How can we use Agile/Scrum after COVID-19 pandemic to speed up?

Agile is one of the best and very essential work methodologies. The mindset of agile and methodology has a lot to teach us as to how to work effectively when working differently. But here the question of how we use agile to speed up the process after this global pandemic is over. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down everything in the world. This requires a fast pace work for the companies to stand again on their feet to come in the line of competition again. Agile is very popular for companies and organizations that seek innovations, speed, and focused customer priorities. It is not the tool used by the IT department rather it is used across the whole organization’s functions. This is also the fact that those companies that use agile throughout their companies are the most successful.

Agile has some really useful benefits which would be really helpful after this COVID-19 situation and the reasons behind are –

  • When things are uncertain then agile provides a regular routine pattern to move forward. When you are virtually standing with your team and reviewing the work then it inculcates a sense of positivity about the normalcy of the situation.
  • Agile also permit for quick shifts like when organization need to change the priorities or their approaches towards their goals. Agile is also used to split the work and accomplish targets bits by bits. when the situation like the current pandemic becomes normal and regular they can go back to a normal pace of working.
  • Agile also empowers the teams to make a decision instead of waiting for permission from the managers. This helps the teams to generate quick and speedy decisions. The COVID-19 has created much pressure on the system  so agile provides a chance to react quickly.

The COVID-19 crisis has promoted the trend of remote working. Agile helps team which are remote to interact. When all are working and meeting up on video conferencing then it promotes collaboration as it equalizes the participants. Agile can help organizations to achieve their goals after the COVID-19 by –

  • Establishing the time deadlines to accomplish the key tasks by time boxing the work
  • Inspecting the work for the quality and partnering with a team member for checking outputs. A kind of constant feedback is necessary.
  • Agile enhance the need for reviewing work rather than just completing and moving on to the next task.
  • Agile also facilitates the teams to make the right decisions over and over again.

Agile can help us during this difficult pandemic situation and also to a new normal life after it. The reason is organizations in the world are not anymore dependent on individual works rather now they are based on an agile mindset of promoting teams. The current condition needs a response based on calmness so that the complex problems can be handled and for this agile is proved to be a beneficial partner in the time of difficulty.

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Steps to take by Change Management during this pandemic for a successful project.

The pandemic has caused havoc in almost everywhere in the World. Affecting small businesses to huge enterprises, every person in the World is somehow struggling from the virus, be it medically or financially.

Where all the people are advised to stay at their houses, businesses need to adopt some certain way to look after themselves too. Managing the people on an individual is being recognized by teams in an increasing number, but that just might not be the case for most organizations. The amount of change and difficulties the organizations are facing nowadays is a great challenge.

Where everyone needs help in this catastrophe, following are some of the measures which Change Management should get involved with during the pandemic, for a successful project:

  • Helping Employees

One of the most efficient ways to adapt to the change in the world right now with their businesses is to include healthcare professionals on their change management team, for them to meet with the requirements of the business.It is vital to greet the staff and the clinicians with a good approach to keep them aware of the type of patients they will be handling, including the patients with the on-going coronavirus. It will be more than necessary to provide all the patients with the care required.

  • Across-the-Organization Communication

Communications should take place regularly for the practitioners to know of all the on-going measures. This way, they will be able to reach as many people as they can who are working in various and different departments, working every second of their day, be it in clinical or administrative departments. One useful point is to make sure that communications always provide a change in improvements in the patient’s care.

As we know, the coronavirus still has a lot of things we do not have information about yet. If the organizations have a firm and stable communication link, they will be able to provide the whole organization with any new information coming out, which will not only keep the staff and doctors safe but will also be a good way to protect the employees. This is not a great improvement in helping to keep the employees safe, but it reduces the exposure in a great number.

