The Paradox of Project Sponsors to Stakeholders

The Paradox of Project Sponsors to Stakeholders

A project is deemed successful when it meets or exceeds the expectations of its stakeholders. Every project has a unique set of stakeholders—sometimes far too many. Trying to meet all of their requirements is more often an impossible task. Nonetheless, the project manager must deal with all stakeholder situations smoothly because the stakeholders and the people they represent often evaluate the project’s success.

Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders

But who are the stakeholders? According to PMI, “Project stakeholders are individuals and organizations who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected as a result of project execution or successful project completion.”

Stakeholders can be internal or external to the organization that is carrying out the project.

“Project Sponsor” is also a stakeholder, typically an organization executive with authority to assign resources and enforce project decisions. Project sponsors are called internal stakeholders in the project. Stakeholders include the project manager, project team members, and managers from other departments within the organization. Identifying all project stakeholders as early as possible in a project is critical. Leaving out key stakeholders or the department’s function and not discovering the fault until the project is well underway could be disastrous.

Types of Stakeholders

Types of Stakeholders

Types of Stakeholders

There are two types of project stakeholders:

  • Internal Stakeholders
  • External Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are individuals or businesses whose relationship with a company is determined by their position within its structure. As the name implies, these individuals are involved in a project from the inside. They are as follows:

  • A project sponsor
  • An internal customer or client
  • A project team
  • A program or portfolio manager
  • Management
  • Another team’s manager of the company

External stakeholders are those interested in a company’s operations. Still, they do not necessarily have a role in the decisions of the business. However, they can influence success or failure based on their vested interests. They can be just as powerful as internal stakeholders. These stakeholders are not directly involved in the project but are affected by its outcome.

  • An external customer or client
  • An end-user
  • Subcontractors
  • A supplier
  • The government
  • Local communities
  • Media

Characteristics of Stakeholders in a Project 

  • When contributing to a project, stakeholders have varying levels of responsibility and authority. This level may change as the project progresses. It can range from one-time contributions to complete project sponsorship.
  • Some stakeholders may also actively or passively undermine the project’s success. These stakeholders require the project manager’s attention throughout the project’s life cycle.
  • Stakeholder identification is a continuous process throughout the project’s life cycle. Identifying them, understanding their level of impact on a project, and meeting their demands, needs, and expectations are critical to the project’s success.
  • Just as they can positively or negatively impact a project’s objectives, stakeholders can perceive a project to have positive or negative outcomes.
  • A project manager’s most important role is managing stakeholder expectations, which can be challenging because stakeholders often have different or conflicting goals.

Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder management is the process of organizing, monitoring, and improving relationships with stakeholders. It entails systematically identifying stakeholders, analyzing their needs and expectations, and planning and carrying out various tasks to engage them. In addition, a good stakeholder management process will allow them to coordinate their interactions and evaluate the status and quality of their relationships with various stakeholders.

A critical component of running a successful project is developing and maintaining positive relationships with the affected communities and other stakeholders.

Investing time in identifying and prioritizing stakeholders, as well as assessing their interests, provides a solid foundation on which to build the stakeholder engagement strategy. In addition, good stakeholder management includes ‘business intelligence.

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

Benefits of Stakeholder Management

  • Build Reputation
  • Competitive advantage
  • Corporate governance
  • Risk management
  • Social license to operate
7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

7 Principles of Stakeholder Management

Clarkson Centre created the seven principles of Stakeholder Management for Business Ethics under the leadership of Max Clarkson. The Clarkson Principles are, in many ways, “meta-principles” that encourage management to embrace specific stakeholder principles and implement them according to the norms.

  1. Managers must acknowledge and actively monitor all legitimate stakeholders’ concerns and consider their interests in decision-making and operations.
  2. Managers must listen to and communicate openly with stakeholders about their respective concerns and contributions and the risks they face from their involvement with the corporation.
  3. Managers must implement processes and behaviors sensitive to each stakeholder constituency’s concerns and capabilities.
  4. Managers should be aware of the interdependence of stakeholder efforts and rewards and make an effort to fairly distribute the costs and benefits of corporate activity among them while taking into account their risks and vulnerabilities.
  5. Managers should work with other public and private entities to ensure that risks and harms resulting from corporate activities are minimized and compensated appropriately where they cannot be avoided.
  6. Managers should avoid activities that could jeopardize inalienable human rights or create risks that, if clearly understood, would be patently unacceptable to relevant stakeholders.
  7. Managers should be aware of potential conflicts between their role as corporate stakeholders and their legal and moral obligations to all stakeholders and address such conflicts through open communication, appropriate reporting and incentive systems, and, if necessary, third-party review.

Understanding the Stakeholders

A good understanding of the stakeholders is the key to successful stakeholder engagement. In addition, understanding stakeholder concerns and interests can lead to product or service ideas that address stakeholder needs while allowing the company to cut costs and maximize value.

1. What else can you learn about stakeholders to better understand their needs, priorities, preferences, and concerns? Consider:

  • Demographic data- Ensure to engage with a diverse community and stakeholder groups.
  • Social networks- Focus on the important, often undocumented, social connections between stakeholders.

2. Stakeholder Mapping – Stakeholder mapping is the visual process of depicting all stakeholders of a product, project, or idea on a single map. The main advantage of a stakeholder map is that it provides a visual representation of all the people who can have an impact on your project and how they are connected.

3. Salience model – investigate the power, urgency (need for immediate action), and legitimacy (appropriate stakeholders), as well as the interaction or groups of stakeholders that result.

4. Determine stakeholder expectations and compare them to the scope and expectations of the project or organization for which the engagement program is being run. Is there a mismatch in expectations, and how will this be addressed? Consider the following:

  • What information do they need from you, how often, and in what format/channel do they want it?
  • What is their financial/social/emotional stake in the outcome of the work? Is it favorable or unfavorable?
  • What primary motivations will shape their perceptions of your project or organization and their interactions with you?
  • What are their current feelings about the organization and project? Is it founded on reliable data?
  • Who influences their thoughts, and who are they influenced by?

Ways to deal with common stakeholder problems and challenges

  • Stakeholder conflict occurs when different stakeholders have incompatible goals. It causes a “problem” for the company because it can impact its performance and success.
  • Conflict necessitates that businesses effectively manage stakeholder interests. Not all stakeholders are strategically important to the company. As a result, businesses must determine which ones should be prioritized.
  • Potential problems can be avoided by conducting an upfront analysis of who the stakeholders are and how and when to involve them in the project.
Analysis of common stakeholder issues

Analysis of common stakeholder issues

Analysis of common stakeholder issues 

As no two stakeholders are the same, the issues they may introduce into a project will be vastly different. This factor means there could be many reasons why a project encounters stakeholder resistance or the project team struggles to gain traction. Identifying stakeholder issues during the project can help with planning ahead of time and preparing an appropriate response.

  1. Trying to align different stakeholders.

It is generally a good thing to have a variety of interests in the project and its outcome, but having a lot of different stakeholders can also pull the project team in too many different directions. In addition, it can be challenging for project managers to coordinate too many different stakeholders, which could add new difficulties to the project.

  1. Competing priorities between stakeholders

Stakeholders bring their objectives and expectations to the project. However, at least a few of these priorities frequently conflict with or compete with one another. In addition, priorities may vary depending on the department, the role, or the professional backgrounds of the individuals.

  1. Resource constraints 

It’s possible that the team lacks some of the resources they require or that the project is utilizing resources that other stakeholders consider crucial to their projects. Resource competition is common in organizations and can lead to conflict.

  1. Breakdowns in communication

Effective communication between stakeholders and the project team is crucial for everyone to achieve their objectives and for the project to be successful. When there are communication breakdowns, the project may be delayed, or the team may not receive the necessary information. Without deliberate communication, stakeholders might unintentionally hinder the project’s success.

  1. Stakeholders are resistant to sharing information. 

At times, important project sponsors are more focused on their success and fail to promptly or completely provide the stakeholders with the required information. As a result, stakeholders may attempt to disrupt a project unintentionally or on purpose.

  1. Potential implications of conflict with a sponsor

Conflict with project sponsors may have many consequences on the project management, such as these typical ones:

  • The project’s progress is being slowed
  • Reducing the effectiveness and timeliness of decision-making
  • Putting team cohesion in jeopardy
  • Undermining a project manager’s authority
  • Fostering hostility and encouraging uncooperative behavior
  • Creating a fearful environment for other stakeholders
  • Obscuring the project’s vision
Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

Methods for dealing with common stakeholder conflicts

  1. Stakeholder analysis 

Stakeholder analysis can offer insightful information and guidance, just as project managers must carefully examine resources and specifics. It can be helpful to respond appropriately by taking the time to consider how stakeholders affect the project’s progress.

By conducting a stakeholder analysis, one can learn how to control expectations, channel stakeholder influence toward project objectives, and deliver the information and updates that stakeholders expect from their team.

  1. Identify stakeholders

One must first identify the stakeholders to analyze them effectively. List every stakeholder that comes to mind, then include more individuals and organizations as necessary. As stakeholders, all parties involved in the project, those with authority over it or an interest in its success, should be listed.

  1. Prioritize stakeholders

The list of stakeholders can then be ranked according to impact, interest, and power. For instance:

  • Key stakeholders: This first group heavily influences and controls the project. This group is frequently accurate for executive leadership at the company.
  • Primary stakeholders: The project immediately affects the key stakeholders. This pack may include team members, departments, and internal or external clients who stand to gain from the project’s outcomes.
  • Secondary stakeholders: The secondary stakeholders are those who play a supporting role, are indirectly impacted or have a less significant stake in the project.

Understand the key stakeholders

A few stakeholders are usually critical to the project. Key stakeholders invoke more power and may have a more significant stake in the project’s success than primary or secondary stakeholders. For example, key stakeholders could include their boss, company executives, or team leaders.

Finding the key stakeholders and understanding what they need can help keep the project on track because they may control important resources, have a significant impact on the project, or grant the necessary approval.

Create a communication plan 

With a communication plan, project leaders will be better prepared to manage their stakeholders on the fly and keep the project moving forward.

  • Create your communication strategy based on what the project leader knows about their stakeholders.
  • Keeping track of what the stakeholders require from themselves allows project leaders to stay organized and focused on managing the project.
  • Gaining the stakeholders’ trust is essential once the developed strategy has been implemented. Rather than dictating the project to them, make each stakeholder a priority – as appropriate – and give them space to contribute.

Final Thoughts

Different stakeholders in the project have different expectations. Project managers should look for potentially hazardous situations when those expectations might clash. Then, they must address and resolve the conflict or risk endangering the project and themselves.

Resolving stakeholder expectations conflicts is always linked to project success. Furthermore, using various forms of communication among the project team, such as senior management and stakeholders, increases the likelihood of mutual understanding. These techniques help project managers align stakeholder expectations and reduce the possibility of project distress.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting http://talktodharam.com/

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd 

“Project Loyalty” Might Be Losing

“Project Loyalty” Might Be Losing

To be successful in project management, professionals must adhere to specific values like honesty, responsibility, respect, and fairness, which are central to the project management profession and are encompassed by ethics in project management. Therefore, understanding these values and how to apply them is essential for working in project management.

Ethics is important in day-to-day interactions and behaviors in the project management world. “Ethics is about making the best possible decisions concerning people, resources, and the environment,” according to the PMI (Project Management Institute). Ethical decisions can reduce risk, advance positive outcomes, build trust, determine long-term success, and build reputations.

Ethical decisions

Ethical Decisions

Corporate leaders are responsible for ensuring that their employees practice ethics in the workplace. Failing to follow ethics might result in numerous scandals. The project manager must ensure that all projects are managed and executed efficiently and ethically. If a project manager is ethical, they can influence the project team to work ethically and ensure that all project work is done ethically.

PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct:

PMI has identified four values for ethical behavior in the project management profession, which can be applied amongst project team members to maintain project loyalty and ethics.

Honesty: Be genuine in your communication and behavior

Responsibility: Take responsibility for your decisions and actions and the consequences that result from them.

Respect: Admire yourself, others, and the resources entrusted to you, such as people, money, and reputation.

Fairness: Decisions and actions should be unbiased, and behavior should be free of favoritism, self-interest, and prejudice.

Therefore, project management professionals must follow the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics to ensure that all decisions taken are in the best interests of stakeholders and the project team.

Project Management Institute's (PMI) Code of Ethics

Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics

Transparency & Integrity in Project Management

Project management transparency characterizes a team’s open communication and visibility culture. Information in project management is on a need-to-know basis and is not readily available to everyone. A lack of transparency can lead to resentment or even distrust within the team. Transparency can advance a manager’s career, but it can harm the project manager’s reputation and career if carried out improperly. Therefore, there are many facts to believe that project managers should place a high value on openness and honesty.

The project manager’s transparency can lead to:

  • Better performance and accountability
  • Eliminates project derailment
  • Enhancing teamwork
  • Make sure people understand their tasks.
  • Communicate openly and explain changes
  • Provide and encourage feedback
  • Promote knowledge-sharing
  • Increase visibility with the right tools
  • Focus on project budget

Project Integrity

As a project manager, acting with integrity with other project team members entails being open and honest about their expectations, intentions, and thoughts on their work. In addition, one must have the integrity to make the project team complete the project on time, within budget, and within the project’s scope.

Here are suggestions for acting with integrity with team members:

Be Impartial: 

  • Be objective and fair.
  • Listen to both sides of the tale and different points of view without becoming attached to one in particular due to prejudice or favoritism.
  • Rather than patching problems, objective decision-making fleshes them out and allows teams to get to the bottom of them.

Be Thorough:

Complete tasks entirely and thoroughly and validate the steps against a project management methodology of choice. This action ensures that a much more comprehensive project management plan and supporting documentation are created.

