Until March, I was very excited about the future, I dreamt about an exciting future for project managers and #futureofPMWork. Then came the COVID-19.
COVID-19 is nothing short of a “Black Swan “event, just like the invention of the internet, or the 2008 market crash. Needless to say this has affected all industries, a lot has changed for us, project managers, remote working, processes, decentralization, culture, ways of communication are only some impact and more are yet to come.
What are the key skills that are required for managers, leaders in the new normal ?
The million-dollar question that is probably in the minds of every project manager, leader popped out while I and Lenka were moderating our maiden connect at the #PMIChapterXchange program.
A Panel discussion with experts from Czech Republic (Petr Janis, Michal Jauker) and Mumbai chapter (Satish Mittal, Chintan Oza) to share their perspectives on this very topic. So what did our panellists say
Petr laid emphasis on adaptability, listening and digital skills
Michal vouched for effective communication, team motivation and the value of global outreach enabled by the virtual world
Satish accentuated on the ability to navigate through multiple skills, 3rd eye out, predict risks and motivate team to innovate.
Chintan highlighted the skill improvement framework Identify(gaps), Classify( what can be achieved), Simplify( bucketize Short, Medium and Long term goals), Justify( correlate goals to current scenario) and Amplify ( go full throttle to achieve your goals)
Armed with the wisdom of the wise and deep introspection of the great lockdown, here are some additional skills that comes out dominant for a leader to succeed in the #futureofPMWork
Anti-fragility: Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. A resilient leader resists shocks and stays the same; an antifragile leader gets better it means that he / she does not merely withstand a shock but learn and improves because of it. Leaders must learn how to make their lives anti-fragile, rather than simply less vulnerable to randomness and chaos to survive in #futureofWork
Empathy: Tough times calls for leaders to lead with empathy. Empathizing in these times can go a long way to foster engaged and inspired teams.
Inclusiveness: Uncertain times calls for innovative, creative and high-performance teams. Leaders will need to create a well-intentioned, inclusive-minded environment to foster high-performance teams.
Do you have any other skills on your mind which would be relevant for project managers to succeed in the #futureofPMWork ? Comment below.
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They say “necessity is the mother of invention “and COVID- 19 era has been the true testament of the same. There have been multiple technological revolutions from AI based doctors, voice enable AI detecting infection from the sound of the cough, to simple chat bots providing information via voice interaction.
We are indeed moving towards a ‘touch less’ or a voice enabled economy.
Research says the overall voice and speech recognition market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.2% from 2019 to 2025 to reach $26.8 billion by 2025. Voice shopping is predicted to become a $40 billion business in the next two years. With COVID-19 impact this may grow even further.
So what is "Voice Enabled AI" ? The Voice enabled AI is a technology that does natural language understanding combined with voice recognition.
Does this have an impact on #futureofPMWork? Let's find out
Contactless economy: With the advent of the COVID-era, consumer behaviour has been driven by health and safety concerns. It is evident that consumers will move towards digital or the contact less economy which may give rise to product usage to be driven by voice.
Voice Commerce: Voice search has been seeing a rising trend even before COVID-19. According Juniper Research voice-based ad revenue could reach $19 billion by 2022. Organizations will experience a shift in touchpoints being converted to listening points.
Consumer Behaviour: With the slow down of the economy, unemployment on the rise, organizations consumers have become cost conscious. This would mean organizations would have to find out ways to increase improve the voice of their brands
Can we leverage Voice enabled AI to manage our projects in the #futureofPMWork ?
Some instances could be as follows:
Operational activities: Much of the operational activities of a project manager, can be accomplished with voice commands e.g setting up meetings, managing them in the virtual world and managing collaboration tools. Another usage could be status reporting from the field, using external and internal data, machine learning to provide predictions, forecast and risk analysis.
Enhanced customer experience: Voice assisted chatbots on web sites could help us to find what engages the customer most and thereby driving opportunities of revenue generation. This technology can help us to build inclusive products there increasing our customer base and improve customer experience.
EQ enabled conversations: EQ enabled Voice AI intelligent technologies could be leveraged to detect emotions from a conversation with team members and to respond to them accordingly. This data can be used for coaching and mentoring of those who needs the most to engage and inspire.
How else can we give our projects a voice or leverage voice enabled technology in our projects?
Do drop a note in the comments section and let your voice be heard 😊
Since Aug 2019 I have been writing on #futureofPMWork , how the future of projects would be, what would be the different skills, techniques to engage our teams of the future, in the #futureofPMWork
Come March, all these theories, the #futureofPMWork suddenly seem so relevant. As we try to survive through the coronavirus pandemic, we are anxious, stressed, nervous of our own health, our elderly parents, our peers the society and world. On the work front, 125,000 team members in India suddenly became remote – working from home. Working remote before corona is strikingly different than working remote under quarantine. Many including myself was feeling lost in the first few weeks of quarantine.
Here is what I have learned in the 8 weeks of quarantine - the new #futureofPMWork on how to keep teams engaged and inspired.
The changing needs - Maslow’s hierarchy:
March 2020, most of us tumbled all the way down from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs top levels down to the bottom – to our physiological needs.
Provide assurance: that their basic needs in a job, the salary that helps them to be financially independent to take care of food, shelter and rest will be taken care of can help them to bring more to work.
Empathize: and do what we can to get them what they need, even if it has nothing to do with work. Research shows that being a servant leader serving team as they explore and grow, while providing emotional support create greater engagement.
