Monthly Archives: October 2020

Why I Created a Remote Mentoring Service for Project Managers

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of feedback from Project Managers along these lines:

“I’m in over my head.”
“I’ve had no support since lockdown started. None. At. All.”
“I’m managing a massive project that’s due to be delivered soon. My milestones are critical, and I can’t afford to get this wrong in any way.”
“Everything feels chaotic, and my success in managing stakeholders has deteriorated overnight.”

Working from home 5 days a week for an extended period of time has taken its toll on all involved and ultimately, on the end results. This means that the quality of projects is missing the mark, and achieving completion on time and within budget is becoming a rarity as opposed to a certainty.

Reading between the lines, what Project Managers have really struggled with these past few months is the lack of support.

Granted, no one foresaw the pandemic, and there is no rulebook.

But the Project Managers I’ve spoken to feel they’ve been left in the lurch in what are unprecedented circumstances, to come to terms with everything on their own.

It’s not that they are inexperienced; quite the opposite. They are seasoned professionals who have managed and delivered more than their fair share of projects and programmes in various industries in the past.

What’s different is that where previously, they and their stakeholders worked from home one or two days a week, doing so has been a constant feature since lockdown restrictions were announced in March.

And until the coronavirus is under control, it looks like movement will remain restricted in one form or another. One thing is for sure, there will not be a return to offices en masse for quite some time. How long that is? Nobody knows…

…so while Project Managers and all the people they need to provide input and contributions to projects work from home for the foreseeable future, it’s important to acknowledge that:

The shift to working remotely for the foreseeable future has had – and will have – an impact on their working dynamic and ultimately, how they perform.

This previous blog post examines why your Project Managers are struggling during this pandemic, and goes into more detail about exactly how that shows up and the effect it has on project outcomes and results.

Essentially, some of the signs include tension in the Project team that didn’t exist before, communication just doesn’t seem to run smoothly.

And crucially? Delivery timelines and milestones have been missed.

These observations and the feedback I’ve had from Project Managers are why I created a Remote Mentoring Service for Project Managers.

What Is My Remote Mentoring Service?

My Remote Mentoring Service is a one-to-one, individualised service that helps Project Managers address the complexities that arise from the fact that they, their Project Team and stakeholders are working from home for the foreseeable future.

Those unintended consequences of working remotely take their toll on team morale and their ability to deliver. The Remote Mentoring Service provides crucial support and the opportunity for such consequences to be addressed in real-time.

Who is the Remote Mentoring Service For?

The Remote Mentoring Service is for experienced Project Managers who are busier than ever!

However as they navigate the murky world of remote work, they need support to ensure they continue to work effectively and efficiently.

How Will You Benefit From My Remote Mentoring Service?

You’ll get 5 things from my Remote Mentoring Service:

  • Crucial support.
  • An experienced and objective sounding board.
  • A place to seek counsel.
  • A safe space to discuss the issues you are experiencing while managing your project(s).
  • Recommendations on how to resolve these issues and tackle roadblocks.

What Support Will You Get?

Each week we’ll review specific issues and challenges you highlight in detail.

As well as being a safe place to discuss them I’ll work with you to address each one, so you can feel better equipped to do what you do.

How Does My Remote Mentoring Service Work?

This blog post explains how my Remote Mentoring Service for Project Managers works but essentially, there are 4 weekly sessions.

Each one lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.

How Much Does It Cost?

The service costs £2,500 + VAT for 4 weeks.

Can You Have More Than 4 Sessions?

If you wish to continue getting support after the initial period, you can!

Each additional session costs £500.

How Can You Sign Up For Remote Mentoring?

Send me a message with your details and I’ll book you in!

Why Black History Month Matters

(Source: getstencil)

This month of October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom (different to the United States, where it is marked in February instead).

Perhaps you have read about it in the media or seen it pop up in your feed online, and are baffled as to why a Black History Month is necessary in the first place?

This blog summarises what Black History Month is and explains why it’s important to commemorate it in the twenty-first century.

What Is Black History Month?

Black History Month is a time to remember, acknowledge and celebrate the
contributions Black women and men have made to the life and fibre of the
country. Consciously and intentionally.

Not that one month out of twelve is sufficient to do this by any means, but
it’s certainly a time to focus on issues relating to race and race relations.

What has become an annual celebration began in the United States to
celebrate the role Black people played in the country’s history.

Historian Carter G. Woodson and clergyman Jesse E. Moorland started a group which researched and promoted the achievements of Black people, and the group sponsored what was referred to as the first National Negro Week in 1926.

Over time, what began as local events spread around the country and became a month-long affair, and Gerald Ford was the first president to officially recognise Black History Month in 1976.

In the United Kingdom, the month was first celebrated in 1987.

