Over the last few days, we have been inundated with information. This, of course, fuelled by panic in the absence of vetting sources of information, we have been exposed to a flood of advice and information.
So, as business owners, how do we filter and build the plans we need to?
Applying Project Management methodologies may be the answer. Let me elaborate, in general, project management involves using a set of principles to a "project" which could be: the creation of a unique product or result, having a finite beginning and determinable end and through the organised process of initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling the process.
Some of the basic building blocks include:
- Scope management
- Cost management
- Schedule management
- Quality Management
- Risk Management
- Human Resource Management
- Communications Management
- Stakeholder Management
- Procurement Management
- Integration Management
These methodologies build trust through transparency by achieving the following outputs:
- The scope is defined and proactively managed;
- Stakeholders are identified and informed according to their information needs;
- Status updates are provided on a regular and efficient basis; and
- Risks are addressed on time by the appropriate mitigation measures.
Where to start?
Firstly, the scope is the starting point for effective project management. It identifies what the project/matter is to encompass and what it is to accomplish (definition of success). The scope should be specific and realistic and divisible into discrete tasks (pre-requisite for further planning and execution). Stakeholder expectations should also be aligned.
When listing resources and stakeholders, it is crucial to consider potential roles:
- Responsible - Those who do work to achieve the task. There can be multiple responsible persons or groups.
- Accountable - The individual ultimately answerable for the correct and thorough completion of the task.
- Consulted - Those whose opinions are sought. Consulting implies two-way communication.
- Informed - Those who are kept up-to-date on the progress of the project. Recipients of one-way communication.
How to apply this to Covid 19
Define what you perceive as the effects the situation may have on your business, for example:
- The business impact of a forced lockdown and/ or
- Reduced workforce
After that, make a list of stakeholders and their interest or contribution level, this could include the following (not an exclusive list):
- Staff (if applicable) – These persons usually have a direct interest. Perhaps most would require Consultation and Informed while more Senior would be Responsible and Accountable as well.
- Clients - These persons usually have a direct interest. Perhaps Consultation, Informed and Responsible? The last-mentioned, probably in the context that continued Client performance (i.e. paying), is critical to the sustenance of the business.
- Landlord (if applicable) - These persons usually have an indirect interest. Perhaps Consultation, Informed and Responsible? The last-mentioned, probably in the context that continued Client performance (i.e. paying), is critical to the sustenance of the business.
- Suppliers – These persons would have a direct interest. Perhaps Consultation, Informed and Responsible in some industries. In goods industry, there is an interdependence between supplier and customer up the supply chain.
- Advisors – These persons need to guide you and have an indirect interest. Successful execution would be dependent on their timeous inputs.
From there onwards this must be broken up into smaller portions:
- What to do
- When to do it
- Who is doing it
- At what cost
- Impact of delays and changes
- Identify the activities and arrange them in sequences (dependencies)
- Drill down to itemise specific tasks and activities within each phase, and the series in which those tasks must be done.
We recommend applying the herein mentioned methodology in order to build a strategy for your business to navigate through the Coronavirus outbreak.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.