Scatterwork saved six months for Homebid

Scatterwork: Hello John, what were you working on when you contacted Scatterwork? Could you tell us a bit more about the organization?

John: I’m founder of Homebid, which is an online bidding platform and I was participating in the New Frontiers. It’s a course in Ireland for entrepreneurs for startup, helping with startup ideas.

Scatterwork: Can you tell us a little bit about the prize that you won?

John: yeah, we were very lucky that we got “best business idea” award and there’s prizes given on the course and we got “best business ideas”, so we’re very proud of that

Scatterwork: What type of involvement did Scatterwork have and what were the benefits for you?

John: As entrepreneurs we had our product, we had our minimum viable product and then we were assigned a mentor from Scatterwork. What that did was prioritize, put everything in order and we had a start line and a finish line. Basically Scatterwork has identified all the obstacles in between and trained us to use various tactics to get us right through to the very end in a fashion which was fast and seamless.

Scatterwork: What would you apply from this experience going forward?

John: I have multiple other businesses as well and what I’ve done is everything that I’ve learned from Scatterwork we’ve put processes and procedures in place. Basically what it has done: in one month now I can do something that earlier could have taken me up to six months. So structures, practices procedures is what I really, really have got from Scatterwork and it’s just invaluable.

Scatterwork: So thank you for your time, John

John: Thank you.

Scatterwork – the Effective Project & Process Consultancy

As your partner of choice, Scatterwork is a catalyst enabling individuals and organisations to achieve excellence through creative project & process solutions in challenging environments.

Helping clients with #projectdelivery on time and with reduced costs and risks is where Scatterwork excels. We leverage from our customer experience in over 40 countries, bringing it to you, the client, in whatever format (consultancy, mentoring, training etc) suits you.

To learn more about how we can help, please call the author Dr Ó Conchúir on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

Why do Projects deliver late and does it matter?

Firstly, what is a Project?

When something needs to be done to resolve an issue or implement part of a strategy, it is best to establish a Project, that is a package of actions which happens once and has “deliverables”. The deliverables can be:

  • a physical item, such as a prototype, installed and commissioned machine etc. This is common in manufacturing environments.
  • a service, such as “everything needed to offer a new or revised process”.

    An example from Supply Chain Management could be “all the information, authorisations etc and trained people to implement the new supply chain”.

    When delivered, the new supply chain should be ready to go and have been tested.
  • a change of state, for example obtaining a quality certification.

All projects contain dozens, or thousands, of little steps, each of which must be completed for the project to complete. If any of these steps are not done (or need to be repeated due to misunderstandings etc), then the project cannot be closed.

Traditionally this is represented by a PERT chart (also called Schedule Network etc) where each item represents a step that must be done.

This representation is not used to portray agile projects, but the idea is the same, even if the steps are much smaller and the priorities change according to progress. For example, if a password is needed to test a system and it is mis-communicated, then the work will be delayed.

The graphic shows this with, for example, duration estimates for each step (agile does not estimate the durations this way, but the tasks still have to be carried out in a certain sequence and need to be completed)

How do delays affect delivery dates?

Let us assume that a key decision cannot be made for several days because the person with that authority is not available. An example of this is shown with the same PERT chart example as above. Depending on how long the delay lasts, it can even dominate and cause late delivery of the project. The terminology for this is “critical path” and, as before, the effect also applies in agile project management, even though not portrayed in this way.

For the example given, the 10 day delay to get the managers’ input leads to an 8 day delay of project delivery.

Taking the example further, when 5 more days of delay happen because of a misunderstanding, such as the wrong part or document version was delivered and had to be corrected. In this particular case, the overall project delivery increases by 4 more days and the overall project suffers a 46% delay compared with the original estimate.

How accurate a model is the PERT Chart?

Bad.

For a start, it is only intended to be a model of how the work will take place and does not go into every minute detail.

But in all my experience in dozens of projects across a wide range of sectors and in several continents, I have NEVER seen one of these charts which explicitly added the (mostly human) non-physical actions which cannot be completed in zero time, such as:

  • Waiting time for decisions
  • Extra time to recover from errors
  • Non-availability of key people
  • Late deliveries
  • Communication delays, eg several emails just to set up a 10 min call.
  • Poor handover from one key person to another. The item being handed over may appear to be “not critial” but if, for example, an authorisation to go into a controlled area is not available when it should be, then the project is delayed.
  • Misunderstandings due working in non-native language
  • etc.

