In this unprecedented time, technology is playing a very important role for implementing innovative ideas to deliver nimble, outcome-driven and business resilient solutions. The economic outlook of the lockdown is no doubt being predicted along with the shape of recovery curve, but it has also resulted into innumerable opportunities for bringing positive impact and ways to adapt to the new normal.
PMO Global Alliance , largest online community of Project Management Office (PMO) professionals in the world has taken one such great initiative by launching the PMOsHackingCovid19 Online Hackathon on April 8th, 2020, to find creative solutions that could be immediately applied by them who are facing the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. This has been one of the unique global hackathons where total 536 professionals registered from 83 countries.
In this hackathon eight main challenges were identified by collecting information from the above professionals. The following challenges were addressed by the project ideas proposed to deliver solutions that can be used by the global PMO community.
- Mental Well-Being: Solutions that can make the PMO contribute to the employees’ mental well-being, at a time of very high stress when it is necessary to adapt to social distancing and self-quarantine measures.
- Remote Work: Solutions that can make the PMO support or allow remote work when many organizations need to implement it on an emergency basis, facing several technical and behavioral issues.
- Executive Decision Making: Solutions that can make the PMO support the executive level in its decision-making process even in times of great uncertainty, ensuring the alignment of portfolios with the emerging strategies.
- Business Continuity: Solutions that can make the PMO support the development of business continuity and enterprise risk management plans, integrated with the project portfolio and the corporate strategy.
- Community Support: Solutions that allow the PMO to enable its organization to support the community in its region or country, reducing the impact of the outbreak on people and the economy.
- Business Transformation: Create solutions that enable the PMO to support its organization in business and digital transformation, focusing on critical issues that require adaptation to new emerging challenges.
- Change Management: Solutions that allow the PMO to provide support in the management of critical and urgent organizational changes to adapt to current needs, with a focus on the human factor.
- Rethinking the PMO: Solutions that allow the PMO to rethink its role, establishing new models and a creative focus that can generate a higher and more significant impact on emerging challenges.
Creative ideas were suggested by the teams and 16 projects were shortlisted in the above challenge areas for preparing the conceptual presentation along with project scope and key deliverables. The project ideas proposed will make use of blend of digital technologies such as Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics, Cloud, Business Intelligence, Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) along with various remote and online synchronous collaboration tools like zoom, slack, MS Teams etc.
The 16 unique project ideas co-created during the hackathon are as follows: –
- Crisis Guide for PMOs: Creating a guide for PMOs on what to do in a crisis and how the PMO should react to any type of disaster.
- Continuation of Recruitment and Onboarding Process during Force Majeure: Enabling the process which will empower the organization and their HR department to continue with their business as-is and allowing the continuation of recruitment and onboarding process during force majeure. It will also allow to optimize the entire value chain of recruitment process.
- Framework for Remote Working: Collecting insights on tools, people management, and processes from other areas that were mainly based on remote work and contracting (lawyers, consultants, developers, etc.) and preparing a list of general recommendations to apply these lessons learned to new professions that were in “before COVID-19” times perceived as on-site full employment jobs but have emerged in “after COVID-19″ as more flexible remote work professions.
- Application of Risk Management in PMOs: Creating an application that can be used to facilitate risk management by input entry of all expected risks and uncertainties to the software and get the results that indicate the impact of the different scenarios on time, cost and quality. Based on that the recovery plan will be made with the project baseline.
- Digital PMOs: Digitizing all project management procedures and techniques and to have online up-to-date information with business intelligence dashboards
- Digital Transformation Framework: Proposed Digital Transformation framework for any organization in any industry.
- Change Management Model: Support guidelines for overcoming the COVID-19 crisis: Change management support guidelines for overcoming the challenges of COVID crisis, the plan will include the following deliverables: Change Management Approach, Change Management Model, Change Impact Analysis tool, Lessons Learned, Communication Plan guidelines and Change Risk Management suggestions.
- Project Management Competency assessment using AI models: Creating an AI-based Project Management Competency Assessment platform to asses everyone who is involved in the projectized environment, to know their strength, their challenges, as well as talent gap for an individual and the organization collectively. The assessment would analyze the best possible solution as well as a recommendation to improve the efficiency of the individual and the organization to deliver their projects using supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement machine learning techniques. It will also help in achieving effective AI-powered Agile Project Management.
- PMO Actions to support remote work and executive decisions: A list of actions a PMO can take towards supporting Remote work and business values decision making.
- Strategic Decision-Making during Crisis Time: Creating a self-audit tool which allows an organization to reflect on their decision-making capability under crisis conditions.
- Project Governance Support for virtual decision-making: Sincepeople are very reliant on face to face decision-making, this idea focuses on using video conferencing or other technical solutions to make effective decisions.
- All-for-one initiative for mental well-being: “All for One Initiative” helps to keep connected with employees virtually for better mental well-being by A) Providing training online (awareness on the pandemic, working from home, time management, emotional awareness) B) Employees to socialize virtually (online activities like competitions) C) Open a channel with employees online to be connected with them, listen to their concerns, share news, ask questions.
- Remote Work for Dummies: In order to properly prepare organizations for this shift, considerations are be given to many aspects of which some are, but not limited to the following: Do people have the necessary technology, tools or access to them? How will the communication process be like? What are the associated risks? How will the overall performance be monitored? Are the employees psychologically ready for the new working style? In order to have a lean and productive remote working system, organizations must consider the areas mentioned in this toolkit.
- PMO as a Service Framework: Transform the PMO to a service using the Kanban Method and the Fit-for-purpose framework.
- Project Management Catalyst (PMC): Thinking of PMO as a decentralized office by having an in-house mentoring program called Project Management Catalyst (PMC), in which every department will nominate an employee to be the PMC, an extensive and intensive mentoring will be given to the PMC by the PMO. PMCs will be responsible to manage the internal projects in their departments by using customized approaches that are fit for purpose.
- Improving PMO Value Ring methodology to cope with crisis situations: PMO Value Ring is a recent methodology to establish, manage and develop the PMO. This methodology has 8 actionable integrated steps that can be implemented by providing the tools and explanations necessary for each step. One must analyze the situation of each organization and based on that services or functions are chosen that are appropriate to the need. Consequently, it provides benefits that add effective and calculated value to its stakeholders and for the organization.
As the next steps, the organizing committee of this hackathon will finalize the top 5 projects which shall be declared as the winners. The respective project teams will start working on delivering the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The detailed video presentations and the scope of the above exciting projects can be accessed at https://pmoga.world/pmohackathon/#1587387782914-b2374c83-0e07.
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Gaurav Dhooper is a strategic thinker, a professional Agile and IT Delivery Leader, an author and a speaker. Gaurav writes articles on Digital Transformation, Agile Transformation, Agile Project Management and Scrum. He also writes articles on Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Personal Agility in leading online publications. Gaurav has been reviewer for PMI’s Standard for Earned Value Management and a book on Agile Contracts. He is also a Webinar and keynote speaker in various global conferences and Reviewing Committee Member in PMO Global Awards 2020. Gaurav also holds the voluntary positions of Digital Media Global Director of PMO Global Alliance and Senior Official of IAPM, Switzerland for Metropolitan area of Noida, India.