The global economy swings back and forth between high and low growth periods on average, every ten years.
Reduced infrastructure investment by economic giants the US and China, and exacerbated by the trade war between the two is putting some projects on hold and cancelling others.
In an economic downturn, companies tend to respond strategically or reactively.
Often, younger companies with less experience operating during slow times will lay off employees and reduce spending. They react, waiting for projects to ramp back up.
This kind of thinking, while logical in the near term often leaves these companies short on human and intellectual capital when projects resume.
Industry leaders know this.
Because they are experienced in both upswing and downswings in the economy, instead of reacting, these companies continue to execute their strategic imperatives.
Forward thinking firms use this time to reinvest in their people and processes; honing them to be more efficient. In short, they use the downtime to shore up valuable skills and knowledge; streamlining operations and brushing up on changes in technology. They know from experience these investments will position them ahead of the pack when projects begin again.
Leading organizations typically invest in the following three areas.
When teams are on deadline and have their hands full with project work, there isn’t much bandwidth to assess for organizational efficiency outside of the immediate project scope. However, a standardized workflow can help automate repetitive tasks, reduce inefficiencies and ultimately deliver better results with reduced resources.
New developments in technology mean there are software tools that can quickly and easily automate many of the most resource intensive project tasks.
From creating pipeline project estimates in EXCEL, to utilizing a combination of GANTT charts and P6 or MS Project for linear projects, or even creating Phase Documents using Autocad, manual methodologies are no longer the only option. Instead, forward looking firms adopt proven software tools to estimate, schedule and deliver projects faster and more accurately.
Projects are only as successful as the people working on them. While implementing and onboarding a new software can certainly improve project outcomes, it’s rare that results dramatically improve without training.
Investing in the skills of the project team to ensure their abilities to utilize cutting edge software solutions, results in far reduced ramp up times. Leaders know they can shave days off set up by training their teams to use highly efficient project tools like TILOS, Powerproject, APEX, Phase Manager and ISETIA.
Choices made now can impact success for up to ten years
In spite of the impulse to shed people and slash budgets, leading organizations instead work to reduce operational inefficiencies and invest in their teams.
Slowdowns tend to separate the good firms from the great. Those with a key understanding of how to leverage slower times emerge even stronger when projects resume.