At a time like now, when many more people are working from home, project management best practice principles – such as those in PRINCE2® – can make a big difference to managing both professional and personal pressures.
The seven PRINCE2 principles can be applied in a number of ways:
Continued business justification:
From a work perspective, you should have agreed objectives with your employer which guide your daily tasks and give you a clear framework for your most important activities while working from home. This would of course include staying safe.
On a personal level, during this period of uncertainty, you’ve got to keep going; especially in light of national and international bad news arriving every day. This can have a negative effect on people but getting up with a plan for the day is helpful both mentally and physically.
Learning from experience:
Learning how to solve problems you encounter during this lockdown experience, teaching others and adapting to new technology and ways of working can only make your remote working experience more manageable and enjoyable.
Defining roles and responsibilities:
It’s important to ensure that people across the organization have defined roles and responsibilities. This makes it easier to know the right people to include in virtual meetings. In addition, team members who find their workload reduced due to remote working may be redeployed to help out other teams whose workloads have increased.
This principle is also relevant to your domestic tasks while working from home: your spouse, partner or other cohabitees have to be clear about the division of labour and understand who’s doing which chores on a daily basis. This allows everyone to fit things around their day job.
Manage by stages:
You can treat yourself working from home as a product. For example, managing by stages could mean a regular routine of watching the news at a particular time each day and then going for a walk, run or cycle. Starting and completing different activities creates variety and avoids unnecessary stress.
Manage by exception:
If you observe a piece of work that doesn’t look quite right, get in touch with colleagues straight away and, if necessary, escalate the discussion and follow up in writing. Also, being contactable for colleagues – even after hours – is important when everyone is working flexible hours remotely and juggling various demands.
This principle also applies to looking after your health during this time of pandemic. Keep an eye on symptoms that might indicate Covid-19 and do not wait to get help if necessary.
Focus on products:
Your products are how you do your job, plus your mental and physical health. This means taking proper breaks and doing exercise to remain healthy while operating remotely.
In this scenario, friends and family living elsewhere are “products” too and that involves managing the restrictions on face-to-face contact. However, you should still make future plans, for example how you’ll use your holidays and ensure there are things to look forward to.
Tailor to suit the environment:
Make sure you create a remote working environment where you can function effectively.It has to feel as close to business as usual as possible.
As a person working from home, you and your work responsibilities have now become your project. The PRINCE2 principles will help drive it, keep you organized, motivated and able to support colleagues through these difficult times.