Be Focused on the End Business Result:

Regardless of when team members are introduced into the team, they should confirm initial business requirements and the work requested within the scope of their project role. This process enables them to provide their input based on their subject matter expertise, increasing the likelihood of project success.

Influence is a key component of leadership

To influence means to impact other people’s behavior, opinion, and choice. Influence is not the same as power or control. Instead, it is about recognizing what motivates employee commitment and applying that knowledge to boost performance and positive outcomes. The ability to influence others is a necessary leadership trait.

A leader’s ability to influence others is founded on trust; the project manager’s influence grows directly to the level of trust in a relationship. An effective leader motivates team members to act not through coercion but by eliciting their desire and conviction in the leader’s vision and goals. A leader who positively influences others through focused and deliberate effort will gain trust and become a driving force toward excellence.

Let’s look at how leaders can effectively build trust and influence with others.

  • Establish credibility
  • Engage with team members and build a connection
  • Clarify expectations and practice accountability
  • Share process knowledge
  • Be open to influence

Relationship between stakeholders and project manager to maintain trustworthiness

Communication accounts for up to 90% of a project manager’s job. Conflicts can arise, and projects can fail if there is ineffective communication within the project team. Transparency in the project requires open, two-way communication with stakeholders about the status of a campaign. It keeps clients and stakeholders informed of campaign developments and other project activities.

Why is transparency important for stakeholders?

Transparency is essential in a client-facing project for one simple reason: it fosters trust. When project leader gains the trust of their stakeholders, they are more likely to gain their cooperation and guidance. Maintaining positive stakeholder relationships requires trust, and project stakeholders’ importance cannot be overstated. The support of the stakeholders is critical for project success.

Six Tips To Increase Project Transparency With Stakeholders

Six Tips To Increase Project Transparency With Stakeholders

Six tips to increase project transparency with stakeholders

  • Create a stakeholder register to track stakeholders
  • Communicate the level of transparency upfront
  • Inform the stakeholders of the expectations.
  • Involve them in key decisions and milestones
  • Be proactive about difficult stakeholders
  • Communicate consistently

Digital Transformation’s Impact on Project Management

Project managers have continued to manage project planning, acquisition, and execution, but their work is evolving with digital transformation.

Most project managers have already incorporated workflow and process automation technology in a few specific areas, like reporting and scheduling. And the majority of them are using digital platforms for project management which can help them stand separate.

How does a project manager acquire the knowledge and experience necessary to lead a digital transformation? What qualities are essential for this type of leader?

PMI’s 2018 Pulse in-depth report ‘Digital PM Skills’ survey conducted by Forrester Consulting for PMI among HR professionals and project managers and identified the top 6 digital-age skills required to get adapted in the digital transformation, like:

  • Data science skills
  • Innovative mindset
  • Security and privacy knowledge
  • Legal and regulatory compliance knowledge
  • Ability to make data-driven decisions
  • Collaborative leadership skills

Cybersecurity’s impact on projects

Project management and the need to establish objectives that protect information security are necessary for today’s project management world. Organizational fragility and vulnerability have increased due to digital transformation, and the proliferation of data and information has become abundant, so it is necessary to safeguard the data from getting misused. Therefore, many businesses are incorporating new elements into their projects to protect their information’s vulnerability, like:

  • Security Plan: For the project’s security, a project leader must be aware of the risks to be addressed to develop a security plan. Taking them into account will help them chart the course of the plan and focus on the project’s objectives.
  • Business requirements: The project manager must understand the project’s security requirements and business objectives to ensure its completion and success.
  • Responsibilities: Each team member should be clear about their responsibilities in terms of security. The well-known RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) responsibility assignment matrix is used by many project managers, which aids in ensuring that project objectives are met.
  • Security by design: Information security must be considered from the start of a project and throughout the process. Automating processes will improve project success and builds project security.

 Pointers to incorporate cybersecurity in project management:

  • Determine the project’s sensitive information.
  • Evaluate the members’ responsibilities.
  • Implement a level of information sensitivity.
  • Understand security standards and regulations.
  • Include security goals in the project’s objectives.
  • Determine the company’s legal responsibilities to the information.

Technology vs. Ethics

Every facet of an organization disrupted by technology shows a possibility of gaining or losing stakeholders’ confidence and commitment. Technology advances can easily outrun the ethical standards that govern their application. Technology’s impact on project ethics is progressing similarly, with employers establishing ethical boundaries that violate employee privacy rights and limit communication abilities.

Some of the technology’s impact on project ethics

  • Monitoring Team’s Communications

Project team leaders have monitored employees’ communications during working hours to keep employees focused on work tasks. In addition, because of digital technology and Internet access, there are more chances that project team members can get diverted and utilize the facilities in their personal activities.

  • Working From Anywhere

The changing definition of the workplace impacts the ethics that underpin the traditional eight-hour work time. It is not ethical simply because technology allows project leader to access their employees and request work at any time. Increasing the working hours to nearly more than their actual hours also blurs the ethical lines in employee compensation.

  • Using Company Property

Employees with restricted access to company property, such as a cell phone or personal computer, may treat it as personal property. An ethical issue may arise when an employee uses office property for non-work-related activities, such as looking for a new job or making personal calls. An employer must establish a clear policy regarding using company property loaned to an employee for business purposes only. This policy enables an employer to develop an ethical standard for using technology.

Ethical Decision Making in Project Management

Decision-making in project management is essentially a great reminder to project success. A truly accomplished project leader inspires, motivates, and builds a strong group that aids their team objectives. The concept of ethical decision-making has also been a focal point in improving project decision-making.

The ethical decision-making process and its roadmap

Every day, a project manager might make thousands of decisions and can come up with the best solution within nanoseconds of hearing about a problem. However, managers must regularly make major decisions incorporating more diligence, forethought, and collaboration with their colleagues. The failure in decision-making can create severe implications and chaos. Thus, organizational performance depends on good decision-making.

Decision-Making Process for Project Managers

Decision-Making Process for Project Managers

Four steps that can comprise a basic framework for project managers’ decision-making process are:

1) Identify the problem

2) Generate alternatives

3) Decide on a course of action

4) Implement

Ethical Dilemmas in Project Management

The bigger the project, the greater the potential for people or businesses to compromise their moral standards to finish the project on schedule and within budget. The outcomes of project managers and other stakeholders ignoring debatable activity are disastrous, like blown budgets, legal concerns, and even criminal charges, which are too frequent in today’s project environment. Moreover, many businesses are aiming for 100% automation and implementation in the project management process. The project managers need to take charge of these initiatives, which might result in ethical dilemmas involving stakeholders, technology, or communities.

Ethical dilemmas arise when circumstances contradict the project manager’s professional standards or moral values. The project managers must ensure that a project fulfills its social responsibility and well-being commitments by keeping its long-term goals in mind.

Ethical Dilemmas in Projects

Ethical Dilemmas in Projects

Some Ethical dilemmas in projects include

  1. Conflicts of interest

For project managers, conflict of interest is a major ethical concern. A conflict of interest occurs only when an individual or group has multiple interests in a project, which may hinder the integrity of the process.

  1. Accepting responsibility

When a project goes wrong, managers may be tempted to blame workers, supervisors, or vendors for protecting their position. The manager may also consider concealing any evidence that could implicate them in the project’s failure. However, when a project does not go as planned, project managers have an ethical responsibility to accept their failures and start focusing on finding solutions to problems and getting the project back on track.

  1. Maintain safety standards

Project managers who limit safety standards to save money eventually discover the high costs of not enforcing safety standards with their team. Conversely, a project manager who follows proper safety standards can save a project from incurring costs ranging from minor errors to severe injury or death.

  1. Favoritism and prejudice

A project leader must not “pick winners” or show bias toward team members. Project managers should choose the participants based on their abilities, not personal preferences. A project manager who shows prejudice toward workers based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or other criteria compromises the project’s integrity and exposes the company to a discrimination lawsuit.

  1. Health and Safety Concerns

Large enterprise projects have high risks and intense deadline pressure. This pressure, unfortunately, can occasionally cause stakeholders to overlook or even hide problems that could endanger the health and safety of project associates or the general public. Although these problems are more likely to occur in the manufacturing, healthcare, or construction sectors, project managers in all sectors should be ready to notify authorities whenever they spot a potentially dangerous situation.

Does project loyalty depend on the individual?

Ethical behavior is essential in all aspects of life, personal and professional. Being an ethical professional benefits everyone, both individually and on a societal and organizational level. Organizations that practice ethics can make their employees optimistic, boost their confidence, and increase their dedication. They can easily draw new clients and consumers due to their honest and ethical behavior, which can significantly improve the project’s sales and profits.

The project manager’s responsibility in Project Management is to manage projects effectively and ethically, as projects are the primary means by which organizations achieve their goals and objectives and develop new services and products. Suppose a new product development project is managed and executed with unethical decisions and actions. In that case, the product will fail to impress and attract customers, resulting in a huge failure and a significant loss in terms of time, project budget, and resources. Customers, clients, and employees value honest and ethical behavior. Thus, a project manager can ideally follow the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, which states that they must be honest, respectful, fair, and responsible.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting http://talktodharam.com/

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd 

Situational Awareness for Project/Program/Portfolio Managers

Situational Awareness for Project/Program/Portfolio Managers

The business world is unstable and ever-changing. Changes in competition and client preferences affect every organization. So, business leaders cannot rely only on competitive advantages to continue their businesses; thus, leaders must be aware of evolving business conditions.

Typical questions of employees and others in evolving business conditions

Typical questions of employees and others in evolving business conditions

The following are typical questions that employees and others in similar situations may have:

  • Was the company’s leadership aware of market developments?
  • Was the leadership self-centred?
  • As a market leader in the industry, did leadership think the company was not vulnerable?

Project/Program/Portfolio managers may help firm leadership by developing situational awareness and emotional intelligence to deliver essential leadership.

  1. The portfolio manager must understand the enterprise’s situational awareness.
  2. The program manager analyses the program for strategic goals and enterprise understanding and how the projects may be appropriately implemented as a program.
  3. The project manager must identify which strategic aim the project will assist in implementing or will accomplish.
In the dynamic environment managers want to know

In the dynamic environment managers want to know

Understanding the professional environment helps project leaders comprehend the politics of their projects. In today’s high-pressure, dynamic environment, managers want to know the following:

  • What impacts the bottom line of the business?
  • What are the profits?
  • Can we fulfill our quarterly targets?

The project management professional must have the emotional intelligence to understand the company’s situation. Those unable to comprehend emotions, influence a project, program, or portfolio, and have a high emotional intelligence quotient are more likely to be attentive to how essential stakeholders perceive their competence.

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is defined as “the perception of the elements in the environment in a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status shortly.”

In many project management scenarios, situational awareness is essential for success. It is the capacity to observe what is happening around you and understand how it will affect your endeavor. Situational awareness is based on a simple observation. The tools, techniques, behaviors, and approaches that work well in one scenario may not work well in another. Simple best practices may sometimes be appropriate for the context and result in a positive conclusion; other times, they may result in disaster.

Emotional intelligence and situational awareness are skills that could be taught. However, situational awareness is a dynamic, ever-changing process, not a linear one. Depending on how the scenario progresses and one’s capacity to integrate existing information in the ongoing observation, interpretation, projection, and prediction process, one may have excellent situational awareness one moment and severely poor situational awareness the next. As a result, constant practice and training are required for portfolio, program, and project leadership skills in both emotional intelligence and situational awareness.

Situational Leadership

The Situational Leadership approach established by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard is a useful technique for project leaders to employ when choosing a leadership interaction style.

The core premise of situational leadership theory is that there is no single “best” leadership technique. Instead, effective leadership is task-relevant, and the most successful leaders adapt their leadership style to maturity (“the capacity to set high but attainable goals, willingness and ability to take responsibility for the task, and relevant education and experience of an individual or a group for the task”) of the individual or crowd they are trying to lead or influence. Effective leadership changes not just with the individual or group being influenced but also with the task, job, or function that needs to be completed.

The Situational Leadership approach can assist you in developing relationships with your team members since you will tailor your leadership style to their degree of development. Each team member necessitates a specific amount of hands-on, communication-based leadership. It is up to you to evaluate your team members’ skills, confidence, and motivation and to decide which leadership style to employ.

Every team member has different abilities, degrees of confidence, and motivation levels at work. Some team members may like your leadership, while others will feel underserved if you employ the same leadership approach for everyone. The Situational Leadership method is adaptable, allowing you to tailor your leadership style to match the demands of everyone.

The key to Situational Leadership is determining the followers’ readiness level. Readiness is classified into four categories based on the followers’ motivation and ability to complete the assigned project activity.

Categories of readiness level

Categories of readiness level

Readiness 1: Low Motivation, Low Ability – This person is incompetent at the provided task and does not wish to complete the work or engage in the project.

Readiness 2: High Motivation, Low Ability – This person is eager to work on the project yet is incompetent at the tasks.

Readiness 3: Low Motivation, High Ability – This person is capable of performing project activities but does not choose to do so for personal or commercial reasons.

Readiness 4: High Motivation, High Ability – This person is capable and motivated.

Situational Theory of Leadership

Situational leadership theory assumes that the most successful leadership style varies depending on the context. Therefore, a leader must be able to change his style and approach to the evolving conditions to be most effective and successful.

Some employees, for example, perform better under a more dictatorial and directive CEO. Others will be more likely to succeed if the leader can step back and allow his team to make choices and carry out plans without his direct participation. Similarly, not all sectors and corporate contexts need the same abilities and leadership attributes.

Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory

The term “situational leadership” is most generally associated with the Situational Leadership Theory developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. This leadership strategy indicates that two main factors must be adequately matched: the leader’s leadership style and the followers’ maturity or preparation levels.

