How has the impact of the pandemic forced organizations to think differently – and how should they adapt project management and leadership to help them in 2021?
Using what we call the “PMO triangle” helps us drill down into three key areas:
People: The human element has never been more prominent, as organizations suddenly have to trust people to manage their calendars and workload. This will bring further changes to ways of working and leaders need to think now about how they lead teams.
Rather than a command-control approach, leaders need to be more authentic and people-oriented rather than carrot-stick, result-reward. Adopting a more empathetic, coaching and mentoring approach will obtain greater productivity and support mental health.
Practice: This year, PMOs have struggled to support change teams or maintain audit and assurance activities amid tactical reporting and demands from customers. There is now a unique chance to assess PPM maturity and practice to understand what organizations really need (and build it) as opposed to what they want.
Assessing PPM maturity with best practice such as P3M3 helps build a roadmap for improvement. This covers what an organization should expect from project management practice, assesses the reality in existing projects and recognizes how project management is perceived by the PMO and their customers.
A lot of what we’ve seen in organizations is about rationalizing technology and asking how to sustain a hybrid working model. Also, mature organizations need to be more agile – e.g. using PRINCE2 Agile® – to achieve the least amount of process to operate with.
Tools: We have never seen digital transformation happen so fast, nor the amount of technology organizations are adopting. If we take communications as an example, the chances are you’re using a combination of MS Teams, Zoom, GoogleMeet, as well as Slack, Trello, MS Planner, and many more.
The forced shift to virtual working shows how enterprises can make decisions quickly and pragmatically rather than waiting for the perfect moment, which is how decisions on transformation used to be made. Yes, it may be painful for a while but it has been possible.
Planning for business change and improvement in 2021
Organizations across industries will continue to convert services into digital offerings next year. Before now, many didn’t have this in their “sights”, being comfortable with the way things had always been done. Equally, we’ve seen a sudden uptake in maturity assessments to help organizations prepare for the future, whatever that looks like.
As this period presents the perfect opportunity to develop a case for change, best practice will be needed more than ever. This will help change professionals to understand their “minimum viable standard” and really adopt methods such as PRINCE2®.
I think PRINCE2 – and PRINCE2 Agile – are particularly suited to this challenge because we know they work; by adopting the principles – and especially tailoring the method to your circumstances – these methods provide repeatable guidance you can trust. We just need to use them in a smarter way.
Investing in the right training and development
One positive by-product of the pandemic is people using their time to train, learn and develop new skills.
According to online learning platform, Udemy, there’s been a 425% uplift in people taking courses and 80% increase among business and governments. This means that organizations’ employees may now have skills they didn’t before, so they can develop better services. On the downside, we must remember that an hour-long course online can never replace structured learning and experience.
This means organizations should take care to quality-check the courses their employees have completed to know whether they are really returning to work as “experts”.