What is the effect of these delays?

Projects are “successful” if they meet the expectations of the stakeholders. If unplanned delays happen, as already illustrated, then the delivery date expectations will not be met and the project will be branded as “unsuccessful”.

Delays such as those listed are invisible, so “nobody” is responsible. But they still cause delays, for example:

  • you want to select a supplier
  • you make a call, but your number is taken down wrongly
  • some days later you call again to be told that the person is out of office all week
  • when you call again, the person you want to talk to is busy…

and so on, and so forth. Whe you make the connection, you may get an answer in minutes but it took weeks to get.

Why are these delays not usually shown not explicitly?

So why do the project plans rarely include these potential delay issues explicitly? I think that there is an unwritten (but outdated) assumption that the project consists of doing all the physical things, such as installing equipment, doing user acceptance tests etc.

In the “old days” these were seen as the entire project, but in our knowledge-driven, global, post-covid, virtual environment, the personal transactions BETWEEN the tasks are highly significant (at least as far as delivery dates are concerned).

Does this matter?

Yes. Take the example of the installation of a wind powered generator. Several of the project steps involve person-to-person communications which do not appear on the plan. To build the generator, the following steps might be followed:

  • Draft the business case
  • Carry out the environmental impact assessment
  • Raise the finance
  • Buy or lease the land
  • Get planning permission
  • Do the detailed design
  • Order the materials
  • Assign the construction company
  • Build the wind generator
  • Commission the generator
  • Connect the generator to the electricity grid
  • Finalise testing
  • Train the users
  • Handover to the client
  • Close the project.

Particularly up to the physical construction, most of the work is knowledge work, developed by interacting with various partners, whether in the same design office, the bank or the local authority to authorise the construction. The scope for non-explicit communication delays, which do not appear in the plan, is enormous.

Taking this further, if the project is urgent, such as the thousands of development projects needed to achieve #climatechange targets before the system collapses, then the critical role of project management competence cannot be over-emphasised.

But even for shorter term objectives such as #digitalisation or recovery from the #pandemic, paying attention to the unseen causes of delay can result in very worthwhile project delivery improvements.

Scatterwork – the Effective Project & Process Consultancy

As your partner of choice, Scatterwork is a catalyst enabling individuals and organisations to achieve excellence through creative project & process solutions in challenging environments.

Helping clients with #projectdelivery on time and with reduced costs and risks is where Scatterwork excels. We leverage from our customer experience in over 40 countries, bringing it to you, the client, in whatever format (consultancy, mentoring, training etc) suits you.

To learn more about how we can help, please call the author Dr Ó Conchúir on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

Waterfall Project Management has not gone away

Conferences offer an unpredictable mix of benefits

  • Content, from formal presentations, exhibition stands etc.
  • Networking with other participants
  • Surprises or nuggets of unexpected value

This post picks out only a couple of points from the 2021 PM Summit held by the PMI South Africa chapter on 27 March 2021. In particular, the contribution from Ashwini Bakshi, who presented the current strategy and focus of the Project Management Institute, where he is Managing Director Europe & Sub Saharan Africa.

The nugget which caught my eye was some of the detail in the 2021 edition of Pulse of the Profession® from PMI which he referred to.

Waterfall project management has not gone away

In response to the question (Pulse of the Profession® 2021, Appendix, p 26): In your estimation, what percentage of the projects completed within your
organization in the past 12 months used the following types of approaches?

  • 52% answered “traditional”
  • 21% answered “hybrid”
  • 25% answered “agile”

This makes sense, despite the perceived popularity of agile. In much of industry and commerce, projects involve a significant number of organisational interfaces, where “agility” is not the best approach. For example, the builders of a bridge are unlikely to be “agile” regarding handover dates to the traffic authority which will manage its usage.

Elements (“work packages”) of a project may however be best delivered in a more agile way and this is possibly where the reports of “hybrid” arise.

