Never before, in the exercise of Project Management, has the axiom “natura non facit saltus” (nature does not jump – Leibniz) has lost all meaning. The Covid-19 pandemic represents, due to invasiveness and globalization, an unexplored element of discontinuity for anyone in working age, in every part of the industrialized world.
A revolution in a few months
Nine months have passed since the last time here at Fandis we took a plane to meet a customer, an action that today would be at least unique, even impossible to reach some countries, where we were previously at home. After a week from that trip, everything changed: lockdowns, smart working, canceled appointments, trade fairs converted into webinars, redistributed tasks, parts that suddenly became unavailable on the market replaced.
Then, in October, the “second wave” arrived, spreading even more extensively, touching us closely. We challenge the best compiler of risk management pages to demonstrate that they have considered a scenario like this, in a project planned for 2019.
Questions about the future
So are the proponents of the superiority of the imponderable and the unpredictable right? Those “what would it take the crystal ball”? Can we just give up and wait for it to end? How do you build and maintain an atmosphere of serenity, when you work in uncertainty? Set up and maintain an advancement plan in the maze of changes in demand, supply, but also in costs due to sudden health provisions?
If we go back, thinking about what happens in nature, when quantum leaps like this occur and no longer seems so true that “natura non facit saltus”. According to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, it’s not the most intelligent of species that survives, nor is it the strongest. The surviving species is the one that is able to adapt and adapt best to changes in the environment in which it is found, in one word: flexibility.
Adapting the Project Management
It’s time to be creative and innovative, experiment with new work tools, evaluate their effectiveness, select them and perfect their use because in the meantime, technology has come to our aid. Software, fiber, sound and video compression technologies offer operational opportunities within everyone’s reach which, only a few years ago, required dedicated spaces and tools.
- Videoconferencing in a few weeks has become a tool used by the entire supply chain. We hold project meetings by eliminating travel times to customers and suppliers. In front of the webcam, we still maintain face-to-face communication at all levels, from your desk or home.
- In the individual workgroups, web-based ticketing software tools, which provide for file sharing, “chat” and reporting for the entire workgroup, keep the focus on the deadline targets for each project.
- In R&D, especially in our laboratory, the limitation to co-presence induces us to optimize interactions in the group. Even those who are normally involved in management or documentation engage directly in carrying out technical tests, consolidating and renewing their knowledge through direct experience.
- Webinars and workshops have seen technicians and salespeople in the unusual role of speakers, offering them an increase in visibility and personal satisfaction.
This pandemic has undoubtedly deeply disturbed us humans and our balance. But Darwin would tell us that he has also given us the ability to step out of our comfort zone, allowing us to adapt, and making possible what previously seemed impossible. And when it’s all over, we’ll go back… to the future.