  • Change Management and Healthcare Safety

An effective and useful change management strategy can play a vital role in providing the employees with safety, quality care, and surety that the virus won’t be transmitted. Change management is a great way to reach the boundaries and outcomes a society needs during a pandemic, like the on-going one. Healthcare organizations are not alone in this pandemic as the clinicians and employees are also humans after all. They need our utmost support and thankfulness in this pandemic. What we can do is to make sure we do not cause more trouble for any of them in this pandemic and just stay safe.

Featured Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

How to Lead the Projects From Remote Location?

Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) are becoming more popular now, and companies are now witnessing the importance of this approach. Whenever the crisis such as Covid-19 and other such pandemic occurs working from one location for all teammates are impossible. Hence in the challenging times like this, remote work is becoming the need of the hour. Resource management has become more vital now. 

With improved technology, increasing transportation cost, and time, the potential virus spread compelling us to work from remote places. So, let us look at how to lead the project effectively from a distant place. The below five things are essential to run a project smoothly.

  • Coordination across time Zones

If you are leading a team with different time zones, it is more challenging to coordinate the entire team. But the fact is occupying the same physical location allows team members to communicate and collaborate spontaneously. But talking with all at the same time requires proper planning and thoughtful project scheduling. 

In the USA alone there are six time zones are there. To interact with all team members at the same time, it requires proper resource management techniques. To achieve this, you need to have the complete details of every team member where they are living and maintain their time zones. Then schedule a meeting where many of the members can quickly attend. Usually, a few members have to work in odd hours.

  • Build Community Mindset

For the success of any project, resource management is necessary. The same way cultivating the community mindset is vital. While working from one site easily allows you to communicate and get along with each other. The occasional team outings, birthday parties, and many things will make this happen. 

To build the same sense from a remote place, you need to create dedicated digital spaces for celebrating special days of employees. Virtually creating team building activities like virtual games or book clubs etc. will help.

  • Face to Face Communication

The remote working means more and more relying on written communication rather than direct ones. It sometimes leads to miss -communication. Hence to overcome this problem, you need to increase direct communications.

It is important to schedule one to one meeting with employees regularly and make sure it is a video-enabled call. When conducting the team meeting, also schedule video conference calls. It will allow teammates to feel more like the regular team meeting that used to happen in a conference room. 

  • Use tech to collaborate.

The collaboration within the team is the best way of resource management. Using technology for communicating is an essential thing. We cannot rely solely on email communication for everything. But many companies use multiple communication tools, and it often overlaps with another way of communication.

You need to determine which type of tools will most suit as per the situation. For urgent things, you need to use video or voice calls, but for less formal and less critical things, you can use the chat. And using email is required for official communication. 

  • Resource Management by Hiring Remote Ready Employees

For the smooth operation of the project, you need to hire more and more employees who are ready to work from remote locations. Because even your normal activities from an office location, this kind of situation does occur occasionally, so be prepared for such conditions are essential. And hiring those kinds of employees is necessary.

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

How did project management changed after COVID-19 Pandemic?

For some organizations, this recent pandemic of COVID-19 has posed serious challenges in project management. This is especially serious if the organization is forced to experiment with remote working without any beforehand arrangements. It may also look insurmountable if your company deals with bigger projects, portfolios, or programs that involve hundreds of people. This is not a hurdle if you correctly use the right project management tool and methodology. This on-going pandemic has welcome the reality check. As all the minute issues and problems that were tolerated in our daily work is now magnified. These can help us in identifying the factors and elements which can be done in a better way.

This crisis has allowed us to select ways for efficient project management strategy. If your team is globally spread but still you will face similar issues as you were facing before this COVID-19 for example in office the project managers cannot be the top leaders at all the time. That’s right that now you face more physical barriers but issues are the same and you have to find ways to manage the situation. There are three very important points for remote project management that include clear communication with collaboration, centralization of data, and monitoring in an effective way.

  • Clear communication

As now due to social distancing, there are no regular meetings, no colleagues meet up in offices. This provides us a chance to device new ways for communication like building virtual teams that stay in touch and feel connected. For meeting use video conferencing apps that creates a sense of team collaboration.

