In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that’s currently in place, many companies have shifted to remote working as a way of ensuring business continuity. Even though remote working has been a rising trend over the past couple of years, with more and more companies offering it as an option to their employees, the change has come as somewhat of a large-scale avalanche that not everyone was equally prepared for. Some have adjusted better than others, but in general we’ve observed an overarching concern from companies around being able to ensure productivity of remote workers in an effective way. Having insight into what our clients have been doing to manage remote working during this crisis, we’ve been able to formulate the following list of tips to help you refine your remote working strategy: Set some ground rules With remote working, a clear communication strategy becomes even more important than ever before. As part of your ground rules you have to define how and how regularly you’re expected to communicate not only with your team members, but also management. You also have to be clear around your expectations regarding working hours and/or deliverables. Remote working comes with many challenges and distractions, and in general we should try to support a bit more flexibility, but if you still need people to be accessible and available between 8am and 5pm, you have to specify this upfront. Leverage different technology options for communication Email alone is unfortunately not going to cut it. You have to leverage other technologies to support instant chat and online collaboration. For many larger organisations MS Teams has become the collaboration platform of choice, others still make use of tools like Skype for Business and SharePoint, but there are also a variety of great “freemium” options (i.e. products with both free and paid premium options) like Slack and Yammer. At Analyze we’ve actually been making use of Yammer for quite some time and it’s become a great way to ensure that our consultants, who are typically spread across our various client sites in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, are able to stay connected with company news and happenings. Regular team check-ins are key Many organisations have implemented a daily “health check” of sorts to check-in on each other and discuss company changes that have an impact on the employees. For more specific team deliveries, most teams are adopting the daily stand-up which is a concept well known to anyone working within an Agile delivery context. It’s a way to regularly check-in with your team members, discuss what their goals are for the day and also see where you can help a co-worker with something they’re struggling with. Still make time for those one-on-ones As much as team interactions are important, one-on-ones should not be overlooked. It’s a chance for employees (and managers alike) to discuss issues they may not feel comfortable discussing within a group. It’s also where career guidance and developmental discussions take place, something which must continue to ensure that career goals stay on track. Don’t forget about the importance of social interaction Even though we can’t meet up in person, we as humans still need social interaction opportunities that allow us to connect and talk about something other than work. It’s how we build a rapport with each other, how we’re able to provide mental and emotional support during a very challenging time, and also just an opportunity to let off some steam. Whether it’s a 5min, daily, weekly or monthly connect, it’s important to create a space for people to learn more about each other, even if it’s sharing what their home work environment looks like via video chat or taking part in a general knowledge quiz, now’s the time to get creative and find new ways to interact. At Analyze, we understand that this is a very challenging time for most. Projects are being put on hold, businesses are having to reinvent themselves and budgets are tighter than ever. If you have any ideas on topics you’d like us to cover here on the blog to support knowledge sharing and discussion, please do leave a comment below.
The traditional role of a Project Management Office (PMO) is to define the standards for project management within an organisation. Sounds simple enough, right? Define the rules and then ensure everyone sticks to it… But when “the rules” in this context actually means finding the best, most effective and innovate ways to ensure strategic business alignment and delivery success, it’s easy to understand why PMOs constantly need to reinvent themselves. As project management continues to make significant shifts toward faster, smarter delivery, the key to survival for any PMO is finding the best way to facilitate agile practices by blending the right mix of technology, people and process. Leveraging technology to automate PMO tasksArtificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technologies are being used across many different industries to automate mundane and labour-intensive tasks. For the modern PMO, it offers the opportunity to automate all of the day-to-day tasks related to data collection, tracking and reporting. This is great, not only from a time-saving perspective but because it also means the PMO team can shift their focus to activities where they can add more value. Building a data analytics strategy A PMO’s power lies in its understanding of when and how projects succeed and fail, not only from a pure delivery perspective but also looking at post-implementation success factors like market share, customer satisfaction, employee adoption, increased profits and sales. Having access to this information allows the PMO to properly guide teams in a way that ensures a much higher rate of success. Understanding governance within an agile contextWith the shift to agile delivery methods, governance, visibility and control are all things that typically fall by the wayside due to the misconception that it only succeeds in slowing delivery down. The PMO’s mission should be finding the right governance fit for the industry type, organisational style and delivery scale by continually evaluating and assessing with the goal to make continuous adjustments and refinements. Placing a greater emphasis on coaching and upskilling With the shift to agile, PMOs typically expand to include people from across the business who come with a wealth of business expertise and experience but aren’t necessarily technically skilled from a delivery perspective. The PMO needs to step into a coaching role to support these new team members in effective ways of working while also building a better understanding of project dynamics, challenges and key considerations. Conducting a PMO audit It’s easy to fall into the trap of merely offering the PMO services that you think all PMOs should offer, but do these really make any material difference to the business? The purpose of a PMO audit would be to take a critical look at each and every service that is offered, marrying this up to what your business stakeholders need, and then stopping and starting services accordingly. In this way, you’re ensuring that you are focusing your collective energies in all the right places, thereby cementing your place within the broader organisation. Struggling with any PMO-related issues within your organisation? Give Analyze a call on 021 447 5696 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help.
