November 5, 2020, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT | November 6, 2020 – February 7, 2021, On-Demand | Online Conference
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Thanks for sharing your experience, Mohit.
I guess with 6 clients across the world, a lot of communication already was virtual before Corona. So what was the challenge initally?
In virtual conferences through zoom, skype, etc... it's important to ensure accessibility with real-time written transcriptions.
The current situation has done visibility to the hugh amount of "waste" most of the people spent in things like travel or non value meetings. So, what people has to do today is the same they had to do in the past. No more than that. People and mainly project managers have to take this as a lesson learned because the current situation has push them to change those things they are no willing to change for multiple reasons.
We moved to lock down one week after my most recent project started so the majority of the company/client team had not met each other but we had a 6 month rapid deployment project to complete - key takeaways from this experience:
- Video was encouraged and certainly made building relations easier by making us feel more connected. However, we equally had to acknowledge video call fatigue so people were not 'called out' if on certain days they wanted to stay off camera.
- As you mention Mohit, we factored in the time needed at the start/end of calls for 'chat'. The equivalent of what people would do while getting themselves into place in a meeting room, getting a coffee etc.
- My own team was quite small, only 8 of us, so once a week we did a coffee hour during lockdown, it wasn't about work but more casual conversations around how people were doing, what were their interests as not all of us knew each other, it helped develop a team culture and ensured people did not feel isolated.
- The last one was around communication; I always think this is key during a project but when working 100% virtually it became even more of a priority using group calls, email, Teams chat, 1:1s. Even something like posting a message each morning for the team either the focus of the day or an update from SteerCo or sometimes just a joke that had been sent kept the connection going
My project was quite small as I said so it would be interesting to see how this would scale.
The pandemic has provided an opportunity to re-visit meeting requirements and structure. Weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, and quarterly meetings were/are being held because - well because they are labelled as such. Agendas are the minutes of the last meeting, invitees are based on some master list, the objective is somewhat nebulas, the leadership weak and no one prepares.
As the result of virtual meeting requirements we have focused a little more on the meeting purpose, structure and required attendees recognizing the effort and cost of such meetings with limited return. I do not believe that the new focus on meeting "value" will sustain. Our bad habits will start flooding back and the meetings will again become millstones dragging down project performance.
My suggestion: get a handle on your project meetings, virtual or face-to-face. Purpose (why), structure (how), attendees (who), frequency (when) and location (where). Demand that the participants actually participate and offer value. This is especially true of client meetings - they want value. Not chit chat, confusion, lack of focus and rambling
"Good morning every one! Now, let's get down to business. We were all provided with a copy of the last minutes and given the opportunity to respond and as such we will jump into todays agenda. You are reminded that you where provided with today's agenda and are expected to be prepared. If you do not feel a need to participate you are encouraged to leave. Item 1)..."
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