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Author  Martin Stretton

Transformation Programme Director, NFER

November 25, 2021 |

 4 min read

  • Blog
  • Project management
  • Programme management

Building resilient organizations and individuals should mean coming out of difficult times stronger and more adaptable to adversity.

And, over the past 18 months, Covid has been the ultimate stress test for that.

For many organizations, responding directly to the pandemic was non-negotiable. However, for those that haven’t faced an obvious “iceberg”, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t find ways to build resilience.

This requires leadership teams to encourage controlled disruption to help develop better products and achieve cheaper costs. The commitment to improve actively rather than just reactively helps organizations not just survive, but flourish.

Part of being a leader and manager is enabling your business to become comfortable with change. For project and programme managers, that means showing the value of these disciplines by having a clear plan and aligning people and teams around it.

And the push for necessary change and improvement is not only relevant for projects and programmes, but BAU also.

But the importance of resilience hasn’t been limited to organizations in 2021. We’ve had to learn to look after ourselves, our families, friends and colleagues on a personal level during the pandemic.

For project and programme managers, leading change takes an abundance of energy, drive and mental well-being. Change is difficult and you really have to learn and grow to become the best version of yourself.

Projects and programmes in 2022

The number of change initiatives happening now in organizations compared to recent years, plus the accelerated move to digitization, means a greater demand for project and programme management skills.

For organizations, this is about building the capability (people, skills) required to build the capability that will better serve their customers.

So, those expected to deliver change in the organization will benefit from training and coaching – including knowledge to support the move to more agile ways of working, especially in developing digital products.

The skills and competencies I think will be in demand include project and programme management (of course!), change management and programming, web and applications development. Knowledge and certifications in PRINCE2 and MSP will remain important, alongside increased understanding of Agile methods.

At the same time, the shift from an employer to employee market, especially in the technology sector, will mean organizations having to focus on how to attract and retain top talent. This needs a strategy to reskill and upskill the workforce to perform better in transformation and change initiatives and feel their employer is investing in their future.

As an individual, the ability to combine project and programme management skills with Agile means you’re unlikely be out of work as organizations continue to digitally disrupt themselves at pace.

However, being busy can’t come at the expense of your well-being: part of this is about carving out time for quiet reflection: for example, it might involve going for a walk in the morning, getting close to nature or listening to podcasts or music. Getting different stimuli is refreshing for coming up with new ideas.

You must be in the right frame of mind to make a meaningful contribution and be productive. So, if you don’t feel in a positive place step away, clear your head and return focused. If you can imagine trying to hack through a jungle to get to the other side, it might better to climb a tree, see where you are and determine the best route through.

In addition, engaging with training and development – learning something new or refreshing your previous knowledge – will help bring novel ideas into your day-to-day practice. That will be good for you in the short-term – investing in yourself and your skills – and in the longer-term will enable you to add even greater value to your organization.