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Book Review – Remote Work Revolution by Tsedal Neeley

Author:  Florian Puschmann, PMP

Florian PuschmannJPG

I still remember vividly when we set up a workshop with a customer in a special video conferencing room a good five years ago. A couple of specialists were involved to hook up the two companies and their special rooms to make it happen. 

As you are reading this now, you are probably asking yourself why this is a big deal. That is precisely the point. Remote collaboration and hybrid work arrangements are becoming the norm in many industries to manage the interconnected global economy. Many of us, including myself, forget what this looked like just a few years back. While the fast global digitalization in the last two years accelerated this development, the remote work trend already started in the 90's.

The question now is no longer if dispersed remote teams work but rather how to make them work. 

Hence, now is an excellent time to take a moment, reflect, upskill and adjust to this new working style. 

Therefore, I was excited when I came across the recent book “Remote Work Revolution” by Harvard Business School Professor Tsedal Neeley. 

In her book, Tsedal offers background knowledge and hands-on strategies. I especially enjoyed that the content is backed by a good 50 years’ worth of solid research. Further, her book includes an extensive action guide that provides lots of ideas for direct experimentation and implementation in your daily work.

After a brief introduction to why remote work is not only much better than its reputation but also here to stay, the book dives into various areas of the topic.

As a basis, a framework is presented to “relaunch” your remote team for the most effective collaboration. The key elements of shared goals, understanding, and norms are almost too obvious. What is highly interesting though are the tools and techniques that are provided to achieve this outcome. Next, Tsedal takes her readers on a tour de force of the various dimensions to consider. 

Different elements of trust are covered. More importantly, she shows how to build trust to create resilient teams with high psychological safety.  

One of the key current topics is how to avoid digital exhaustion in remote teams. This topic is addressed with a general framework that allows avoiding digital exhaustion and how to use these tools to maximize productivity.

What fascinated me was the chapter that focused on the contrast of what it means to lead virtually. Different leadership techniques and skills are needed to promote a common purpose and harness productive conflict for the best overall outcomes. This holds especially true because the leader is never “in the room”. 

As a project manager, I was further intrigued by the chapter on how a traditional in-person agile team transitioned to a highly effective virtual team. This transition was not entirely deliberate, as the team fell apart at first when the pandemic sent everyone into a remote setting.  Tsedal presents this case study providing hands-on tweaks on making the methodology work that was initially designed for in-person interaction.

I hope this little review made you curious to explore this new “remote work handbook” to not only make remote work “work” but thrive!

Florian Puschmann, PhD, PMP

PM Master Class: Become your own chairperson and set boundaries

Author: Monika Keller, PMP

Monika Keller

Dear members and friends of the PMI Switzerland Chapter,

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite questions with you.

Think about it consciously:

-> If you say "yes" to X, what are you saying "no" to?

Why is this one of my favorite questions?
Because it sums up so well what is important to you in life. 

You are allowed to decide over and over again.

Let's say you have invited friends over for dinner. You haven't seen them for ages. After all, everyone is always busy. You've already done the shopping. At 5 p.m. you want to go home, but the CEO comes to you. He urgently needs you at a meeting tomorrow and you have to present a report. You didn't know about it until now. 

Apparently, your predecessor used to do it and it was forgotten until now. 

What do you do?

1. You send an SMS to your friends. Unfortunately, something came up and you have to postpone the dinner at short notice. You put in a night shift to prepare the documents (to the best of your knowledge) and shine at the boss the next day. 

2. You ask what exactly it is about. Right now, unfortunately, you're scheduled and can't take care of the details, but it's good that you have a meeting about it tomorrow. Then you can discuss it together right away. You will then hear what is required and can ask further questions. If the report is actually to be written by you, you will have a few more days for it. But maybe it would be an idea to have it done externally, since you have enough on your plate anyway....

What would you do?

Many people may find themselves leaning towards number 2, knowing that it may be better for their long-term mental and physical health. However, in reality, they often lack the courage and confidence to say “no” to a superior, so they may just try their best at both, preparing the dinner for friends (constantly looking at their watch and begging them to leave early) and trying to produce some kind of report for the next day for the meeting during the night, feeling guilty and stressed.

What if… you exchanged with others in this or a similar situation, learned what they came up with as alternative responses and did some practice with tips from me from my coaching and PMP practice, strengthened your confidence and learned how to say “no” in a more elegant and constructive way?

You can learn this as any other skill and you will see, it will get easier with time. Register now to secure your seat at the March 2022 Master Class on how to become your own chairperson and set boundaries at work. You can find more information at PMI Master Class (pmi-switzerland.ch).

I hope to see you there.

Have a great holiday season, some days to relax and let the year pass by. 

Next time someone wants something from you at short notice, remember to think about, "If you say yes to X, what do you say no to?" and then decide consciously.

Warm regards,

Monika 

P.S. If you want to know more about me, visit https://en.3c-keller.com/

Anecdotes of the early PMI Switzerland years, continued

Author: Karolina Letowska, PMP

PMI Switzerland Chapter President 

Karolina Letkowska NEW 100x100

As we are still celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Chapter, we continue with anecdotes from the past. “My” first president of the chapter, Paul Selwold, a very positive and charismatic person, shared his memory of the chapter. I still remember when we met at our first Board of Directors dinner, I was then elected as VP Finance. Paul said to me: Karo, so you are my VP Finance… hmm that would be an interesting year for us… and he smiled.