Four leadership styles

Four leadership styles

The theory recognizes four primary leadership styles:

  1. Telling (S1): Leaders must provide close supervision and precise directions to team members on what to do and how to accomplish it. When working with team members who are unwilling or unmotivated and need more knowledge and abilities, Style 1 is excellent.
  2. Selling (S2): The leader explains their decisions and allows team members to raise questions. Style 2 is best suited to followers who are driven to finish the work despite a lack of necessary information or skills.
  3. Participating (S3): Team members are encouraged to provide ideas and participate in decision-making. Style 3 suits followers with the necessary knowledge and skills to finish a task but who need more drive or motivation.
  4. Delegating (S4): The leader delegated greater responsibility to team members, allowing them to take ownership of the work. When dealing with high-commitment team members who are highly skilled and driven, Style 4 is acceptable since they have the knowledge, abilities, and desire to finish the assignment without much input from the leader.

While knowing the different situational leadership styles is important, their implementation may determine how effective a leader seems to their team. Examine its impact on team loyalty and the qualities of effective situational leaders.

The qualities of situational leaders

The qualities of situational leaders

The qualities of situational leaders

  1. Flexibility: Situational leaders are adaptable enough to change their approach depending on the level of growth of each team member.
  2. Trustworthiness: Good situational leaders are capable of acquiring the trust of others.
  3. Ability to delegate:You must be able to delegate successfully to team members with high levels of competence and commitment to employ the situational leadership approach.
  4. Coaching skills: When working with team members who lack confidence or ability, one must deliver clear directions for task accomplishment.
  5. Courage: It takes courage to change your leadership style when everyone else is comfortable with the same stale approach.

Situational Leadership: Team Development

Situational leadership is a wonderful way of establishing your team. But first, figure out how you’ll address the learning needs of your project team members, who make up your core team.

Leadership team development provides your core project team with the abilities necessary to complete the duties assigned to them. As a situational leader, you can examine what is needed at any given time. One of the most critical areas to concentrate on is assisting the team in overcoming complacency.

Final Thoughts

Successfully using the situational leadership theory is an excellent method for becoming a competent leader. The idea divides leadership into several parts, explains each, and makes it simpler to increase one’s leadership skills successfully. It also demonstrates that leadership skills may be developed with appropriate training.

Situational leadership is a concept that may help any company, especially those that are already successful, enhance its performance and development. However, when done right, incorporating situational leadership into daily operations cannot affect a company. Instead, it can only help the company’s employees and, thus, its growth.

Finally, a leader must first come to know the employees to lead and inspire them successfully. Understanding leadership and motivation is the theoretical cornerstone of being a successful leader, but knowing one’s followers is equally important. To properly apply leadership and motivating concepts, leaders must understand their members’ personalities, cultural backgrounds, and developmental levels. Frequent personal interaction with their employees is the best way for a leader to get to know them, which is quickly done when the leader becomes a team member.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Justin Buckwalter in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

 

Revisiting Project Successes & Failures

Revisiting Project Successes & Failures

A project can be a complex, nonroutine, one-time effort constrained by time, budget, schedule, satisfaction, quality, and scope to meet the customer’s needs. Today, many businesses prioritize project management because it focuses on meeting project objectives and achieving them successfully. Moreover, it got significant because it employs managerial processes and tools that give managers a good chance of achieving their project’s goal.

Project Management Today

Project management has become an essential part of various industrial segments because it crosses corporate and geographic boundaries, adapting to the unique characteristics of various businesses and teams. Here are some of the project trends on the project’s success/ failures.

Key Project Management Trends

Key Project Management Trends

The Most Important Project Management Trends for 2022

  • The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
  • Hybrid project management approaches are getting increased.
  • The significance of emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • A greater emphasis on data analytics and numbers
  • Tools and solutions for advanced project management
  • Increased use of remote working

Key Project Management Statistics 2022 (Success and Failures)

Project Success Statistics

  • Project management software is used by 77% of high-performing projects. (Hive, 2020)
  • 35% of organizations are somewhat satisfied with their project management maturity level. (Wellingtone, 2020)
  • 29% of projects are completed on time (Wellingtone, 2020).
  • Surprisingly, 54% of organizations lack access to real-time KPIs (Wellingtone, 2020).
  • Around 51% of organizations complete projects that meet the business objective or original goal. Meanwhile, 52% of organizations complete projects that meet the needs of stakeholders (KPMG, 2020).

 Project Failure Statistics

  • COVID-19 had a moderate or significant impact on 58% of organizations, causing project delays and cancellations (KPMG, 2020).
  • Organizations with low-value delivery maturity have a project failure rate of 21%, which is significantly higher than the failure rate of organizations with high-value delivery maturity, which is 11% (PMI, 2020).
  • 25% of organizations do not use technology suitable for team collaborations on informal projects, despite consuming 20% of their productive time at work (Wellingtone, 2020).
  • The most challenging obstacles to implementing agile techniques in an organization are resistance to change (48%), a lack of leadership participation (46%), and inconsistent practices across teams (45%). (Digital.ai, 2020).
  • 47% of agile projects are late, have budget overruns, or have dissatisfied customers (Scrum, 2021).
  • Understanding these statistics allows project professionals to prepare better for what comes next and make more informed decisions.

Success and Failure of Projects

The business environment is constantly changing, and meeting the customer’s ever-changing needs has become challenging. In addition, customers’ expectations increase as competition in the global market increases. This is sometimes reflected in the pressure that Project Managers face when attempting to provide the best possible value to their customers.

While project management is constantly improving, there are some challenges for which solutions have yet to be found. Global projects are typically getting complex, and as a result, a similar project may be successful in one part of the world while failing in another. Let’s look at the factors for successes and failures on similar projects, as well as how leadership style can help to improve project performance as a contributing factor to the project’s outcome.

Causes of project failure

A project is considered a failure if it fails to deliver on time within the estimated budget. Most project managers have felt the agony of a failed project. In fact, according to a Pulse of the Profession® survey 2021, 12% of projects in an organization failed in the previous year.

When a project is considered a failure?  

  1. First, the project did not meet the expectations.
  2. The client did not receive the desired deliverable.
  3. The work was not finished on time.
Reasons of Project Failure

Reasons of Project Failure

So here’s to planning ahead of time and avoiding these common project pitfalls.

  1. Unclear Goals And Objectives

Businesses that fail to set clear employee goals and objectives waste significant time and effort. The following are the consequences of ambiguous project goals and objectives.

  • Unclear objectives lead to ambiguous operational methods.
  • Individually, the level of performance can be justified.
  • It’s not always obvious when a project deviates from its original path.
  • People involved in a project cannot work to their full potential.
  1. Lack Of Resource Planning

In project management, resources refer to people, money, and materials.   Human resources are likely underutilized or overworked if you do not use a good task management tool.

Another critical aspect of project resource planning is financial planning. Projects with poor cost estimation and inconsistent tracking will almost certainly go over budget. In addition, project managers who do not understand how to track and manage finances are more likely to fail the project.

  1. Poor Communication 

Poor communication in the workplace can have disastrous consequences for the project, including poor collaboration and decreased productivity, resulting in stressed employees, dissatisfied customers, and workplace mistrust.

Whether it’s delayed communication, a lack of communication, or no communication at all, the fact is that the project is likely to fall through the cracks if the project professionals don’t have an effective communication strategy in place.

  1. Stakeholder Management Is Inadequate

Stakeholders have an inherent interest in the project, for better or worse. Project managers are responsible for identifying and communicating with all stakeholders promptly and without delays. Unfortunately, there are numerous reasons for poor stakeholder management, some of which are listed below.

  • Stakeholders are too narrowly defined.
  • Failure to strike a balance between compliance and strategic opportunities
  • Stakeholders are prematurely removing resources.
  • Stakeholders’ disinterest
  • Stakeholders are unaware of the project’s progress.

Engaged stakeholders provide support and insights to help a project succeed, whereas disengaged stakeholders can become barriers to success.

  1. Poorly Defined Project Scope

The project scope details everything you intend to do (and not going to do). In project management, scope creep refers to uncontrolled, continuous changes in the scope of a project. Conversely, a poorly defined project scope leads to scope creep, where the former is vaguely defined, documented, or controlled.

A project with an unclear project scope is more likely to fail and encounter a variety of issues, including:

  • Failure to meet customer expectations
  • Continual changes are being requested throughout the project’s life cycle.
  • The budget exceeds the allocated budget.
  • Failure to meet deadlines
  1. Inaccurate Cost And Time Estimates

Inaccurate cost and time estimate frequently result in team members making accurate predictions about the expected duration of tasks and the project’s cost based on an average duration of time and cost for previous projects.

Inaccurate estimates are frequently the result of two underlying causes:

  • Upfront planning
  • Poor estimation practices
  1. Inadequate Risk management

Risk management enables project managers to identify and analyze issues that may arise during the project and impede its progress. If risks are not effectively managed, they will likely emerge during the project’s later stages, causing significant scope creep. Conversely, poor risk management can lead to project delays, low user adoption, late assignments, overspent budgets, and project failure.

  1. Monitoring And Controlling

Monitoring and controlling the project is one of the lesser-known facts that project managers and their teams often overlook. However, a project manager needs to “track, review, and regulate the project’s progress; identify areas that require changes in the planning, and initiate the corresponding changes.”

Every effort should be made to keep the project on track, and if it falls behind budget or schedule, the plan should be adjusted to get the project back on track.

How to Recover a Failing Project?

Three key questions you can ask to quickly and clearly understand the project.

  1. Are the problems internal or external?

You can determine whether the source of the problem is internal (and thus correctable) or external (outside of your control).

Review project documents such as the charter, plan, and schedule for:

  • Requirements from relevant stakeholders.
  • A reasonable timetable with attainable goals.
  • Allocation of resources
  • A method of collecting and managing change requests.
  • Unexpected expenses (internal and external).
  • Success metrics.
  • A procedure for upholding quality standards.
  1. Why are we behind schedule?

Next, determine why the project is running late.

  • Were tasks properly prioritized?
  • Were tasks clearly explained?
  • Was the timetable overly ambitious?
  • How frequently did the project manager provide status updates?
  • Who made important project decisions?
  • Is there a record of decisions and change requests?
  • How were risks communicated and addressed?
  • Was the initial budget adequate?
  1. Is the team working effectively?

Finally, consider how well the team worked together.

  • Did the team understand the project’s goal and its roles and responsibilities?
  • Was the team using the same procedures and tools?
  • Did the team meet regularly to share updates and challenges?
  • Was a clear communication strategy in place?
  • Were the right people assigned to the project?
  • Were there any issues with suppliers or vendors?
Techniques for Recovering Failing Projects

Techniques for Recovering Failing Projects

Techniques for recovering failing projects

While failures are unavoidable in project management, project professionals can always learn from the failures to succeed in the future. So, let’s look at how project managers can ensure that their next project runs smoothly and that any potential problems are identified and resolved before they become too large to cause project failure.

  • Plan diligently and identify any gaps.
  • Communicate effectively and frequently.
  • Examine your Resources
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Use the Proper Methodology
  • Monitor Project Development

Strategic alignment in project management

Strategic alignment in project management refers to aligning project goals with your organization’s long-term vision and mission.

Contrary to popular belief, strategic alignment in project management does not only refer to establishing and maintaining key financial metrics. Instead, it’s a broad concept that encompasses everything from key financial and quality indicators to customer satisfaction, brand recognition, and value proposition.

Every project has a goal. While some may seek to provide a service or product, others may seek intangible benefits such as positive customer relationships or company goodwill. These strategic goals guide a project professional’s day-to-day business operations and help them turn their ideas into desired results.

Importance of Strategic Alignment in Project Management

  • Focus the energy in the right place
  • Allow for productive team collaboration
  • Describe the organization’s competitive advantages
  • Manage priorities that conflict
  • Avoid duplication.
  • Accept market manoeuvrability

Leadership performance is significant to project success

Effective leadership in project management is the ability to persuade people of the need for change, stimulate new ways of thinking and problem solving, and encourage them to achieve project objectives. Leadership also guides team members to grow as professionals while completing their project responsibilities.

Today’s evidence-based theories of leadership can be characterized into six major classes, which include:

  • Attributes
  • Behavior
  • Contingency
  • Visionary
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Competency
PMI's Talent Triangle

PMI’s Talent Triangle

PMI’s Talent Triangle – How to Stand Out as a Successful Project Manager

Project managers must be more agile and resourceful than ever to keep up with and make an impact in a fast-changing world. PMI has always been dedicated to assisting project professionals in developing strong skills. Nonetheless, project managers now require a skill set that includes a variety of disciplines and practices, as well as other in-demand skills.

To assist project professionals in navigating this changing world of work and embracing smarter ways of working, project professionals need to focus on:

  • Ways of Working: Formerly Technical Project Management
  • Power Skills: Formerly Leadership
  • Business Acumen: Formerly Strategic and Business Management

Factors of project success

Project success has been defined as a project that meets its objectives on time and within budget. A development project’s success extends beyond meeting schedule and budget objectives. It also includes meeting the expectations of beneficiaries, stakeholders, donors, and funding agencies. However, defining these dimensions of success is more complicated and can only be assessed years after the project is completed.

Measuring project success after the fact is important because it aids in determining future strategies when planning new projects. Continuous improvement based on data from past projects enables project managers to identify problems before they occur. Using past data allows new processes to be implemented with fewer errors and greater management success.

Factors of Project Success

Factors of Project Success

Here are some of the factors for the project’s success:

  1. Goals and objectives

The project’s overall goal is specified and recognized by all stakeholders; it is not at odds with subsidiary objectives, and project leaders have a clear vision of the project’s outcomes.

  1. Capable sponsors

Sponsors play an active role in the project’s life cycle; they bear ultimate responsibility and accountability for the project’s outcomes.

