Digital disruption is hitting even the most old-line industries. In the current PM Network®, we explore how IT projects are improving mining. A report shows that four out of five mining and metals organizations expect to spend more on digital technologies over the next three years. More than half point to robotics and automation as the top spending areas in mine operations. And 56 percent are considering merging their IT and operational technology groups in the next 12 months.
A big challenge is gaining the support of workers, who have to learn how to pilot remote-control machines, and supervisors afraid their decision-making responsibilities will be taken away (they won’t be).
Experts say planning this type of project must be done carefully and without shortcuts, or the projects might lack strategic value and won’t harness the full power of the technology. Project managers must see these initiatives as transformational.
Startups and research centers are involved in mining-sector projects, launching pilots that include electric autonomous vehicles that are continuously charged by a modular and movable electrical and induction system. The vehicles, without the weight of batteries, are very efficient.
Look for articles covering the rapidly changing world of projects and project managers in every issue of PM Network. Are you involved in a digital transformation project in an old-line sector? Tell us about it in the comments.
Leadership skills, alongside people skills like communication and negotiation, are more important than ever, according to this year’s Pulse of the Profession® report. But what does it take to gain and use leadership skills—and be recognized for that so as to pave the way for promotion and more responsibility?
In this month’s PM Network® magazine, we hear from a portfolio manager, chief project officer and PMO director who explain how they climbed the organizational ladder through developing and deploying leadership skills.
Sydney, Australia-based Ada Osakwe, PMP, portfolio manager with Qantas, attributes her growth to pushing herself and exploring all parts of a business to build knowledge and perspective. She says that rotating into different business units every couple of years serves to challenge herself to grow as a leader. She also has a performance plan that lists leadership training she wants to complete each year. On top of that, Ms. Osakwe has a professional development plan that she constantly updates.
Olawepo Ogunniyi, PMP, who is chief project officer of DropQue in Lagos, Nigeria, attributes continuous learning for helping him take on greater challenges and strengthening his leadership abilities. Besides completing a master’s degree in project management and teaching project management courses, Mr. Ogunniyi gained leadership skills while in the banking industry by helping lead projects dealing with acquiring another bank and deploying a large number of ATMs. And he attributes volunteer work in the community for broadening his perspectives on what leadership is.
Chicago, Illinois, USA-based Renee Cardella, PMP, is a PMO director at Press Ganey Associates. She attributes her promotion to a similar PMO post at another company to curiosity and a willingness to ask questions. Early on, she faced a leading-up challenge of convincing her CIO that her organization needed to elevate its project management maturity. She gained her current post by stressing her leadership experience. That was necessary because Press Ganey mainly uses agile approaches and Ms. Cardella’s previous experience was strictly waterfall.
The moral of all these stories is that leadership and people skills pay off, but like everything else, you have to learn and want to learn.
What are your experiences with obtaining and using leadership skills to grow your career?
Are you ready for robotic coworkers? Is your organization ready for a partly automated workforce? If these questions are coming up where you work, you don’t want to miss the July PM Network® article “Bots Onboard.”
Implementing robots on staff requires readjustments. It is a trial-and-error affair, so most organizations are starting small. One example is Millennium Hotels and Resorts in Singapore. The organization piloted a hospitality robot at one of its hotels to deliver guest-requested amenities to their rooms. The testing phase showed how the robotic coworker can make staff jobs easier.
NASA invited four robots to join its shared services center team to automate certain financial processing activities. The project team faced a challenge right away with the bots: how are they to be credentialed to work with sensitive material? The decision: Robots get an agency user ID and government email account and gain system access just like any new user.
The robots had to be trained to do their tasks and then user testing ensured that the appropriate information was captured to track lessons learned.
The article quotes shared services center enterprise service division chief Pamela J. Wolfe as saying her unit is mining ideas from NASA employees on other uses for automation. “If we think it’s right…we look at the requirement, what priority it has and what benefit it yields."
Appropriately enough, Ms. Wolfe concludes “The sky is the limit.”
What has been your introductory experiences with robotics and automation in the workplace?
Scope Creep is On the March
Categories: scope creep
When I first became familiar with the work of project managers, I thought the term “scope creep” was amusing. I pictured a slow version of the gelatinous substance that was the namesake of the horror movie “The Blob.”
Of course, scope creep is not amusing at all. To see a project’s requirements grow and grow, almost unstoppably, while schedule and budget remain the same, is one of a projects manager’s ultimate horrors. And unfortunately, scope creep itself is creeping. PMI’s Pulse research shows that scope creep now affects 52% of projects, up from 43% five years ago.
July PM Network® dives into the creeping creep and looks at what might be causing this trend. Heightened expectations and a faster delivery pace may to blame, but competition should never be used as an excuse for scope creep.
Scope creep can be tamed: Identify what’s out of scope at the start. Have more continuous and fluid engagement with key stakeholders. Tell them the consequences of the extra features they crave. Build contingencies and shorten the feedback cycle. Beware of those who say agile approaches eliminate the need to control scope creep.
Believe it or not, there is an upside to scope creep. Sometimes new requirements provide opportunities. With a project plan that considers the entire enterprise, project managers can justify scope expansions that create long-term value.
What are your experiences with scope creep? Do you also see scope creep “on the march”?
Whether you call it transformation, evolution, revolution or pivoting on a dime…change is here, change is there, change is everywhere. June PM Network® offers you a special section that will help you embrace change.
First, we look at change achievement. A big gap exists there—one which project managers can help bridge by thinking more strategically. PMI research shows 92 percent of executives say organizational agility is critical to business success. But just 27 percent of those executives see their organizations as agile.
If you think that statistic is something, here’s another eye-opening number: McKinsey predicts that there will be an additional 2.4 billion middle-class consumers in the world by 2043. Demographics are a big change-driver.
The special section on change is chock full of insights from all levels of project managers and executives giving their takes on achieving success in change initiatives—such as the importance of having a vision, and balancing growth with efficiency. One article stresses how critical it is for change project managers to have sharp people skills, especially listening skills. After all, change is hard and leadership through change is necessary.
How is change going at your organization?