  • Centralization of data

One of the barriers that team members face in this situation is the missing of authentic data like teams working on excel sheets or collection of data for synchronization. In this lockdown, situation organizations have no option but to centralize the data and information through the project management tools. The managers must see through these tools the state of real-time work and track the progress of each project. Keeping things in a shared location is also a solution. Similarly keeping the management tool and tracking tool system updated is the responsibility of the organizations.

  • Monitoring

The monitoring of project status is also very important and must be seen closely. In crisis companies and organizations can’t bear extra resources and missed deadlines because of it. Your monitoring and centralization system must be synchronized to get real-time information and can take the necessary steps when needed. Build monitoring dashboards and define the KPIs, set the notifications for warnings of potential risk factors.

Getting these three factors right can help you in sailing your boat for a longer time in storm and also improve the project management system of your organization. This is a good time to think deeply and take the action to get the fruits of your hard work in pandemic situations from the results you will get in the months to come.

Featured Photo by Tomáš Hustoles from Burst

How is Agile Project Management Changing the industry?

Agile Project Management has been taking the world by storm in the past few years. Agile is so unique in allowing the workers of a company to work on specific things that the company wants, no time is wasted on documentation or contract negotiations. Although it was designed for software development teams, Agile can be used in almost any industry due to the versatility.

What Even Is Agile Project Management?

            Like most project management solutions, it is simply a set of values and principles that the team believes in. As the name implies, agile is more focused on being agile and being flexible with the constantly changing world. One of the big ideas of agile management is breaking up each project into small “sprints” that are somewhat of a mini project themselves. Having smaller sprints in a project allows teams to focus on what is important to do now and allowing flexibility by not committing a large amount of time to a project that may not be desired by the time it finishes. The most important thing about this whole concept is the values that the must hold to be an effective, agile team.

What Are The Values of Agile Management?

Although these values can be adjusted for your specific use case, let’s look at what the original manifesto valued.

  • Agile teams value the individuals and the interactions experienced every day to be more important than processes and tools. This simply means that the individuals working on the project should be the guiding light compared to what the tools they have available say so. For instance, if you don’t have a leaf blower, you still can come up with a solution to clean up the leaves. You must allow your works to think about solutions to problems even if there isn’t a simple solution.
  •   Agile teams value working software over comprehensive documentation. As you can tell, this is where software development leaks in, however if you change the words around, it can be used anywhere. Agile teams should focus on completing the project rather than writing in a paper on how they plan on completing the project. The more time focused on going through with a solution will result in a faster and better solution.
  • Agile teams value customer collaboration over contract negotiation. This one is similar to the previous one where agile teams want to waste as little time as possible while providing the best product as possible. Teams following the agile management plan will want to work directly with their customers throughout the project without worrying about any contract negotiation. Usually the negotiation will be light at the beginning and won’t be mentioned throughout the project. We simply want to give the customer what they want, as fast as possible.

            Finally, agile teams value responding to change over following a plan. Although a general plan is still important, responding to the ever-changing desires of the customer and the world is a lot more important. Agile teams will focus on the next few weeks rather than the next few years, since the next weeks are likely more important to the customer. If you would follow the overall plan, you may not be able to include parts the customer decides they want halfway through. So, focusing on change does allows for more flexibility.

Featured Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst

How to keep up the employees or make progress during this pandemic?

It’s a big unknown whether we need to move forward in planning our work or cancel the events which are already planned. It’s just not billing the client or making progress or keeping up the staff busy. There are many things which are involved where we can help each other if you are working in an organization or vice versa. Employees and employer are very sensitive for the ongoing pandemic and being impacted by unknown ghost during these unprecedented times. Thinking and making critical changes or quantifying the risk factors involved for each task or event by itself can help us out.