  1. Secure funding

The project has a secure funding base; contingency funding is recognized from the start, and budgets are strictly regulated to ensure maximum value is realized.

  1. Project planning and review

Pre-project planning is thorough and considered; progress is monitored regularly and carefully; the project has realistic time schedules, active risk management, and a post-project review.

  1. End users and operators

End users or operators are involved in the project’s design; the project team works with users who can effectively and efficiently implement what the project has produced.

  1. Aligned supply chain 

All direct and indirect suppliers know the project’s requirements, timelines, and quality standards. As a result, the supply chain’s higher and lower tiers are coordinated.

  1. Proven methods and tools

Good project management tools, methods, and techniques are used to maintain an effective balance of flexibility and robustness.

  1. Appropriate standards 

Quality standards are actively used to drive output quality. In addition, other standards are regularly monitored to ensure delivery at the best practice levels.

Knowing what success factors are important at the end of a project is critical for assessing how that project went and making changes for the next one. It is critical to understand what distinguishes success from failure.

By investing time in learning about the future of project management, project professionals will be better prepared to capitalize on new opportunities and develop their skill set accordingly. So many opportunities for growth and success are on the horizon; use these trends and factors to propel your company, projects, and team to new heights!

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

For any questions related to your Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

You can subscribe to the vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our Q&A series and certification success stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

You can subscribe to and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

 

 

 

 

Project Management Challenges In “DIGITAL AGE”

Project Management Challenges In “DIGITAL AGE”

Artificial Intelligence, the most common and vibrant technical term in the 21st century, has begun to rule the world stage with its intelligent functionalities. There is no doubt that AI is transforming the productivity and workflow of various industries around the world. However, there may be a constant concern about human job opportunities in the coming years. Organizations have gradually realized that Artificial Intelligence requires collaboration with human employees, and ample job opportunities are emerging.

Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Project Management

Project management has evolved significantly in the last decades. According to an IPMA & PwC report, 56% of organizations has already digital transformation projects, including AI adoption. The current adoption of AI among project professionals is expected to move from 27% to 35% in the next three years.

The organization must consider that successfully implementing projects in the digital age necessitates new skills and different focus areas for project managers. There is a growing demand for digital literacy, critical thinking, and creativity skills, replacing traditional project management skills such as teamwork, communication, and the ability to build effective relationships.

Benefits of AI in Project Management

Benefits of AI in Project Management

Benefits of AI in Project Management

Aggregating task statuses to generate weekly status reports, calculating the budget implications of increasing scope and timeline, and performing risk modeling are all functions that an AI technique in your project management software can provide. Here are a few more advantages of AI-enhanced project management:

  1. Employees receive personalized coaching based on their learning habits.
  2. Increasing project success by releasing resources from routine operational tasks.
  3. Observe how a project is progressing and make educated predictions about its future.
  4. AI can keep track of budgets and schedules.
  5. Capability to manage complex analytics.
  6. With its unique ability to monitor patterns, AI is a capable project manager’s assistant.

Digital Skills for Project Managers

Businesses are creating better products and stronger customer relationships at an unprecedented rate. They rely on a workforce with the necessary skills and experience to deal with the effects of disruptive technologies. Organizations combine those experts with data and digital tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning that allow for agility and speed.

Digital Skills for Project Managers

Digital Skills for Project Managers

Top Six digital-age skills for Project Delivery

1. Data Science Skills

Data science is the umbrella term for data management, analytics, and big data. It focuses on Project Managers’ ability to extract meaningful knowledge from available data to improve project outcomes. Data science is expected to play an increasingly important role in all stages of project development, from planning to completion.

2. Innovative Mindset

Today’s project teams are being asked to do more with less. That means that Project Managers who can think creatively and find new ways to achieve great results will be in high demand in the job market. Skills and experience are no longer sufficient. It is now critical to provide examples of one innovative mindset in the workplace.

3. Security and Privacy Knowledge

Today, most businesses and individuals are concerned about data security. In addition to the legal requirements, there is a general expectation that all personal and project data is handled securely. This skill is becoming increasingly important as more projects rely on digital information systems.

The best Project Managers contribute to the security of the projects they manage. They are aware of the requirements and collaborate closely with their IT and legal teams to ensure that data security guidelines are incorporated into each step of project delivery.

4. Legal and Regulatory Compliance Knowledge

Ensuring the project is legal and regulatory compliant is not new. Leading Project Managers are always aware of this. The difference that the digital age brings is the growing need to act as a bridge between project teams and the IT, Legal, and Data Protection teams, all of which are critical to the process but need little understanding of each other’s areas of expertise.

5. Ability to Make Data Driven Decisions

Using data to make sound business decisions is core to the best practice of project management. Today’s challenge is synthesizing the massive amount of data available to gain useful insights that propel a project forward. Data is only useful if it is appropriately interpreted. The best project managers use cutting-edge tools to make informed decisions and gain an advantage.

6. Collaborative Leadership Skills

Because of remote working, outsourcing, and cross-functional teams spread across multiple locations, Project Managers today require collaborative solid leadership skills more than ever. Their ability to establish standards and bring team members together (even if only virtually) for the sake of the project is becoming increasingly important. Project managers who can implement collaborative platforms and work management tools to improve their team’s work will outperform their competitors.

An Emotionally Intelligent Project Manager

Emotional intelligence can be referred to as our ability to recognize, control, and communicate emotions. People with high emotional intelligence understand how they feel, what their feelings imply, and how their feelings affect others. In interpersonal situations, it is also the ability to empathize with others. Emotional intelligence is about creating a positive work environment, which is critical to the success of any project.

According to a LiquidPlanner study, most project managers commit approximately 10% of their time to people-related activities. Top project managers dedicate 70% of their time to these activities. As a result, emotional intelligence is critical to project success.

EI skills that a Project Managers require

EI skills that a Project Managers require

Some EI skills that project managers require are:

  • Intra – Personal – Ability to know and manage yourself
  • Inter–Personal – Your ability to interact and get along with others
  • Adaptability – Ability to be flexible and to solve a wide range of problems
  • Stress Management – – Ability to manage stress
  • General Mood – Ability to be positive and in a good mood
Project Managers with Emotional Intelligence

Project Managers with Emotional Intelligence

Emotionally Intelligent Project Managers

Project managers with high emotional intelligence have a better chance of success, better physical and mental health, good work relationships, and lower stress levels. Project managers with emotional intelligence can also:

  • Successfully manage difficult situations
  • Express themselves clearly
  • More flexible
  • Solution-oriented
  • Keep cool under pressure
  • Motivate themselves to get things done
  • Have a growth mindset

Project Leadership in “DIGITAL AGE”

Over the last decade, the project management practice has evolved from a simple guide for project managers to a deeper understanding of organizational maturity and business agility. However, to capture the true essence of organizational maturity and business agility, the project management practice needed to evolve again, this time by adapting to the needs of the digital world.

According to a PMI’s report, “‘The Project Manager of the Future,”‘which surveyed over 450 HR professionals, over three-quarters of these organizations recognized the importance of project managers understanding disruptive technologies. They were actively recruiting project professionals with specialized skill sets required to manage the impact of disruptive technologies. But what are these skill sets?

Skills to manage the impact of disruptive technologies

Skills to manage the impact of disruptive technologies

  • Technology
  • Mindset
  • Operating Model
  • Business Agility
The Digital Space and its Components

The Digital Space and its Components

Beyond using digital transformation as a token, project managers must gain a thorough understanding of the digital space and its various components, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR).

Qualities of a Project Leader in Digital Age

Qualities of a Project Leader in Digital Age

Along with that, the project leader must have these qualities in the digital age:

  1. A human with a “Magical wand”
  2. Continuous learning & fail fast attitude
  3. Strong affinity for novelty
  4. Work smarter than harder
  5. Breaking industry boundaries for a shared future
  6. Better Understanding of Innovation & Creativity
  7. Never consider digital as the only outcome

Digital transformation in project management is more of a collective mindset than a task that can be checked off as completed. It describes a vision that needs constant improvement and encourages future innovation and growth.

3C's need to be followed by project leadership in the digital age

3C’s need to be followed by project leadership in the digital age

Here are the 3C’s need to be followed by project leadership in the digital age:

  • Calm – Inspire more trust and better performance.
  • Connect – People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, and People will never forget how you made them feel that moment.
  • Communicate – The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has occurred.

Challenges faced by Project leadership Teams

1. Disconnected & disengaged remote workforce

HR leaders and project managers nowadays, regardless of industry or size of business, assume that connecting with people within the organization is becoming increasingly difficult. Remote working, prompted by the pandemic, has only exacerbated the situation. But why is having a connected workforce important?

A well-connected workforce means employees and the company’s vision, mission, and values are connected. Employees who might feel isolated and disconnected from the business and its goals and objectives, regardless of where they work, are likely to feel disengaged and demotivated, which may affect productivity and efficiency at work. Here are some ideas for how businesses can manage disengagement and create a more connected workforce.

  • Use technology to stay connected
  • Recognize the good work
  • Implement Open Culture

2. Uncertainty in decision making

Project managers strive to conform to all elements and avoid uncertainty in project management to ensure the success of their endeavor. However, no one can predict the future. Working on large, complex projects, such as those in technology, frequently entails high uncertainty in terms of time, cost, and scope, as well as uncontrollable external forces such as inflation, regulation, and financing constraints. These factors can impact a project management system’s ability to assist managers in leading and monitoring projects. Therefore, the project management must comprehend the process of applying decision analysis techniques to the practice of project management, like:

  1. A process that can assist project managers in improving their ability to make decisions under uncertain conditions.
  2. A process that can assist project managers in confronting
  3. Resolving the realities of the project management—uncertainty, external influences, and risk.
Challenges faced by Project Leadership Teams

Challenges faced by Project Leadership Teams

3. Loss of company culture

Employee attitudes, values, beliefs, behaviors, and underlying assumptions comprise organizational culture. Furthermore, culture is important because it forms the foundation of the business logic applied to any specific decision or problem; there is a minimal chance that something will be done that violates the culture because it would mean contradicting fundamental beliefs.

An organization’s culture, which is not supportive of project management, may be perceived as an additional burden and an impediment to daily work.

4. Lack of alignment

Project success begins with good project management practices and a good team. But how do you make sure they’re in sync? Especially when alignment requirements can take many forms, such as alignment to the overall strategy, stakeholder expectations, mandated processes or policy, or delivering the right things at the right time and in the right way.

Moreover, business organizations may require precise alignment of project strategy to prevent projects from duplicating work or producing useless deliverables to reduce waste and manage costs. Strategic thinking is one way to foster the game-changing power of aligned organizational strategy to project outcomes.

5. Low morale

Employee morale is employees’ attitude, contentment, loyalty, and willingness to give their all and actively contribute to their employer’s success. It’s also about how they feel about their job and workplace.

Strategies to improve Employee Morale at your workplace

Strategies to improve Employee Morale at your workplace

If the employee morale is low, it may reduce motivation and efficiency. Employees with low morale produce only the bare minimum of work. As a capable leader, improving workplace morale should be one of your top priorities. According to an SHRM survey, 67 percent of employers find it challenging to maintain employee morale. However, the good news is that the following strategies can help immediately improve employee morale at your workplace.

  • Be prepared to manage change
  • Challenge your employees
  • Conduct team-building activities
  • Pay attention to your employees’ physical and mental health
  • Spend money on training and development
Tips to improve project performance at your organization

Tips to improve project performance at your organization

Revamp Project Team Performance

A combination of managerial skills and software tools are used to improve project performance. Ensure that the team understands the goal of every project, has access to open communication channels, and understands the importance of tasks. In addition, project management software can create consistent project plans and automate time tracking and billing to improve project performance. Here are some tips to improve project performance at your organization.

  • Process Orientated to People Orientated
  • Reactive Approach to Proactive Approach
  • Binary Metrics to Holistic Analysis
  • Scheduled Retros to Real-Time Pulse
  • Individual Evaluation to Team Evaluation

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick Lencioni, the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” examines why effective teams are so rare and offer specific recommendations for removing barriers that lead to dysfunctional teams. The work of Lencioni outlines the causes of team dysfunction and what can be done to overcome each one.

5 Dysfunctions of a Team

5 Dysfunctions of a Team

The five dysfunctions which have been compared with project management are:

  1. Absence of Trust – Teams that lack trust conceals flaws and mistakes, are hesitant to seek assistance, make assumptions about the intentions of others, harbor grudges, and dread meetings.
  1. Fear of Conflict – Fear of conflict results from a lack of trust. Most companies’ employees are more concerned with politics and personal risk management than problem-solving. As a result, meetings are frequently boring because contentious issues are avoided.
  1. Lack of Commitment – When teams avoid conflict, they fear failure. These teams struggle to make decisions and constantly second-guess themselves.
  1. Avoidance of Accountability – Second-guessing and a lack of common objectives lead to an inability to develop performance standards. Team members miss deadlines and produce mediocre results.
  1. Inattention to results – When teams lack focus and clear objectives, team members become stagnant, distracted, and self-centered.

High-performance teams

High-performance work teams are critical to how most organizations perform and carry out their work, resulting in superior performance and a significant competitive advantage. A high-performance team also requires the following to function effectively:

  • Uplift the quality of work.
  • Mentor guidance to increase productivity.
  • Peer-to-Peer monitoring & building a competitive environment.
  • Facilitating & enriching the team to handle emerging project delivery practices.

Nurturing the Right Culture

Building an organization’s strong project management culture opens the door to numerous benefits and improves customer service. Organizations with solid project cultures operate under a unique value system that aligns each team member with objectives and goals on a budget, time, and target. Professionals today are expected to demonstrate a wide range of skills and juggle multiple organizational tasks.

