Discussion [Sticky] Rise in Hybrid work environment - how it impacts Project management, the challenges it poses, and how it can be addressed??
With the increase in remote and hybrid working models, the project manager job has become even more challenging than ever before. Here are some of the key challenges that project managers may face when managing projects in a hybrid work environment:
Communication: Communication is key in any project management process, and hybrid working may pose communication challenges. For example, Remote workers may feel isolated, not inclusive in the discussion and disconnected from the team during virtual calls, and it may become harder on building relationships and trust among the team members who work in different locations as well.
This challenge can be addressed by ensuring regular and effective communication (setting clear expectations) via virtual meetings/one-one conversations which are time boxed and with a clear goal. It is found, a virtual meeting with sidebar conversations is more effective to bring in the participants into the discussions for example, to clarify for those on the call, John is being sarcastic, and he is having a smile on his face, Mac what’s your opinion? Requesting all participants to turn on the video during the call and ask their wellbeing, if there were one-one discussion happened with any team member and the project manager to summarize the discussion in the meeting for everyone’s knowledge. have proven to improve the trust and relationships.
Collaboration & Task management: This is also critical in any project management process and to achieve an on-time delivery, and hybrid working can make it harder to collaborate and deliver effectively. With team members working from hybrid locations, coordinating project tasks and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals is a great concern.
This can be addressed by establishing a clear process (setting accountability, who does what and when), collaborations over a regular virtual meeting (virtual code walkthrough, daily stand ups with set timings), shared online workspaces, and effective task management tools (online project management boards, source control systems) will help.
Technology: Hybrid working requires the use of technology to facilitate communication, collaboration, and task management. However, different team members may have different technology preferences or access to projects tools in a safe and secure manner. Project managers need to ensure that a common set of tested tools are identified during the planning, and everyone has access and trained to those tools for them to deliver their work effectively.
Team culture: With remote and hybrid working models, it can be equally challenging to maintain team culture. Once again, the project managers need to be creative to create opportunities for team members to connect and build relationships, such as having virtual team building activities (team lunch or dinner over a virtual call) or regular check-ins to ensure there is no them-us culture.
Overall, project management in a hybrid work environment requires different type of leadership, the studies has found that project manager with high emotional intelligence, trust, being creative and process oriented able to thrive better.
What are the challenges you have faced or are facing and how did you overcome them?