2020 is here and the arguments around the art of perfect project management are still in the mainstream. With fast-paced advancements across organizational functions, project development has to address the paradigm shift happening everywhere, internally in our work cultures and externally in the market trends. And since project managers are the flag bearers of the bandwagon, they must act sooner than everyone else.
Having led a swaddle or projects from the front, 2019 has revamped my understanding of the roles in discussion. It is way more complex yet exciting in the months to arrive. Here’s a quick run-through of the 3 skills that I believe project managers must acquire.
A deeper understanding of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Till about last year, subject matter experts and those with in-hand technical experience were preferred for management roles. They, although continue to supersede non-technical candidates but are falling short of an essential trait – emotional intelligence (EQ).
To be able to handle interpersonal relationships at work judiciously can create an enthusiastic workforce, exactly what EQ stands for. Given the increasing number of stakeholders associated with a project, consistent & correct communication is the greatest expectation and managers of the future should adhere to the same. As the project implementations become diversely categorized, managers have to collaborate with a wider pool of stakeholders externally and diverse teams internally.
Along with the ability to hone technological transition, managers need to embrace communication skills, mentor their teams while keeping intact to core strategy building and business management skills. Not to miss, the ability to make data-driven decisions in the digital ecosystem is equally essential. As the learning curve is steep, managers must up their game and emerge multi-faceted.
However, that doesn’t detach them from their core responsibilities. In 2020, managers must enhance their rudimentary application knowledge in emerging technologies such as Blockchain, AI, Data science, etc.
Therefore, the pursuit of such hybrid skills will require thorough retrospection followed by proactive learning. Consider soliciting all-round analysis of your current strengths and weaknesses while seeking feedback from peers or taking up professional courses.
Embracing Hybrid Project Development methodologies
I have been vouching for hybrid methodologies for long. In rapidly changing implementation landscapes, uniform project development approaches tend to give up at some point or the other. Not that I am not pleased with Agile delivery anymore, it’s just the extended benefits of bringing Waterfall back to the scene. As a project focused organization, we are looking forward to creating exciting extensibilities by bundling different project delivery practices and produce the one that seeks the best of all. Besides simplifying our developments, the hybrid approach has empowered us to stay compliant with speed to market while being flexible to make changes at any given time.
While some will argue that these approaches are diametrically opposed and therefore mutually exclusive, my own personal experience begs to differ. These practices may look exclusively different diagrammatically (which they actually are) but still, the possibility of using both can’t be ignored. Yes, implementing Agile into classic project environments or vice-versa is absolutely plausible.
As per a survey, approx. 26% of professionals used hybrid project delivery methodology. 63% of those working IT software development confirmed greater throughputs.
As Agile and others become increasingly popular, managers must revisit the books. Which means, not sticking to that one methodology they have worked upon, future project managers must get familiar with the entire catalog.
Going forward, begin with browsing different case studies (there are ample available online). Try to incorporate a hybrid approach in some applications.
Monitoring Expansive Distributed Teams
Teams have already gone beyond geographies, driving critical communications through digital mediums and it has been working all well. What’s changing is the increasing number of people wanting to take up remote work. Given the drastic cost reduction it means for organizations, they were always up for it. Furthermore, it is the project managers who should be worrying if they took this trend casually.
Managing people working from different time zones while keeping everyone on the same page requires pulling out all the stops and managers must prepare themselves.
At Henson Group, our teams work from diverse locations all over the world and we made sure this doesn’t affect our deliveries. They should learn tools on the cloud so that administrative hassles such as system access, attendance, task assignment & reporting don’t create any obstructions. This becomes even more imperative when teams are getting leaner, per head responsibilities are increasing and the deadlines have gone narrower.
No matter what newer comes on board, the core responsibilities of managers towards the individual betterment of the employees and the organizations collectively stay intact. You mustn’t stop conceiving innovative ideas, encouraging fairer practices; develop a culture of R&D in addition to the previously mentioned skills. 2020 is going to get crazily interesting.