Steps to create High-Performance Culture

Steps to create High-Performance Culture

5 Steps Involved in Creating High-Performance Culture

  1. Fostering an environment to encourage innovation.
  2. Adapting to new and disruptive technology shifts.
  3. Creating a culture that views disruptive technologies as an opportunity to evolve the best practices.
  4. Encouraging project managers to take advantage of flexible practices that allow them to evolve project scope/requirements due to rapid technological changes.
  5. Expecting project managers to adapt to new opportunities and challenges to succeed in the age of digital disruption.

Conclusion

To capitalize on all opportunities created by technological disruption, the most forward-thinking organizations rely on the power of project leaders. One significant competitive advantage is where project leaders are prepared, willing, and able to assist their organizations in surviving and truly thriving in the face of massive change.

However, innovative organizations recognize that project leaders with the necessary digital-era skill sets do not appear by chance. As a result, innovators understand the importance of investing in three key areas:

  • Skills, training, and development
  • Tools and approaches
  • Culture

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

You can subscribe and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

You can subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our certification Q&A series and student success stories using the link https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

For any questions related to Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

 

The Exciting Future of Project Management

The Exciting Future of Project Management

Project management “is the application of tools, knowledge, processes, and competencies to ensure the successful completion of a project.” Projects are time-bound endeavors that seek to generate value through products, services, or outcomes that meet the project’s objectives and success parameters.

Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as “the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people.”

Project management is leading a team’s work to achieve all project goals within the constraints set. The primary rules are scope, time, and budget. The secondary task is to optimize the allocation of required inputs and apply them to achieve predefined goals.

Project managers are essential to a project’s success and are in high demand. They employ various skills and knowledge to engage and motivate others to achieve the project’s objectives. By 2027, employers will need 87.7 million individuals in project management-oriented roles as per the “Job Growth & Talent Gap 2017-2027” report.

The Future of Project Management By Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., and J. LeRoy Ward International Institute for Learning (IIL)” article discusses four new principles to determine what types of project management training we believe are available to project managers in most of today’s successful business models.

Four Principles of Project Management Training

Four Principles of Project Management Training

  • First and most importantly, project management is now viewed as a business process in which project managers are expected to make business and project-related decisions.
  • Second, project management is no longer viewed as a collection of operational or tactical activities to produce a deliverable or outcome.
  • Third, project management is now a delivery system for achieving the desired business benefits and value.
  • Fourth, project management is no longer just another career option within a company.

As more and more digitization is growing, project management has never been as exciting as it is now. The overall trend is an increase in the need for project managers. Project management is no more a job that deals with Gantt charts and ticking off a checklist.

Project management has always been a great profession to be in. It allows one to work with people, deal with risks and conflicts, and the ability to manage the outcomes for the business. It always gives you a feeling of importance and provides the opportunity to take leadership to drive the business goals. It greatly enhances your soft skills and helps you work with people to improve their capabilities along the project.

Apart from this, a project management profession helps you develop yourself and constantly provides new challenges every day. As the business grows dynamically, newer challenges and opportunities are managed by the project managers of today’s times. It provides career progression in terms of becoming a project manager, program manager, portfolio manager, and so on.

Project Management Trends 

The project management industry rapidly evolves with the latest trends, tools, and technologies as the changes in trends in project management are dynamic and unavoidable. Therefore, understanding current project management trends will help us stay on top of the profession or business.

Project Management Trends 

Project Management Trends

Trend 1: Resource planning is becoming increasingly important.

Trend 2: Knowledge sharing is increasing.

Trend 3: Agile and hybrid methods are becoming more popular.

Trend 4: Working remotely and in hybrid work, such environments are here to stay.

Trend 5: Change management is becoming increasingly important.

Trend 6: The PMO is evolving into a more strategic organization.

Trend 7: Using project management tools is becoming easier.

In a post-pandemic world, employing top project managers is more important than ever. Remote working, upskilling, and the pandemic’s lingering effects will shape the future of project management.

Increasing Emphasis on Soft Skills

Traditionally, the value of project managers was determined by their certifications and ability to implement various methodologies. However, many organizations are shifting their emphasis to soft skills. This project management trend is understandable, as AI-powered solutions have advanced to the point where they can handle the more challenging technical aspects of project management.

The Future of Jobs Report 2020

The Future of Jobs Report 2020

The Future of Jobs Report 2020 states that “Critical thinking” and “Analysis” are the two top employers’ skills in the next five years. 40% of workers will require reskilling within six months or less. 94% of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills.

Project managers must now focus on improving their soft skills in conflict resolution, stakeholder engagement, negotiation, mentoring and training, decision-making, and team building. Practicing these skills will enable project managers to add more value to their organization.

Predictions for the Future of Project Management

“Change is the only constant,” as the adage goes. Project teams are no longer smaller, and the projects are no longer more straightforward. It appears to be true in the project management industry. The project management landscape is rapidly changing with evolving technologies, tools, and the latest trends.

Unlike the olden days now, there are a lot of tools, techniques, and methods that project managers can adopt to make the job much easier and more effective. Three major factors that would impact are:

  1. The Dynamically changing technology landscape.
  2. Increasing organizational complexity with Remote & Hybrid Work.
  3. Sustainability/Ecological concerns.
Factors Impacting Future of Project Management

Factors Impacting Future of Project Management

1. The Dynamically changing Technology landscape

We will look at how the future of project management is evolving and exciting as the future holds concerning some of the changing technology components which are emerging.

a.) The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation

According to the Project Management Institute, 81 percent of professionals believe that AI impacts their organizations. Project managers are given a chance to focus their efforts and energy on tasks that will most significantly benefit their businesses. Automation can help project managers to effect more significant change and increase the chances of each project achieving its strategic goals.

By 2030, AI will have taken over 80 percent of the work of today’s PM discipline, including data collection, tracking, and reporting (Gartner, 2019).

PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report emphasizes the importance of data science skills, an innovative mindset, security and privacy knowledge, legal and regulatory compliance knowledge, the ability to make data-driven decisions, and collaborative leadership skills.

According to PwC’s ’22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, in the next five years, 85 percent of CEOs believe AI will significantly change how they do business. Even though it is still in its early stages of development, AI can be used in project management to reduce highly complex issues and play a significant role in their success.

In recent years, organizations have adopted AI on a larger scale to ensure successful project completion in a variety of ways, including:

  • Producing performance insights
  • Assisting in decision-making processes
  • Estimating and forecasting
  • Optimizing resource allocation
  • Making data visualization possible
  • Conducting risk analysis

AI with chatbots can even be integrated for project management reports and status on tasks. Also, the status can be updated from anywhere and anytime. It can help as an intelligent project assistant. Already products like PPM Express are working in this space. In construction and engineering space, AI can be used for monitoring sites and site inspection with the help of OpenCV, Drone cameras, etc. Large enterprises are using AI for intelligent resource deployments for projects.

b.) Rise in Data Analytics Focus for Data-Driven Project Management

Every day, organizations of all sizes generate massive amounts of data as it is only logical to use that data to notify decisions. Data analytics and reporting can assist project managers in identifying early signs of scope creep, calculating project progress rates, and other tasks.

AI-powered analytics provide a comprehensive picture of the entire organization and all projects. They provide granular visibility into activities and generate custom reports to assist project managers in visualizing data as required. With these tools, project managers can make informed decisions in real time rather than making gut-based decisions based on manually compiled reports.

c.) Advanced Project and Resource Management Tools 

According to a 2020 report from Wellingtone, 54 percent of organizations lack access to real-time KPIs for their projects, and more than a third spend more than a day collecting data. This result demonstrates that project management tools can no longer be overlooked. When combined with AI-based automation capabilities, project management software can positively change how organizations manage their projects, regardless of their complexity.

Project managers of the future cannot survive without digital skills. The learning and experience on these tools will help appropriately present data and enhance decision-making with stakeholders. Current project management tools have become digital. Collaboration is seamless. For making effective decision making, the project managers need to have a good hold on the areas like the following:

  • Data analysis, analytics, and management
  • Security and data protection
  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Online collaboration and leadership (JIRA, Confluence, etc.,)
  • Knowledge management (Sharepoint, Google Docs, etc., )
  • Data-driven decision making. (BI Tools – Power BI, Tableau, etc.,)

Here are some examples of how the appropriate software can make a significant difference in future project management:

  • Use historical project data to improve bids and plans for future projects.
  • View resource availability, skills, and other details to make resource allocation easier.
  • AI can automatically track all time spent on tasks and projects.
  • To stay on top of finances, quickly allocate and track budgets.
  • In real-time, capture all expenses with invoices for all projects.
  • Track all projects using customizable dashboards to make better quick decisions.
  • Maintain real-time communication with all stakeholders and team members about the project’s status, progress, and changes.

d.) Internet of Things:

The Internet of things is a network of electronic sensors and actuators that can help interact with each other and exchange data for numerical applications. We already see its application in the form of Alexa, Digital watches, Smart Vending Machines, and many more. The Internet of things can provide useful real-time data and help in various ways in project management. Assuming you are working on a team or sensitive project with technical and regulatory characteristics that need real-time data with a higher speed of reporting. IoT can help improve process control and also manage the explosion of valuable data on the project from sensors and devices. Project Managers can use these IoT technologies to reduce the workload in collecting data and streamline the reporting efforts.

e.) Digital Twins:

The Internet of things has been evolving, and it has been contributing to a lot of industries in terms of monitoring, real-time analytics, etc.; Projects involving Infrastructure, Construction, and industries would need a lot of physical presence. Digital twins can work with CAD and BIM (Building Information Modeling) data sets. Projects executed on these domains also call for ensuring the safety of the stakeholders involved in the project. In such scenarios, a digital twin can provide digital replicas of the physical objects or the location, which can encompass the project’s design and engineering aspects, which should help minimize travel/physical presence at the engineering sites. This action would also greatly enhance the better visibility of the sites in digital means for faster and more responsive actions on the project, yet contributing to sustainability via fewer carbon footprints. Digital twins provide intuitive visuals of the project situation with context and help to make decisions faster.

2. Increasing organization complexity with Remote & Hybrid Work

Remote working was already popular, but it has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels in recent years. While the global pandemic forced organizations to allow employees to telecommute due to safety concerns, remote work tends to continue for the foreseeable future. This aspect presents some intriguing challenges to project managers. According to Forbes, up to 97 percent of employees are unwilling to return to their offices full-time.

There have been renewed efforts in the post-pandemic era that many organizations have begun to experiment with a hybrid approach that combines elements from two or more methodologies. It is no longer just about agile, scrum, or lean but about combining specific attributes for increased flexibility in driving project success. This approach has enabled organizations to develop distinctive approaches to particular industries and projects.

The hybrid concept extends to the development of project team structures. The Capterra report states that 37% of teams are cross-functional and led by a dedicated PM. Cross-functional teams can share their department’s best practices for the project team to decide whether they want to incorporate them into their processes.

Hybrid project management is evolving. Projects are complex with a mix of technology, domain, people, process, and tools. Many organizations are not even ready for such a change to adapt themselves. Based on recent research by IPMA(International Project Management Association), only 47% of organizations are using agile approaches. Situations like the COVID-19 Ukraine-Russia conflict are making the environment more uncertain. Geopolitical situations can put countries and global projects at risk, increasing the challenges for project managers to be dynamic and responsive.

The project managers have to address problems like the following, which could be exciting and challenging:

a) More collaboration with contractors and suppliers

b) Higher staff turnover

c) Stakeholders having competing demands and expectations

d) Need for decisions taken faster

e) Increasing complexity in regulations and governance

Due to the inherent nature of dynamic technological changes, there is a need to manage constant training/coaching for the project members involved. This context keeps the project manager and project executives current and on the learning curve. In the future, project managers will be successful if they break the typical corporate mindset. They will be the ones who work with a hybrid approach and mindset. The term “hybrid” refers to the ability of the Project Manager to take an adaptive approach to the multiple roles and provide value with cross-functional/diverse teams.

Though technology plays a central role in project management, the project managers are expected to have great levels of emotional intelligence to manage the project members. The Project Manager needs to maneuver through social skills and empathy. This move would greatly contribute to the productivity and quality of the projects.

3. Sustainability / Ecological concerns

Project managers have to become socially responsible in alignment with the organizational culture, structure, and processes, starting with environmental analysis as per the PMBOK Guide. It would be exciting for the project managers to contribute to sustainability by adding the sustainability objectives to the project charter apart from the financial business case. This action might call for additional training on aspects like sustainability LCA(Life Cycle Assessments).

From sourcing to day-to-day operations in the project, the project manager needs to consider minimizing the carbon footprint, and it’s no more a thing specific to governments. Sustainability involves balancing different concerns:

  • Environment, such as climate change
  • Society, such as community
  • Economy, such as affordability
  • Administration, such as health and safety

When these four elements are considered, we can build sustainability into projects. (Reference: APM Body of knowledge 7th Edition)

Four Elements of Sustainability

Four Elements of Sustainability

Project managers need comprehensive risk management when it also calls for transparent project communication. Especially when it comes to a project with a high level of material handling, sustainability aspects in terms of procurement from the right suppliers, verification of the sources, material origin, quality of the material, etc., would come into context. Project managers must look from all the above perspectives to make sustainable project management a reality.

Conclusion

The project management profession has come into an exciting phase as it’s more challenging and has more tools to make it easier. Only with an appropriate level of training on the tools and adoption of emerging trends would project managers be able to sustain it. The project managers’ skills move in the direction of having focus, multi-skill leadership, emotional intelligence, change management, and negotiation skills. Achieving certifications would be to have an aspect to prove your credentials and have a structured approach to your thought process complementing your experience and skills in these areas outlined in this article.

