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Projects prioritization during COVID-19

By Svetlana Miledina, PMP on Jul 26, 2020 5:10:53 PM

Prioritizing projects has been named the second most important priority for Project Managers according to the latest PM survey conducted by Keyedin. Ranked number 2 by importance after resource management, it becomes even more critical as the whole world needs to urgently adapt to dramatic changes in market conditions due to Covid-19. Portfolio realignment and prioritization are certainly at the forefront of thoughts for project and program management professionals.

The following insights on how this process is being addressed by various industries have been captured via an informal survey of PM professionals on LinkedIn.

Most of the survey’s participants are in agreement that portfolio realignment needs to be an ongoing effort for all organizations and should normally take place on at least a quarterly basis.

Across all industries projects that strengthen infrastructure, support remote access for employees, and build and enforce more robust disaster recovery plans are on the rise. Cloud migration efforts are also given a higher priority as they help to modernize and increase agility and resilience of companies’ infrastructure.

Not surprisingly, companies involved in providing essential services (i.e. telecom and utility companies) have not experienced any significant changes to their project prioritization.

In the educational sphere higher priority is being given to digital learning solutions.

Global banks and insurance companies continue to concentrate on regulatory projects while the rest of their project portfolio undergoes closer scrutiny and needs to take into account significant global resource constraints. Priority is given to projects with the most tangible business outcomes while the bulk of the projects is being postponed until 2021.

While healthcare might appear to be unaffected, many companies within this domain have had to freeze all major spending and are considering only small efforts that have a direct impact on revenue.

Even the defense and space industry is feeling a pinch and has to concentrate on projects with the highest priorities determined by companies’ executives and CIO’s.

In addition to the industry-specific trends the majority of the survey’s participants have pointed out the following approaches in realigning project portfolio:

- Cost-cutting/projects that can be completed without having to hire additional personnel

- Ongoing communication with key stakeholders and decision-makers to capture their priorities and communicate proposed changes to projects roadmaps.

- Balancing risk, resources, and return

Another interesting observation is that while quite a few companies have a clear picture of projects' priority, some bigger enterprises are still trying to decide which direction to take and are currently only working on establishing interdependencies between existing projects.