Start planning for the
recovery now. “Reshape
staff and rehire the good
resources laid off in the
last two years,” says
Florin Gheorghiu, PMP,
Enel Green Power,
China certainly ranks among the
most ambitious. Backed with a massive
government stimulus plan, the country
announced it was targeting 8 percent
growth in 2010.
“China’s economic stimulus package is
geared towards solving some of its future
infrastructure and logistics challenges. And
it also has a favorable balance in terms of
trade, given the current valuation of the
yuan coupled with the growing domestic
consumer demand that will ensure its
export-oriented economy copes with the
current financial crisis,” Mr. Parker says.
“For project managers, it may mean
looking offshore for opportunities or
assisting their clients to take advantage of
Let’s be optimistic. If, indeed, the economy recovers, that’s going to
mean a lot of projects are going to be relaunched. Here are four things
to do when your project is no longer stuck on hold:
Assess the project’s relevance.
“A lot of businesses might be working on different strategies, so a
project that has been paused for a while might be totally irrelevant,”
says Vijay Kanabar, PhD, PMP, Boston University, Boston,
Massachusetts, USA. “The scope and requirements may have
changed so much that you may have to start from scratch.”
Re-evaluate assumptions and restate goals.
“Review the initial project-planning documents and adjust them
based on how the environment has changed,” advises Michelle
LaBrosse, PMP, Cheetah Learning, Carson City, Nevada, USA.
“Usually the people available to work on the project will have
changed, the tools to complete the project may have changed, the
strategic objectives of the organization may have changed, and there
will be other projects new on the plate that must be integrated into
the input or output of the resurrected project.”
Get stakeholders on board.
“Make sure the company has made a commitment to the cash-flow
needs of the project to ensure that you can successfully complete it,”
Ms. LaBrosse says. “This might require difficult conversations with
the stakeholders responsible for funding the project.”
Consider reframing the project as a series of sprints with short-term
deliverables versus a massive undertaking with a long lead time, suggests Rafael Sabbagh, project manager and agile consultant, Pontifícia
Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Building in that kind of flexibility leaves room for frequent replanning
in a changing environment. “That is even more evident in turbulent
times,” he says, “as agile projects are more resilient to the economy’s
ups and downs.”
opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.
While it may be hard for some project
managers to acknowledge, the coming
decade will belong to China, and it
would be wise to ensure you have a
China strategy as part of your portfolio.”
China may be in the spotlight, but it’s
not the only one spending. Governments
around the world seem determined to
nurture any signs of growth with huge
stimulus plans that are translating to
huge projects, especially in infrastructure.
Governments will “probably run
projects meant to hire thousands of
public buildings, wastewater, etc.,” says
Florin Gheorghiu, PMP, general project
manager, Enel Green Power, Bucharest,
Romania. “These projects always attract
massive labor forces, and materials
move in a big horizontal quake, shaking
an entire piece of the economy, industry
Yet for all the positive signs, this
looks to be a fragile recovery. In mid-
2009, projects on the Arabian Peninsula
were moving at a rapid clip, for example:
Saudi Arabia had a massive railway project
in the works, Abu Dhabi was reviewing
bids for a major metro system project, and
Qatar was planning a railway project
worth an estimated US$25.3 billion.
Then Dubai World’s potential loan default
shocked already anxious global markets.
Although the general consensus
seems to be that Dubai alone will bear
the brunt of project cancelations and
stalls, the new buzzword around the
world seems to be restraint.
“Private companies will resume the
frozen projects first and then will think
twice when authorizing new projects
because of the shareholders’ risk-averse
inclination following the economic
crisis,” says Mr. Gheorghiu.
Looking to recover lost ground, cost-cutting projects in manufacturing and
services companies will be a focus, he
Still, you can only slice so much.