“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.
To know more
How many times we go for a meeting and our mind wanders away?
How many times we sleep with our eyes open in a presentation crammed with numbers and texts?
How many times we yearn to reach out to our smart phone to read that important message on What’sApp while in a townhall?
The answer to all the above may be many a times. These are nothing but signs of dis-engagement. How can we combat these signs of dis-engagement? The Strategic Storytelling.
“Humans think in stories, rather than facts, numbers or equations and the simpler story.”
It is a well-known fact that with Strategic storytelling, a project manager can create and enhance relationships with the team, customers, suppliers and partners. Not only that strategic storytelling can improve collaboration, communication and bridge knowledge gaps.
But will it be applicable in the #futureofPMWork as well? Here are the reasons why it might?
Why Stories stick?
This is what I learned while leveraging Strategic Storytelling in my projects
Now that we know Strategic Storytelling may be one of those tools that a project manager may leverage in #futureofPMWork, what would be those instances where this tool may be most effective? Don’t forget to leave your views here?
Read on to know more on how I have leveraged story telling in my digital transformation projects
Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash
6:30 am : My alarm wakes me up, I reach out to my smart phone, checking my project whats app group. I catch up on the project status, progress that happened overnight IST but US day time
8:00 am: I book my ride on SRIDE ( a ride sharing app) to office
8:30 am: I am at my desk, browsing through the yammer groups catching up on the feedback from our beta users on our last week’s software product release
9:00 am: Time for my online zoom meeting with my team across 5 locations in India ( Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad)
10:am: I log into linkedin checking on social media marketing group for social media marketing techniques and industry news for brands, products and services
12:00: While at lunch, I send birthday wishes to my cousin through Facebook messenger. I also plan my weekend, responding to facebook events happening in my locality
4:00 pm: I join a yammer chat on new HR policies that are been launched in the organization
5:00 pm: I log into twiiter for updates on the ideathon organized by our organization for solving social challenges with technology
7:00 pm : I retire for the day posting project status on the project whatsapp group for my US team to catch up when they come to work
Evident from the above I heavily leverage social media or social networking tools ( though mostly internal) for communication , collaboration soliciting customer feedback and learning in my projects today.
According to the Global State of Digital Report the number of social media users worldwide in 2019 is 3.484 billion, up 9% year-on-year. So is it slated to grow even more? Will social media increase prominence in the #futureofWork? Three reasons which strongly suggest that this may be the case
How can project managers leverage social media in #futureofPMWork?
How else can we leverage social media in #futureofPMwork? Love to know your inputs on this.
“Tell me I will forget, teach me I will remember, involve me I will learn forever!”
Date : 21 Sept 2019, 8:30 am Delhi DLF city: History in making, I am a Gametender at India’s first Fun uncoference. I am facilitating a game at this gamification unconference.
I am about to experience a day which is promised to be full of fun – with games designed to increase engagement / involvement of our teams, customers and partners. The energy is un-dismissible!
As we cruise through the day – playing games, having fun, I wonder why we need to introduce more fun elements at our workplace now and in the future #futureofWork ?
In the #futureofPMWork how can we engage our teams and customers?
Can #gamification be that strategy to engage the workforce of the future?
Can #gamification create that customer stickiness?
Let us see what the emotions elicited by games
Neuroscientists have speculated that by engaging in this cycle of challenge and achievement, our brain releases dopamine, which is connected to the sensation of pleasure, making us want to do it repeatedly.
Here is what I have learned while leveraging gamification in team and customer engagement
As I wind up my day at the Fun uncoference, I can’t help but wonder what gamification can do to our teams, workplace and the organization as a whole. It triggers real, powerful human emotions with a lot of fun!
To learn more how I leveraged #gamification to drive digital transformation, read on: