The Coronavirus pandemic has meant remote and flexible working schemes have become the norm. Given that effective project management is, at its core, about communication, there are a bunch of lessons to be learnt or reinforced about what makes project management work in the COVID-19 era: work in virtual and geographically-dispersed project governance.
Here are a few of our thoughts…
1. Technology matters
Utilising a digital communication platform such as Monday.com, SmartSheet or ProjectManager so that all team members can remain in-the-loop on current project actions, regardless of the geographics, will prove increasingly valuable. Ideally, the platform will enable directors to quickly share important info and updates, essential files, meetings, progress reports and so forth.
In addition to speeding up communication, digital communication platforms may help teams stay enthusiastic about their achievements as they are logged and shared in realtime.
Likewise, it will be important to maintain a good spirit by continuing to host and encourage meetings and even ‘watercooler chat’ via the likes of Zoom, Google Meetings, Skype, WhatsApp or Google Hangouts.
Google Drive or a similar system wherein work can be shared and updated in real-time is also invaluable.
2. Invest time in your relationships
1-1s and informal calls with project team members are hugely important in a workplace where the ability to have those “watercooler” moments is not there. Pick up the phone, arrange a 1-1 informal e-catchup with your team members and remain informed about their loved one’s welfare.
3. Social media is not a waste of time
For savvy project managers who wish to remain up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and the sectors they work in, LinkedIn can be one of your best tools out there. Spend just five to 10 minutes of your spare time scrolling through your feed daily and you’ll be surprised at how your connections have already curated all the most relevant insights, news items and current affairs for you, sans the effort of reading through all the daily papers or news websites. LinkedIn is also great for accessing the latest thought-leadership articles, white papers and other relevant networks, as well as networking with others in your field.
Other social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are of course also useful for remaining up-to-date. Even if just used recreationally, who’s not to say that some of the info you consume won’t in some way come in handy? Knowledge, when it comes to both PM and life, is always power.
4. Stay retrospective
Now that teams are working remotely and the climate is rapidly changing, it can be tempting to skip a few steps of the project management process. For example, it’s more important than ever to keep up with those retrospective meetings once a big project is completed. This meeting is a time for team members to analyse the methods taken and find better, more efficient ways to work going forward so your next project will be even more successful.
5. Culture is key
Times are tough for everybody right now. It’s normal for motivation to dip. One way to boost team morale is by reminding members of the organisation’s culture, its goals and what you are all collectively working towards, together. For example, if you are an organisation for ‘social good’, find ways to emphasise the fantastic causes you are championing and how the team are, and can be, contributing to them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lee Tobin, Marketing Expert
Lee is a professional storyteller. She uses a storybook approach to emotively communicate your organisation’s core messages to your target audience. She especially loves social media and believes that comms should always be bold.