Project Resilience – dealing with crises, contracts and creatures
February 28, 01:00 pm - 01:40 pm AEDT
Australia rode through the storm of the GFC in 2007 and continues to be a beacon of resilience within the global economy, with the impact of bushfires, drought and Covid-19 barely causing industry to break step. Our delivery models, contract forms and people inspire confidence in those who are accountable for funding projects and delivering outcomes to their customers. Why would we elect to change this winning formula in the absence of a burning platform?
This presentation suggests that this confidence is over-stated, and that projects and organisations lack the resilience to deal with the future. There are clear indications that the delivery landscape is changing and this, coupled with a collective sense of complacency over certainty in resource supply, is dangerous. Our organisations and projects are already feeling the impact of the climate crisis, regional instability and an unbalanced economy. Our dependency on digital platforms exposes us to cyber threats that we do not fully understand, and the way that we work has changed, with Covid-19 being a major accelerant. Contractors, already living in the profitless boom, are heavily exposed to high levels of risk transfer from an approach to contracting that studiously ignores that most risks don’t read the contract. This paper argues that the Project Management profession has a responsibility to help lead organisations and projects through these uncertain times. The purpose of the Project Manager is to drive activity forward to an agreed end-state, with plans that are sufficiently resilient and adaptable to manage the impact the future will have on resources. The solutions that this paper presents, focus on the nexus of culture, contracts, crises and creatures. It will discuss specific and actionable steps that projects can put in place to improve resilience and confidence in outcomes. This includes challenging our prevalent form of contracts and suggests forms that provide greater resilience and adaptability to deal with the future. The way that people (creatures) deal with major risk events will be considered through the lens of the perfect project, where project managers manage the uncertainty around, created by or directed at their projects.
The presentation will conclude with the consideration of parallel worlds, one where we address these risks before they impact, and one where we do not – which do you think drives projects forward with purpose?