Europe is not world champion in project delivery

In Europe, in response to the question (Pulse of the Profession® 2021, Regional and Industry Variances): In your estimation, what percentage of the projects completed within your organization in the past 12 months [were]… (Mean percentages shown.)

  • within budget? 57%, compared with 62% globally
  • on time? 50%, compared with 55% globally
  • failed project, project lost? 40%, compared with 35% globally.

But in traditional projects, the classic measures of success are meeting the scope:

  • on time
  • within budget.

On this basis, traditional projects do not come near to meeting their own standards, even though this approach is used for more than half of the reported projects.

Scatterwork – the Effective Project & Process Consultancy is on target

Helping clients to deliver projects on time and with reduced costs and risks is where Scatterwork excels. We leverage from our customer experience in over 40 countries, bringing it to you, the client, in whatever format (consultancy, mentoring, training etc) suits you.

As your partner of choice, Scatterwork is a catalyst enabling individuals and organisations to achieve excellence through creative project & process solutions in challenging environments.

To learn more about how we can help you to implement Project Solutions for your technical and business challenges, please call the author, Dr Ó Conchúir on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

How to displace a competitor

Ó Conchúir: Hello Carmina. Thanks very much for joining us today. You had some experience of working with Scatterwork. Can you tell us what project you were working on at the time?

Casas: Yeah, hello Deasún. Yes it was a pleasure to work with you.

We had a project to recover and displace a competitor from a key customer of the Spanish market. This customer is the number two in the dermapharmaceutical market in Spain and we were working to introduce some new actives of personal care in that customer.

Ó Conchúir: O.K. And did you manage to do that during the workshop?

Casas: Yeah, during the workshop we were analyzing the inputs and all the problems due to this competitor and the worshop helped us to establish a methodology to analyze the stakeholders, the risk management, how to plan and et cetera to arrive to a good finalization of the project.

Ó Conchúir: And did you find any surprising risks or stakeholders when you did that analysis?

Casas: Yeah, that’s the good of that program because the analysis was really deep. We had also some exercises doing them with some colleagues and then we arrived at a good understanding of the customer, stakeholder and the risk we have.

Ó Conchúir: So that was all the planning and then since then you’ve been putting that into practice. Have you got the benefits from that?

Casas: Yes of course. Finally we were planning everything and we had several meetings at the top, 2 top management meetings. And finally this year we will have the final return of investment of this project.

It was very interesting and very good.

Ó Conchúir: That’s very nice of you to say that,  thank you very much Carmina. It’s good to talk to you, thank you.

Casas: You’re welcome!

The Speaker

Carmina Casas, Presidential Track #2, Praesidium Member of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC)

Scatterwork – Effective Project & Process Consultancy

As your partner of choice, Scatterwork is a catalyst enabling individuals and organisations to achieve excellence through creative project & process solutions in challenging environments.

To learn more about how we can help you to implement Project Solutions for your technical and business challenges, please call Dr Ó Conchúir on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

There’s Never Been a More Exciting Time in Project Management

COVID-19 has brought about a lot of change; however, some things remain constant. In a more competitive environment, with constant change and fewer available resources, the skill of project management is now as important as ever. Projects must be more successful and deliver on their promised value to help organizations realize their strategies.One of the unique benefits of employing good project management is innovation, which increases projects’ value.

“80 percent of organizations that encourage project leaders to expand their role to deliver greater value have invested in at least one innovative idea in the past five years—compared to just 54 percent of organizations who don’t. This innovation push will continue in the years to come: Three in four project leaders say their organizations will invest more to promote project management innovation over the next 10 years.”

“The Innovation Imperative” PMI®, 2020.

This means that there has never been a better time to add project management as a skill or consider a project management career for today’s workforce. It is also essential for organizations to invest in their employees to gain these new skills. And to meet the challenges, this training and investment need to start now.

Not a single skill, project management is a collection of skills, both technical and soft, which enable practitioners to increase project success. Since 2008, various studies by the Project Management Institute and others have shown there is a growing shortage of project managers to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for projects. It is not a role that is easy to achieve upon graduation. The path to a primary degree in project management is a minimum of four years. PMP® certification is a 3-6 year (or more) journey. Therefore, we can estimate that the time to become a proficient practitioner is somewhere between 6 and 10 years.

