As project managers it is our job to make sure our teams stay effective during COVID, as much as any other time. The COVID-19 crisis has pushed the whole world out of their comfort zones. As we all struggle to find our new normal, we wanted to share some techniques our teams are using to stay effective and put our best foot forward virtually, and in this new economy.
- Daily check-ins. Taken from the best practices of SCRUM and Agile methodologies, many of our teams have implemented daily 15-minute conference calls. These check-ins are our equivalent of a stand-up meeting. Some of our project teams touch base from 9-9:15 each morning to quickly prep for the day together. Other teams check-in before closing down for the day, from 4:30-4:45, to share any updates made that day may impact other team members. While the time frame and items covered will depend on the project, having a schedule touch base each day helps everyone stay united in identifying, tracking, and maintaining project progress.
- Secure ‘face-to-face’ conversations. As security for teleconferencing has been a growing concern, tools like Zoom are improving encryption methods and teaching users tactics to prevent the dreaded ‘Zoom-bombing.’ At CoApt Projects we use Zoho Meeting to have secure web conferencing with our teams and clients and stay effective during COVID. A unique log-in is generated for each meeting, and meetings can be locked as soon as they’ve started, giving us control of exactly who is on the line. The host maintains control of video and audio recording and sharing. Using Zoho Meeting allows us to hold interactive meetings with our client teams, sharing presentations and demonstrations, and using our webcams to build trust and keep everyone engaged.
- Make work interactive. Our team thrives on virtual collaboration. We provide our clients with a real-time portal where they can view their project status and have all their account information in one secure location. All project tasks are managed through a cloud environment, which allows for team members to work together, and for progress to be documented. Having an interactive platform helps us to have a mix of push and pull communication so information doesn’t become overwhelming. Our team and clients can receive notifications and updates, or they can choose to check on developments as time allows.
- Measure success. We know what success looked like before COVID-19, but this is a whole new world and its continuing to evolve. It is critical for our team to measure the effectiveness of all our actions. Every goal should be tied to a metric, and we set up periodic check-ins on our metrics to review and course correct. Are our resources being utilized? Are meetings and time being translated into measurable results? Continuous improvement! Meet with your team to discuss how performance metrics might need to change during this time.
- Collaborate with other organizations. “Coapt” literally means joining together, and we believe this collaborative approach goes beyond our internal teams. Just as our clients come to us for diverse leadership skills, we make a point to work with other industry leaders who are innovating at this time. We are attending events like IBM’s Think Digital Virtual Conference, which provide us with diverse perspectives and the skills we need to adapt and evolve. Check out your favorite industry associations for event listings. Many are turning to virtual events that are free or low-cost right now, giving you the opportunity to join and network with experts around the world easier than ever before. We are in this together.
We know everyone is trying their best in these unprecedented circumstances. By implementing the above tactics, we can feel confident we are also doing the best for our clients. We hope some of our practices will help your teams to stay effective during COVID. We are better together!