Are you using this strategy for your workflows?

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This video suggests a strategy for developing your workflows.

Well, why use a workflow? Let’s look at the project contents: a project is something we do once.

Processes are repetitive and projects are implemented by using processes and processes can be supported by workflows.

For example, we have project phase reviews, we have several reviews in every project we have a lot of projects we have a lot of phase reviews.

So it’s really a process: it’s a thing we do every time and if we have a good method of organizing it, then all of our projects will benefit. So in this case, we can use the process of a phase review and it will help us implement our projects.

Now, we can use cloud workflows for project processes, for example we might have a phase review process for virtual projects where the activities are in different places and the challenge is: it’s not always easy to communicate the detailed process steps to the remote location.

It’s hard to show people so what we are going to suggest is that we learn by example.

The first thing we do during the first process, we do the work, organized to phase meeting and we do it ourselves.

After the first use of the process, we have a look at the workflow that we’ve been documenting and we improve it.

Then during the second process we actually use it again, but this time we invite people to watch closely what we’re doing: maybe you will use screenshare with Skype or something like that, so that they can see what we’re doing.

This gives you a chance to test the workflow. It’s much easier to do this than it is to give somebody the workflow and ask them to test it.

And then the next time we have a phase review meeting, we use to process but we give it to the other people: we tell them to implement it and we support them.

Hopefully the next time round they do it on their own without any help.

So the basic idea is we develop the workflow, then we improve it, then we demonstrate it and then we hand it over. If we do that, we’ve got a good chance that the workflow will work properly.

So if you’re interested in any of these ideas or other project issues, please contact us.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Balance your Virtual Team using Personal Assessments

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Hello! This short video from Scatterwork is about balancing your virtual team using personal assessments.

In any project we need a mixture of people who have different skill sets, for example we need somebody with vision – a project is something we haven’t done before and somebody must have a very clear idea of what it is we’re trying to do because not everyone has that skill.

Then other people are skilled in completing work; others may be less able to finish things and of course the project that’s not finished is not complete.

And then we need people who can help the team to work out what they need to do next so that’s a human skill.

So we need a mixture of skills and there are many commercial methodologies available that can be used for teams do this. They are normally based on some sort of a questionnaire where the individual’s work out their score and then they come together and check: do we have an overlap; do we have lots of people with the same style within the team? Or do we have gaps and if we can fill the gaps that’s good; if we can’t, then maybe we need to think about how we compensate for that.

So the comment in this video is to think about using these methods also for virtual teams.

It actually has an extra spin-off because at the beginning and before we get involved in the project itself, we need that extra input of effort so that people work together. Filling out one of these evaluations and then sharing the results is one way of developing the team. So as the saying goes “two birds with one stone”.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Scatterwork’s Website Makeover

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Everybody appreciates saving time and effort!

This applies particularly in a consultancy business such as Scatterwork Consulting, as a lot of interaction is required between client and supplier to  identify and define assignments.  It is a cliché that this is made harder by heavy work and travel schedules, as well as time zone differences, not to mention cultural differences.

Even simple questions about details can take weeks to answer, simply because both client and consultant are extremely busy.

Because everything that reduces the effort and time to reach agreements is welcome, Scatterwork Consulting undertook a makeover of the website to make it easier to understand client needs and meet them.

Targeted Products simplify Client Discussions

Following an analysis of actual contracts, we have identified four basic products.  The description of each product has been totally revised, regarding both content and style.  This means that an enquirer can decide before contacting us, if our offering seems to be relevant.  This saves a lot of time compared with a less targeted approach, as the client can get directly to the heart of the matter and Scatterwork also benefits by having less enquiries for topics not related to our key competences.

The four products which you are invited to browse are:

Real time Appointment Setting

Everybody is familiar with telephone (or e-mail) tag, where messages go over and back, just to identify when would be a good meeting time to discuss the assignment.  Sometimes the availability has changed by the time the answer comes, sometimes it is ambiguous as, for example, when I got a message recently asking me to meet at the “usual time”, for an annual audit!

Sometimes the time zone is unclear or changing, for example when summer time/ daylight saving time starts, which is a few weeks different between the USA and EU.

The revised website addresses this by presenting a very simple form for each product, laying the groundwork for the client discussion.  As the enquirer clicks the send button, a new window opens, showing available slots for a telephone or Skype call.  The enquirer can see when is available and actually make the appointment, there and then.  The system then sends a clear e-mail confirmation, with the meeting time according to the enquirer’s time zone.

This clarity and simplicity saves much waiting time and avoids many phone calls and e-mails.  This results in more reliable and easier appointment setting. The enquirer can fix a time immediately, even if the consultant is not available because of working with clients, travelling, time zone differences, weekends etc.

But I want to call now!

Not all consultant work is carried out at client sites, so it may be possible to take a call without forward planning.  This is made easier by knowing what time of day it is in the Scatterwork office, and this is shown on the revised and improved Contact Scatterwork page, which offers three ways to contact us.

We hope this all makes life easier for our clients and releases effort for the work itself!

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Simplified Bookings for Training Schedulers

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Making appointments with many people can be frustrating!

Someone once said that scheduling is easy in principle.  It is just keeping track of the details that makes it difficult.  This is particularly true for schedulers of our training, as they have to negotiate details, logistics and availability, both with the client and the trainer.  The constant coming and going can take a lot of effort, even if supported by social networks, e-mail and telephone.

Scatterwork automates consultant time reservations

Clients and schedulers can now select AND reserve training and consultancy dates directly through our on-line Availability and Reservation Request system at https://www.timetrade.com/book/LYB6G.Users can view which days do not contain scheduled consultancy work and reserve them, getting an immediate reservation by e-mail.

What are the Advantages?

Availability & Reservation RequestsThe advantages of this system include:

  • The scheduler can negotiate and reserve delivery dates immediately, even while negotiating with the client.  This results in a much earlier assignment confirmation, eliminates much e-mailing and messaging and also improves supplier credibility.
  • The scheduler can find out which dates are available for scheduled events (e.g. training, consultancy) without needing to call the consultant.  This is important, as consultants are often unable to take a call during client work, which is most of the time, or be in a different time zone.

Using the Availability & Reservations Requests application on-line

Select Date (ignore the time)Provide your information

 

  • Although the system shows dates on which there is no scheduled activity, personal contact is still necessary to finalise. Depending on where the previous booking is being held, some combinations may be simply too far to travel between one day and the next.
  • The time reserved (always 08:00 at our offices) is irrelevant and simply a placeholder.  Both user and Scatterwork receive confirmation e-mails.
  • The confirmation mail is also a placeholder, until we confirm the event with you.  The reservation does however prevent another client blocking the same day.
  • If you want to reserve several days, you will need to repeat this process for each day.
  • If your requirement is more than 3 months in the future or you do not get a reply within a working day, please contact Scatterwork.
  • The calendar does not show non-scheduled consulltancy work (e.g. preparaion work, desk research, authoring articles and books etc) because these times can usually be rescheduled.
  • You can also bookmark the page for future use, as the data is updated constantly.  Please also share it freely with colleagues.
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