While the shortage of project managers is in progress, project management standards have not stood still. When first published in 1996, the Project Management Body of Knowledge – First Edition was fewer than 200 pages. In under 24 years, the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Sixth Edition (PMBOK® Guide) and the accompanying Agile Practice Guide are over 800 pages. In other words, project management knowledge has quadrupled!

But unfortunately, there has not been a similar shift in education and training. It still takes four years to earn a basic degree in project management and 3-6 years to achieve certification. Similarly, extended studies programs have tended to hover around 35 hours as this meets the educational need for certification. Education and training programs are now attempting to cram four times the knowledge in the same amount of time. While this may appear to be added value, research shows the average student’s retention is likely to wane with force-fed knowledge.

There is a better approach. Start simple, start with the basics. Provide aspiring and new project managers with just enough knowledge to be successful in their first projects. Continue to build on that knowledge in manageable “chunks” rather than in courses that attempt to cover all project management in a few hours. As their knowledge grows, offer them opportunities to work with and shadow more senior, experienced professionals. But one thing is most important – get started on this now to secure your future in the workforce or the success of your organization.

The Author

Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP is the founder and managing partner of PPC Group, LLC, a business specializing in helping aspiring, new, and accidental project managers launch their careers. PPC Group’s books and courses are a perfect starting point, endorsed by project management professionals worldwide. Scatterwork is a perfect complement to them, offering advanced training and workshops and the opportunity to work side-by-side with more senior project managers.

Ray can be reached at rayf@ppcgroup.us, and PPC Group’s site can be found at https://accidentalpm.online.

Limited Special Offer

One complemntary copy of each of Ray’s books is available to the first applicants from any European country (closing date 28 Feb 2021). Write now to info@scatterwork.com, together with your postal address and professional contact details. indicating which one of the following you request (only one book per person):

  • Accidental Project Manager – Zero to Hero in 7 Days
  • Accidental Agile Project Manager – Zero to Hero in 7 Iterations
  • Risk Assessment Framework – Successfully Navigating Uncertainty.

Scatterwork – the host organisation

As your partner of choice, Scatterwork is a catalyst enabling individuals and organisations to achieve excellence through creative project & process solutions in challenging environments.

To learn more about how we can help you to implement Project Solutions for your technical and business challenges, please call Dr Ó Conchúir on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

Business Turnaround Engagement in China

Ferguson: Hello Nitesh, thank you very much for joining us and talking about your experience with  Scatterwork.

I’d like to ask you if you’d like to share with us some of your experience with Scatterwork, when and where it was and the particular project you’re working on?

Mishra: Yes thanks Malcolm for inviting me for this discussion.

I would like to definitely share a very good experience with Scatterwork which we had in China, where we have this business problem and we wanted to turn around the business. So, people knew what is to be done, but it was difficult to start this whole exercise. So we had this discussion with Scatterwork and it was well executed plan.

So just to elaborate on that, it was a very structured and designed marathon exercise for three days. And at the end, we signed off project charter, schedule, network diagram and owners of each project were identified. So it was well executed planned with Scatterwork.

Ferguson: Yes, that’s fascinating! Could you share with us some of the benefits you had in working with Scatterwork and what you think would help you going forward to future projects?

Mishra: Yes, I think the methodology was very unique. Why I said unique, because it was a mix of practitioner mindset, because the facilitator and the trainer was coming from a very deep industry experience.

Not only that but also the academic background of, you know, teaching the concepts to the team and then translating those concepts into the specific projects. So at the end of the day we have really understood, the team was really having a good understanding of project charters, the deliverables, and you know, what communication management, what risk management is all about for those initiatives.

Not only that but ultimately at the end of the day, you know when the budget was set up and started we also had some inputs from Scatterwork on how to how are we doing on those initiatives. So that was really really useful to make sure that we are on track and not deviating from what we intend to do. So that was really unique.

Ferguson: So thank you for those insights. We appreciate that and thank you for your time today.

Mishra: Thank you very much

The Speakers

Guest: Nitesh Kumar Mishra PMP, CSCP, MBA Global Category Manager- Logistics and Services at Maersk, Singapore

Interviewer: Malcolm Ferguson, Independent Consultant for Scatterwork GmbH, Switzerland.

Scatterwork – the host organisation

As your partner of choice, Scatterwork is a catalyst enabling individuals and organisations to achieve excellence through creative project & process solutions in challenging environments.

To learn more about how we can help you to implement Project Solutions for your technical and business challenges, please call Dr Ó Conchúir on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

Evolution of Professional Conferences – part 2

Evolution of Professional Conferences – part 2

This is the second and final part of some personal perceptions about recent developments in the organisation of Professional Conferences. My interest arises mainly because of the increased access to up-to-date opinions which conferences offer, accelerating the understanding of developments which would otherwise not be noticed, due to the 24-hour time limit per day…

The Impact of porting Conferences to Online Delivery

Much of this is “obvious” but has often been blended out by the fact that during the early adopter phase, there are a lot of potential conference participants who simply don’t think that online events meet their need to meet “in the flesh”.

Reduced carbon footprint by avoiding travel, whether by road or air

For an international conference with hundreds of participants, this is very significant.

Saves participants’ time, expenses, risks (e.g. to infection)

Online events start on the minute, while physical events often take the whole day (or even nights depending on the travel requirements), during which the time cannot be used optimally.

Depending on the personal health situation, there can be many potential participants who do not want to meet large numbers of people and so they minimise their health risk by not coming or at least by avoiding public transport.

Reduced risks to the conference delivery

e.g. to short notice changes in travel and assembly restrictions. There are examples due to the pandemic where changes of regulation have been brought in very rapidly, some of them even on the day of announcement.

Increased participation of those who would not otherwise engage

A big benefit is the increased participation of those who would not otherwise engage, e.g. due to distance from the event, busy schedule etc. It is more viable for an individual to engage in a wide variety of conferences that would be possible by visiting physical events alone.

A related impact is the far greater catchment area for conferences, due to the online accessibility.

Trends – the “new normal”

Based on the experience and learning of 2020, much of which has been driven by the pandemic, some things are unlikely ever to “return to normal” and will take new and permanent directions. Here is a personal short list of the “new normal” as I see it for professional conferences.

Improved Working Processes

Many organisations are looking hard at their processes, to identify what processes have roadblocks in the form of off-line steps, with a view to eliminating them. An example is ordering processes for restaurants in Singapore.

Organisations are also looking for new improved ways to work, independent of the “new normal”. For example, there has been a big increase in remote proctoring, i.e. processes than enable the supervision of candidates to take their exam from anywhere, not just in a supervised hall. See the Project Management Institute https://www.pmi.org/certifications/certification-resources/process/online-proctored-testing for an example of this.

Another process example is the setting of exams. To avoid collusion the questions are presented in a different random order to each participant, to prevent them working synchronously with others during an exam, e.g. by WhatsApp.

These process improvements go far beyond remote replication of existing processes.

Acceptance AND familiarity with remote involvement

The telephone was invented nearly 150 years ago and it has become an everyday tool for about a century. The pandemic has driven the transition to everyday normality of working through the internet, whether for data transfer or conferences.

The Author

Dr Deasún Ó Conchúir, is an Effective Project & Program Consultant for B2B & cross-functional situations where holistic solutions cannot be obtained within a single organization.

To learn more about how he can help you to implement Project Solutions for your technical and business challenges, please call him on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

Evolution of professional conferences – part 1

Evolution of professional conferences – part 1
A traditional Conference Setting

Everybody knows that the year 2020 has been turbulent for business globally. One of the biggest influences has been the restriction of movement and travel due to the pandemic. Several months on from the onset, here is part 1 of some personal observations about the effect on Professional Conferences and what trends are emerging.

4 Types of Response to the changed conference risks

There seem to 4 major types of response to the threat that a conference, which always takes months of preparation and planning, may not take place by the traditional physical event. I have personally experienced all these options, either as presenter, organiser or participant:

Conferences which changed to online free format

Making this decision months in advance of the conference impacts not only the format and participation, but also the finances. Traditional events in conference centres, universities, hotels etc cost money which is either borne by the participants or the organisers (and their sponsors). By changing to a free format, both costs and income from a physical event drop away and are replaced by much lower costs for online delivery. The risks to the schedule are mostly avoided.

Conferences which changed the date and format from live to online, retaining the participation charge

A difference compared with the free format is that the potential participation is largely from the same group so cannot be used as freely as a promotional activity. The income makes it easier to invest in more than basis technology, resulting in a more polished access for the paying participants.

The resulting online event avoids most of the risks arising from restrictions to travel and movement.

Conferences which planned for live events affected by last minute changes in regulations

This category invests in a traditional delivery and then stands to lose both the planning effort invested and some costs (e.g. prebooking of the conference facilities etc) if the access regulations change.

The challenge is to recover if the event is either cancelled or restricted, e.g. to smaller participation limits, with social distancing enforced etc.

Cancellation at short notice means that he organisers may need to reactivate the interest of their participants, even if the replacement event is held online.

Conferences which cancelled for 2020 and reschedule for 2021

A big risk here is to lose the support of the potential participants and to have no conference income during the year 2020. This combination tightens the demands on the organisers for 2021 and increases the risk that the conference series simply never re-emerges.

Some organisations have undertaken alternative online events to retain contact with their participant group. In addition to professional conferences, there are examples of this from museums, to musical festivals, at least on one of which transferred to television https://www.tg4.ie/ga/eolas/preas/nuacht-raitis/2020-2/fleadh2020/ for 2020.

Novel Features in Online Conferences

From my personal perspective, there have been several novel or improved conference features, which counteract the very real loss of person-to-person contact at traditional physical events:

Involvement with previously unthinkable locations.

For example, my location is in EMEA, but the porting of conferences online has opened up participation in locations such as New Zealand, which is exactly 12 hours east. This means that 08.00 a.m. for them is 08.00 p.m. for me. Although outside normal working hours, it is still reasonable to participate in their morning sessions, i.e. up to my midnight. If recordings are made, it is then possible to follow the rest afterwards.

This change increases by far the geographical home base of the participants and adds to the diversity, which is a powerful driver and accelerator of innovative ideas.

“Speed dating”

An example was at the Disruption Forum Innovation Labs, https://hopin.to/events/disruption-forum-innovation-labs where a session was scheduled for participants to meet each other randomly. After confirming presence, the system looked for the next available participant, then connected a random pair of participants with a video call window in the browser. The window included a countdown timer for 3 minutes and closed abruptly at the end, before putting participants into the queue for the next chat.

Longer Partner Engagement time windows, like the “speed dating” but running over several days the week of the conference. In this case Biotechgate https://partnering.biotechgate.com/register/index/BDP1120 the connections are not random but driven by the participants’ declared profile and interests.

New conference sites / apps getting better:

My experience of online conferences previously was with promotional events, e.g. of companies increasing the knowledge about their products and services. In recent years, these have an app, which replicates the printed catalogue, like at a physical exhibition to help identify which speakers and companies are participating. The evolution which I have become aware of is more reliable interfaces requiring no download (browser only), participant contact data, retaining videos and support material for all sessions, and including opportunities to talk to the presenters.

The Author

Dr Deasún Ó Conchúir, is an Effective Project & Program Consultant for B2B & cross-functional situations where holistic solutions cannot be obtained within a single organization.

To learn more about how he can help you to implement Project Solutions for your technical and business challenges, please call him on +41 79 692 4735 or email him at info@scatterwork.com.

Scatterwork is in good (virtual) company

The Benefits of Virtual Working

Since Scatterwork was established in 2008, the company has had the objective of having a 100% virtual team to support its operations. In fact, the company name was selected to reflect this interest only a year after Twitter was launched and a year before Facebook made any profit.