Start with the Why but define How:
We always knew “purpose”, “Start with the why” keeps teams engaged to their work. In the new quarantine work environment, that “Why” might change. Questions like “Where do I stand in terms of my career now? How do I contribute to my organization’s goal? What is important to me in my career now?” can help to redefine the ‘Why’. These answers might not be the same as they were a month ago. This type of conversation can ‘define how’ or provide clarity needed to personalize the teams purpose and connect them better to the organization’s goals and vision.
Maintain diversity and inclusion:
To foster high performance team in this era of quarantine and social distancing project managers need to create an inclusive environment. This inclusivity would be for gender, race, parents with young children and generations. Elder generations could be afraid being impacted by the disease or may have trouble adjusting to virtual collaboration tools. Look out for any kind of such instances of marginalization, address them publicly and support those marginalized privately through one and one meetings.
Do you have any learnings or tips to engage and inspire your teams in this new #futureofPMWork ? If yes do share, I would love to hear from you here.
“A virtual team working together as one >> side by side separated by waters bought together by technology.” Virtual Team Intelligence
Imagine you are 7,847 km away at home, presenting your first keynote presentation. Exciting isn’t it? More exciting when you see the audience 400 + eagerly waiting to listen to you. Even more exciting when you know you have a dedicated team of volunteers supporting you for this.
Yes, you guessed it right, we are referring to a virtual conference presentation. With the outbreak of the corona virus, I could not be present in-person for the PMI Sweden’s “Passion for Projects” #passionForProjects conference, but never the less the team behind the scene did ensure that the presentation went on smooth and sound. This is an exemplary example of the power of virtual collaboration.
According to research in late 2019
Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover those that don’t.
People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive.
By 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers.
Does this mean that in the future of work #futureofWork virtual collaboration will be on the rise?
Will it become a critical aspect of #futureofPMWork ? Let us see why
Collective Intelligence: To encourage Diversity of thoughts, build innovative products and improve agility to proactively transition to the future, collective intelligence would take the center stage. Teams would swarm to brainstorm, collaborate and innovate, and once done they would move on.
Distributed teams: With the rise of the gigs teams would become more and more distributed. Teams would extend beyond the 4 walls of the organization, across multiple locations, geographies and continents.
Connected projects: As projects become more and more connected exchanging information in the ecosystem, our teams would not be confined to one organization, but extended across our customers, co-players, partners and suppliers.
I have been working with virtual teams for many years now, in fact I lead the Agile Community of Practice within my organization which is a 100% virtual collaboration platform spanning across 40 countries with 546 members. It has been 5 years now. So what worked for me all these years?
Team working agreements: When teams work separately, it is easy for teams to get disconnected especially if they are in different time zones. Shared team working agreements like communication protocols, regular meeting rhythms and virtual coffee time connects have been instrumental in improving team cohesion.
Frequent communication: When team do not interact face to face, there is a risk of losing touch. This can lead to missing out on critical information like unexpected emergencies, time demand and priorities. Frequent communication, avoiding lengthy silences are key to removing these impediments. I have leveraged social media, instant messaging, whatsapp, Skype video calls for frequent communication.
Playing games: To keep the engagement on, I have leveraged online virtual, team contests and games. These games encourage members to do what’s best for the team. Leaders emerge and sometimes leaders step down for the greater good of the team. This helps to encourage an atmosphere of collaboration to work towards a team goal.
How do you think the #futureofPMWork looks like in terms of virtual collaboration?
Do you have any other tips to improve virtual collaborations in the #futureofPMWork? I would love to know.
“Blockchain, which is already appearing in experimental and small-scope projects, will be fully scalable by 2023” - Gartner.
Gartner also estimates that blockchain will generate $3.1 trillion in new business value by 2030. While a lot has been discussed on how to manage blockchain projects, I wonder if we could leverage Blockchain in our #futureofPMWork and why it may become a critical aspect of #futureofPMWork.
Death of the intermediary
A Blockchain is an expanding list of cryptographically signed, irrevocable transactional records shared by all participants in a network. Each record contains a time stamp and reference links to previous transactions. This makes the information is decentralized, there is no intermediary and anyone with access rights can trace back a transactional event, at any point in its history, belonging to any participant.
Secured platform: As projects become more and more connected exchanging data in the ecosystem ,Blockchain could be one of those system of trust to ensure that the data is no tampered and securely exchanged in the ecosystem.
With connected projects come stakeholders which are diverse and dispersed, in the #futureofPMWork, Blockchain could be leveraged for sharing scope, budget, in a private network. Such platforms can help simplify any issues that involve reconciliation, arbitration and intermediation, superior operational workflow for tracking elements of project, time, cost saving along with risk reduction.
Improved Governance: In the #futureofPMWork the workforce will be diverse and dispersed as well. When work is approved and delivered, a gig may transact an invoice, which in turn shall be approved by the project manager or the developer, in order to trigger another transaction or payment. Blockchain can be a means to an end in keeping all stakeholders responsible for their own deeds, validated and audited by their peers, so you don’t have to worry about mundane administration checks and balances.
Happier World: Happy teams lead to happy customers. Can Blockchain be leveraged for multi-peer communication be a source for happiness in the #futureofPMWork ? An environment conducive to interaction and exchange between peers and mentors can have a long-term ROI effecting a better relationship. On the customer front Blockchain can be leveraged to securely gather, store, trace emotional and sentiment information from multiple channels like social media, email, call centers to assess happiness of customer and take appropriate actions.
Do you envision of any other use case to leverage Blockchain in the #futureofPMWork ? If yes, don’t forget to leave a note here.
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