By Wanda Curlee
Recently, my doctor’s office was attacked with ransomware—potentially causing a major safety issue.
Think about it: What happens if you have a life-threatening illness? All the medical records, including any tests and results, are no longer available. How can the doctor treat or even advise patients without that information?
For instance, a relative of mine recently had blood clots. To diagnose the issue, doctors performed a special blood test with the results delivered to the doctor within an hour. Had the doctor’s office been hit with ransomware, the results would have been lost—and there would’ve been a high probability of death.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and the number of devices that are now connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) heighten the risk of hacking—and the potential devastating effects.
So, how does this affect project management professionals? Project managers must understand that hackers are a reality and they must ensure that their team has the necessary training.
Program managers should establish the security protocols for all projects in the program. Each project will determine the security within the bounds of the program’s processes.
At times, the program manager may have to determine if security needs to be linked between the various projects. The program manager would need to monitor all protocols and make sure that program-level personnel coordinate the activities between the projects.
How does this affect the portfolio manager?
The portfolio manager needs to understand the company’s industry, the strategy objectives and the project/program landscape. At times, the portfolio manager may even have to present safety precautions as it relates to the industry’s IoT and AI to senior executives. By presenting the information, senior executives may alter a strategy or advise the portfolio manager to include security for IoT and AI in business cases.
And remember: In the future, project management tools may include IoT and AI. Can you imagine if a hacker were able to adjust settings, wipe out projects or use ransomware to block all access to project information that’s stored in the cloud?
This could be devastating. Let’s face it—a company without projects is a dead or dying company!
How are you ensuring hackers don’t devastate your projects or those of your customers?
by Wanda Curlee
I often write about neuroscience and its affects on project management. So I spend a lot of time scouring academic research, trade journals and even LinkedIn for new information on the topic. That’s how I came across this recent Business Insider article about what makes a good speaker.
Neuroscience is the very first thing mentioned in the piece, which makes the cognitive case for storytelling. It argues that understanding how our brains work can make us better speakers.
According to the article, you have about 15 seconds to grab your audience—and the average attention span is about 5 minutes. So how do you keep people engaged?
By using stories, says Princeton University researcher Uri Hasson. Mr. Hasson and his colleagues used fMRI machines to measure blood flow to regions of the brain of a speaker and the audience while a story was being told.
This research “found that the brains of a speaker and his or her listeners ‘exhibited joint, temporally coupled, response patterns.’ Simply put, the listeners' brains mirrored the speaker's brain—only when the speaker was telling the listeners a story.” The implication? Our brains are wired for story.
While I was in the Navy, stories were often used as a learning tool. And as a university professor, I’ve seen this approach work with students, as well. But what does this mean for people working in project management?
Relate and Resonate
Project professionals need to be storytellers. We may not all be on a large stage speaking to a big audience, but we’re always presenting, whether it be to stakeholders, sponsors, senior executives, etc. And think about the mundane information we often have to report.
An effective presenter is able to tell a story that will resonate with his or her audience and make mundane information more interesting.
Recently, I was a speaker for the Human Capital Institute (HCI). I used stories to make neuroscience resonate with the audience. I was delighted with the feedback I received. Each person that approached me remembered one of my stories that stuck with them and even resurfaced previous memories.
So when it’s your turn to talk to the C-suite, interject stories. You will be remembered by your ability to relay the information well—and that may serve you well when the next difficult assignment comes up.
What’s one of the best presentations you’ve ever heard? Did the speaker use stories to illustrate his or her presentation?