Anecdotes from Paul Selwold

My favorite memory, overall, is one that occurred when I had been volunteering as a journalist in the Comms team.  Since we are a distributed team, it was rare to see one another face-to-face, and we decided to have a Saturday afternoon together at the Blausee.  Team members arrived from every direction.

As it turned out, I was able to connect with Filippo Meloni on the way. He boarded the train at Olten that I was riding from Zurich.  We had a great time catching up and talking about life and enjoying the prospect of finally having the team together.  Then, from Bern to Blausee, we had to board the Postbus which went up the mountain. And during this time, shortly before we arrived at Blausee, it occurred to me that I did not bring anything to start the campfire with!  I asked Filippo if he had anything.  No. When we arrived at Blausee, I asked at the gift shop if they had matches or lighters.  No.

So there we were, waiting for the others to arrive, holding raw meat that we could not cook.

As people arrived, it was clear, no one smoked and so no one had any matches.  But we were all saved by Michael Schmid, clearly the one trained to survive in the woods.  With barely a shrug, he collected two twigs and started a campfire in the rain that had started to fall.  We were all able to enjoy cooked meat after all!  We had a great day in the end.  When we finished cooking, a family standing not far away approached and asked if they could borrow our fire if we were finished with it.  And I have repeated this story many times, usually when I see Michael has joined the group, because the trajectory from misery to happiness was so quick and so well appreciated by everyone.  

In the past years we have many memories together which will stay with us and be shared with the next PMI Switzerland generations.

I hope the Chapter has still many years to go and many stories to build.

All the best,

Karolina Letowska

Retrospective for Open Space 8 about PMBOK 7

Author: Leandro Benda., PMP

Leandro Benda

On Tuesday 9 November 2021, our 8th PMI Switzerland Open Space took place on Zoom. In Open Spaces, each participant is able to freely ask questions and/or share his or her expertise and opinion.

The topic of this online event was "The PMBOK 7". The topic was hosted with great talent by our volunteer Patryk Nosalik. On this occasion, 26 project managers joined from different sectors such as food processing, IT consulting, trading, building construction and more.

Different "virtual rooms" of 15 minutes each were created during the event in order to have various exchanges on themes of the participants’ choice. These virtual rooms were each managed by a facilitator to encourage engagement and ensure the best experience for everyone.

The questions selected for the discussion included:

  1. What is the biggest change in PMBOK 7 compared to PMBOK 6?
  2. What is the risk of PMPs in the future? Will they be less technical with the new PMBOK 7?
  3. What will change in the content of the PMP exam?
  4. Is PMBOK6 obsolete now?
  5. Do ITTOs still have value?
  6. Where will PMs find technical knowledge if not in PMBOK?

Each participant was able to freely ask questions and share his or her expertise and opinion and interesting answers were provided on these topics.

From these exchanges, it resulted that the PMBOK 7 will have the following new features compared to the PMBOK 6:

- More pragmatic approach

- More tailoring

- More global picture approach

- Offers more tools for the daily business, for example on the topic of leadership

This more global picture approach could perhaps allow project managers in the future to have more time to focus on tasks that bring even more added value. However, PMBOK6 still remains the reference for traditional methodology and it still has value for existing or new PMs.

We invite you all to register for our future Open Spaces which will take place online via Zoom. Dates and topics will be communicated soon. You will have the opportunity to share and learn more on the numerous and important changes that this new edition proposes.

All our events can be consulted via the PMI Switzerland events page.

Leandro Benda, PMP

 

Agile CoP: What about some real Agile for once?

Author: Florian Ivan, PMP, PMI-ACP, DASSM

Florian Ivan

The reality of the world today with lots of nuances, intricacies and complexities makes it very hard to have all the solutions to all the problems. On the other hand, whatever the problem you are facing might be, most likely somebody, somewhere already faced it and solved it. Through a Community of Practice, you can learn, grow and solve problems in a formal, hands- on and fun way.

On November 2nd PMI Switzerland launched the official Agile Community of Practice, dedicated to bringing together experiences and realities of Agile practice in Switzerland. More than 20 professionals got together for this first edition and got to know each other. Since a CoP is an opportunity to learn, we’ve had some special guests who shared some stories with us. Yvan Pinto insisted on the importance of being value driven, Frank Tassone shared his experience from working with other CoPs and Raphael Branger explained how you mix Agile and big data. All this in a friendly and exciting atmosphere. 

For those who are new to what a Community of Practice is, we are a group of Agile enthusiasts who get together to share experience, ask questions, discuss and debate. It is a place where like minded people connect and improve their practice of Agile.

If you’re interested in joining, please write us an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or join our LinkedIn group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13973385/ 

Next event: Tuesday December 14th 2021: Why did I get into Agile? 

Register here: https://www.pmi-switzerland.ch/index.php/events/events-list/agile-cop-2 

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