And it’s never been more relevant. Following the events of this summer
around the world, Black History Month in 2020 is more significant than ever.

Can I Confess Something?

(Source: getstencil)

I’ve never really paid attention to Black History Month before.

Yes, even as a Black woman I didn’t quite understand why it was needed, and what the big deal was.

Perhaps I’ve developed a greater appreciation over the years. That, coupled
with the murder of George Floyd this May and the subsequent protests and
awakenings in many individuals, groups and organisations, have meant that I’m looking at Black History Month through a new lens.

So, if you’ve been wondering why it needs to be marked at all, here’s why
Black History Month matters:

To re-focus on racial inequality.

It’s crucial that the awareness raised earlier in the year at all levels in
business and society is not left as a moment in time, reduced to a hashtag. As difficult as it is, this is a conversation that must continue, accompanied by lasting change.

Black History Month is a time to take stock.

(Source: getstencil)

Black History Month is an opportune moment to evaluate where your
organisation is in terms of hitting its diversity and inclusion targets.

What statements and declarations did you make just a few short months ago?

It’s easy for things to slip – we all know that life happens.

But what happened on the back of those promises your organisation made? Was an action plan put together to implement those noble intentions you announced?

Who owns that plan, and who is responsible at a senior level for making it
happen?

If your organisation is serious about addressing racial inequality, Black History Month is a good time to reflect on these questions and ensure that action is being taken.

Black History Month is an opportunity to track progress.

Especially as many organisations publicly announced steps they would take to address racial inequality, Black History Month is an opportunity for their
customers, target audience and external stakeholders to be reminded and gently prod, challenge and ask what progress has been made.

Back in June I wrote this article on how to support Black professionals, and it gained a lot of support. While it was good that many people read
and agreed with it, there is so much more that must happen over and above
showing solidarity online!

None of the specific tips I laid out is a quick fix. It’s important to hold organisations in both the private and public sectors, charities, law enforcement agencies, and politicians accountable for moving the needle forward when it comes to eradicating the scourge of racial inequality.

A call to move beyond the performative

(Source: getstencil)

I’m hoping that Black History Month is a prompt – another reminder – for organisations and allies to move beyond performative allyship and online activism, which is hardly altruistic in nature.

There are stories of companies that sell facial recognition technology known to contain biases against Black subjects to police forces.

Businesses which don’t offer their staff sick pay – a particularly dangerous practice during a pandemic, and striking when the majority of those who desperately need it are low income earners who belong to Black and other ethnic minority groups.

Businesses who do not pay their casual staff minimum wage, again many of whom are Black.

Organisations need to move beyond mere rhetoric and ensure that their policies and actions match those carefully worded press releases and social media posts. It is my hope that Black History Month provides an opportunity for such considerations to again come to the fore.

How My Remote Mentoring Service for Project Managers Works

(Source: getstencil)

In my last post I explained why your Project Managers are struggling in the pandemic.

I also wrote about how my Remote Mentoring Service will help them overcome the added complexities that arise as a result of them working with teams and stakeholders who now have to work remotely for the foreseeable future.

Here, I go into more detail about how my Remote Mentoring Service for Project Managers works:

What Is It?

My Remote Mentoring Service gives Project Managers the support they need to deliver crucial pieces of work in this climate.

Since the start of lockdown, I have noticed that:

Project Managers are finding it a real challenge to deliver their projects as normal in this climate.

Since restrictions started in March forcing everyone to work from home, the assumption was that a switch would be flipped, and projects would be automatically continue being managed, run and implemented as usual. Only remotely. But unfortunately, this has not happened.

Company bottom lines have been affected.

You wouldn’t have thought working remotely would have such a significant impact, but it has. Key milestones and timelines are routinely missed, causing costs to overrun. Which, even if your business is doing well in the middle of this pandemic, you cannot afford.

Key stakeholders have raised complaints about several things that are not going well on projects they are involved in.

And rightly so!

These complaints have cannot be ignored any longer, and the growing feeling of dissatisfaction and discontent needs to be addressed.

In response to these issues and many more, I created the service to help Project Managers overcome these obstacles and deliver their projects efficiently.

I’ll help you address the added complexities arising purely from the fact that you, your team and stakeholders have to work remotely for the foreseeable future, so you can deliver your projects successfully.

Who Is It For?

(Source: getstemcil)

You’re an Experienced Project Manager.

You already have the “hard” skills, so this isn’t about teaching you how core Project Management.

You’ve coped with managing your projects and meeting those deliverables in the months after the pandemic broke out back in March 2020.

But the truth is that it’s been anything but smooth sailing. And now with a second wave afoot, your business has announced that everyone should work from home until 2021 at least. Maybe even indefinitely…

…and you are busier than ever!

