COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the digital transformation across various industries. Hybrid work has become the new norm, visibly seen in the hybrid cloud adoption of up to 20% and a decrease in utilization of on-premises workload by 13%. These statistics indicate that more companies trust cloud-based deployments, and organizations are inclined towards such trends.
Global hybrid project teams
Hybrid global teams adopt hybrid work. This adoption could be more defined as a flexible model with a blend of in-office, remote and on-the-go work approaches. The key focus of this model is to provide more autonomy for employees to be productive wherever they work. Such a move would enable team members to migrate between choices of various locations depending on the work which needs to get done.
4 categories of hybrid work model
These are typically categorized into
a) Flexible hybrid work model – Where employees choose their work location and hours. This model would provide more autonomy and expands the talent pool and diverse thinking, yet it would be difficult for employers to plan capacity.
b) Fixed Hybrid work model – Employees would plan their days and workplace well ahead, or work would be in the office on predetermined days. Such planning might allow in-person collaboration and increases the opportunity for better planning yet would minimize the lack of choice for individuals.
c) Office-first hybrid work model – In this model, a specified number of days are to be worked in the office, and for the rest of the days, they can choose to work remotely. This model gives flexibility to individual choices and maintains company culture and community, yet it would be challenging to understand and manage individual work plans.
d) Remote-First hybrid work model – In this model, the employees are asked to make remote work a priority and occasionally visit the office for training and collaboration. This model would minimize office space and help reduce costs for employers, though employees might feel isolated.
Typical characteristics of Hybrid Team(s):
Typical characteristics of Hybrid Team
– Resources spread out across many locations
– Using many work styles and processes
– Different Time Zones
– Collaboration with each other
– Diverse workplace – Home/Office
– Work a few days a week from the office
As per the work index trend 2022 report, already, hybrid work is up to seven points year-over-year (to 38%), and 53% of people are likely to consider transitioning to a hybrid workplace in the year ahead
As per the report from “globalnewswire. in”, nearly 90% of project teams work in multiple locations, with 48% in multiple locations in one country and 39% in many countries.
The above paper examines research that sought to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace, the current state of remote workers, their concerns about returning to the office, and the role technology can play in assisting businesses in their transition to the hybrid workplace.
Working from Home, the New Normal
58% will work eight or more days each month from home (post-COVID)
98% of meetings will include participants joining from home (post-COVID)
98% share frustrations with video meetings when working from home
Employees Uncomfortable Returning to the Office
97% of employees want changes to make them feel safer at work
99% of companies are planning sweeping changes to the workplace as a result of COVID-19
94% of companies say the technology would benefit them by providing a safer work environment
Hybrid Work Environment
77% of larger organizations will increase work flexibility while 53% will shrink office sizes
89% of employees cite frustrations with in-office experiences
96% indicate they need intelligent workplace technology to improve work environments
A Global Survey of Executives, Employee Experience Experts, and Knowledge Workers
Leveraging benefits of Hybrid Global Teams
Offices are changing. We are seeing trends of safety/wellness right from the security gate. We are getting into the norm of seating arrangements based on social distancing, touchless elevators, improved ventilation, etc. While we see this increasing trend in hybrid global project teams, we will discuss the benefits and further aspects of the same in detail:
Flexibility and Autonomy
For some, the flexibility mantra is “get connected and get work done from anywhere.” The hybrid scenario is, “why don’t you get to the office and get some work done.” In reality, based on research, flexibility goes beyond that. The members of global hybrid teams are looking for autonomy where they decide when to work from home and when to work from the office. Global project managers understand these expectations and start engaging in models with HR and Administration teams to enable the same. When there is an insistence on specific days or mandates for a specific work location, teams feel stressed, and it becomes an intrinsic threat. Yet, people desire to have in-person connections when they want to work on engagements where there is ambiguity and a need for a physical product or engineering-related aspects. So there are always scenarios that the project or program manager needs to understand and enable an appropriate inclusive approach.
Ease of Collaboration
When there is a clear need to provide flexibility and autonomy to the hybrid teams, it would be fostered and managed through good means of communication. The collaboration tools enable seamless communication with clearly laid guidelines. The guidelines would help set common ground among peers, reporting managers, and clients without going overboard. The tools for collaboration must be standardized and consistent examples of using one tool across the organization must be adhered to.