Technology advancement continues to drive change throughout all facets of our personal and business lives. No wonder then that it has also had a notable impact on the way we run projects. Today, modern project managers have realised that their success largely relies on the strength of the technological tools they choose to exploit to their (and their team’s) benefit. Letting technology take care of the mundane Consider those everyday project management tasks like reviewing and updating schedules, prepping presentations, sending out status reports and following up on statuses of issues and other work items. These types of activities typically need to be executed regularly, in many cases daily, and can therefore become very time consuming. Without the luxury of a project administrator to assist with these tasks, which for most organisations is a resource overhead they simply can’t afford, project managers are leaning on project management software and AI tools to streamline and automate repetitive tasks. The best of breed project management tools today are able to instantly give you a view of what work is in progress, identify what items are lagging behind and predict where you are likely to run into issues in order to help you proactively manage the situation rather than reactively. This frees up the project manager to focus on those big-ticket items that add the most value, like recruiting skilled resources, people management, managing vendor relationships, drafting remediation plans for high impact risks, and focusing on integration management as a key driver for project success. Empowering your project team through improved accessibility and collaboration Thanks to project management software and cloud technologies, teams are now able to access and upload important project files, submit completed pieces of work for review and provide updates on what they’re working on in real-time without having to attend lengthy progress update meetings or book time with the project manager directly. This provides a greater level of accountability and productivity while still giving the project manager the information they need to properly manage the project. As far as communication goes, today even email is outdated to a certain degree. Teams are making use of various online chat, dial-in and screen sharing facilities to collaborate without even having to be in the same place at the same time. Questions can be posed and answered instantly and team members can draw on the expertise and input of other team members who may even be based in a different city or country. All of this makes the project manager’s job much easier while fostering a highly collaborative environment where people manage their own time more effectively. Critical project management skills – a new view Traditional managerial and people skills are no longer giving project managers the edge. Technological experience and expertise now play a big role in any hiring process and project managers therefore need to demonstrate that they have the right software and application knowledge to get the job done in the most effective and efficient way. The PMI has been promoting a concept of a person’s Technology Quotient which refers to their ability to adapt, manage and integrate technology based on the needs of the organisation and the project at hand. Data Analytics has also emerged as a key project management skill. This involves the ability to analyse data from previous projects to identify trends, patterns, and an understanding of common risks and issues that can be applied to future projects to ensure a higher level of success. As you can see, project management today is starting to look very different to project management 5 to 10 years ago. To gain access to our team of technologically proficient project management professionals, give us a call on 021 447 5696 or email us on email@example.com today. We pride ourselves in being able to find the right resource to suit your specific project management consulting needs.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) process can be intimidating for any project. This is because there’s a lot riding on selecting the correct partner, one who is not only like-minded and aligned to your ways of working, but who can execute on your requirements in a way that is matches your company’s strategic outlook. After you’ve gone through the effort of putting together a detailed RFP information pack that fully describes the project mission, goals and objectives, the focus needs to shift how you will evaluate each respondent in order to determine the winning bid.
All project can be complex to manage, but there’s something to be said about the extra complexity that large-scale projects introduce. There are varying opinions on what exactly a large-scale project is, but to us it refers to a project that requires a much larger team (think 50 people plus), at least a year or more to complete and a much larger investment than your average project might.
Most companies are subject to some form of regulatory obligation, whether you’re building a product, or providing a service, you have to operate within a certain set of rules which have been created to ensure that your product or service is not only safe for use, but also provides value to your customers. Compliance at its core is being able to prove that you are doing what is expected according to this prescribed set of rules.
In the cut-throat world of project delivery, it can be easy to lose sight of the real reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. With immense pressure for projects to hit their planned go live date, it’s easy to understand how teams may be eager to claim success as soon as they’ve crossed that finishing line without taking a step back to compare the project results to the original project goals.
For projects following an agile methodology, the term “backlog” refers to pieces of work, otherwise known as “user stories”, that are not currently being worked on. In traditional project thinking, the backlog would also constitute the project scope, i.e. what needs to be delivered. The only difference here being, your backlog can (and likely will) evolve as the product you’re working on grows and new requirements and features become known.
As industries and customer needs change, the way we manage our projects need to change along with it. What used to work 10 years ago unfortunately cannot guarantee success today. If we’re not flexible in the way we approach project management, we will get left behind in a world where continuous improvement has become a necessity to survive. For a very long time the Waterfall method dominated the world of project management as everyone adopted the understanding that a project consisted
It’s true, there’s a certain level of unpredictability with all projects, but eventual failure is something that can actually be predicted quite early on. The key is to recognise the warning signs as early as possible to give you and your team the opportunity to do some damage control to potentially save the situation. Here at Analyze, we’ve come up with the following list of 7 early warning signs to look out for: