”
To navigate the uncertain environ-
ment of high expectations and low
budgets, project managers are learning
to be flexible.