Inclusive hybrid meetings should occur with onsite/off-site teams across multiple GEOs without opting out. Setting expectations about response times and which communication tools team members should use is critical in reaping the benefits of collaboration. Identify multiple communication channels, including text messaging, video conferencing, or voice calls. Leverage them appropriately, based on the guidelines set. Provide necessary training to enable the team members to determine when to use what. Evaluate needs for increased adoption of tools like JIRA, Monday.com, and Asana for tracking project activities with absolute milestones and timelines. Establish remote-based activities to ensure retaining cultural aspects of the organization beyond work.
A global talent pool through remote working would help cut operational costs significantly. Fewer people in the workplace means you have reduced unused space, and obviously, you will get financial benefits when you move to a smaller office or use it for different purposes. This move might, in turn, reduce rentals, energy costs, media usage costs, etc. It might also foster creativity in creating a dynamic workplace resulting in better space utilization, further saving costs in terms of fuel for the employees or travel for commuting to the office. Employees are open to selecting the place of liking with less operational cost to work, creating cost-effective and better hybrid teams.
It’s also imperative for the HR, administration, and IT Infrastructure team to enable the hybrid work environment by providing support on a reliable internet connection, providing access to collaboration tools, enhanced and responsive help desk, collaboration on files, and minimizing the needs for multiple access credentials for different applications by enabling single sign-on, etc.,
Meeting Team member’s needs
Hybrid work models minimize the absences/leave from work for trivial needs or minor issues at home. In case of minor/negligible health issues, employees continue to work from home without affecting the office environment, allowing them to heal themselves and continue performing with the tiniest impact on their health. It allows situations like a single mother or father to take care of a sick kid and provides flexibility to attain a good work-life balance. This kind of work model provides a sense of safety and belonging to the employer, not to repeat that moving out of this option might pose a threat regarding retention issues to HR.
Challenges in managing projects in today’s hybrid world
Poor cross-team collaboration
The hybrid team is highly likely to split into many groups like the “us vs. them” mentality. So the relationships between co-workers turn too formal, and many traditional opportunities for relationship-building between team members may fail. In addition, it’s more difficult to maintain close friendships with poor cross-team collaboration in hybrid work culture.
Difficulty working in a remote environment
Working from various locations, time zones, and cultural differences may affect the team’s coordination. These significant factors can create substantial challenges among the team in a remote environment, including managing projects, remote collaboration, task tracking, and productivity.
Lack of visibility
Information sharing in hybrid teams is frequently uneven and may create miscommunication among the team. This aspect may lead to a lack of visibility, and disparity creates an irrelevant information hierarchy among team members. Hybrid teams should be aware of the problem among the team and set ground rules to ensure that the issues are sorted out consistently.
The hybrid work culture will likely affect the team’s productivity. According to many studies, remote workers work only a few hours daily and spend their free time on social media. This phenomenon means that, despite the best efforts, hybrid teams certainly don’t impose the best time in management practices.
Outdated processes are more than an annoyance that impedes a company’s day-to-day operations. They become ingrained in your company’s identity, creating impassable trenches between departments, causing team dissatisfaction and inefficiency, and jeopardizing overall success.
Poor project planning and scope creep are the leading causes of hybrid team failure. Project managers either lack an overview of all tasks and milestones or struggle during unanticipated schedule changes that affect overall delivery timelines.
Difficulty in incorporating agile processes and plans
It will be challenging to create a hybrid work culture that blends Agile and traditional plan-driven project management principles and practices in the right proportions to fit a given situation. But doing so takes a lot of skill and understanding how to balance the two can be crucial to success.
Hybrid workers also spend an hour or more per week dealing with technical issues, saying they aren’t well-supported when troubleshooting problems. In addition, it may lead to a loss of productivity. Forcing employees to use outdated technology and providing insufficient support may result in an organizational brain drain.
How the project manager should equip to handle these challenges:
The project manager has to identify areas where there is a need for physical presence. Explain the dynamics to respective peer members on the need for certain individuals to be in the office for work. For example, the projects that need physical access to the Lab, teams working on embedded products available only in office locations due to client restrictions, etc., a right mix has to be identified, such as fully remote, full onsite, or a combination of both. Project managers should also focus on the schedules considering the global teams involved.
These kinds of challenges mentioned above lead to miscommunication or misinterpretations. Clarity needs to be brought in between the project manager and team members in the hybrid global teams’ perspective with the help of well-established communication guidelines. Clarity will avoid confusion and promote efficiency. Project managers need to be trained on hybrid scenarios and tools essential to managing better. They need to get exposure to project management tools, collaboration tools, and IT Infrastructure setup such as VPN, remote access, etc. concerning collaboration tools or using tools for virtual meetings – aspects like Polls, Hand raise, and Q & A options to collaborate better.
Maximize the opportunity of meeting at a physical workplace to clear the air on certain issues and make the best use of time to increase clarity on project goals and open issues. Establishing feedback loops while implementing the hybrid global project models is important. The project managers need to ask for feedback from the team. Leveraging surveys and getting additional details on feedback and implementation would be very handy.
With hybrid work, whether employees’ desires have changed?
According to Microsoft
“Perks like free food and a corner office are no longer what people value most,” Microsoft says.
Instead, a positive culture (chosen by 46 percent of survey respondents), mental health and well-being benefits (42 percent), and a sense of purpose or meaning are the top things workers want from an employer, aside from a good salary (40 percent). Flexible hours are also highly regarded.
Creativity is becoming increasingly important, and more employees seek to design their jobs around it. According to Microsoft, 70% of Gen Z workers and 67% of millennials are considering starting a “side project” or business to supplement their income in the coming year.
Hybrid global project teams present challenges and opportunities for the project managers, demanding prudent strategy and pragmatic planning. It is time for project managers to exhibit leadership skills by understanding hybrid models deeper. After all, projects are run by people, and the team needs to stay on course to deliver value to all the stakeholders.
Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube
Two relevant quotes which quickly strike our minds when we think about the Entrepreneurial mindset are:
“Building a business is not rocket science; it’s about having a great idea and seeing it through with integrity.” Richard Branson
“At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train.” S.L. Parker
Ideally, a project’s success is based on the critical success factors identified during the initial stages of the project, which would fall in various areas such as Process, Product, Project Management, Business, and Strategic. When the project can make a positive and long-standing impact on business value, a culture deeply imbibes into people’s minds. It creates an undeniable mark in the overall scheme of things.
Benefits and stakeholders’ satisfaction are the key factors that measure a project’s success. It’s also defined by the level of efficiency the project creates based on the set project objectives. Project success is based on the project success criteria and outcome. Typically, these criteria fall as Meeting the Scope identified, Deadlines and Milestones on time, Within the given budget, excellent satisfaction to the stakeholders, both internal and external, and with specified quality criteria.
Essentially, we all know that various tenets of project management contribute to success. Here, we will discuss how the entrepreneurial mindset would impact project success. Entrepreneurs have some unique characteristics such as being adaptive, decisive, risk-tolerant, persistent, able to handle failure, experimenting, building teams, etc.,
One must believe that we can be malleable to unlock our growth as project managers or portfolio managers by transforming into an entrepreneurial mindset. We need to understand what mindset is, then understand the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset and how we can embark on that transformation journey from where we are to bring on project success in our project management career.
Mindset is an essential set of beliefs that provides a shape in terms of the view one has on the world and themselves. It influences how we think, act, feel and respond to a given situation. Typically, mindset falls into two categories as introduced by Carol S. Dweck, which we are all aware of: they are a) Fixed Mindset and b) Growth Mindset.
An entrepreneurial mindset is a growth mindset. Intelligence cannot be developed with a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is all about the belief that intelligence can be developed through personal effort, good learning strategies, and lots of mentoring and support from others. As introduced by Heider, the interpersonal process equation is a product of Ability, Motivation, and Environment.
An entrepreneurial mindset is a set of skills that allows people to recognize and capitalize on opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed amidst challenging backdrops. An entrepreneurial mentality is a method of thinking that helps achieve your business objectives. Entrepreneurs who learn from their mistakes and failures have a better chance of future success.
Entrepreneurs boost the economy by creating jobs and developing new products and services that benefit the entire world. A great entrepreneur must be able to think outside the box and come up with out-of-this-world ideas.
Entrepreneurial mindset and project management
7 Entrepreneurial Traits
Though there is a common belief that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, and they should be born, studies have proven that it’s a myth. Typically, entrepreneurs search, seize and exploit the opportunities while mitigating them through engagement, courage, and perseverance. The following are the entrepreneurial traits that are generally encompassed in an entrepreneur:
Commitment and Determination
Obsession with opportunity
Motivation to excel
An entrepreneurial mindset fosters more value for projects. Your project teams are encouraged to solve business problems and develop creative and innovative ideas. When a leader allows the teams to be creative and innovative, they will be more productive and engaged in the project.
The journal “People’s confidence in innovation” indicates that confidence in innovation is a component of the entrepreneurial mindset. In several ways, confidence in innovation can be considered part of the entrepreneurial mindset.
First, entrepreneurs have more confidence in innovation than non-entrepreneurs.
Second, confidence in innovation is positively related to other aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset, most notably self-efficacy, opportunity alertness, risk propensity, and role-modelling.
Third, according to (Nochian and Schtt’s 2012) study, entrepreneurs are not like other people. Instead, their network appears to be the source of their confidence. In the same way, highly networked owners or managers are highly confident in innovation.
Fourth, their innovativeness appears to be a result of their confidence. The more confident entrepreneurs are, the more innovative they are.
Entrepreneurial mindset and Project success
Commitment & Determination
Commitment and Determination would encompass Decisiveness, Tenacity, Discipline, persistence in solving problems, willingness to sacrifice, and being completely immersed in the mission. In the context of project management, each of these characteristics would contribute to the project’s success. For example, it is being decisive in terms of critical path challenges and exhibiting tenacity for unblocking issues without giving excuses for the need of the project and solving problems. Being committed requires a lot of sacrifice and discipline to bring on consistency. When being disciplined, it would require more like a parenting skill which would always course correct in the larger interest of the project, though seen to be tough externally. Discipline is brought about by establishing an unalterable set of rules and regulations to follow for the project’s success.
The definition of courage is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (Mish, 1994, 266). Courage could be implemented with excellent values through moral strength, fearless experimentation, unafraid of conflicts, no fear of failure, and intense curiosity amidst facing risk. A courageous project manager would tackle the controversies and conflicts in the project early. A fearless project manager could put his job on the line in the pursuit of doing The Right Thing for the project. Often, the project manager would not have the necessary support and face active resistance, which needs to be managed with resolve to move beyond personal discomfort through intense curiosity.
Obsession about opportunity
An entrepreneur constantly looks for opportunities for improvement. Similarly, project managers consistently look for opportunities for improvement daily by observing day-to-day activities seeking to do more, do better, and do differently. Obsession with opportunity would be recurring, which would preoccupy or intrude on the project manager’s mind. This obsession would naturally shape the opportunity and help focus on project needs. Obsession with opportunities drives business value through the project.
Good project managers would tolerate risk while being calculated risk-taker and risk sharers, thereby minimizing the risks. He would exhibit the characteristic of an entrepreneur by showing the ability to manage stress/conflict and ambiguity. Especially when the project has larger integrations and frequent changes would increase the ambiguity and uncertainty proportionally. Generally, the unknowns which are in the project would cause ambiguity. The ability to understand those would help identify the risks involved. PMBOK defines these areas in terms of Risk tolerance, Risk appetite, and risk threshold. It guides the management of these effectively through appropriate processes involving planning, controlling, and appropriate level of communication.
Project managers should learn how to maneuver ambiguity. As ambiguity would be sinusoidal over time, it would arise and settle. The project manager must manage risk/ambiguity and uncertainty by uncovering information, clarifying roles and responsibilities, establishing clear relationships, bringing clarity to the measurement of success, removing the vagueness, and understanding the cause and effect.
So what is creativity? In “The Social Psychology of Creativity,” Amabile (1983) defines creativity as,
“A product or response will be judged as creative to the extent that (a) it is both a novel and appropriate, useful, correct or valuable response to the task at hand, and (b) the task is heuristic rather than algorithmic” (p. 33).
Creativity can be multiple things. It would always push your limits by being open-minded, lateral thinking, ability to conceptualize by going into details, and ability to adapt. Creativity can be unleashed in project setup during Brainstorming sessions, Root Cause Analysis, Force field analysis, Affinity Diagrams, SWOT Analysis, etc. Creativity can be fostered further by open communication and providing an environment for the resources involved. As a project manager, one needs to remove the mental blocks like “Always looking for the right answer,” “avoiding ambiguity,” “I’m not creative,” “Always looking for concrete answers,” and “That’s not my area,” etc., Encourage creative aspects through “Why not like that,” “Let’s explore more,” “what value it would bring in,” etc.,
Motivation to excel
There is a popular phrase. Projects don’t succeed; people do. Typically the project’s success is always attributed to the people. People tend to have a goal and result orientation and need a self-imposed drive to achieve the results. Typically entrepreneurs keep motivating themselves and others around them despite all odds. People involved in projects need interpersonal support, understanding of weaknesses, and guidance to overcome them. Essentially aspects like having a sense of humor and perspective on the value they are adding to the project would motivate them to do better. The project manager’s responsibility is to understand individuals and adopt appropriate motivations strategy based on their needs, desires, and goals. They reward the team and its members creatively by recognizing their strengths. Make the project goals and success factors visible to the entire team. They are clarifying how the performance will be validated as an exact measure.
Leadership is one of the essential traits entrepreneurs have. They would be self-starters and have a strong internal locus of control. Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they, as opposed to external forces (beyond their influence), have control over the outcome of events in their lives. The concept was developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954 and has since become an aspect of personality psychology. Project managers with an Internal Locus of Control believe that every event in their life derives from factors under their control. These individuals tend to blame or praise themselves for whatever success or failure they experiment in life. They would have enormous patience, integrity, and reliability. They would build teams and more leaders. Key attributes of communicating with a project management mindset include empathy, clarity, authenticity, and flexibility.
Project leadership qualities and competencies
Successful projects come as an outcome of a well-coordinated team effort. Project managers as leaders know their team very well.
The entrepreneurial mindset’s key aspects of a project’s success
Being confident and open-minded is crucial for a project professional with an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s about being self-assured, optimistic, and never afraid to take risks. Every day, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you will be ready to take action to achieve your goals and acquire project success.
While some scholars have examined aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and provided general insights into its attributes, qualities, and operations, the question remains how people tap into it.
The cognitive aspect—how do entrepreneurs use mental models to think?
The behavioral aspect—how do entrepreneurs engage or act for opportunities?
The emotional aspects—what do entrepreneurs feel in entrepreneurship?
Project leadership qualities and competencies
When the project requires success, both project managers and project sponsors should take up the role of a project leader by demonstrating leadership talents, competencies, and entrepreneurial mindsets. The following are the most significant features of effective project management:
Project management technical skills
Product development and domain expertise
Strategy and business acumen
Leadership and change management skills
Agility and adaptability
Ethics and values
The entrepreneurial mindset is an important factor leading to project success. Many leading authors agree with this point of view and are researching to substantiate this grounded theory. This endeavor to bring out the factors associated with the project manager’s leadership style profoundly impacts project success.
Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube
People have the skills to work on projects, but they need to be channelized across multiple projects. These skills are the ones that help in the success of the projects. In the end, the people’s skills and capabilities in the project serve to turn ideas into reality. That is when the project delivers value to its stakeholders. The people are the enablers for the growth and transformation of the projects. Ideas can be converted into reality by achieving the right mix of skills and capabilities in people.
Ideas into Reality
The Project Economy at Work
The skills are utilized in project-based structures included in large organization’s portfolios and programs.
According to Professor and author Roger Martin, one of the world’s top-ranked management thinkers, this kind of approach is called “projectization,” where the everyday tasks become projects by themselves. Such trends are on the rise as “Gig Economy” is part of the project economy, which has been largely adopted by organizations like Ola, Uber, Airbnb, etc.,
People with varied skills, experience, and capabilities are brought onto one project to deliver value to the stakeholders. The resources are aligned at the portfolio level and mobilized to the projects on-demand based on priorities. Such an approach minimizes the cost of hiring, training, and retention. They all evolve into a high-performing workforce as they started merging into the socio-cultural aspects of the portfolio capabilities.
For example, companies like Zappos adopt a culture wherein the onboarded people or hired people are put onto their call centers to understand the various departments involved in the process and understand the pain they undergo. Post that, they will be able to get the context and core values of the organization, which were they can synchronize. It’s all about the task at hand than the title itself.
Vital skills in Project Economy
The Project Economy needs uniquely human skills such as leadership, creativity, and empathy.
Vital skills in Project Economy
Leadership – Need to bring in the best of human potential. When the project economy is adopted, the people will move from role-based work to project-based work. As projects are going complex, a project manager is responsible for spending quality time with the people to bring their best.
Creativity – Creativity helps to find solutions to the problem in novel ways. Co-creation along with the stakeholders would minimize the postponement of decisions. It also extracts the thinking power of the participants creating new options. Creativity also creates good energy and establishes a win-win situation. Creativity can be fostered by providing an appropriate space to the team, decluttering the workplace, adopting a design thinking approach, etc… Foster an environment where creativity is recognized and rewarded
Empathy– When the project manager applies empathy, it creates scope for project associates to move out of their comfort zone and takes risks. It also brings on agility and helps reduces stress through minimized conflict. With empathy kindness and compassion becomes the natural ingredient promoting teamwork and leadership among individuals. Empathy can be exhibited by the project manager who is willing to be vulnerable and has the mindset to listen to all and exhibit leadership by walking the talk.
Project Economy Adoption
In the Middle East
There are many infrastructure projects already underway in the Middle East, such as Smart City, Higher Education, expansion of health care, etc… These projects bring changes to the digital infrastructure, transportation, and allied government service. Already in Dubai International Project Management Forum plays a vital role in megaprojects, including Construction of Digital Twin, Asset Project Management, BIM Implementation for Roads and Transportation Authority, Solar Park. All of these projects need people to execute. People are needed with the right skills to provide value to the stakeholders.
In the European Union
Case Study-1: Municipality located in Southern part of Sweden with more than 32000 inhabitants having organization size of 2400 full time and permanent employees have been organized as seven administrative departments. EU-funded projects were executed, and the projectification of departments, including public health, was achieved.
The municipality has educated themselves and other organizations surrounding them, which helped effectively manage the EU funds and create competent project organization where employees make sense of their work.
This move is transforming the civil servants, politicians to handle project activities affecting their organizing the style and overall impact on their performance routine.
Implies changes where routines, or day-to-day activities, to an increasing extent are organized and understood, as if they were projects.
Case Study-2: Totally program worth 67.9 billion was allocated for the operational program through the EU. Territorial Self Government Units covering 57 offices were involved in a Survey related to identifying the benefits of Projectification
Labor market institutions, up to 100% of offices declared that projects are never abandoned in the course of their lifetime
In 96% of the projects, there was no change in the planned budget
89% of projects were completed according to the original schedule
In 96% of the projects, there was no change in the planned budget
Public organizations acting in this way make use of opportunities that arise in their environment, which proves their flexibility in adapting to changing conditions
Changes in organizational structure are a temporary adaptation to the changes that have occurred in the external environment
Case Study-3: Automotive, Manufacturing, Engineering-Procurement-Construction (EPC), 2006 Football World Cup, Establishment of the Tsunami Early Warning System in South-East Asia.
GPM study on projectification in Germany, almost 50% of working time in the manufacturing industry is spent on project work (GPM 2015)
The project economy will generate 15% of value-added in Germany in 2020 (in 2007, it was 2%).
The mean value shows that around 37% of all work processes in corporations are now organized in a project-oriented manner.
As priorities change in these difficult times rapidly, project organizations need to embrace change. The Project Management office needs to build a team that commits to success. Project economy adoption is already a reality in various regions of the world. There are proven cases wherein successful projects are delivering values. Let’s focus on turning ideas into reality.