Understanding current project management trends and predicting the future of project management is critical for staying on top of the profession. Considering the predictions, the future looks bright for those who can adapt to changing trends by expanding their knowledge of new tools and techniques and pursuing accreditation for project management in their specific industries.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube

You can subscribe and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

You can subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our certification Q&A series and student success stories using the link https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

For any questions related to Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

Bridging the PMO Gap – Today & Tomorrow

Bridging the PMO Gap – Today & Tomorrow

A Project Management Office (PMO) is a group or department within an organization that defines and maintains project management standards. It provides project management guidelines and standards. In addition, it aids in developing measurable objectives that align with the organization’s overall vision and ensure that all targets are met. PMO will also be referred to as a program or project portfolio management office, depending on the project/program/portfolio.

The Project/Program/Portfolio office has undergone a paradigm shift during this COVID-19. This shift has also paved the way for innovative ways of its operations and leads us to the question of revisiting gaps PMOs have from the context between where we are today and how the future holds for the PMO. Project managers/portfolio managers need to embrace today’s PMO situation and be ready for transformation in the days ahead. There could be challenges and opportunities that need prioritizing. This article helps to envisage the gaps between PMOs of today and PMOs of the future.

PMO Types

PMOs are based on their degree of control and influence on projects. Of the many types, there are three distinct types of PMO.

3 Distinct Types of PMO

3 Distinct Types of PMO

  1. Supportive: A supportive PMO gathers all of an organization’s projects and provides best practices, templates, and training but with limited control.
  2. Controlling: A controlling PMO ensures that project management tools, processes, and standards are implemented in a controlled manner.
  3. Directive: Within the organization, a directive PMO maintains a high level of control over the project management process.

In 2020 according to the Wellingtone Survey, 89% of organizations reported having at least one PMO. 

Role of PMO

Project Office was the term used for aircraft development in the 1930s by the U.S. Air Corps. PMO has been widely adopted since the 1980s when it was first adopted in Construction and IT and slowly adopted in other sectors. It added value and efficiency to the projects and programs through better management. PMO was considered a central administrative office responsible for setting up standard project management methodologies, processes, guidelines, and templates for project teams.

Besides that, PMO extended the arms in training the teams involved in a project about project management practices. Essentially, they imparted knowledge on appropriate project management practices, which helped team members be on the same page on project management practices. They maintained and tracked the lessons learned risks, and project progress, integrated the data between projects, helped share common resources across projects, and ensured project alignment to the business’s strategic objectives. They have been acting more like a center of excellence for Project Management.

Steps to be taken when developing a PMO strategy

  • Clarify your company’s goals, vision, and mission.
  • Take note of the resources required for a successful operation.
  • Choose the best mode of communication.
  • Create a system for tracking progress.
  • Create a process for resolving conflicts and overcoming project bottlenecks.
Steps to be taken when developing a PMO strategy

Steps to be taken when developing a PMO strategy

Situation today

In the White Paper: The Future of PMO by Aled Laugharne, Chaucer, states that:

  • PMOs operating in the “traditional” way continue to meet stakeholder expectations in around 80% of cases and are considered critical to the program’s success.
  • Governance, reporting, planning, and exceptions are all areas where PMOs excel.
  • At present, achieving Level 2 – Foundational is sufficient to meet key stakeholder expectations. However, moving to Level 3 – Advanced increases the likelihood of PMOs being marked as “exceeding.”
  • Although employers entirely staff some PMOs, consultants and contractors continue to play an important role in PMOs.
  • The wider program community is typically less satisfied with PMO performance than key stakeholders who sit centrally.
  • In general, there is a 50:50 split between PMOs that believe they need to prioritize improvement and those that want to maintain the status quo or have other program priorities.

Current Potential positive and negative impacts of PMO

The Covid-19 pandemic was the primary driver under External Impacts. However, the consequences of the current crisis appear destined to shape the future of PMO. The following are examples of potential positive and negative consequences:

  • Cost-cutting in pandemic-affected industries has resulted in a shift in PMO resourcing to internal staff.
  • Change and transformation occur due to the pandemic’s response, increasing the demand for PMO, such as in the Life Sciences industry.
  • As a result of virtual working, the need for online collaboration tooling for PMOs is growing.
  • With co-location in the country no longer required, virtual working increases global competition for PMO services.
  • The rise of Agile PMOs is designed to respond quickly to changing external conditions.

Organizations have started looking to PMOs to optimize the management of increased projects. PMO is responsible for managing delays, cost overruns, quality, and style of the project management practices. Also, they have been involved in resource utilization and accountable for cost-overruns in the projects. It is no more just an administration or supportive role but has become pivotal in strategic and tactical operations across projects.

Today’s PMO in large organizations has an influential role to play. More than being supportive, it has become directive and controlling for compliance and alignment towards organizational objectives. In some organizations, PMOs operate at Strategic Business Unit level or Vertical in alignment with specific sectors with a key focus on Planning, Support, Monitoring, and control functions.

PMO office is involved in providing consistent templates, resources, and tools consistent across projects. Provides an integrated project management capability across the projects and facilitates collaboration in cross-department aspects to align and meet strategic business goals. The tools used and recommended by the PMO are based on Technology, Ease of adoption, price benefit, and ability to scale. Their results directly reflect upon the organization’s operational and resource challenges. Today’s PMO organization helps in who will use the tool, which will maximize benefit, impact on the PMO process, how readiness in terms of adoption, etc.,

Not to mention the problems of meeting deadlines, cost, scope, and quality. There are other areas where PMOs have to evolve; we will discuss some challenges faced by today’s PMOs.

Challenges faced by today's PMOs

Challenges faced by today’s PMOs

Communication: As an organization has become more digital, the information required by different stakeholders and different levels requires varied contexts. Communication gaps still affect the sponsors or stakeholders due to the availability of information to act on time with the right context. As businesses are so quick to change and environment is dynamic, and priorities change frequently, the PMO must align and adapt quickly.

Compliance in global business: Organizations are no more local. Small or big organizations are starting to have global access thanks to digital. Compliance with organization standards or government regulations when operated across multiple countries. Non-Compliance could turn out to be very costly. Varied and fast changes in procedures/processes would be an additional burden in implementation. Also, cultural factors/time zones would matter when the PMO office is central and not decentralized.

Training, Coaching, and Mentoring: PMOs have to do different things apart from typical training methodologies with project managers/portfolio managers and project associates. When the domain changes, Project managers struggle to cope with these situations. PMO has to help the project manager with an appropriate strategy of training. Ability to track with leading indicators of the training rather than measuring the lagging metrics.

Agile: Large enterprises and organizations are already adopting agile. Requirements are evolving, and project managers don’t have the luxury of having absolute clarity. Yet PMO needs to help the project teams to bring clarity amidst ambiguity, managing assumptions, the definition of done, prioritization, etc. The problem-solving methods have to be made simple and deliver faster decision-making.

Resource Management: Minimizing resource waste is a key function for PMOs, and nowadays, organizations have sustainability goals that will naturally transpire to the PMOs along with project goals. Better planning and coordination are required apart from minimizing risks and managing unforeseen circumstances like COVID. For example, there was a sudden spike for Laptops for resources who are expected to work from home on projects.

Infrastructure, Tools, and Methods: PMO office teams need the right infrastructure in terms of Data, Compute, and more to process data effectively. Current PMO is empowered with tools, predominantly BI and Excel. In the given context of speed of data growth, those tools may not be sufficient. Stronger tools may be required for predictive analytics. Also, the methods are evolving, and the means to collaborate effectively must happen through effective training and other means.

The PMO is evolving into a more strategic role

PMO might focus more on canceling weaker projects. A well-planned project cancellation will free up staff for higher-priority projects. In addition, it makes sense to detect failure early and take appropriate action before the damage worsens. This action contributes to the future cultural shift required for successful project failure.

What holds the future for Tomorrow’s PMO?

What holds the future for Tomorrow's PMO

What holds the future for Tomorrow’s PMO

PMO will hold the forte of what matters for the business. They will own the projects and drive results for the organization. In a world where business and IT are more intertwined, the Role of PMO will act as a glue that bonds them together well. PMO will no longer be a support function but will be infused into the business as a core strategy. They will demand that X is needed for Y to be achieved, and this will drive the business objectives and momentum.

Embrace Agile: It has been more than 20+ years since the agile manifesto was released, and the PMO will be more flexible than ever. Organizations are adopting Agile Pods (Product Oriented Delivery) which are a group of small self-organized people with varied skills focused on bringing on the results in development. PMOs will work through this pod and manage the resource pool dynamically based on the project demands with cross-functional awareness. Adopting agile methods by PMOs will result in faster delivery timelines and a more collaborative approach to satisfy stakeholders from a 360-degree perspective. This kind of approach will create a more adaptable PMO function that can be reused and adapted as the PMO function expands its horizons.

Automation: Leverage automation to enhance the speed of delivery. PMOs must identify opportunities for improvement on routine tasks that can be automated. Focus on automating report generation and automation. We need to use the means of notification based on the criticality of the issues to the respective stakeholders. Leverage AI and bots to respond to common queries on the PMO through manual means at enterprise levels. Leveraging automation and AI would help free up critical time for the PMO office to focus on the organization’s strategic goals, act as an enabler to focus on project blockers, and help mobilize resources to resolve bottlenecks in critical paths.

Going Hybrid: By leveraging the tools which can help collaborate better, all the project-related tasks, resources, and people are brought to one place. Teams with varied skills, styles, and different views work together irrespective of place to bring more stability, engagement, and efficiency. Flexible work schedules would also help attract talent and broaden the options which are boundaryless. This freedom also allows the PMO to explore all the options in engaging or onboarding resources required for bringing good results.

Data & Insights: The ability to gain insights from the data is the trend as the data volume is moving from GB to TB. There are heterogeneous data sources beyond organizations that are more external and are to be analyzed through API and SDKs with other systems for meaningful inferences. Data getting converted information and the PMOs responsibility to forecast and identify risks with the knowledge gained through insights will be crucial for the organization. Information insights have to be obtained in less time to act upon it. Integration of communication channels and making it more flexible on push/pull gives the right balance to act upon the information.

Emotional Intelligence: Projects are made of people. People are dealt with emotions daily. Beyond cost, quality and scope, the project managers have to manage the people’s vital resources in the project with care in the times of higher attrition. Striking balance between the millennials and their expectations is crucial, which can be managed through appropriate emotional intelligence management. Managing it would result in handling pressure, making better decisions, strong relationships, and positively impacting the work environment.

Although stakeholders are generally satisfied with current PMO performance, there is a sense that PMOs will need to do the following in the coming years:

  • Increase their role in strategic elements of a program, transformation, or organization while decreasing the time spent on transactional processing.
  • Increase your tooling and automation, which will allow you to de-scale and facilitate remote working in the “new normal.”
  • Organize themselves to quickly “spin up” to support transformations and change the PMO approach as needed.
  • Play a bigger role in fusing the “traditional” PMO approach with Agile working methods.
  • When establishing and changing the PMO approach, prioritize stakeholder engagement, especially for the larger stakeholder community, and plan specific change activities.

Evolution of PMO – Today & Tomorrow

The PMO’s role might keep changing, but the concept of bridging the gap between today and future PMOs is learning from failures.

  • PMOs lose sight of the strategy and become mired in tactical or administrative tasks.
  • PMOs maintain a project portfolio that contains gaps, overlaps, and other waste.
  • PMOs add processes rather than simplifying or eliminating them.
  • PMOs believe that tools will solve all of their problems – or that the flashiest tools will solve all of their problems.
  • Even when they provide value, PMOs fail to communicate it.
  • PMOs waste too much time on meaningless – or bad – reporting.
  • PMOs do not track what is essential or hold people accountable.
  • PMOs do not optimize or provide transparency into resource utilization.
  • PMOs behave more like police officers than aid workers.
  • PMOs either cannot find their place in an agile world or resist it.

As per PMI research, more than 55 percent of PMO directors say the charter for their PMO has changed in the past five years as the impact of technology on PMO is dynamic. The PMO, as part of the organization, is affected by this disruption without exception.

Some examples of the technology used in PMO and its impacts:

  1. Cloud – 66%
  2. Digitalization – 54%
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – 25%
  4. Internet of Things (IoT) – 24%
  5. Blockchain – 11%

Conclusion

Transformational PMO needs to learn quickly and must embrace digital disruption. The experts in the domain of PMO have to implement their tools wisely. A new generation of PMOs will be strategic enablers, bridging the gap between a company’s vision and how that vision comes to life. Future PMOs could be virtual or Hybrid. If you are setting up your PMO today, consider all the technical and digital options available on the cloud to use it best. These options would help manage Strategic, Tactical, and operational levels. Include that in your budget. This budgeting would also bring on Collaboration and Transparency. The high use of PPM-Portfolio/Program Management Tools would be crucial for larger organizations. PMO is no more an organization of assigning tasks and monitoring them; it’s well beyond boundaries.

Feel free to check out my discussion on this topic with Thomas Walenta in YouTube.

You can subscribe and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

You can subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our certification Q&A series and student success stories using the link https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

For any questions related to Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

 

 

Leveraging Hybrid Global Project Teams

Leveraging Hybrid Global Project Teams

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

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

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

Current Scenario 

  • 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.
Current Scenario

Current Scenario

A Global Survey of Executives, Employee Experience Experts, and Knowledge Workers, Dimensional Research | October 2020

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

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.

Operational Cost

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.

Tracking projects in Hybrid global project teams:

As per the new Global Trends in Project Management 2022 report, there are a few challenges in managing projects in today’s hybrid world.

challenges in managing projects in today's hybrid world

Challenges in managing projects in today’s hybrid world

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Time-consuming reporting

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.

  1. Outdated processes

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.

  1. Ineffective scheduling

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Outdated software

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

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.

Summary

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

You can subscribe and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

You can subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our certification Q&A series and student success stories using the link https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

For any questions related to Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

 

Achieving Project Success with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Achieving Project Success with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

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.,

Mindset

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

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
  • Courage
  • Obsession with opportunity
  • Risk tolerance
  • Creativity
  • Motivation to excel
  • Leadership

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.

