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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Recent Posts

3 Agile Disconnects We Need to Address

What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

Governance Models: The Secret to Successful Agile Projects

3 Valuable PM Lessons I Learned in 2023

The 4 P’s of Successful Modern PMs

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What to Expect: Anticipating and Adapting to Dynamic Economic Trends

By Peter Tarhanidis, Ph.D.

In the ever-evolving landscape of corporate strategic planning, organizations face the perpetual dilemma of choosing between capital spending for growth—and optimizing operations for efficiency. Striking the right balance amidst economic trends and leveraging organizational strengths becomes paramount when navigating through strategic projects. Meeting shareholder and stakeholder needs, while aligning with the organization's mission, presents a constant challenge.

To anticipate potential initiatives, project managers must consider global macroeconomic conditions and CEO outlooks. A preliminary assessment based on the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects and OECD Economic Outlook reports for 2024 reveals a projected global economic growth slowdown from 2.7% to 2.4%. This trend suggests a delicate balance between slow growth and regional divergences. Key considerations include:

  • Global inflation showing signs of easing from 5.7% to a projected 3.9%
  • Slowed global investment trends due to uncertainties, debt burdens and interest rates
  • Fading global trade growth attributed to shifting consumer expenditure, geopolitical tensions, supply chain troubles, pandemic effects and protectionist policies
  • Notable regional examples include the United States expecting a GDP drop from 2.5% to 1.4%, China experiencing a modest slowdown from 5.3% to 4.7%, Europe and Japan projecting growth rates of 1.2%, and Africa's growth expected to slightly increase from 3.3% to 3.5%

Examining the corporate landscape, a survey of 167 CEOs in December 2023 indicated a confidence index of 6.3 out of 10 for the 2024 economy—the highest of the year. The CEO upsurge assumes inflation is under control, the Fed may not raise interest rates and instead reverse rates, setting up a new cycle of growth. Furthering the CEO agenda, McKinsey & Co. identified eight CEO 2024 priorities:

  • Innovating with GEN AI to dominate the future
  • Outcompeting with technology to drive value
  • Driving energy transition for net zero, decarbonization, and scaling green businesses
  • Cultivating institutional capability for competitive advantage
  • Building out middle managers
  • Positioning for success amidst geopolitical risks
  • Developing growth strategies for continued outperformance
  • Considering the broader macroeconomic wealth picture for identifying growth

As project managers, navigating the uncertainty of economic shifts necessitates staying vigilant. The year may bring variables and predictions that impact the execution probability of strategic projects. Shifting between growth plans and efficiency drivers demands different preparation. To stay prepared, consider the following:

  • Regularly monitor global economic indicators and CEO outlooks
  • Foster agility within the team to adapt to changing priorities
  • Develop scenario plans that account for potential economic shifts
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to gather real-time insights
  • Continuously reassess project priorities based on evolving economic conditions

In an environment of perpetual change, proactive monitoring, adaptability and strategic collaboration will be key to successfully steering projects through the dynamic economic landscape.

How else can you stay prepared as the demands shift on you and your team?

References

  1. JP Morgan: Economic Trends
  2. Economic outlook: A mild slowdown in 2024 and slightly improved growth in 2025
  3. UN: World Economic Situation and Prospects 2024
  4. McKinsey: What matters most? Eight CEO priorities for 2024
  5. CEOs Gain Confidence About 2024 On Hopes Of Lower Rates
Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: January 26, 2024 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Become a Better Servant Leader

By Yasmina Khelifi, PMI-ACP, PMP

“We miss the way you managed the project!”

After leaving my role as a project manager of a software development team, these words were the best gift I could’ve received.

It was a new team, a new innovative product development and a new experience for me. I was not a developer, I did not have any agile training and I did not know how to contribute to the project efficiently. But I observed and kept note of what worked and what didn’t—which helped me develop my skills as a servant leader.

Servant leaders are a different breed—they flip the traditional leadership model on its head. Their main goal is to be of service to their teams instead of simply focusing on the organization.

My past project work has given me firsthand experience on the benefits of servant leadership. Here are some ways to apply it:

1. Remove roadblocks.

Wherever I could, I tried to get rid of anything getting in the team’s way. Participating in meetings or writing documents was considered a waste of time by the team. So I decided to lend a hand, letting them concentrate on activities that added value.

To ease the tension between the development team and the head of marketing, I negotiated and proposed more streamlined options for implementation and brought the ideas back to the team.

I gave presentations on behalf of the team about the product and jotted down the questions I couldn’t answer. I documented and organized the information to be shared in a way it could be easily accessed. I concentrated on circulating the information within the team and tried to anticipate any issues or topics.

2. Set ground rules.

The development team complained to me after a marketing representative in the organization stepped on its toes. They needed a mutually beneficial and efficient way of working, so I stepped up as the main point of contact and set up weekly, in-person meetings.

Every Friday morning, we met with the development team. The representative loved technology and wanted to know more and engage in a knowledge exchange, but it used up a lot of our time. This person also gave some advice on topics he did not know, which didn’t always sit well with members of the development team and came to my desk and asked me questions I could not answer. Regular meetings and serving as a dedicated team liaison were not enough. At this point, it became clear that I needed to set specific ground rules, so that I didn’t diminish the trust I had built with my team or put them at risk by allowing someone outside the team to question or interfere with their work processes.

3. Reward the team.

Congratulating team members and giving them visibility keeps them motivated and builds trust. And there’s more than one way to create an environment in which your team feels appreciated. I initiated a weekly newsletter to shine a light on team achievements, even highlighting individual names. I also spoke with the functional manager about the good job done by the developers and pushed for a pay rise. I even advocated for a member to receive training on a test tool.

Looking back, the project was both a challenging and transformational growth journey. But I did learn a lot about servant leadership—trusting the team and supporting them whenever and however they need it.

How have your experiences with servant leadership shaped you?

 

 

 

Posted by Yasmina Khelifi on: October 12, 2020 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (22)
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