There are 8 best ways where we can make the progress in a right way –

  • Our first priority is our stake holder or the client who we are doing the work for. Ask and revisit your specification for more details on such pandemic type and take necessary action in sending a written documentation. Stakeholder will love to know all the information which is going on the project and definitely we can sit down and make corrective action in favor to both of us with the ongoing trending news.
  • Scanning your WBS (work breakdown structure) and critical path activities can lead us a long way or this is the right way of approaching to the stake holder for more clarification on planned events. Even we can plan on distributing the future work where people can start working from home and make an efficient progress in billing the client for a positive outcome.
  • Visit the business model or schedule to work on low priority items which can be avoided the massive crowds or a group of people. Scatter the people as much as needed for the best productive results and keep them safe would be the highest priority in the coming days. Work should be planned with social distancing by Project controls team or project management team need to come up with various scheduling options or revisit the WBS (work breakdown structure) to see if they can modify or massage the schedule for the overall project without changing the end date.
  • If you make the changes with your WBS obviously check with your suppliers or vendors or partners or sub-contractors whether they can supply the material or do work in this crisis. Taking notes and coming up with a log from procurement department would be the best way to tackle this kind of situation and can be easily explained to the owners/Stakeholders.
  • Communication is the key point in doing all these or put everything to work. Many employees would like to prefer work from home and communication would rather be very difficult in these type of situations. Try to connect with video calling or phone conference meeting to come up with a plan and make everyone satisfied in your performance.
  • Sharing is always caring in each project and many employees are looking to work in these COVID-19 times for the performance and job security. So try to engage as many people as possible. Employees will love to take that next step in making the changes and accomplishing the tasks for managers. Always come up and give chance for various ideas in the room or in a meeting. Mainly people who are way involved in the projects need to have priority and one idea can change the scenario in planning, execution, quality and close out.
  • Documentation is the key and after one year from now people can only remember the pandemic but not the insights of each particular job. Try to keep each and every single record of the job for any change management or risk management teams to get involved in the coming months. Employees or employer doesn’t know when this pandemic is going to last and need to be having a good control on the job would be better documentation structure.
  • Our best suggestion to all project managers and project teams to track the work before the pandemic started and update the date to the closet date the pandemic started effectively in each region. This will help the stakeholder to analyses the previous performance and compare to take relevant decision.

We would strongly believe these are challenging times for each personnel on the job and taking care of each other by having a cool mindset, flexible communication and help where ever or look after for each other would be the best way to earn your paycheck and keep the employer happy.

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

What Are the Best Resources to Crack the PMP and CAPM Exam?

The PMP exam is notoriously difficult, however it is completely possible to pass if you understand a few things. If you know what the exam is and what are some good resources you should study, you will be in a significantly better place than others that are taking the exam. Although, there are an estimated 30-40% people that fail their exam on the first attempt. This may sound scary, but we will tell you the simple truth. If you sit down and create a study plan and focus on studying good content, you can pass it!

What Even Is the PMP Exam?

            The PMP exam is the Project Management Professional exam. By completing and passing, you will be awarded a PMP certification proving to employers and the world you know everything, or most things dealing with project management.

If you don’t quite understand, it is sort of like how you need a CPA to be recognized as an accomplished accountant, you need the PMP certification to be recognized as an accomplished accountant.

By achieving the certification, you are much more likely to get a job as a project manager. And there is data proving that PMP holders have a median salary that is 25% higher than non PMP holders.

The Best Resources to Study

            Now we can get to the meat and potatoes. Here is a list of our favorite resources that we used to study for the PMP exam. We firmly believe if you study these resources, you will do great on your exam!

  1. The PMBOK® Guide (6th Edition).
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) 6th Edition

The PMBOK Guide may be the best textbook you can use. This is because the people who wrote the PMP exam also wrote this guide. This will be the best textbook that you can look at as you can assume the information from the test will be in the guide. Although it does cost about fifty dollars, it may be worth it if you wish to pass your test. However, there are a few other options that are cheaper or even free.

2. EdWel Exam Prep Boot Camp Textbook.

Edwel PMP Exam Prep Textbook Version 5.0 (1) (1) | Project ...

