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Crisis Management between Danger and Opportunity

Crisis is a bad reputation word, when the word crisis heard it is perceived as sudden plight that needs massive efforts to contain the damage, unusual stress level, in addition to losses from different aspects. Consequently, a need to rapid decisions that have to be taken, a need to high emotional stability as well as discipline control over the situation to pass the crisis time by fewer losses as much as management can.

There are major types of crisis like and not limited to Economic crisis, Political crisis, Environmental crisis, Natural crisis, Epidemics crisis, Security crises, Data crisis, and Hardware and software failure crisis in addition to Personal crisis.

All types of crises can affect projects’ running in different phases of projects’ lifecycle, which applies for personal crisis as well.

Project can run in crisis due to facing different types of issues or risks that were not discovered neither managed in earlier stages else than facing force majeure that suddenly happen. But this even can be predicted and planned as well.

From my perspective, and long experience, I can say with a clear conscience, “Poor planning is the root cause of not containing and managing crisis”.

Nothing can heart project manager than hearing or communicating that we missed the deadline or the project creeped the scope and project does not have budget to be completed!

In the profession of project management, each project manager could witness a crisis in his project management career by being a member of a project that missed the deadline, project run out of budget, project team

Project manager crisis management tool kit:

  • Learned lessons from industry/ projects crisis.
  • Risk management tools.
  • Planning tools.
  • Monitor and control tools.
  • Crisis management tools.


The other face of crisis

According to Cambridge dictionary crisis is “an extremely difficult or dangerous point in a situation

According to Wikipedia crisis in Chinese language The Chinese word of crisis dragged my attention to another proper way of thinking about the crisis meaning, “Weiji". Weiji may also refer to Weijibaike, the Chinese-language edition of Wikipedia.

The Chinese word for "crisis" is frequently invoked in Western motivational speaking as being composed of two Chinese characters signifying "danger" and "opportunity" respectively.

While the original meaning of wēijī is "danger at a point of juncture," and many linguists and native Chinese speakers highlight the errors in its western reinterpretation, the term "danger-plus-opportunity". Meaning has been so widely used by politicians, businesspeople, and in popular culture that its alternative etymology has been picked up all over the world, including by some native Chinese speakers.


I support the Chinese interpretation and meaning of the crisis as it really what is happening on the ground of reality.

We manage crisis by that we admit that there is opportunity to risqué situations and projects.


How to manage the crisis

The first rule from my experience is “Panic from a catastrophe is another catastrophe” based on that crisis is a special event that needs special treatment and careful management methodology to pass the crisis critical time and risqué the case.

Crisis requires skills, knowledge and attitude to build the practice in the organization culture.

Managing the crisis has three phases:

  • Before crisis.
  • During crisis.
  • After crisis.


Before crisis

Project manager has to check the following list to enable crisis prediction and prevention approach.

  • Check industry and project type before crisis that took place.
  • Check the management actions taken to manage the crisis.
  • Identify the crisis route causes.
  • Add crisis rout causes to the project risks list.
  • Create the monitor and control mechanism.
  • Build other base lines for crisis.
  • Encourage building organization resilience.


During crisis:

Project management team needs to focus on the below actions to assure wise solution to the crisis

  • Admit that “IT IS WHAT IT IS”.
  • Analyze reasons and listen to all parties.
  • Define the crisis route causes.
  • Assess the damage.
  • Plan the back to track combination (time, cost, quality, resources etc…).
  • Recharge energy.
  • Contain the crisis.
  • Execute the plan.


After crisis

After crisis project manager’s job is not finished yet, after survival, project manager needs to log the crisis effective ways to manage and contain the crisis, enhance the monitoring system. Enhance the organization assets by creating the reference in crisis management in the organization documentation.



In managing crisis, remember, “Panic from a catastrophe is another catastrophe” so you can deal with crisis with good planning and preparation, after crisis pass and contained, project manager have to leave something to feed organizations maturity (which are the crisis route causes and what was the best effective ways to manage and contain the crisis).

Contain the danger only may not solve the issues however dealing with crisis as a danger and opportunity will create a perfect methodology to pass critical times with the least possible losses and future preparation to else critical times.

Not all the companies can afford crisis manager to be on board but cannot afford to suddenly face the crisis without careful preparation.  



Exclusive 💬

Walid Gamil

About author

PMO executive

Veteran and goal-driven executive with results-charged career overseeing multi-million-dollar engagements in projects portfolio management, operational excellence, general management and digital business transformation with dual focus on the top-line growth and bottom-line performance and broader palette of skills addressing both revenue and cost challenges organizations face.
Outstanding strategist with success achieving strategic goals, executing transformation, change management, portfolio of projects, optimizing operations performance, delivering significant cost efficiencies, discovering potential & supporting business growth opportunities and effective risk management.
Added value areas are optimized operations performance, delivering significant cost efficiencies, executing transformation and change management, discovering and supporting growth opportunities for business, ensuring effective risk management, and managing functional departments.
Superior operations analyst with strong experience in functional departments (Finance, Supply Chain, Planning, Budgeting, Sales & Marketing, Manufacturing, Costing, CRM, HCM) gained through deep diving in setting and implementing ERP solutions in manufacturing and non-manufacturing environments for large scale organizations in Retail, Manufacturing, Distribution, Education, Utility, Health, Banking, Consulting, and Government sectors.
Value added areas are optimized operations performance, delivering significant cost efficiencies, executing transformation and change management projects, discovering and supporting growth opportunities for business, ensuring effective risk management, and managing functional departments.

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