If there is one way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has tested most project managers then it is almost certain that some of them are operating some form of crisis risk management. Whilst this may vary from one region to another, and indeed one industry to another those project management skills are almost certainly being tested to the limit.
There are six principles relating to crisis risk management that can be useful.
Be clear on your priorities
The first thing that you need to do is take a good look at the crisis that you are facing; there is a good chance that you will not be able to tackle the entire issue in one go. Break it down into sections; you need to consider the health and safety of your employees, continuation of your operation and also continuing any service that you offer to customers. Consider how you will tackle each of these issues and make sure you have your priorities clearly set out.
Put a team together
When it comes to monitoring any crisis risk management, it is important to make sure that you have people overseeing everything. Put together a small team who will be able to meet on a regular basis in order to monitor the situation. This will allow them to adjust the responses that you need to make to the crisis depending on how things are going. Communication within this small team, as well as with other employees on a wider scale is essential to dealing with any crisis. Choosing people with different skills will give you a diverse team who will be able to tackle a wide range of problems.
Consider an approach that evolves
When it comes to tackling those critical decisions you may need to adjust your approach from one decision to the next, this is rarely a one solution fits all type of situation As a project manager it is important to check in with your team on a regular basis to ensure that they know they have your support at all times.
Make sure everyone knows what is going on
Whilst you might only have a small team assisting with the crisis, it is important to let the whole organisation know what is going on. Rumours can spread easily within an organisation, and it is all too easy for people to panic and assume the worst. You don’t need to mention all the details to everyone, but letting them know there is an issue and that it is being worked on can go a long way towards putting people’s fears to rest.
Think outside the box
Once you have put the basic structures in place, got your small team together and communicated with everyone, you need to think about the future. This might mean thinking of ways to do things that you wouldn’t normally use.
Understand what is going on
Sometimes even the best project manager can feel the strain of dealing with a crisis. Understanding exactly what is going on all the time and how to deal with the unforeseen issues that might arise is difficult. If you are feeling the strain of the situation, then you may find a project manager course to help brush up on your skills could really help.