Courage

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.

Risk Tolerance

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.

Risk Tolerance

Risk Tolerance

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.

Creativity

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

You can subscribe and follow my podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

You can subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to catch future videos of our certification Q&A series and student success stories using the link https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

For any questions related to Project Management career, training, and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting https://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

PMI Ethics : In a Digital Transformation World

PMI Ethics : In a Digital Transformation World

According to the PMI (Project Management Institute), “Ethics is about making the best possible decisions concerning people, resources and the environment. Ethical choices diminish risk, advance positive results, increase trust, determine long term success, and build reputations. Leadership is dependent on ethical choices”. Ethics represent a crucial differentiator in a highly competitive market where reputation and values are highly appreciated among the Project Management Professionals.

The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right

The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right”. As project managers/program managers or portfolio managers, we must make critical decisions daily. Though in the evolving digital transformation world, many decisions might go unnoticed, few do get noticed, as critical ones. These decisions have a profound impact on people, resources, and the environment. Some decisions might have led to conflicts, dilemma, or the creation of new risks.

What is Ethics, and what is the Role of PMI?

Ethics is the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. It involves steps, including systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behaviours.

Regarding ethics at PMI, in the year 1981, the PMI team formed the PMI Board of Directors on Ethics, Standards, and Accreditation. The current PMI ethics document outlines the essentials of ethics based on Vision, Responsibility, Respect, Fairness, and Honesty. PMI expects its members to adhere to these codes of ethics to uphold its values.

Essentials of Ethics

Essentials of Ethics

When the whole world is fighting the COVID-19 situation, and demand for digital transformation projects is at an all-time high, PMI professionals need not ask for a better time to establish high ethical standards. Let’s understand the key challenges a PMI trained professional faces in the current digital transformation world.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.

There are four types of digital transformation: business process, business model, domain, and cultural/organizational. We often see corporations focused solely on the process or organizational transformation.

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

There are three essential components of a digital transformation:

  1. The overhaul of processes
  2. The overhaul of operations, and,
  3. The overhaul of relationships with customers.

The crucial elements that every digital transformation program needs to focus on are,

  • Customer focus
  • Organisational structure
  • Change management
  • Transformational leadership
  • Technology decisions involve the whole c-suite
  • Integration of data
  • Internal customer experience
  • Logistics and supply chain
  • Data, security, and privacy
  • Evolution of products, sales, and process around the delivery
  • Digitisation
  • Personalisation

The key aspects of the digital transformation world could have a major impact on Ethics.

Major impact on Ethics

Major impact on Ethics

The transformative effect of Process with Digital Technology: Award-winning Author James Moor in 1985 mentions the transformative effect Digital Transformation could create. He cites the example transformation of manual votes to Electronic Voting Machines, which might benefit from speed and accuracy. On the contrary, it could impact security, vulnerability, transparency, and trustworthiness related issues.

Projects executed in Virtual environments: Today, the projects get implemented in remote places – Home/Office/Small Office combinations. People are working from remote, and it has become the new normal. People significantly use collaboration tools and in some occasions even communicate using social media, which could be manipulative.

Blogging/Newsletters/Social Media Platforms: Professionals tend to share the experience and insights reflecting upon the work ecosystem. Either sharing happens as an experience in a newsletter or a blog post, or it could be even a Twitter thread or a simple tweet reflecting a view. This act is typically done by those who tend to be expressive even within a professional organizational setup.

Global and fast-moving digital society: Communications spread very fast, and a diverse global culture leaves very little control. Digital technology, which is supposed to help leverage, could turn dangerous. The expectation for responsiveness sometimes leaves very little room for interpretation.

Real-world pressures or Peer Competition: Today’s real-world information sharing creates unwarranted peer pressure. This pressure might develop dilemmas and force individuals towards adverse decision-making. Sometimes, due to competitive peer pressures or financial pressures, even the employees’ health and safety concerns might get overseen.

Confidentiality and data security issues: Enhanced digital transformations across the globe have made data exchange easier. In the case of a data expose, it is vital to understand what is exchanged and what is the importance of the exchanged data. Lack of understanding of the data classification at appropriate levels could become risky when the proper accountability level could not be ascertained.

Disruptive AI Tech: Disruptive AI tech such as Chatbots, Speech Recognition Systems, etc., has made the way we think of data and decision making. Too much dependence or flawed inference might have an impact.

Ethics focus on PMIs Performance Domains & Digital Transformation

When a portfolio/program/project vision is established and defined, observable outcomes between the current state and future state as part of the digital transformation must be counted in. The key components that would impact the above said performance domains would be done with re-imagination, cultural change, and cross-functionality.

Digital transformation might have changed in a newer business model, new product focus, and a more contemporary way of working. Digital transformation is about getting the technology right and building necessary support and buy-in from the people managing resistance. Business processes need to be horizontally redesigned to enable collaboration across the teams.

PMI's Program Management Standard

PMI’s Program Management Standard

PMI’s Program Management Standard defines five performance domains that can be integrated with ethics, giving a significant shift in ethics adoption, and may help in improving overall digital transformation initiatives. They are:

  • Benefits Management: Benefits profile, which would be based on outcomes and measurement, has to have the ingredients of the ethics as well.
  • Strategy Alignment: Strategic alignment to focus on the changing business environment and strategic targets on digital transformation must be governed through ethics.
  • Governance: Governance focus and establishes control related to programs. Governance would bring discipline and ethics into the broader organizational structure.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Stakeholders to be kept well informed on the ethical aspects of getting involved whenever any changes in stakeholders.
  • Program Lifecycle: Given a structure and suggested flow for a program, the ethics principle has to be adopted to address dilemmas related to circumstances of a business and initiative.

5As Decision-Making framework

PMI has recommended the 5A’ss decision-making framework outlines with Assessment-Alternatives-Analysis-Application-Action. The 5A’s assessment helps to collate all the facts about the ethical dilemma. It considers all your choices. Subsequently, decision candidates are identified and tested for their validity. Apply these principles to the candidates and make the final decision.

5As Decision-Making framework

5As Decision-Making framework

The decision-makers, when they adopt the 5A decision-making framework, the following checklist:

Assessment

  • Does it adhere to the law?
  • Does it comply with PMI code of ethics ?
  • Does it comply with the organization code of ethics?
  • Does it comply with the professional conduct ?
  • Does it comply with the ethical values and culture of ecosystem?

Alternatives

  • Whether alternatives are listed ?
  • For the given choices do we have pros and cons ?

Analysis

  • What kind of impact it would make ? (Positive/Negative)
  • Does it count in cultural differences ?
  • Is this decision taken considering long term impact ?
  • Is this decision taken without any external influence ?
  • Were you calm and unstressed during this decision ?

Application

  • Will the decision be for larger good ?
  • Has the decision is without any bias ?
  • Is this fair for all concerned ?

Action

  • Will you take responsibility ?
  • Would you be ok to make your decision public ?
  • Are you ready to act ?

Benefits:

When the portfolio managers and program managers adopt the above-said approach outlined in the PMI code of ethics, it provides the following benefits:

  • Elevates the profession and raises future standards
  • Increases the faith and trust among peers
  • Imprints on individual moral mindsets and behaviors
  • Improves business relationships across the board
  • Promotes fair decision making
  • Reduces project risks
  • Reduces anxiety and stress and ultimately turnover in projects

Conclusion

Transparency and integrity must be the core values which has to be established by the professionals. The data must be used in responsible and ethical ways during the digital transformation initiative. Data collection has to be based on the ethics principle called “Informed Consent.” The actions cannot be intrusive, manipulative, or disrespectful to others.

Trust must be established among the individuals, groups, or organizations involved in the digital transformations. This trust can be created by establishing data provenance, traceability from the source to the user interface. Program managers or portfolio managers have to act without any bias and with a high level of integrity and impartiality. The same has to be established for the clients, suppliers, and subcontractors without any favoritism and giving them an unfair advantage.

 

The Agile Mindset

The Agile Mindset

Agile (.adj) means “to move quickly and easily”. It is a mindset of being more responsive. Humans are born agile. Off late, agile has been highly adopted by the software industry, but, in reality, it has been adopted by organizations of different domains to bring on success.

Agile Manifesto, created by seventeen software developers in 2001, embraces four core values: individual interactions over process and tools; working software rather than through documentation; collaboration with customers; and responding to change rather than following a plan.

Agile mindset is not only about that, but it would have those four principles as a foundation for a successful agile transformation bringing on agility in the organization. This transformation would certainly change the way organizations handle their portfolio, programs and projects. Steve Denning, an authority on Agile management, argues that hardware developers need to embrace Agile principles to keep up with the pace of innovation.

Agile Transformation

Agile Transformation

Tesla creates a lot of 3D Models and continuously iterates them to create many models to test them in different ways rapidly. 3D Printing techniques have empowered Tesla to pursue this methodology.

With this capability, rapid changes in hardware component level are iterated until the best design is evolved. SpaceX also exhibits a similar continuous iteration. Continuously improving and managing to incorporate customer feedback is all about having an agile mindset. The agile mindset is more of the management and leadership problem, which needs a cultural shift of thinking in an agile way.

Problems for existing project managers

Problems for existing project managers

What are the problems for existing project managers for an agile mindset?

  1. Typically, project managers assume that Agile is another project management approach.
  2. Ability to unlearn and learn to avoid the lens of project management previously done.
  3. Lack of familiarity with Agile concepts (e.g., Self-Organizing Teams)
  4. Confusion between the agile principles and frameworks such as Scrum, XP, etc.,
  5. Undermining the benefits of agile and not having trust in those principles

Agile Mindset

When we talk about the agile mindset, I would like to share with you all the below Zen Ex Machina diagram from Ahmed Sidkey’s “Agile mindset” presentation done in Agile Alliance conference 2014. The agile mindset reflects upon the actions and behaviors, thereby creating an agile culture. These can be brought to action based on 4 Values, 12 Principles as outlined in the diagram here.

Agile Mindset

Agile Mindset

Agile mindset is all about exhibiting certain behaviors. In an organization, we need to respect the worth of every person. Always exhibit truthfulness in communication by being transparent on the data, actions and decisions made. Commit to the team and organization through the collaboration for the common goal, trusting that support will be available from each other.

The following table outlines the differences in terms of agile vs. fixed mindset.

Fixed Mindset vs. Agile Mindset

Fixed Mindset vs. Agile Mindset

When you are working on portfolio/programs/projects, you don’t see all the necessary outcomes, but you keep evolving it. Typically, when we are talking about an agile mindset, it always keeps evolving. This evolution can be referred to IKIWISI – I know it when I see it. So, when you can show the progress, customers or stakeholders can relate it better and conceive better.

It’s important to have an agile mindset, to “be agile,” but you also need to have the requisite skills to “do agile” and the experience to do “enterprise agile.” Though we understand the benefits and tenets of the agile mindset, when it comes to implementation, there is a lack of guidance for the team on what to adopt and how to go about the same. Typically, when teams follow a prescriptive framework, things fall in line and provide better results. It provides a better improvement which is consistent over time. One such prescriptive framework for adopting agile practices is DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery) framework.

How DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery) can be leveraged for mindset?

DAD

DAD

DAD approaches agile as a people-first, learning-oriented methodology for delivery. PMI DAD Toolkit is free for use. The focus of the toolkit is on the delivery, which is achieved by being hybrid which can take the best across multiple methodologies. The agile mindset can be accomplished by leveraging the Disciplined Agile mindset recommendation from PMI, which encompasses PPG (Principles, Promises and Guidance). DAD can help us transform ourselves into an agile mindset in practice. Easier said than done, but DAD could be the guiding light toward it.

Disciplined Agile mindset

Disciplined Agile Mindset

For having and improving the agile mindset, the locus of control needs to be more internal. The focus on outcomes and giving the necessary empowerment to people makes a significant difference. It should be embracing rather than imposition to people or one’s self. Disciplined Agile provides guardrails, guidance and enterprise awareness so your life as PM would be easy to advocate and embrace. DAD’s toolkit helps an organization to adopt common vocabulary while adoption of agile becomes easier with principles such as Delighting the customers, Optimizing the flow, etc.,

The following are some of the philosophies which could help the portfolio to be managed better based on DAD’s toolkit:

The motivation of resources:

There could be projects wherein there is a need for reduction in resources, some places it might cause cost overrun. Have the portfolio resources spread across the projects and rotate them across projects based on interests. Having a stable team who have good knowledge and understanding of domain can be cross-trained easily as well. Enable the team by building a safe culture and environment, and by motivating them to excel.

Business Value:

In this pandemic time, the customer would also suffer. There is no other good time than now to support them. One of the key portfolio strategies would be to maximize the stakeholder value by minimizing the risk in building the whole thing. So, approach such as “Prove Architecture Early” by building architecture components earlier would help achieve balance in risk profile and provide better value. This move helps the team to arrive at consensus early and re-prioritize activities after discussing with the customer. 

DAD's Toolkit

DAD’s Toolkit

Managing change:

With an agile mindset, fundamental thinking is accepting or embracing the fact that change is natural. A change could be influenced by a situation like a pandemic, technology changes, political factor, economic and legislative changes, and many more reasons. This change needs to be managed by Managing work items, prioritizing who has to work on it with details on How? and What?. Use of tools like Kanban boards can be very handy here.

Agile Governance:

  1. Incorporate simplified governance model across the portfolio and programs.
  2. Identify common risk areas and try to revisit the vision on what is to be accomplished.
  3. Relook strategies where the PMO efforts can be focused on creating business value for the stakeholders.

Alignment of the portfolio strategy with enterprise strategy would help to bring the stakeholders on the same page as well.