Although EdWel is not directly associated with the Project Management Institution, they are well respected and are one of the best boot camps for tests like this. They even have a free textbook! This textbook is quite possibly the best resource out there as it takes the previously mentioned PMBOK Guide and re-organizes it with additional charts and diagrams. Check this one out for sure!

3. PMP Exam YouTube Videos.

YouTube has changed the world significantly in almost every way. This includes studying for the PMP exam. There are thousands of videos out there with whole courses, practice tests and even tips and tricks. You can learn the entire topic of project management through YouTube. There are tons of channels like EduHubSpot, ExamsPM and PMPwithRay. Those are just some examples, you should look around for yourself, you will be surprised with all of the content you can find.

4. Master of project Acdemy.

2020 Master of Project Academy PMP Programs- 100% Review

This is the best online resource available in the market with 99.6% passing rate in your first attempt with reasonable pricing structure. This academy also includes Scrum, Agile and CAPM certification in fast paced methodologies to help crack the exam easily and efficiently. Due to COVID-19 rules and regulations many organizations have directly employees to work from home for the next couple of weeks and we believe this course is really worth the penny and ultimately each user can easily success in achieving all the certification mentioned above.

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

What are the best project management tools for 2020?

The project management industry is very interesting because of its roots in almost every field and profession. Project management software is a set of tools that are used to enhance the efficiency of the team either in a multinational company or a growing unit. There are various tasks that are done correctly and in time with the use of project management tools. These tools help in defining a project schedule for your team, collaborating with teams, tracking and reporting of error, sharing of resources and documentation, and budget tracking. The best tools for project management for 2021 is as following.

  • Podio Project management.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is one of the most customization and affordable project management tool that give you the best tool for your money. Every price tier for Podio is offered at a fixed rate no matter how many users you include. This tool is helpful in tracking your projects, collaboration with your team, you can create your custom functions. This is very good for projects that require specific needs. This tool requires learning before you can operate it to its full potential.

  • Asana Project management.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This project management tool is very popular among many companies all over the world. One of the best features of Asana which makes is so popular is its user interface. The user interface is simple and easy to use, not only this but you can have various flexible options over how it looks and can move your task around it very easily. You can access the activity feed and can collaborate with your team members very conveniently. This is a very good project management tool for simple projects.

  • Trello Project management.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is Kanban based project management tool which is good for all types of projects and teams to handle marketing projects, tracking of customer support, software development, HR tracking and also some forms of Agile methodology. Managing projects in Trello, is very great for tracking and mapping of your procedures when you are about to develop a project management plan.

  • TeamGantt Project management

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This project management tool is very user friendly and easy to learn. It is very useful for teams of all experience levels. This tool is quite expensive in terms of the price tag. It can able to handle all kinds of Gantt charts to roadmaps of projects. You can track all in this tool about your multiple projects and multiple teams.

  • ProofHub Project management

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It is is also one of the most popular project management tools. It is easy to understand. You can organize your teams and projects from the ease of your dashboard. It also helps you to set alerts for a different status. It also comes with various customizable options to control the color scheme of your tool and its layouts. It also supports various languages. In this tool, you can assign custom roles to the team members and in this way, they can access the tool. In this way only authorized persons will have the right to access sensitive information. This security feature of ProofHub is one of its best feature.

Featured Photo by Adrien Olichon from Burst

How does the project work continue after reopening America?

The project management is becoming critical with the pandemic attack. The Coronavirus is increasing its death rate day by day. As a result, many countries have imposed lock down throughout the country. The deadliest disease caused significant havoc in America. So, the government is compelled to shut down all the public gatherings and other activities. 

As a generation, we have not experienced this situation until now. But this situation has taught many things. Hence, we can see many changes in the coming days. So, let us look at how things will change after reopening in America in the project work space.

  • Remote Work management

The project work will think about continuing on remote work. There are several situations where remote work is not possible. But the actions of some of the employees can be made from home. Many tasks like developing, coding, testing, and many works can be done from remote places. 

