By Cyndee Miller
For the past several years, business pundits have waxed poetic about “unprecedented change” brought on by what seemed like massive socioeconomic shifts. Well, buckle up, because it’s become abundantly clear that was just the pregame. The past few months alone have shown we’re in for some painfully uncertain times.
The one thing we do know the future is sure to hold? Change—delivered through projects.
More than half of organizations are refocusing their identities around projects and programs, according to PMI’s research. And even before the pandemic and accompanying economic meltdown hit, project leaders said the biggest project delivery obstacle was managing changing priorities.
It’s going to take a new kind of multidisciplinary team—the kind that can turn strategy into reality, even as shifts in scope or requirements inevitably pop up.
These change-ready teams are grounded in innovation, collaboration and empathy. Complexity doesn’t faze them. They’re ready for anything. PMI’s Pulse of the Profession® In-Depth Report, Tomorrow’s Teams Today, lays out three core tenets behind the new take on teaming:
- Agility, always: As roles and responsibilities are redefined, teams that adopt an all-for-one mentality will be best prepared to adjust on the fly.
- Collaborate and listen: Hierarchies are dying—or at least the idea of an all-knowing, top-down leadership is fading fast. The onus is on project leaders to build team trust and forge a collaborative pact.
- The customer comes first: Pretty obvious, but making consumer feedback the backbone of planning and execution will help teams stay on track to deliver meaningful value.
In the renewable energy sector, supercharged growth is rapid-fire technological change. And that means a lot can happen between project tendering and execution, says Jeanette Ortlieb, PMP, project manager, Distributed Power Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa. “As project manager, you need to be ready for change to happen,” she says in the latest issue of PM Network®.
The most effective project leaders don’t just manage change—they rally their teams around new ways of thinking. Case in point: Rocio de la Cuadra Vigil, PMP, of Yanbal International in Lima, Peru: “I love changing all the time in search of better ways to work.”
Even amidst all the change, though, the idea of projects delivered by teams isn’t going anywhere, says Peter Moutsatsos, chief project officer at Australian telecom giant Telstra.
“I do believe that the construct of a project team will persist into the future,” he says on a recent episode of Projectified®. “It might mean that projects become perpetual in that you may have a persistent team of people working constantly through a series of iterative projects.”
That will bring its own challenges and opportunities, Moutsatsos says, as far as team composition—and keeping everyone energized and engaged. And who knows what the post-COVID team will look like. People may be suffering from serious Zoom fatigue, but are they all going to rush back into the office or hop on a plane for an in-person project launch?
What are you seeing on your teams? How are you staying ready for anything? Let me know in the comments.