Crisis Projects: Project Management Implications


Crisis Projects: Project Management Implications

  1. Leader of the Crisis Team

  • Rare that a project manager leads a crisis team.

  • Decisions made are not the usual decisions made by a project manager.

  • Project sponsor will assume dual role and be leader of the project team as well.

  • Leader of crisis team will have complete authority to commit corporate resources to the project.

  • Project manager, as we know it, will actually be an assistant project manager.

  1. The Crisis Committee

  • Composed of the senior-most levels of management.

  • Should have multi-functional membership.

  • Project managers and assistant project managers report to the entire membership of the committee.

  1. Crisis Communications

  • Leader of the crisis team will be the primary spokesperson; responsible for all media communications.

  • Media cannot be ignored and has the power to portray the company as victim or villain.

  • Senior-most levels of management especially executives with professional communication skills must perform crisis communication with the media.

  • Corporation should speak with one voice. Be swift, honest, compassionate, open, sincere in responding to the victims and their families.

  • Information must not be withheld. It may be considered stonewalling.

  1. Stakeholder Management

  • Identify all parties affected by the crisis.

  • Each stakeholder can have different interests namely, financial, medical, environmental, political or social unrest.

  1. Assume Responsibility

  • Company must accept responsibility for its actions (or inactions) immediately , and without being coerced into doing so.

  1. Response Time

  • Usually a small window of opportunity where quick and decisive action can limit or even reduce the damages.

  • The media views quick response favorably.

  1. Compassion

  • Respect for people mandatory irrespective of who was at fault.

  • Emotions of victims and their families expected to run high.

  • Public expects company to demonstrate compassion.

  • Be on the scene of the disaster as quickly as possible.

  • Delay may be viewed as lack of compassion or , even worse, that the company is hiding something.

  1. Documentation

  • Decisions need to be clearly documented for legal reasons.

  • Project manager and associated team members should possess strong writing skills.

  1. Capture Lessons Learned

  • Capture lessons learned from both internal and external crises.

  • Examine risk triggers, develop risk management templates and a corporate credo.

Source: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling by Harold R Kerzner (11th edition).

 

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