Many companies are thinking of making a specific mandatory day of work from home. And it seems the world will move towards more work from home in the future than working in workplaces. 

  • Team Collaboration management

The success or failure of any project mainly depends on how effective its project management. An efficient project manager knows how to collaborate and work as a team. Post pandemic companies will try to increase the collaboration level while working remotely. 

Effective teamwork can able to achieve any of the difficult tasks. The manager must train and motivate the teammates to work as a team for successful collaboration. When the employees start to work as a team rather than giving importance to individual brilliance, the things will change.

Much importance to effective project management

Covid-19 has taught us many lessons. And one of the major ones is to be prepared for any contingency. Effective project management will give importance to risk management. The companies who already taken proper measures are working rather smoothly even in this crisis. 

After the reopening, project work will start to prepare to be ready for any of the future crises. They will begin assessing the problem they might get in the future crises and will work on how to counter them. The plans such as not depending on one source or one location and many more will come into play. It will help to get the inputs if one source fails. 

Investing in the technical infrastructure

You may notice the companies that are equipped well in technical infrastructure are doing well even now. They contain the work remotely without significant problems. Project management will have to think more about providing essential tools for the employees.

Now we are seeing a huge demand for many industrial products that connect the people virtually. The corporates will work towards this by proving each or at least some employees all the infrastructures to communicate from remote places. Procuring laptops, providing a reliable internet source are some examples of this.

Certainly, Covid -19 has changed many things. Now it all depends on companies to work on its project management to overcome these kinds of issues in the future. 

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst Photo by Mitul Shah from Burst

Project management practices used by health care workers in America during COVID-19

Project is not just one sentence but it is a complete set of managed processes like for example when we say that there is a need to redesign the emergency rooms of a hospital or to improve patient care. All approaches of project management are standing on the four-stage foundation in any organization including hospitals in America and these stages are

To initiate: This step involves the definition of the scope of the project including its budget, risk, and results.

To plan: This involves the planning of each step of a project like setting deadlines, estimating the cost, and assigning roles.

To execute: Start working on the steps of the project as planned then monitoring the task on a regular basis.

To close: The Proper conclusion of the project by initiating the summary of the accomplishment of targets in the projects and lessons learned.

Project management in the health care system is quite different because there are some complexities and risk which are totally different. How these are different is because of the reasons like a high stake, the constant increase in cost, heavy regulations, constant change in the industry, risk of litigation, and diverse stakeholders.

Best Practices by Healthcare Project Management

It is a clear fact that to improve the wellbeing of patients in the health organization, project management is a very critical element. Following the best project management practices are implemented in healthcare settings across America.

  • Communicate with the organization

Communication is one of the most important factors that affect the management of any project that’s why it is important to device a system in which communication is open by getting the feedback on regular based from all departments across the organization, as this will encourage participation. This is the reason to make team members confident and valued by hearing them what they have to say about the potential problems.

  • Process streamlining:

Once the project management process is defined then it has to be implemented and executed. Make full use of the tool that makes the planning and tracking easy. Some health settings also use project management tools that help in the automation of many tasks.

  • The expectation of unexpected:

At the time of unexpected events re-plan the project parts and update it. Either it is some natural disaster, any new American federal regulation, or need of any upgrade in the design of hospital building.

  • Documentation for future use:

This practice is very essential to get information about similar things if they happen in the future. Document all the hurdles, solutions, lessons, and unexpected events like the do and don’ts in general. This provides guidance in the process of management and gives a chance to flourish.

  • Regulations and governance:

This is a practice that is used to develop the sense of any new or future requirement that might be demanded by the healthcare industry by changes that happen in regulations and governance.

The reason that health care workers in America are investing in project management practices is because of the high stakes in the health care industry in which patients’ lives are directly affected. With the use of the right management approach and tool, health workers can save the lives of patients and provide better well being and services. This also helps in improving the daily processes and outcomes of health care workers in the industry.

Featured Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst