When lockdown 1.0 hit the UK in March, non-profit organisations across the country scrambled to do whatever it took to survive, to minimise disruption to BAU. While some did already enable remote working, many had to order and commission new equipment, implement new solutions, and train staff who were trying to find ways to deliver their day jobs.
Regardless of our preparedness no-one knew how long this would last, so whether they were in short-term firefighting mode or seeking long-term adaptation of their models.
As the dust settled, we came together to share all our learning around home-working good practice, remote meeting etiquette and more, but as the outlook worsened talk turned to Zoom Gloom, cameras started to go off, and by July our good practices were on the backburner while our diaries were crammed with back-to-back scheduled meetings.
As winter approaches, we may have now settled into working from home, but are we holding ourselves back as we look for a new normal? We’re not going back to our offices for many months yet, and we can’t further postpone the digital projects we need to undertake, so we need to stop fighting to survive, and start planning to succeed in this new world.
For Project Managers and Project Leads, here are four top tips on how to succeed in this virtual context which isn’t going anywhere fast:
- Book in travel time between meetings: a valuable opportunity to process the content of the meeting and to clear our heads.
- Record all demos and training sessions: take advantage of a luxury that we didn’t have before.
- Move to shorter, more frequent collaboration: Short and sharp meetings are a good way to ensure everyone is on track and that priorities are set for the day.
- Insist on “video on”: If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the value of live video. It holds us accountable and discourages us from multitasking.
- The demands on you remain the same, even if your PM isn’t on your shoulder: The supplier is still doing the exact same build, so you will have the same role and responsibilities.
- Be aware of team capacity and performance: It’s possible that your project team appear to have everything under control but check in on how this is being achieved.
- Lead by example: Refer to the project plan and make sure that you block out appropriate time in your schedule for busy periods of the project such as discovery, reviewing a specification or UAT.
- Have a strategy to prevent low morale: As well as checking in on the operational status of the project, check in on how the team are feeling and don’t be afraid to flag this to the Project Manager.