Finding Success Remotely

Adapting Project Management Approaches

The way we’re working with our clients looks very different now in these uncertain times surrounding COVID-19. The necessity of completely remote connection prompts us to embrace the challenge of adapting our partnerships to continue meeting client needs and moving time-sensitive projects forward in service to communities. In addition to more video calls and collaborative tools, we have used a presentation-based project management approach deemed successful with several of our clients. We had employed the method even before the need for remote work and are now discovering it is transitioning smoothly and continuing its effectiveness during this shelter-in-place time.

 

As an example, one of our Southern California projects had presented challenges assembling the client’s large Advisory Committee together on a regular basis efficiently enough to keep up with the fast pace of the project. To mitigate this, meetings began to be held remotely, and we approached our information sharing in a new way as well. Rather than providing long memos filled with technical information, data, and complex options for them to digest, we prepared slide decks for the committee members to view prior to each online meeting and then discussed the information at the meeting. This way, we still walked through every step of the story together and were able to explain and discuss the decisions that needed to be made at that particular time for each meeting.

In times where there is a tremendous amount of distraction, it becomes even more difficult to capture attention, ensure understanding, and prompt action for items remaining as high priorities for the agency. By using the pieced-out slide decks, the focus on the critical path decisions was central to receiving direction from the committee members on the necessary implementation steps. The presentations provided options, data, pros and cons, and the decision action items one at a time for each remote discussion. We also conducted an online survey, providing them the opportunity to voice their most preferred option. Where a consensus over the phone or around a table would have been difficult to reach, the survey took in everyone’s input and ranked the choices efficiently. Once the choices were down to the top two options, the discussion itself was more focused as well. Due to its established nature, this method transitioned smoothly for our Southern California client and many others.

How are you adjusting? We’d like to hear more ideas, needs, or successes in navigating remote collaboration successfully.

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