Implementing public policies through projects is driven through global organizations such as World Bank, UNICEF, UN, etc., encouraging projectification practices that drive down activities vertically deep down.
Implementation and deployment of public policies are time-framed. Hence, they are projectified.
Projectification is seen as a key strategic measure for getting things done concerning the EU.
OpenPM² is a project management methodology designed by the European Commission for interoperability solutions for public administrations, businesses, and citizens.
We introduce projects to the public sector managers’ toolkit in the smallest offices and teach how to build project portfolios in the largest public units.
The Polish public sector used the external funds and started to fully “think project-wise.” Because projectification of activities was a “sine qua non” condition, none of the countries joining the EU structures can fully integrate with them if there are no competencies regarding project management.
To receive and implement a project, people have to organize themselves into teams – so projects build micro-communities and unite people around a common goal, often involving stakeholders who have so far been excluded.
Models such as GPM3 can help manage the implementation and evaluation of projectification efforts and their maturity, as given in the figure below.
Governmental Project Management Maturity Model (GPM3®)
Governmental Project Management Maturity Model (GPM3®)
Some governments are (really!) not interested in managing their projects and investments. They think it is enough to allocate the budget and set the deadline for product delivery, and people will know how to do it. We say about such governments that they are at the lowest, Initial level of project management maturity.
At some moment, people in individual governmental agencies and organizations, worried about continuous failures of their projects and inefficient work, learn that efficient and effective project management methods exist. After some time, they manage to convince their organization executives that it is worth implementing them throughout the organization. If project management methods are implemented only in some governmental organizations, we say that the given government has reached the Local level of project management maturity.
After some time, the cabinet learns that a few of its projects (either internal or foreign governments) were implemented more efficiently than anywhere else. This awareness resulted in implementing project management methods, techniques, and processes to work in all government projects. This way, project management maturity in that state reaches the Governmental level.
But should the government only define the ways of project implementation and passively observe the results of these processes? It is better if the government is actively involved in implementing projects, like trying to solve problems faced by – usually complex and complicated – government projects. Then we say that governmental project management has reached the Cooperating level.
But this is not the end of the journey to the top of the ladder of maturity. Everything can always be done better (if there is such a need). The most advanced governments – such as the US Federal Government – command its ministries and agencies to improve project (and program) management processes constantly. Then we say that the given government has reached the Optimizing level of project management maturity. And this description of progressively achieved levels of project management maturity (which can be observed in some countries) is called the Government Project Management Maturity Model (GPM3®).
Think global, Act local
Think global Act local: Committed project management individuals are experts at acquiring funding and coordinating support for their solution. In terms of projectification, these characteristics of the project champion are skills that are disseminated and encouraged across local government organizations. These Project Managers need to have the skills to cut across culture, language and have the ability to influence the groups for projectification.
Involve in fieldwork to get closer
Connect with the local people at the ground level and understand the ground situation better for such implementations.
Observe in the meeting and participate in meetings based on the dynamics involved with civil servants in different departments.
Be available at the field level to have empathy towards the problem in projectification.
The more you become closer to them, the better operational goodness.
Projectifications impact on BaU (Business as Usual)
Activities are organized and realized as projects.
Projects are the new form of work and mechanism for change.
Enforcing the way of projectification through regulations, framework, and practices
Projects in the public sector impact governance and help adopt previous best practices.
Helps to identify and pilot a new way of work
Helps developing new strategies and shaping the future for the society through innovation and joint learning, and
In some cases, organizations might use projects for dealing with controversial issues that the permanent organization does not want to deal with.
In the global setting, Projectifications provide organizations with the ability to link multiple business partners and respond quickly to market demand and supplier needs while remaining flexible enough to anticipate and respond to rapid shifts in consumer preferences. The positive impact has been proven, so countries and its government need to enable the Civil Servants to become better project management and program management professionals for seamless projectification. This move would lead to a better economy, GDP and generate an extraordinary value stream across the government services.
In the public sector, as Mats Fred (2018, p. 189) indicates:
Projectification as proliferation emphasizes the increasing use and diffusion of projects and project ideas. Projectification astransformation and adaptation highlights the transformation of “permanent” ordinary organizational activities to temporary projects and processes of adaptation in the surrounding organizations and structures. Projectification as an organizational capacity building in which the project logic is spread and diffused in local government organizations, not primarily through specific projects, but through practices encouraging the project logic and reinforcing local government’s organizational project capacity.