While that’s a good thing and you’re grateful to be busy when so many have lost their sources of income, you’ve found that working remotely involves a lot more than having a good WiFi connection, finding a pretty backdrop, and running your meetings on Zoom.

You’re finding it increasingly difficult to complete standard tasks such as running workshops, getting feedback and approvals on essential elements, and managing stakeholders to your usual standard.

Since the plan – inasmuch as you have one – is for you and your delivery teams to work remotely for the foreseeable future, you’ve to this conclusion and are having to admit the inevitable:

You can’t do it without support.

Whereas the pattern was for people to work from home mainly on Fridays or for a couple of days during the week, your working world is now fully remote and virtual. And you need guidance on how to translate what you used to do into that world.

You need a sounding board that is experienced and objective. A place to seek counsel when you feel like pulling your hair out!

How Long Does It Take?

(Source: getstencil)

The Remote Mentoring Service takes place over 4 weeks and over that period, we’ll meet at an agreed day and time every week.

The sessions will take place on Zoom.

What Sort Of Support Will I Get?

Each week we’ll review specific issues and challenges you highlight in detail.

As well as being a safe place to discuss them I’ll work with you to address each one, so you can feel better equipped to do what you do.

How Long Are The Weekly Sessions?

(Source: getstencil)

Each session in the Remote Mentoring Service lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Remote Mentoring Service costs £2,500 + VAT for 4 weeks.

Can I Have More Than 4 Sessions?

If you wish to continue getting support after the initial period, you can!

Each additional session costs £500.

What Should I Do Now?

My advice?

You can’t afford to drop any more balls, miss any more crucial deadlines or overshoot your budget. There just isn’t the bandwidth to do that in this current climate…

so book your place on my Remote Mentoring Service now.

And if there are any more questions you’d still like to ask before you sign up, send them through to me here.

Are Your Project Managers Struggling In The Pandemic?

(Source: getstencil)

You head up the Delivery function in your organisation, and one of your responsibilities includes managing a number of Project Managers.

They are a team of experienced women and men who have previously delivered various initiatives successfully.

Whether those projects were to deliver commercial outcomes for the Senior Leadership team, or implementing systems in the IT space, you were secure in the knowledge that your team was capable, dependable, and reliable.

Every Project Manager in the team was a safe pair of hands…

…but along came 2020!

(Source: getstencil)

And with it a global pandemic of epic proportions; the kind we have never seen or experienced before.

The lockdown and restrictions on movement followed in March, and that meant working from home was no longer a perk or optional extra available to those privileged enough to have it.

Or, those who had the choice of working flexibly to improve their work-life balance.

Because of the pandemic working remotely – from home – became the enforced status quo.

The “new normal”, if you will.

So, working from home became the norm for your Project Managers, and they had to adapt quickly to the change.

At first, the switch to long-term home working appeared to be smooth.

All the team needed were tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and access to wi-fi.

Right?

You thought your Project Managers would get by easily.

But as the weeks and months rolled by, you started to notice a few things:

Delivery timelines and critical milestones were being missed.

And this happened more often than you’d like or can afford to tolerate.

There was tension in the team that hadn’t existed before.

This surprised you, as the core team know each other well and had a good rapport pre-COVID.

Communication was a major sticking point.

In the sense that in spite of all the technology and tools, it’s been obvious that it’s not working smoothly. Which is having a detrimental impact on efficiency.

In summary, things haven’t been the same since your Project Managers started working from home earlier in the year.

And with the latest set of restrictions announced by the Prime Minister, it’s anybody’s guess how long it will be before the team can go back into their offices.

Can I tell you what the problem is?

It is not about your Project Managers needing more training to hone their core project management skills. They are seasoned professionals who know their stuff, so the current disruption you’ve noticed isn’t down to a lack of having those skills.

The problem has to do with the shift to working remotely indefinitely.

(Source: getstencil)

We may not want to acknowledge it but human beings are made for social interaction, and even the best apps and technology cannot act as a substitute.

While such disconnection is fine for a few days or weeks, dealing with it consistently over a long period – or even indefinitely – introduces a different dynamic to working relationships.

Which subsequently has a negative effect on productivity and project outcomes.

So, how can you tackle this problem?

How can you get your critical projects delivered successfully – so, on time and on budget – when your Project Managers have stakeholders who are all remote?

I have something that can help.

Introducing my Remote Mentoring service for Project Managers.

Over a 4-week period, I will work with them to:

Develop the skills they need for successful project delivery in the current climate.

Implement that project that’s been dragging on which you urgently need to get over the line right now.

Tackle the specific challenges they are facing when it comes to delivering the outcomes your business needs on time and within the set budget.

Because now more than ever, you can’t afford for either of those to slip!

There’s more detail on how my Remote Mentoring Service for Project Managers works here; contact me to book your spot.