Project Management in a Post-Pandemic World
The post-pandemic world needs to be approached with caution and care. Businesses can no longer rely on old tools and strategies. Project Managers (PMs) have adopted more agile processes to overcome business challenges in recent months. The current COVID-19 pandemic has established that Project Management will be either entirely remote managed or involve some form of hybrid work management in the future. According to Forbes, by the end of 2022, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote.
Today, organizations are attracting and retaining the best talent, regardless of where the talent lives. To do this, organizations are already establishing ways to collaborate effectively online and build a strong culture. Going by these trends, I believe that a PM’s job will become more challenging. I believe that the future of Project Management is “Remote Project Management.” Remote Project Management involves working with remote and hybrid teams to ensure that everyone works together to meet the objectives of the project.
The pandemic has created new organizational learning and development opportunities despite its challenges. Discovering ways to adapt technical skills in an era of remote working has been a discovery process for many Project Managers. The Project Management Institute Chapters worldwide have been implementing PMI training sessions and certifications focusing on transferring and developing new skills for this agile and remote work environment.
A recent survey by the Project Management Institute (Luxemburg Chapter) and the Project Business Foundation says that many companies are currently investing in cloud infrastructures for remote work. They are implementing security policies for their businesses to run remote operations as generally as possible. Many enterprises have allowed their employees to work from anywhere, while others offer a hybrid work-style model.
Remote Project Management is a practical approach in today’s world when projects need not be location-specific and do not require a team working together on-site at the business location.
Our Experience and Observations
Based on our experience over the last two years, I have listed a few observations regarding Remote Project Management:
• Remote work is here to stay – We have observed that remote work will be a part of technical project delivery in the future. It is not a stretch to state that history will forever reference the COVID-19 pandemic as a turning point in how software projects are delivered. Given that many companies have announced permanent work from home or some form of hybrid work structure, we foresee that remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
• Hybrid Project Management – A hybrid approach to Project Management combines traditional Waterfall and Agile practices to meet the demands of digital transformation. We have experienced success when we have taken the flexibility and adaptability of Agile methodologies and combined it with the rigid approach of Waterfall Project Management for tasks that can be listed sequentially. For example, for an IT project developing software and infrastructure, it is ideal to use Scrum for the software portion and Waterfall for the infrastructure portion. As a best practice, we decide what aspects of each methodology we will follow and what we will not before the start of the project. The hybrid approach leads to more successful projects than a single, rigid framework process. Therefore, as Project Managers, we should be flexible enough to familiarize ourselves with different hybrid techniques.
• Tracking work with Project Management tools – Project Management tools, even in pre-covid days, helped organizations stay on track while maximizing resources, promoting collaboration, and empowering teams to deliver exceptional customer experiences. In a post-covid world, it has become essential to leverage the maximum from Project Management and communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, GitHub, Asana, Zoom, etc., to deliver projects seamlessly and successfully. At Opteamix, we have been using a combination of these tools based on client and project needs to ensure that work is tracked to completion. As a best practice, we have laid down ground rules for using these tools to clear any confusion and promote efficiency and collaboration within teams.
• Strong Communication – One of the significant observations we have had is that forceful communication bonds between the Project Manager and Opteamizers have helped remote project management work seamlessly. When people are not together under the same roof, the chance of misinterpretation is exceptionally high. Both Project Managers and team members need to talk often and clearly about what needs to be done and what has been completed. As a best practice, we have established communication guidelines that all teams need to adhere to reduce miscommunication.
• Implement Feedback Loops – From our experience, one of the most critical aspects of successful project delivery is implementing the feedback received from people that might impact the delivery of a project. Our Project Managers are trained to ask for feedback and be open to receiving feedback from the team. The People Services and Employee Well-being team does regular surveys to get more details about the feedback and its implementation.
• Employee Well-being and Engagement – At Opteamix, we believe that one of the main reasons why our projects have been successful is the time and effort spent by the Project Managers, People Services and the Employee Well-being team to ensure that our people have the best employee experience that results in happiness and growth. This approach motivates people to deliver their best and ensures that they are not burned out from working remotely. This is the most critical aspect of the success of remote project management.
At Opteamix, we have also created an in-house performance tool (Perfometer) to assess the progress of our employees’ careers. Performer helps maintains transparency on work delivered between Project Managers, employees, and the organization.
• Embracing Automation – Project Managers can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate various tasks, including scheduling and visualizing data. By driving Project Management through AI, they can reduce overall time spent on administrative work and collect, track, and generate reports on data more efficiently.
Benefits of Remote Project Management
Although successful delivery of Remote Projects has numerous challenges, it has also resulted in other benefits that organizations can get from successfully implementing Remote Project Management. Here are a few from our experience with implementing Remote Project Management:
• Hire talent from anywhere – Location issues are no longer a concern as remote working can help businesses scale without worrying about physical boundaries. Companies can hire skilled people from anywhere in the world to work from their homes, and the hybrid work model has been well received by employees and companies alike.
• Reduced organizational infrastructure costs – Remote work allows organizations to reduce transportation, office space and hardware maintenance costs. It also reduces distractions, so employees can stay focused, enhance productivity, and bring innovation to their work.
• Upskilling employees is easier – In the last two years, there has been a growing need for professionals to upskills to meet customer needs. There is a massive demand for IT professionals in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Transformation, DevOps, Automation, Web 3.0, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc. Organizations have used remote working to reskill and upskill people to deliver new business models. Employees have been willing to learn new skills that will enable them to grow, given the expected benefits are more significant than the investment of their time and energy in learning new skills.
• Improved Work-Life Balance – A healthy work-life balance offers employees numerous benefits, including low burnout and an improved sense of well-being. A remote work arrangement allows employees to balance their work and personal lives better, leading to happier and more productive employees.
To thrive in a post-covid world, Project Managers must foster an atmosphere where teams can achieve their maximum potential and overcome business challenges. The key to success is following a more customized Project Management technique that suits the type of project and organization culture. Organizations need to understand that a remote team may take time to reach its full potential. Organizations should not be afraid to upgrade the KPIs, processes, workflows, or tools to achieve business goals. If you are not sure where to start or have challenges delivering software projects — Do not worry. We are here to help. Get in touch with Opteamix to discuss how we can help you with your technology needs.
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