When the pandemic hit us, we had to change the way we delivered projects. As we have been preaching about digitalization for years, we in many ways took our own medicine: We digitized the business – changed the way we worked, and most importantly, our technology and the way it was used and delivered. And we met customers who were brave enough to say, “we want you to deliver this project 100% remotely.” So, we put together teams with participation from Norway, US, UK, and Australia.
There are of course a lot of learnings in such projects – and we are still on the learning curve! But here are some key learnings to share from our experience so far:
- First of all – you need to have a brave team! A team that understands the premises of the projects – the goals, the processes for how its run, and the transparency in the communication and steps. The team will potentially have to use new/different technology as everything is remote.
- The team needs to work all digital – no files in local storage. This enables us to build on each other’s work while someone is sleeping.
- The projects need to have a local sponsor – meaning someone in the client organization needs to secure that everyone is prioritizing to attend meetings and to perform tasks. This requires too much time if it’s left all to a remote project manager.
- You need to have a good introduction meeting to gain trust with the team – this has turned out to be easier as we have gone deeper into the pandemic.
- The team need to set clear boundaries from the start:
- when can we meet?
- when are we online/offline?
- what expectations are there regarding other competing tasks at the office?
- when will what be delivered?
- how will we communicate?
6. Follow up meetings with the project sponsor needs to be held on a regular basis, to adjust, help and support the project manager.
7. Don’t underestimate context – and realize that it is harder to get the context right for e everyone when we are all digital. Allow for some extra time to get that right – it pays off!
8. Be flexible and generous and open about the challenges in remote working – that build trust and help take away the added complexity of the situation
9. A key learning is that it is much more can be accomplished in this digital delivery model than what we initially anticipated – in particular if we continue to be conscious of utilizing all tools that are available (such as video, co-editing documents, give/take control over applications)
As we are passionate about the future of work, our take from this type of projects is that traditional business boundaries need to be challenged moving forward – as operations literally can be done 24/7 from anywhere. For this we need new flexible operation models that can leverage the potential. Resulting in less need for travelling and even access to resources you normally wouldn’t be able to access. We are looking forward. #FutureOfWork