Project Management

Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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cyndee miller
Lynda Bourne
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
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Your Next Project: Transitioning Back to the Office

Categories: Disruption, Technology

By Wanda Curlee

Spikes in cases. The new normal. Limited opening. Social distancing.

These are all new taglines that we’re hearing as we slowly move back to the office. Granted, some of us were already remote workers and in that case, the change will be minimal. But those returning to the office will experience a radically different environment.

What does this have to do with project management? Well, project managers play an integral part in the transition, and it started sometime back.

When the pandemic first hit and lockdown started, project managers were needed. Companies could not just send their employees home with their laptops and hope that work would continue as usual. Project managers had to put in extra work to ensure employees and resources were prepared for the transition. And there was minimal time to prepare.

I am sure that many companies did not expect to be on lockdown for months. For many, it has been devastating. But now it is time for project managers to help transition employees back to the office.

Compared to going remote at the beginning of the pandemic, project managers now have more time to plan and execute the project to transition work back to the brick-and-mortar office. But a project to transition work back to the office is also quite different from transitioning to a totally remote environment. Transitioning back to the company’s physical location requires setting up the office to meet social distancing requirements and other regulations established by the state and the federal government, making sure IT is in place to handle the transitioned workforce, instituting updated processes for the new environment, ensuring contractors are hired to maintain new cleanliness procedures, helping the workforce learn the new cleanliness policy and what to do if an employee is sick, and so forth.

Or will it be a different type of project? Companies’ leadership may have considered how well the remote workforce did. Recently, I read that some companies located in Manhattan may not return to their office spaces at all. The leadership saw that working remotely was much cheaper and resulted in a happier workforce, with more or at least the same amount of work accomplished. Sure, we heard about parents who had to work while also looking after or homeschooling their children. But for many, this is a temporary phenomenon.

If the leadership decides to keep the workforce remote, the tasks will be different. The project manager may have to look at helping all employees move their offices back to their homes, make the IT system more robust, develop procedures to support the workforce with upgrades, create processes to help employees with broken laptops and keep them working while the computer is fixed, develop new processes for hiring and assisting new employees in understanding daily expectations, and assess whether new tools are needed, such as online signatures and secure conference systems, among other tasks.

Project managers will need to think outside of the traditional ideas of a virtual environment or a brick- and-mortar office. These project managers will be establishing the new normal for their companies.

How are you helping your team transition?

 

Posted by Wanda Curlee on: June 20, 2020 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

A Woman’s Place Is in Project Management

 

By Jen Skrabak, PMP, PfMP

The future is female—but it appears project management is behind the times.

An estimated 30 percent of project managers are women, dominating administrative (project coordinator) roles instead of taking on managerial responsibilities. 

As we look at income, women working in project management around the world rake in a fraction of what their male counterparts earn:

Source: Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey—Eleventh Edition, PMI, 2020. Originally published in the March/April 2020 issue of PM Network.

Gender inequality in project management is inescapable—but it’s not irreversible.

In a male-dominated field, how do we start carving out an equal playing field for all? Here are seven challenges we as project professionals should tackle to change that narrative:

  1. Rethink Diversity: Diversity does not begin and end with gender or physical characteristics. It involves how we build teams and consider varying viewpoints based on each person’s unique experiences, skills, background and knowledge. As senior-level program professionals, we need to consider how to make everyone feel seen, heard and valued.
  2. Know Your Worth: “Impostor syndrome”—feelings of inadequacy, despite evident success, and the fear of being exposed as a fraud—is real. Women are disproportionately impacted by impostor syndrome when faced with a new project, role or position, as reported by The Telegraph. Gone unchecked, it can act as a major career obstacle. 
  3. Stay the Course: Life’s journey isn’t a straight line—it’s a roller coaster. Consider your strengths and what can you do (not what you can’t do). And most importantly, if you fall down or stumble, how quickly can you get back up? In the Olympics, the difference between a gold medal and no medal is fractions of a second. Remain focused.
  4. Have a Game Plan: Men will apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, as reported by the Harvard Business Review. Most women apply only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications. Go for it, but have a plan. For any journey, you need to assess where you’re at, determine where you want to be and outline the path to get there. 
  5. Take Risks: A little risk-taking can go a long way. It’s not always about whether you succeed or fail, it’s about gaining lessons learned. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo—women can be the leaders of change, too. And don’t get too comfortable: Remember that the skills that got you where you are today may not get you to where you want to be in the future.
  6. Make Your Voice Heard: Amplify who you are. Seek out sponsors who are more senior and will advocate for your career trajectory in an organization. First, build trust by performing well. Then, raise your hand to volunteer for opportunities. Make your value visible by speaking up and driving results. 
  7. Visualize Your Goals: As part of your plan, chart out specific, realistic and measurable goals. Break down your progress into clear milestones.

Earlier this month, we celebrated International Women’s Day and honored the women leading project management into the future. How are you empowering women to grow within the project management field and in your organization? 

Posted by Jen Skrabak on: March 13, 2020 07:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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