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Project management in VUCA world
What are the most influencing factors for a project manager in this VUCA world. What should be key focus areas for the project managers?
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communication skills (all stakeholders)
critical thinkers (think, don't just react)
tech/product savvy (note takers are not useful)
negotiation skills (don't be a slave to business owners)
risk manager (nobody likes surprises)
leadership (motivate & mediate)
Personality- Don't underestimate this. Project managers need to be level headed in the most difficult situations with the ability inject calm and sometimes well placed humor depending on atmosphere.
VUCA components are not attributes of the world or a system but rather perceptions of the people looking at it.

A project manager has to make people (stakeholders) change perspectives on the VUCA impression

Uncertainty - a PMs role is to provide certainty and security about the future, by instilling trust and provide information, e.g. by planning for possible scenarios, elicitation of requirements, engaging in risk management or educating people by offering mental models.

Complexity - once we have a simple structured mental model of the world/system, complexity goes away - PMs together with architects can provide such models as part of their role, UX designers play a role in software, politicans in society. Look at your phone - can your grandma handle it?

Ambiguity - looking at ambiguity as a chance for flexibility and at resilience to reduce the fear from ambiguity. Fact is that life has ambiguity, thankfully. Look at life as a river flowing (Panta Rhei).

Volatility - yes, the speed of change gets faster for more things, also here resilience is the capability to survive negative consequences of that speed of change and curiosity is the mindset to look out for new things. The core reason why the speed gets faster is that more people are connected, 2010 less than 2 billion, now 4 billion and in 10 years 8 billion. This will become a powerful network, a human hive, creating even more perceived speed, except for eremites.

And be aware that all of this is human centric. The world does not have feelings about VUCA, and AI also not. VUCA is solely about human feelings, and we can handle it.
...
2 replies by RAJON BANERJEE and Rami Kaibni
Dec 29, 2019 1:24 PM
Rami Kaibni
...
Spot on feedback Thomas - I totally agree with you.

RK
Dec 30, 2019 1:04 AM
RAJON BANERJEE
...
Hi Thomas,

Totally agree with you for the points you had capitalized.

Thanks,
Rajon
The key question is: when the world did not have characteristics that today people call VUCA?. The problem is not the change, is the accelaration of the change driven by the available data that people take as information without make any question about it is information or not. So, mainly for people that worked in software field, we are facing that from long time ago. The key is what we can call "risk". If you take a look, again from software domain mainly, you can find that from 1970 and before there are lot of work to face that starting by approaches (Lean, Agile) and continue by life cycles (Spiral, V, etc). Inside risk sources, needs/requiements is the key component to take into account.
Dear Tarun
Interesting your question
Thanks for sharing

VUCA is full of opportunities:

VUCA can mean:
- Vision
- Understanding
- Clarity
- Agility

VUCA is about Vision
- Communicate with purpose
- Believe in yourself and the team
- Focus and alignment

VUCA is about Understanding
- Challenge and be curious
- Empathetic to others
- Open-minded

VUCA is about Clarity
- Simplify
- Intuitive and Human
- Seeing the bigger picture

VUCA is about Agility
- Decisive but adaptive
- Empower and collaborate
- Never stop innovating
Tarun -

- Building change resilience in the team and stakeholders
- Picking the "right" approach for a project based on its context. The more complex or uncertain, the less a deterministic approach is likely to succeed

Kiron
Dec 29, 2019 4:50 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
VUCA components are not attributes of the world or a system but rather perceptions of the people looking at it.

A project manager has to make people (stakeholders) change perspectives on the VUCA impression

Uncertainty - a PMs role is to provide certainty and security about the future, by instilling trust and provide information, e.g. by planning for possible scenarios, elicitation of requirements, engaging in risk management or educating people by offering mental models.

Complexity - once we have a simple structured mental model of the world/system, complexity goes away - PMs together with architects can provide such models as part of their role, UX designers play a role in software, politicans in society. Look at your phone - can your grandma handle it?

Ambiguity - looking at ambiguity as a chance for flexibility and at resilience to reduce the fear from ambiguity. Fact is that life has ambiguity, thankfully. Look at life as a river flowing (Panta Rhei).

Volatility - yes, the speed of change gets faster for more things, also here resilience is the capability to survive negative consequences of that speed of change and curiosity is the mindset to look out for new things. The core reason why the speed gets faster is that more people are connected, 2010 less than 2 billion, now 4 billion and in 10 years 8 billion. This will become a powerful network, a human hive, creating even more perceived speed, except for eremites.

And be aware that all of this is human centric. The world does not have feelings about VUCA, and AI also not. VUCA is solely about human feelings, and we can handle it.
Spot on feedback Thomas - I totally agree with you.

RK
Dec 29, 2019 4:50 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
VUCA components are not attributes of the world or a system but rather perceptions of the people looking at it.

A project manager has to make people (stakeholders) change perspectives on the VUCA impression

Uncertainty - a PMs role is to provide certainty and security about the future, by instilling trust and provide information, e.g. by planning for possible scenarios, elicitation of requirements, engaging in risk management or educating people by offering mental models.

Complexity - once we have a simple structured mental model of the world/system, complexity goes away - PMs together with architects can provide such models as part of their role, UX designers play a role in software, politicans in society. Look at your phone - can your grandma handle it?

Ambiguity - looking at ambiguity as a chance for flexibility and at resilience to reduce the fear from ambiguity. Fact is that life has ambiguity, thankfully. Look at life as a river flowing (Panta Rhei).

Volatility - yes, the speed of change gets faster for more things, also here resilience is the capability to survive negative consequences of that speed of change and curiosity is the mindset to look out for new things. The core reason why the speed gets faster is that more people are connected, 2010 less than 2 billion, now 4 billion and in 10 years 8 billion. This will become a powerful network, a human hive, creating even more perceived speed, except for eremites.

And be aware that all of this is human centric. The world does not have feelings about VUCA, and AI also not. VUCA is solely about human feelings, and we can handle it.
Hi Thomas,

Totally agree with you for the points you had capitalized.

Thanks,
Rajon
The cold war stemmed around the us and them mentality where your enemy was well known, understood and everything was compartmentalised and decisions were made according to the information or intelligence that you had at hand. Since then there has been a dilution of authority in the world were in order to make an informed decision all possible intelligence needs to gathered, made sense of and responded upon in a much shorter amount of time. As a result data not war heads is silo in data centres and information is your greatest weapon. As such risk and risk mitigation is increasingly seen as more important than in pre VUCA world. The ability to structure a project around an risk mitigation process and the ability to calculate to the minute the likely overall percentage risk associated with a project and bringing down as near as possible to zero while still staying within budget is the likely next evolution of the project manager and project management methodology.

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