Change Management in Challenging Times

A New Dimension



By Hareshchandra M Thakur, PMP

Associate Vice President
Project Management, Energy Business
Wärtsilä India Pvt. Ltd.

Mumbai, India




Today, virtually the entire globe is under lockdown and this has not only affected the business but also the people who manage these businesses. Each one of us are experiencing somethings which we had never dreamt of. Project Management professional and teams managing projects are no different. We all have been focusing on the iron triangle – Cost, Quality and Time aspects of the project and working on the plans to minimize the effect, manage the project deliveries and implement the mitigation plans to eliminate/reduce the adverse impact of Covid19. While most of us have been working on managing the risks, the changes that impact our projects mainly clubbed with the forces at interplay have added yet another important dimension – Human Dimension.

This paper is based on the observations and discussions with the Project Managers (PMs), Design Engineers, Site Engineers, Contractors and other Stakeholders. It attempts to highlight the need for focusing on managing the changes and presents a new dimension – the changes affecting the project team members. People are the backbone for any business and undoubtedly, the most important resource for the projects. The paper dwells with the major areas of concern for the project team members especially those for the construction projects and suggestions/ recommendations to manage the changes and help the team members to stay calm, composed and unruffled by the havoc caused by the unprecedented event – COVID19.

Key Words:  Buyers, Change Management, Challenging times, Covid19, Contractors, Human behavior, Project Success, Project Team members, Sellers, Stakeholders.


The sudden and abrupt exponential rise in the covid19 cases across the globe has virtually taken everyone by surprise and casted doubts in everyone’s mind about its continuing uncertainty, returning to normalcy and resumption of normal lifestyle. Covid19 has tied the hands of the clock and with the lockdown, the world is reeling under its onslaught. It would not be an exaggeration to state that almost the entire globe is under shutdown for restoration and renovation. Each one of us has been caught unaware and left groping in dark for the possible solution. The project personnel too have been witnessing the saga and are impacted badly. Worst still some experts in health care state that the pandemic is here to stay, that the time frame could be as long as 1-2 years and that it may last couple of years.

A question therefore arises – Do we stay put, sit and do nothing about it or do we accept the facts and move ahead with the tools in our toolbox and ammunition in our armory. As mentioned, the times are challenging and the challenges posed are of a different kind, therefore, to survive the onslaught of the pandemic, we not only need to think out-of-box but also redraft our the action plans to navigate us through the rough waters and swift enough to be ahead of times.

A quote below, emphasizes the need for accepting the facts and gearing ourselves to take the bull by the horns and move forward.

“Our fears, whether rational or not, cannot stop the hands of time and as time marches forward, it drags change along with it. So, we all have to face the inevitable, inescapable and immutable fact that the CHANGE IS COMING”

— Anonymous

As seasoned professionals in the field of Project Management, we have been operating on the time test guidelines and principles of project management to sail through these testing times. Most of us have already initiated needed actions – identification of the risks, mitigation of the risks, work plans with possibility to restart/resume the work on the activities once the lockdown is lifted. Although, there are remedial measures available in the form of Force Majeure clauses etc. to protect the organization’s interests but the questions on top of our minds are –

  1. Are the traditional steps good enough to revive and revitalize ourselves?
  2. How do we act in the given circumstances to survive the onslaught of covid19?
  3. What needs to be done differently to sustain the business?
  4. How do we swing back to action and restart the economic clock to fuel the future?

Often, it is stressed that the people are the most important resource, the doers, and the backbone of any organization. It is essential to maintain their energy levels and motivate them to put in their best notwithstanding the pressures enforced by the external factors.



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How to cite this article: Thakur, H. M. (2020). Change Management in Challenging Times – A New Dimension; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue V, May.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/pmwj93-May2020-Thakur-Change-management-in-challenging-times-advisory.pdf



About the Author


Hareshchandra M Thakur                     

Mumbai, India




Hareshchandra M Thakur is a professional in the Power Sector with over 35 years’ experience in setting up of multiple Power Plants in Nuclear, Oil & Gas sectors in India and abroad. Presently, he is working as Associate Vice President, Project Management, Energy Business with Wartsila India Pvt. Ltd. Hareshchandra has held various positions in Financial Management and Project Management with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., Wartsila Finland Oy and Wartsila India Pvt. Ltd.

He has closely worked with cross functional and cross cultural teams and has vast international exposure in key areas – Project Management, Strategic Financial Management, Contract Management and Resource Management, Competence building, Formulation of Business Strategies and Establishing way of working for Indian & global projects. He is a Certified NLP Practitioner and has been visiting various Engineering and Management institutions as a guest lecturer. He has made presentations at IPMA World Congress at Helsinki, Istanbul & Crete and Global Symposiums on Project Management in New Delhi.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from College of Engineering, University of Poona and a Master’s degree in Financial Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, University of Mumbai. He has obtained PMP Certification in April 2002. He lives in Mumbai, India and can be contacted at hareshthakur@yahoo.com.