Part II: Dealing with the unexpected, TOGETHER, a project delivery perspective

April 14, 2020

I promised a 2nd update. I hope you and your family enjoyed the extended Easter Weekend. It was nice to spend quality time with mine and the good weather certainly helped.

Allowing for some local variances, we are now entering our fourth week of enforced restrictions in most of the territories in which we have active projects. With a month of remote working now done, I thought it would be interesting to take a retrospective look at what we’ve seen, what’s going well and where there are struggles.

  • Our first observation is the adaptability with which businesses have responded to considering these restrictions and the responsibility to protect their workforce wherever possible. Of course, it’s an over-generalisation, but let’s consider that there are two types of organisations; those which are agile, highly ‘tech-orientated’ and typically thrive on change. Then there are those that are steeped in tradition, sure-footed, but often more resistant to change. As you would expect, the agile organisations were in a position to quickly respond and in most cases, it was simply an expansion of what was already in, please. More surprising to us was the speed and efficiency at which the more traditional organisations were able to implement the policies and infrastructure to continue their operations as close to normal as possible. It’s been remarkable to see how ‘people’ have reacted and adopted the working from home mentality. Video and Audio calls were often the exception in normal office environments and yet all meetings are held in this way and everyone is patient, respectful and courteous.
  • Over the last couple of weeks, I have joined a lot of video and audio meetings. When the attendees list gets above 30 there are some simple self-disciplines that we can all follow, such as, mute yourself when not talking. We have all been on calls recently where you can hear dogs barking or kids playing, this is all normal and expected, but when the background noises are coming from multiple attendees it can make hearing tricky. When and where possible please remember the mute function. More importantly, don’t forget to un-mute before talking J – talking to oneself is something many of us have already done a few times I’m sure.
  • Busier than ever? I typically spend a lot of my time working side-by-side with our customers and prospects. I can walk around an office and talk to 10+ in a morning. To achieve the same thing via remote working I now need to make individual contact with those same 10+ people. Thankfully the tools are there to make staying in touch easy. However, I do miss some of those more personal conversations around the watercooler or over a coffee though.
  • I think it’s worthwhile reflecting on what some of these companies have overcome in a very short period of time to get to where they are now. Security and data protection concerns, infrastructure and licensing limitations, human resource policy implications – the list goes on. In normal times, these are hurdles that would take months or years to define, manage and achieve sign-off. There is of course the proverb that ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ but are there lessons that can be learned from this? We feel there will be, and our hope is that these will be some of the rare positives to come from the current situation.
  • Whatever type of organisation you’re working in, my advice for this week is to not let the opportunity to learn to pass you by. As with any project, the best time to capture information is at the time, even if it’s no more than rough notes or bullet points. Encourage your team to do the same and plan for retrospective reviews with them.
  • One change I made in the last 2 weeks is to use video more. Many people are used too audio calls and meetings, but using video is not as familiar and therefore not as comfortable for some. A personal example is that I speak to my parents at least once every week and the same for my two sisters. In addition to calling we now also have a weekly Zoom meeting so we can see each other. I’ve found the warmth and comfort of talking to family has improved significantly when using video, it’s more personal and more fun too. I now join all of the meetings with video, not everyone has found that level of comfort, but I fully expect that to change over the coming days and weeks.

When things return to normal, make it the ‘new and improved normal’ for your organisation! At Asysco we continue to work in a very collaborative way with both our customers and colleagues.

Always interested to hear your feedback and experiences. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy to answer them.

Rob