The term “Project” itself would be considered as a temporary endeavor. Projectification involves the cultural and discursive societal processes whereby projects and project-like circumstances are institutionalized in individual lives, organizing all sorts of work and society. They are to be planned, controlled, managed with dedication and commitment. In a societal setting, it calls for flexible action and task-focused social relations.
Understanding the Societal Setting
Understanding the Societal Setting
When the boundaries of the project go beyond the organization, societal settings come into place. Societal settings focus on developing and providing solutions together. When the projects are managed and executed at the societal level, it becomes a more collaborative effort. This kind of environment calls for global communication, collective intelligence, identifying skills across the board to leverage. Project execution should focus on accomplishing the tasks by adopting agile principles with empowering the team. The focus should be working through the community via effective networking.
Factors that could affect projectification in societal impact
Temporary societal setup
There could be an influence at a Project Level, Political, Bureaucratic and Market Level. To a varying degree, local government involved in the societal settings would have specific practices that correspond to a political, bureaucratic, and market context. In terms of projectification, there could be complementary or contradictory aspects in nature that need to be managed well. Projectification translation could be done based out on specific settings and practices.
The societal context would have to manage multiple institutions yet need to bring them with a common goal and vision despite indifferences. This aspect needs to be dealt with using Decoupling, Compromising, and Combining depending on the situation and environment. These practices will de-escalate tensions in arriving at a consensus on the focus area or goals.
The project budget needs to be derived from the policies wherein the costs are derived from the social investment funds. This action would mean cutting across the government and local bodies in the region. Sometimes these funds are advocated by World Bank, EU, IMF, etc… Using such funds would also call for strong coordination among the various stakeholders across different processes and procedures. Managing such funds could be tiresome and painful.
Focus on implementation
Be in the realm of the project in the implementation context. It would look like a smooth sail as initiation would be easy on the ground implementation could be a posing challenge. Focus on the welfare benefits, lower costs for the larger group during the implementation. Understand the potential areas of resistance early in the project upon the various factors including economic, environmental, etc.,
Projectification involves managing an organization to manage two types of complexity involving task complexity and Social complexity. Task complexity refers to the density of the units, causal links, and consequences within a temporal and spatial frame. Social complexity describes the number of members communicating and working with each other and the differentiation of their tasks. In contrast, cultural complexity encompasses the number of different historical experiences and sense-making processes confronting each other in a project.
Factors that could affect projectification in societal impact
The three projectification studies in Germany, Norway, and Iceland show that project work contributes to one-third of the national gross domestic product. Although differences exist among the countries regarding size and industry structure, the degree of projectification of advanced economies seems to converge on around one-third of all economic activities. The exact results showed that the share of project work in Germany was 34,7% in 2013, and 32,6% in Norway, and 27,7% in Iceland in 2014 (Schoper et al., 2018).
The projectification in the public or governance societal segment was more towards improving, modernizing the managerial approach towards the commoner or public. The projects were part of the public sector in the infrastructure area, such as Road Construction, Dam Construction, construction, and larger institutions, and their Projectifications are not sudden. Based on one of the research study by Schuster in 2015, he identified three key factors which seem to provide public/civil service organizations to adopt projectification. They are:
Strategic approach towards managing the change
Accountability and Transparency to stakeholders
Key factors to adopt projectification
It is also to be realized that the ongoing social and economic change and the increase in public sector stakeholder’s innovation and entrepreneurship are most needed in this sector. Projectification helps to meet the void, which can help implement public policies, thus enabling changes in resolving social problems. Even though the benefits exist on projectification, it is not implemented due to the factors such as – Excess bureaucracy, Causes lack of trust, lack of persistence, etc.,
Projectification provides benefits to the people involved to know how to lead a team, influence people, and negotiate or resolve conflict. It would be a combination of more organizing activities to the organizations and transforming ordinary activities into projects. And increasingly, everybody needs to feel comfortable working in a digital environment.
Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Reinhard Wagner in YouTube