Our service is Project Consultancy, so is dependent on its team of experts. By developing a team which is 100% virtual has several tangible business benefits in contrast to bricks-and-mortar companies:

Some Benefits of Virtual Working

Among the many benefits of virtual working, these are the most important ones for Scatterwork:

  • The opportunity to select the very best experts wherever they are in the world, compared with being restricted whoever lives near enough to commute.
  • Rapid launching of new assignments, sometimes within only days of notice compared with longer lead times if experts must travel, get visas, book hotels etc.
  • Team presence is many locations, countries, cultures, time zones etc, so improving the variety of experience which supports problem solving.
  • No investment in office space and overheads (insurance, telephones, telecomms infrastructure etc.) which simplifies incremental growth.

There is no such thing as a free dinner

While the benefits of virtual working are very real, they do not come without some overhead:

  • The dependency on communications technology, which must be specified to match virtual working and managed actively is a significantly more complicated than for colocated businesses. This offsets some of the simplification and cost saving compared wtih working from a physical location.
  • Every opportunity should be used for the team members to meet each other face to face, for example when travellng to the same client. Ideally this would be supplemented by team meetings from time to time, again not free of cost.
  • Everybody should be comfortable with asynchronous (= not at once) communication with the team. Synchronous communication (e.g. the live team meetings) are like gold dust and should be protected.
  • Team members tend to feel lonlely and this is not addressed by nearby team members, unlike the situation where they are colocated. This does not suit everybody.
  • Mostly it is not possible to see the work, only the results of the work. This demands a mind-set change for management compared with a traditional office.
  • Each team member is responsible for agreeing their own work with the stakeholders and managing the communications and tools. In short, they should be “self-starters”, which does not suit everybody.

In summary, there are positive and negative features of virtual work, which for Scatterwork are balanced in favour of virtual working.

Is Scatterwork on its own?

No, although the vast majority of companies have physical offices, there is a significant number of companies which, like Scatterwork, work virtually. Here are some that we are aware of:

Zapier: 25+ Fully Remote Companies That Let You Work From Anywhere

Scopic: How do the top 10 biggest virtual companies in the world make it work?

Remotive: Live Remote Jobs

Author

Dr Deasún Ó Conchúir, Founder and CEO, Scatterwork GmbH, who can be contacted at deasun@scatterwork.com

How Change Management complements Project Management

Adedayo Ajibola

The rate of change in our society started to accelerate long before COVID-19 arrived. Even though the pandemic is not over, it is clear that the world is moving into new, unexpected and unpredictable directions, at a rate even faster than before 2020.

As businesses evolve, in a world of continuous change accompanied by an increase in projects being completed, business change management has become ever more important – a discipline that project management needs to be aware of and involved in. Project management focuses on the processes and activities needed to complete delivery and installation of systems or processes (such as a new software application) while change management focuses on the people affected by those projects and implementation of the processes (or other changes within the organization).

“For every €, £ or $ spent on change in a project, there is a 43% ROI gain (€0.43 for every €1). By contrast, projects with poor change implementation lose €0.65 for every €1 spent”:

“Change Management that Pays”, McKinsey Quarterly, 2002,

Project management teams focus primarily on fulfilling the strategic objectives of a project. Change management complements the project management process by supporting the human side – it is increasingly recognised that a project’s measure of success is significantly impacted by the way in which the desired project outcomes are achieved and additional value is realised.

Within a project stakeholders are often made up of cross functional teams and varying backgrounds, who require management through interactive two way dialogue so they can support and advocate the project and overall transformation. Without buy-in from these stakeholders or the rest of the organization, a project’s outcomes can be impeded.

Change management enables the maximum number of people to make a change, in the shortest possible time, with maximum capability, in order to deliver business benefits quicker. “Change” is people, process and (… systems). The more people are required to work differently, the more effort is needed on change management, to support them as they go through the process. It considers factors such as the individual change journey, change fatigue, adoption and reinforcing the change.

Project management and change management differ in approach, processes and tools employed but complement each other; since projects can have a significant and lasting impact on the business and its stakeholders, both disciplines are necessary when executing a project or initiative and should be employed hand in hand to ensure a project’s long-term success.

As a Change Management Facilitator Adedayo Ajibola is all about assisting businesses to help their people navigate change within the organisation. She is a certified Project and Business Change professional and founder of Horoma Limited; a management consultancy based in Reading, UK. She appreciates feedback and discussion on project and change management and can be reached at contact@horomalimited.com