The long time impacts of COVID19 on human progress and innovations
By: AAMIR AYOUB MIR
It has been more than a year now since the pandemic of Covid19 emerged, and its impact on the world economy has been quite large and devastating. Its effects have touched and impacted almost every business entity all around the world and preliminary data indicates that Project Management, as a process, has been exposed to a huge contingency that the world wasn’t aware of yet. To survive in the post-pandemic world, employing top-level project managers has become more relevant and imperative now.
Project Management as a tool always emphasizes mitigating all the risks associated with the project and more on the contingent external risks that can arise from anywhere during the project life cycle. The planning phase in Project Management teaches us to be proactive, such that whenever a contingency arises, we are fully prepared to face it and thus solve it beforehand.
But this risk is an external risk which means we cannot stop it from happening.Covid-19 has had a catastrophic impact on the operational aspect of projects. Due to the lockdowns and border closures throughout the world, there has been major damage to supply chains and as such the risks of operating any business as well as managing projects have increased manifold.
Rather we need to come up with new, innovative measures to mitigate the impact of this risk, so the project mitigation process has an important role to play in the current scenario.
Covid-19 has paved way for many innovations and that’s a silver lining of this threat. The whole world has and is contributing to the fight against this deadly pandemic. Many businesses have shifted from the conventional style to new and innovative practices which in turn have the potential to develop sustainable Project Management. There has been a paradigm shift in processes, policies and work culture.
One of the biggest innovations that came into being due to the pandemic is ‘REMOTE WORKING’- more commonly known as ‘work from Home.’ The pandemic has clearly shown us that working remotely is the need of the hour. But implementing the same in Project Management is very tough. When executed properly, switching to remote working requires a balancing act which leads to Increase in productivity, Improved work/life balance, reduced turnover rates, reduced levels of stress, exposure to top talent from the global market etc. Covid 19 has shaped the future of Project Management in the following ways:
Getting the best of contractors from all over the world will now be more virtual than physical. Expertise and knowledge of contractors of high repute can’t be availed readily and physically and as such, Project Management will be more challenging than ever.
Lockdowns and restrictions along international borders have disrupted industries dependent on supply chains e.g. Just in Time, Kanban, etc. to name a few. This has escalated into increased costs and longer time leads. As stated already Project Management is generally associated with planningand being pro-active, but now there is no room for error as the world in general and the world economy, in particular, has faced a huge challenge due to the deadly virus.
Risk mitigation has become the most important and essential part of Project Management. The uncertainty of events like this pandemic has taught us to be prepared by remaining updated and creating comprehensive contingency plans and strategies that need to be addressed from time to time.
Being relevant, updated, and proactive has become the need of the hour and thus we have to be prepared for any contingent discrepancy that may arise during the project life cycle.
Also, health and safety protocols need to be endorsed by businesses to stop the spread of the virus. If a worker gets infected, the whole workplace can be closed which will result in huge cost implications for any firm.
There have been a myriad of innovations and initiatives during the pandemic and most of these are here to stay. New risk mitigation practices have come into existence as already mentioned above.
According to my assessment, project managers and contractors will be selective while choosing a project taking into consideration a new aspect i.e., “planning for the contingent external risks” at par with the already 4 aspects of risk management which are cost, time, technology, and quality parameters. Something great that we have learned from this pandemic is, “there is always room for improvement”- Which quite well describes the whole process and objective of Sustainable Project Management. There is a need of continuous assessment of all possible risks and threats. Identifying risks of higher magnitude and influence is needed. And thus we need to come up with new and innovative risk mitigation strategies to lessen the impact and protect the businesses from huge losses.
The writer is research scholar, Dept of Business and Management Studies.