Managing project delivery in a rapidly changing environment

By Megan Avard, Founder and CEO

The past few years have been a tumultuous ride for most industries. While some have seen incredible wins, others have faced devastating losses.

In Australia, we have been navigating a range of challenges – from climate impacts such as floods and bushfires, to managing resource shortages and booming prices due to the pandemic.

While many say we are adjusting to the ‘new normal’, the fact is the environment in which we operate can at times feel like it is constantly shifting and changing. Being agile and having tools at your fingertips when change occurs – whether that change is positive or negative – can make or break your project’s successful delivery.

Workers in a dirt construction site

Tips to future-proof your projects

1. Have a single source of truth

When chaos surrounds you, it is important to have a single point of truth, where all key stakeholders can access up-to-date data and current information. 

Having complete confidence in your source of data across your entire portfolio allows for more informed decisions to be made and for costly mistakes to be avoided.

SurePact’s solution not only provides this single source of truth across portfolio deliveries, but acts as a repository of information, where crucial intelligence is not lost or inaccessible when personnel are unavailable. Anyone who needs to be granted access can see real-time and current documents, timelines, budgets and reporting, providing confidence and conviction for decision makers when outcomes seem uncertain. 

2. Ensure communication is clear

Communication is essential to all projects, no matter the size or scope. Communication manages stakeholder expectations, allows for reporting on project deliverables, directs the approving and rolling out of variations and supports collaboration between all involved parties. 

Every phase of a project involves different players who need access to clear and concise information that is well communicated and documented for positive outcomes. SurePact’s Delegations Feature assigns tasks to the correct people and provides access to those who need it at different stages of the project lifecycle. 

3. Check in regularly with your goals and deliverables

Clear structures and processes around goals and deliverables are necessary to keep track of how a project is progressing and should be put in place well before the project starts. However, this is not a case of ‘set it and forget it’.

As goal posts change or variations are inevitably required, checking in regularly with goals and deliverables will allow all involved parties to stay focused on the task at hand, anticipate risks before they occur and mitigate any potential fall outs.

4. Be generous with your planning

When sticking to a strict plan and schedule, the flexibility and agility that is required for a successful project delivery becomes impossible. 

According to PwC Project Management Insights, 30 per cent of project failure results from lack of resources. Resources are the largest contributor to a successful project and significant time and energy needs to be invested in managing, allocating and redirecting resources as the project unfolds. 

Unforeseen circumstances can create resource shortages, but if you have effectively planned your project by providing a clear picture of where every stage, it will help to stretch supplies and identify underutilised assets that can be reallocated to areas that are lacking. 

Having some wiggle room within your initial planning will give you space to breathe and provide a buffer when things go wrong.

Checking back on this plan needs to be a continuous process for resource management to be successful and for preventative measures to be taken where needed.

With this being a well-known issue, it is good to have a back-up plan for when things go wrong, so that the project does not halt. 

This is even more valuable when you have an entire suite of projects under the one portfolio that you need to manage and dedicate resources to, which is why a full portfolio management solution, such as SurePact, is essential. 

5. Focus on the things you can control

When events feel like they are completely out of your hands, it can be helpful to focus on the things you can control.

Look at your plans, deep dive into your single point of truth and communicate with your key stakeholders. These are all things that can guide your decision making process and will remain, for the most part, in your control.

Sometimes (or often, recently) the world will throw you a curveball and all you can do is sit back, watch it unfold and be ready to jump into action when you can. 

Remember not to be too hard on yourself and keep your goals and priorities at the centre of your decision making.