The way individuals work has changed dramatically in the last year. According to a recent survey, roughly 20% of working persons worked from home prior to the pandemic. Today, that number is 71 percent, with 54 percent of those stating that they want to continue doing so. The pandemic has hastened what appears to be significant migration of knowledge workers away from offices and into distributed remote work environments. This has affected every knowledge worker in the globe, a total of 1.25 billion people.
This is a major shift, and project managers are scrambling to come up with new techniques to keep projects on track and staff healthy and productive in the midst of the chaos. Not only project managers, however. Everyone is striving to stay on track with their work. According to a study, we spend 60% of our time coordinating work rather than doing the specialized, strategic activities we were paid to do.
What do we need to do to manage this new world workflow order as we look forward to expanding businesses and a rebuilding economy? What are the new project management agile norms, and what new abilities do project managers require to be successful?
For insight into the fast-evolving future of project management agile, I spoke with project managers, designers of project management agile technologies, and other specialists. Below are the 7 new rules of project management.
One thing has become clear over the last year: collaborating without being physically present makes it more difficult to create clarity. Every week, one out of every four deadlines is missed owing to a lack of clarity.
The rapid move to work-from-home has isolated everyone, with only the internet connecting them – a perilous condition in which any team member may easily become an information silo. Zoom sessions offered some relief early on in the pandemic as a substitute for in-person meetings and quick cubicle conversations, but a year later, it's evident that we need better tools to clarify who is doing what when, and what the broader picture looks like.
According to a recent study, in-office casual conversations to rapidly get workers up to speed were substituted with needless video meetings at a significant cost. Meetings are time-demanding and interrupt focused work. They cost individuals 157 hours of productivity during the past year and caused people to be two hours late on average every day. Project managers are scrambling to put new tools and processes in place that deliver clarity at a lower cost. According to research, businesses are eager to invest in them.
There are several project managements approaches to choose from, and while each one has its own set of benefits, the most important thing is to pick one and stick to it.
A central project management technology that provides a structure for work management, a project manager in a leadership role, or a work philosophy can all be sources of truth.
A country in which all of the city-states operate in radically distinct ways. People don't know who they are or what they do," "Whether it's a tool, a methodology, or whatever — you'll never please everyone." Simply choose one and make it work. It's the same as investing: pick a plan, stick to it, and you'll win a lot more often."
One thing the previous year has taught us — often the hard way, in the form of missed deadlines and lost productivity — is that synchronous communication is a valuable commodity in the new world order.
You can't bank on people being at their desks at the same time in the new world. It's impossible to predict whether they'll be in the same time zone. Some people work late at night, while others get up early. Schedules for childcare or farm chores may need to be considered.
All of this adds up to one harsh reality about teamwork: gathering everyone for a meeting is expensive. It'll annoy someone, add to the already epidemic levels of burnout, and take time away from already overworked workdays.
When everyone decided to work from home, the value of synchronous communication skyrocketed, and it will continue to be expensive as we move into a hybrid working environment, says the author.
Project managers should use asynchronous technologies that not only assist them to attain clarity but also make asynchronous communication easier.
It takes a lot of time and effort to create a sophisticated work plan. A single blunder among hundreds of lines of planning can quickly destroy a project and cost a fortune. And what are the chances that someone will catch that error before a deadline is missed or anything completely goes wrong? Infinitesimal. Why? Because the job plan is never debugged.
A human's ability to manage the complexities of a large-scale undertaking without making fatal blunders is theoretically impossible, says the study. Because project plans are never debugged, this has always been the case."
Even when a plan is complex, expensive, and contains a large number of moving elements, contributors, milestones, and deliverables, it is assumed to be flawless once it is created. Every software writer on the planet debugs their code, says the author. Large project plans with thousands of tasks rely on everyone doing it right the first time.
There is a trend toward non-project managers taking over project management agile and controlling the show, says the report. They come from a variety of backgrounds and wind up in charge of tiny, niche, or internal projects. They are either oblivious to or rebellious against old project management agile rules. They're basically operating on the basis of touch and feel.
Budget, resources, and preliminary projections were once employed by project managers to estimate how long work would take. To calculate durations and timelines, this new group of touch-and-feel managers uses expertise, familiarity with the individuals executing the work, and awareness of the mental toll each task takes. And it turns out that these are more accurate metrics.
Things function better than old project management approaches if you start knowing people and treating them as persons rather than resources — and try to figure out ways to avoid problems and uncertainties on a case-by-case basis.
As projects become more complex and businesses become more focused on achieving long-term growth in a changing environment, it has fallen to the project manager to become a negotiator capable of getting together competing groups, hybrid workgroups, far-flung contributors, and invested stakeholders to move the plan forward.
The project manager's position is changing, and negotiation skills are becoming more vital. For the project, you must be Switzerland, a champion of the work above all things.
The project manager in the previous work paradigm devised strategies, encouraged employees, ensured that everyone was on track, and convened meetings to keep everyone informed. There are more moving components, and those elements aren't constantly talking to each other, so you can't rely on physical presence to establish synergy. There are client-facing teams, internal-facing teams, and technical project managers, as well as project managers organized by channel or deliverable. What's the point where they all meet? The project manager is frequently the point of intersection.
It's now a more targeted strategy. I'm going to assemble these three individuals and we're going to work on this section of the project together. So that even if the 20-person meeting isn't held, the project manager ensures that those 20 people have a single source of truth.
When people working in isolation, their personal lives are disrupted, and they work long and odd hours. As a result, project managers have had to venture into uncharted areas in order to get projects back on track.
Emotional intelligence, in my opinion, is a critical skill for project managers nowadays. When we understand ourselves as human beings and where our emotions come from, we can understand what others are going through.
In this new remote workforce, not everyone on the team is thriving. According to a study, younger workers and parents, in particular, are having difficulty. Moreover, millions of women have left the workforce because they are unable to manage work and family life.
The project manager must ensure that the team's psychological safety is enabled and reinforced at all times. They must establish a safety net that allows people to share their views and differing points of view without fear of retaliation.
That means the project manager is increasingly acting as a therapist, recognizing signs of stress and reaching out to team members to help them work through it, prioritize, understand that what's going on is normal for the team, and find resources or a suitable schedule so they feel safe at work and able to come to work. As we collaborate more on projects, the leader may make a significant difference by utilizing these facilitation skills.
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