Cutbacks and Scrutiny

Filed under Career | Posted by PMStudent

18As can be expected, much of the feedback pointed towards a cutback in new investment and thus projects.? Another significant portion of the comments discussed another inevitable trend in hard times?increased scrutiny of current projects and focus on the dollars.


  • North America – Although layoffs have occurred in the Canadian oil patch in recent weeks, the majority have been in the areas of field services and engineering as drilling rig counts have declined and major oil sands projects have been shelved or deferred. I have not yet heard of layoffs or contract cancellations affecting project managers or PM consultants. Granted, it?s still early in January and the price of oil continues to decline.However, it would appear that opportunities for PM positions, full time and contract, might be shrinking in number in the short term as companies rein in their spending projects and defend their budget resources. Government organizations are still hiring within their PMOs during this lull as they attempt to catch up with the industry after the past several years of rapid growth.
  • Europe – due to insecure times, no new projects are started, so the pipeline may dry up, which will cause problems in Q2/Q3
  • North America – Current projects uneffected, but projects in the planning stage(Customers planning stage) are slowing down while they sort our their corporate lifespan issues (auto industry).
  • India – Due to the slow down in the economic scene, it is expected that quite a few projects could be slowed down by the customer and further investments could be delayed/ shelved in certain cases.
  • North America – Working for an oil/gas company, the effects have been fairly stark. When projects were budgeted, it was assumed that oil would be at $60/barrel (this is when oil was $100+/barrel). Since now oil is well below that $60 mark, it has certainly impacted flexibility as far as resources are concerned. So where before we could bring together project members from across the world, we are now either using other means (video or tele conference) or in some instances decreasing the scope of the project and/or delaying the project.
  • Asia Multiple projects put on hold.
  • North America – With capital funding cut back to virtually nothing in my industry (forest products), many projects have been stopped or start dates pushed out indefinitely, so PM?s here are lucky to have jobs.
  • India – From my perspective, the biggest impact has not been the financial sector problems, but the dramatic drop in commodity prices. The majority of our clients are oil, gas mining and petrochemical, and they have shelved or at least put on hold about half their budgeted projects.I suspect there will be longer term problems, as the US stops outsourcing so much work and tries to put the people back home to work.

Financial Scrutiny

  • India – focus on forecasting
  • North America – Many companies reacted quickly and placed all projects on hold.? Since the first of the year, some have reviewed their finances, needs, and project lists and have started reviving needed projects.
  • Latin America – More prioritization on which projects are executed, more scrutiny on costs, training, travel, resource cutbacks make it difficult to appropriately staff projects, more focus on support projects as opposed to innovation projects
  • Europe – much more tight budget control, better prioritization between must-haves, nice to haves
  • North America – More controls.
  • Europe – The ?return of the Business Case?. All too often the returns of a project have been neglected or became less important during the project. Now a project has to ?prove? its viability. Furthermore new projects need a ROI within 6 to 9 months.

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