Effective Communication Strategy:

Interacting with the stakeholders is a very important component in seamless, agile implementation. The right choices of the communication channel based on the given context are very influential and can make a big difference.

Right choices of the communication channel

Right choices of the communication channel

Creating trust:

  1. Ensure the safety and well being of the team members.
  2. Take smaller initiatives which can lower the risk and enable frequent deliveries, thereby creating a trust of both the customer, teams and vendors.
  3. Act on action items after taking all stakeholders into confidence, which would create trust, resulting in a long-term relationship and also would enable us to maneuver key initiatives smoothly across the portfolio.

Bridging with the help of metrics:

Look at the gaps in the portfolio due to the current situation by evaluating portfolio metrics such as ROI, ROA, NPS, Velocity, etc., This would help on how to embrace the change and why that change is to be made. Manage the portfolio better by interacting with other teams based on the metrics.

Conclusion:

Overall this article aims to impart the essential aspects of the Agile Mindset. It highlights some key ingredients which can be applied during the current pandemic times to improve the situation better from Agile Context.

 

 

Navigating out of Comfort Zone to achieve your goals & Latest PgMP® / PfMP® Stats 2020

Navigating out of Comfort Zone to achieve your goals & Latest PgMP® / PfMP® Stats 2020

The term “Comfort Zone” has been put to use in professional citations since the 1991 work “Danger in the comfort zone”. It became widely popular after the paper “From Comfort Zone to Performance Management” by Alasdair White in 2008. “Comfort zone” is to be understood as a behavioral state from which an individual operates or works or carries on his way of life. Comfort zone is almost unique to everyone, and it may or may not be equivalent to another individual.

In our life, we do come out of our comfort zones many times, though we rarely recognize it. Your first day at school, moving from school to college, college to your first job, making your next big career move, etc. could be stated as examples.

Comfort zone

Comfort Zone

At these points in time, we would have experienced a lot of pressure to adapt, expand our skills and continue to learn and evolve. Our inner ego would have pushed us to get out of being labelled as incompetent, inauthentic or an imposter and succeed in the new role assigned to us by time.

It’s also critical to understand first the opportunities this journey out of your comfort zone would reward you. Here we discuss some ways using which we can navigate ourselves out of our comfort zones to achieve success.

Indicators of you being in a comfort zone

Let’s take a case where you have been working as a manager in a reputed organization, handling specific operations, and you are awesome at what you do. If you have specific career goals, and you have identified your destination, you need to understand whether you are currently in a comfort zone first.

Some indicators could be,

  • You are doing your job with ease and make consistent paychecks
  • You don’t have anybody to benchmark within the organization or the industry forum
  • You are pretty much self-sustained, and you don’t see yourself any scope for further growth
Being in a comfort zone

Being in a comfort zone

Comfort zone Assessment Questions

Here are some questions which can help you understand if you are already in the comfort zone.

  1. When was the last time you were very stressed in making some decisions at work?
  2. When did you last take up a new challenge?
  3. When did you do something creative and new?
  4. Are you happy with what you are doing?
  5. Are you sure that you are not lost nor out of control?

Why do we need to move out of the Comfort Zone?

When we are in the comfort zone, we don’t learn; we don’t evolve. Learning gets halted, and we fail to embrace new ideas and concepts. We stop experiencing newer things in life, and this might result in loss of acquiring critical behavior or skills. We naturally become the victim of behavior patterns which we are used to as the time spent on comfort zone becomes longer.

Why do we need to move out of the Comfort Zone?

Why do we need to move out of the Comfort Zone?

Gone are the days where living in such a context is not a life challenging issue for an individual. Times have changed, and in today’s professional world, only those who embrace continuous learning and adaptability are better poised to succeed.

Understanding the Fear zone

For any individual contributor of a team, the moment you feel that you have the capability coupled with an excellent opportunity to be part of leadership or management, your journey out of your comfort zone has begun.

When you think about doing something new, you naturally get fear, or you feel terrified. When this thing happens, most of us cloak ourselves with any of these following excuses:

  • Yeah, I’m doing what I know very well, and there is nothing wrong about it.
  • Why do we need to change the status when everything is going fine today?
  • Having a false impression that you have future proof skills because you are thriving today.
  • I have maneuvered myself this far, why do I need to propel my limits further.
Understanding the Fear zone

Understanding the Fear zone

When we are in the fear zone, we also tend to be affected by other opinions and get annoyed. Typically, in projects, some people can be identified in a peculiar way wherein they will not share any information due to insecurity or fear. They always worry about what is going to happen.

These are individuals who build a shell around themselves thinking what will others think If I ask this question, maybe people will laugh at me, ridicule me, etc. These are good signs indicating you are in the fear zone.

What is needed to come out of the fear zone?

  1. Courage
  2. Compassion
  3. Wisdom
Come out of the fear zone

Come out of the fear zone

Have the courage to understand and look situation like “You are not alone” in this. Look at the situations more positively. Consume information which is more reliable and that which will lead you the right direction. Trust yourself first, and also others around you. Get around with people who are your well-wishers and find them within the project organization. Discuss your fears openly with them take baby steps to come out of it. Believe that when you confront your fears, you will also be able to help others confront the fear and manage it better for the overall good of the organization. It might take longer than you think to come out of it, but it is alright. You will be able to maneuver out of the fear zone and move towards reaching your full potential by getting transformed at the Learning Zone.

Most individuals tend to get stuck in this zone or go back to their comfort zone. You must stay in the course of advancing into the subsequent zone. The journey is more rewarding than the end goal of getting beyond the growth zone. Now let’s look at the learning zone.

Learning Zone: Knowing vs Doing Gap

Learning Zone

Learning Zone

You are managing a project in India; you have a multi-cultural and a multi-lingual environment. Such a context could position you to get out of the comfort zone to interact, manage these stakeholders.

You, an expert in process manufacturing, is assigned to work on a new project where you are dealing with discrete manufacturing. Here you will have the pressure of handling something new which you haven’t done before.

Given these kinds of situations, project managers tend to look at various resources in terms of books, YouTube videos, courses and prepare themselves. Yet, they will have the anxiety as there is a Knowing-Doing gap. In this case, the learning ought to get transformed as behavior.

Dr Andy Molinsky is a professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School and author of “Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge and Build Confidence” recommends 3Cs for the same they are:

  • Conviction
  • Customization
  • Clarity
3Cs

3Cs

Conviction is more towards understanding the deep sense of purpose which can come from the activities which can help your self-esteem or when you have the intent of helping or enabling others. For example, you have a challenge in your project to work on a Gantt Chart, which is essential to be presented to the management. You find that no one else in the team knows about it. Now you need to have the conviction to build it yourself first time as you want to enable the team to help them understand the project situation better. That intent helps you to get you the transformation required. This way, you have responded to the challenge, and also acquired a new skill in the process.

Customization is more of tweaking the solution in your way. Every project organization or PMOs could be different. What worked in your previous office might not work here, as people have cultural and behavior differences. You must customize the data, context, terminology, presentation to their needs by taking steps completely new compared to what you have done in the past. Being adaptive is the most beautiful thing people always admire.

Clarity serves the situation where it is very distorted and chaos. Especially in Project/Program/Portfolio management, where pressing priorities of activities create a nightmare for the managers and resources become contentious. Step away for a short while to take stock of the situation, put yourselves in other person shoes, Self-reflect upon the situation in the right context. Many times, reaching out to a coach or mentor would help in the situation.

Keep building your resilience by doing good things which you are not comfortable. Some simple examples could be Saying “Hello” to strangers, ordering food other than your routine. These acts could increase your will power and mental attitude. By doing these, you can make learning zone your comfort zone and start advancing into the growth zone. Consistently focusing on moving out of the comfort zone is the key.

Growth Zone

Instead of thinking “What if I’m not good enough?”, thinking more like “What if I’m good enough and moving towards success?” would help to be in the growth zone.

Instead of worrying and being stranded at the learning zone, identify the gap in terms of training, upskilling needs, mentoring, coaching needs that navigate towards your objectives. For example, if you are lacking in risk management or project management and need guidance, reach out to the right consultants or coaches or mentors who can help you succeed.

Eradicate the habitual negative thinking and internal fears. With the help of knowledge that you acquired in your learning zone; you should be able to manage things in the growth zone easily. Always ask “What’s the best, most productive action I can take to get the best possible outcome given the situation?”. Change your environment to be positive, have positivity anchors and use visualization techniques. By changing the internal representation of the problem, your ability to recover from that is increased manifold. As a project manager, there are a lot of dependencies and constraints you ought to manage; these dependencies and constraints need to be overcome to eliminate the fear of failure.

Growth Zone

Growth Zone

Typically, negative experiences are what creates fear within. If you believe and value whatever you are doing, you will find a way. You will begin to see them as challenges as opposed to problems or obstacles. Make your goals SMART and start recording your smaller achievements in a book which you can use to track and repeatedly revisit to gain motivation. By eliminating needless fears and factors that hamper your progress, you can break out and live a life beyond limits!

PgMP® / PfMP® certifications

For most senior professionals in the project-program-portfolio management community, there has been no bigger phobia than the PgMP® / PfMP® certification exams. Over the past few years, an aura of unconquerability has been associated surrounding these certifications, but nothing can be far from the actual truth. With proper guidance supported by a well laid out action plan, followed by commitment and hard work, these certifications are achievable, and many of my students are witnesses to the fact. Let us look at the recent stats, concerning these two certifications to understand how exactly this community has managed to thrive irrespective of the current context.

Between 1st July 2020 and 1st Sept 2020, 60 professionals successfully attained their PgMP®, of which 12 are my students. Congratulations to all 60 of them for continuing to have the inner drive to succeed in these tough times.

Welcoming 60 New PgMPs

Welcoming 60 New PgMP®s

 

Welcoming 60 New PgMPs

Welcoming 60 New PgMP®s

 

Welcoming 60 New PgMPs

Welcoming 60 New PgMP®s

Regarding PgMP®, as on 1st Sept 2020, vCare has contributed to the success of 289 global PgMP®s (out of 3,286) from 43 countries.

vCare Project Management PgMP Stats

vCare Project Management PgMP® Stats

 

Global PgMP Stats

Global PgMP® Stats

Between 1st July 2020 and 1st Sept 2020, 27 professionals successfully attained their PfMP®, of which 2 are my students.

Welcoming 27 New PfMP®s

Welcoming 27 New PfMP®s

 

Welcoming 27 New PfMP®s

Welcoming 27 New PfMP®s

As on 1st Sept 2020, Global PfMP® count is 911, with 41 of them (5%) with a successful pass rate of 100% being aided by our services.

Global PfMP® Stats

Global PfMP® Stats

Special thanks to the 14 students for entrusting me with their PgMP® / PfMP® certification journey.

1. Vikas Kumar  2. Gautam Bhatia  3. Jason Gardel  4. Faysal Ghauri

5. Tushar Rawal  6. Oleg Kazalov  7. Kalo Atanasov  8. Ranjit Oberai

9. Ambarish Gupta  10. Hemansh Rastogi  11. Vincy Li  12. Natalie Romanoff

13. Omair Mustafa  14. Hisham Sami Ghulam

Even as this pandemic crisis is still rolling out and impacting our economy and jobs, many professionals have elected to emerge out of their comfort zones and work towards pursuing their learning/certification goals. For us, as a leading training provider, the challenge was to customize and optimize our training delivery to meet the online learning requirements that time has thrust on us. What we saw as a challenge and a difficult mountain to climb initially, later turned out to be a smooth journey filled with more advantageous in terms of course delivery, benefiting both the trainers and students on many fronts. Whoever is taking advantage of this lean period to lunge forward are already starting to see benefits with their professional life.

My opinion is that 95% of people stay in their comfort zone. Around 3% people take steps to walk in the fear zone and stay there or come back to comfort zone. 1.5% people stay in the learning zone, and some of them come back to Fear Zone or even Comfort Zone. 0.49% people reach to the Growth Zone, some come back to the lower zones. Less than 0.01% of people go above or stretch beyond the Growth Zone and do wonders. They never return to the lower zone as they move with the escape velocity. Do come out of your comfort zone; the sky is your limit. For those already in the sky, space is your limit. Trust me; you will live a life beyond your dreams. Between, no one is born with skills and attitude, which will take you all the way. More you look inside it will assist you to look beyond the invisible boundaries.

For those of you in the project management space, who wish to get help in navigating out of your comfort zone and achieve PgMP® / PfMP® certifications, consider signing up for our online programs. We will guide you through all the facets of the PgMP® / PfMP® certification journey. Taking into consideration the hardships that companies and professionals are going through currently, we are offering multiple discounts and flexible payment options to these programs. These programs are conducted over customized timings across different time zones to cater to the requests of the students. Given below are the various online programs’ links. Kindly share this information with anyone who you believe might benefit from it.

PgMP®: http://bit.ly/2oBKQXQ

PfMP®: http://bit.ly/39jOZSf

PMP®: https://bit.ly/2BU0mFp

E-Learning: http://bit.ly/3b2HOid

For any questions related to Project Management career, training and certifications, you can book an obligation free 15 minutes session with me by visiting http://bit.ly/2SbhTOK

PgMP4U is an online mobile application that helps one prepare for the PgMP® exam on the go. Our app gives the essential support required for cracking the PgMP® exam.

iOS | Apple: https://apple.co/2QUngkx; Android | Google Play: http://bit.ly/2QVM5gg

PgMP4U

PgMP4U

PgMP4U LinkedIn Group: http://bit.ly/2SBPwIp

PfMP4U LinkedIn Group: http://bit.ly/31P7GKR

Subscribe to vCare Project Management YouTube Channel to view our PgMP® and PfMP® Success Stories: https://bit.ly/2YF0wJl

Subscribe and follow my Podcasts and interviews with Project Management Experts on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NDY8wd

“Working together for success.”