Well, let’s all admit that 2020 was a “different” year. Our projects were delayed, our health was at risk, we didn’t feel safe, tension raised a lot, communication lost… and so on.
Some of us probably missed some deadlines for projects. But we completed some new and urgent projects in order to be adapted to this new era. Our development as an engineer or manager might not as much as we expected, but we learned a lot of new things such as pandemic, medicine, viruses too! In the other hand; we also learned so much quicker about digitalization, technology that keeps us connected, remote staff and project management tools, new ways to express ourselves and set goals. So It was not a loss year in the end.
I have 3 suggestions for all leaders for making a plan and a new start for 2021, please feel free to comment and discuss if you have anything in mind:
- Use Tools More Effectively:
We were making e-meetings of course, but not as much as 2020 I suppose. My main solutions was a quick chat face to face, or a call, maybe an e-mail for communication. I don’t remember to make one-on-one meetings online. Using this stuff is pretty easy and efficient if used effectively. Too much technology could remove feelings and energy transfer during a conversation so be careful too. A good balance will increase efficiency. It could loose the effect if you use same type of method for communication all the time so always be open to new things and try out alternatives.
Beside communication, lots of project management software were developed too. Using cloud must be expanded a lot, so why not to use all this technology when they are more effective? Keep that in mind and create a mixture of hard-copy & soft-copy balance. Reporting online and sharing data could save a lot of time and resource, using Microsoft Teams, Slack, JIRA etc. could easily help you to follow projects and deadlines, manage priorities and so on. Maybe making less follow-up meetings or calls will save great time? I believe most of the MS Outlook users are not using their calendar effectively, so it’s time to focus on that more! You can expand your skills greatly with a quick web search, I suggest to start from the source: link.
2. Reschedule & Re-evaluate Projects:
To be sincere, I don’t like rescheduling. But If we missed deadlines and the project is still good, what we can do? I hope upper management will look at the same way…
During reschedule, it could be good to review the project plan. Maybe using online tools could help you for speeding up a bit? Or some project goals or challenges could be revised with new technology and customer expectations? A new perspective could change the project a lot and I suggest to review in detail. Another thing that I like to do is review together. More mind is better than one mind, so bring your trustworthy allies together and review openly. Maybe it was a project that no one believed but you? After all changes during 2020, do you still believe it is? Than reschedule. As every project should be; put clear goals and outputs, get in as necessary detail as needed and set a reasonable deadline.
3. Don’t be Harsh on Performance Review & Raises
Keep in mind that we all struggled. Thus, this year’s review should be a mellow one in my point of view. Instead of looking at the dark side, look bright side and give positive feedback about quick adaptation, praise the effort for learning working remotely, applause to be kept focused and giving best even there were bad news everyday. With all the additional time and comfort that gained with home-office working; most of the people developed themselves with online education platforms, so ask for it. Be sensitive to the changes that people faced during pandemic, try to be understanding. Finances of the company might not good during pandemic, so be open and transparent as much as you could. Also finance in their house might be challenged too, keep that in your mind. Of course salary rise is given as per performance and economics, but I like to see it as an investment and try to set new salaries with expected performance for next year.
I suggest not to lower expectations neither, so next year we should perform better with our newly learned skills!
I wish everyone a happy and successful new year!