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How the Pandemic Changed Project Managers' Lives

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The pandemic has changed many business processes for companies focused the task management and client communications. As the vital link between team members and сustomers, project managers are arguably more important than ever. How have they adjusted to this new reality? We asked several project managers how their roles have changed. 

 

How the work format was transformed?

How much change is necessary depends on the work environment of a company pre-pandemic, for those companies already versed in hybrid ‘home-office’ model, Covid-19 didn’t rock the boat. They already had experience with employees working remotely and their online business processes were fine-tuned. For others it wasn’t as easy to get accustomed to the new way of things. For example, with so many tasks being imported into online processes, a new online etiquette has arisen. It is only natural project manager would oversee these protocol changes  for both internal team and customers.

 

New highlights of communication

 

While every office worker understands the importance of starting a meeting or a call promptly, the unfamiliarity of remote working creates new challenges with adhering to allotted times and staying on agenda. Project managers have valuable experience they can lend to business partners and clients to make online conferencing more efficient. 

PM's have been able to easily step into leadership roles)

With so many people working remotely, managers must be consistently available throughout the workday. According to respondents, this was obligatory for project managers before the pandemic, making it easy to step into a leadership role for facilitating communication between teams and customers.

 

Staying on top of the situation is the key

Many  team members and clients may find it difficult to adjust their habits for today’s challenges, but for project managers the ability to adapt to new conditions has long been a key to their success. Furthermore, having to deal with different clients requires the ability to adjust quickly and tailor the approach to each customer's unique business environment. These on-the-fly accommodations to a customer’s needs as well the ability to quickly learn and incorporate new tools and work formats have always been core competencies of successful project managers. 

 

What about soft skills?

Another important characteristic of a productive project manager is empathy. Some clients and team members will not easily adjust to the new and unfamiliar conditions. The product manager’s challenge is to provide a smooth and seamless transition for them,keeping in mind their personal traits. This concerns moving from offline to online as well as communication arrangements. 

 

KPI and motivation system review

Despite the market changes, most teams are maintaining their traditionall KPI and motivation systems. The reason being the old channels were replaced with the new ones, transferring a large proportion of sales to online, which was already serving most customers before the pandemic. This allowed many companies to maintain profitability and provide customers’ stable traffic. 

In terms of team morale, respondents stated the pandemic made teams more cohesive. Team members rarely miss a chance to praise one another and offer each other support. This is particularly important since some members of the team have continued working remotely.

 

Under these circumstances, project managers have met the challenges of maintaining consistent productivity within their teams while also cultivating a healthy psychological climate despite the volatile situation. At  every step, project managers must monitor whether the team is meeting interim targets, allowing for the ability to adapt work process when the unexpected occurs. In an atmosphere of uncertainty, it may be useful to step back and determine next moves. 


 

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