Practice shows that while a lot of other professions fall prey to economic recession project management positions remain largely resistant to them. It doesn’t, however, mean one can pursue a career in project management no matter what he or she does. If one is going to stay efficient and effective, one has to learn how to set goals that would prove to be recession-proof.
However, it is easier said than done. Project managers work in all lines of business and are supposed to follow different sets of aims and guidelines. Depending on the company they work for, the industry this company deals with and with current market situation they may have to work in completely different circumstances. There, however, should be some general directions and characteristics common to all the projects that want to remain afloat during economic crises. Let’s try and define what kinds of goals a project manager is supposed to set if he or she is going to bring success to their company.
According to statistics, time is still the most important commodity any business has today. Which naturally leads to the following conclusion – if a project is finished on time, even if it is not perfect in some respects, it is going to be successful. Things should not be simply done, they should be done on time.
How is this to be achieved? One has to always remember the Pareto principle: 20% of all efforts yield 80% of all results. In order to successfully finish the project on time the manager should define its most crucial aspects and concentrate attention on them. If they are dealt with while the rest is left unfinished – it is still a good result.
However, it is better to meet all the requirements set by senior management. In order to do that a detailed list of them should be in order – after all, if the manager is not clear about what exactly is demanded of him, he or she will be unable to prioritize and organize the work process. What initially seemed like a negligible task may turn out to be a behemoth eating up time and resources while some aspects of the project may remain unclear until the very end. Recession can make vague plans even more harmful than usual – not many companies can afford being unsure of what they are going to do when their very existence may well be at stake.
Another important goal is to always stay within budget, avoid overspending and, if possible, use less money than has been allocated. The manager should carefully keep track of all the expenses, try to leave some space for maneuver and, if overspending becomes unavoidable, make sure to save on other areas. Even if the project goal is achieved, it won’t do much good if it required twice as much as was initially supposed, so keeping expenses in check is worth being a goal in and of itself. This becomes even more important during the period of recession, as the company will be more than happy to save even a little bit if it is at all possible.
And finally, keeping both clients and the team satisfied should always be a goal of an experienced project manager. Although recession can make a lot of people less choosy about their jobs, it still pays to have a team of specialists who are not at each other’s throats and are happy to work for the company. As for clients – it has never been more important to keep them.
All in all, the goals of a project manager during a recession are, first and foremost, to make sure that the job gets done, and gets done with the least possible expenses.