Deloitte’s recent announcement that its staff could decide “where and when they work”, raises certain assumptions worth exploring about remote resource management.
The policy, announced in 2021 by the consulting firm which boasts a 10,000-strong workforce, essentially eliminates set start and finish times, and does not require employees to be in the offices for any set number of days a week. Staff are offered a paid wellbeing day every year, along with the ability to trade public holidays for days of cultural or religious significance to them.
An announcement such as this cannot be made lightly and the strength of certain factors must have been explored by Deloitte’s policy makers during the drafting process.
These factors are no secret to project managers, who are used to manage remote resources.
In its latest report, the Project Management Institute “Pulse of the Profession” says organizational leaders increasingly are turning to project management professionals for the way they have always worked to drive innovation, results and change.
Sunil Prashara, President and CEO of PMI, said a key element of The Project Economy is that people in an organization “should all be able to be well-versed in project management disciplines, and the ability to execute. Because they’re going to be called upon to do that, moving from project to project to project.”
That is one of the fundamental reasons why the business world, including Deloitte, has turned to The Project Economy.
Therefore, is it time for project managers to let the cat out of the bag and share the secrets to remote resource management success?
Let’s begin. Here are the top ten best kept secrets to remote resource management from project managers around the world.
- Trusted working relationships
The absence of the traditional working structure assumes an element of trust will be shared between Deloitte’s employee and their front line managers.
Project managers have always invested time in relationships with suppliers and clients as the basis for their success.
- High employee engagement
Without the programs in place to actively motivate teams means Deloitte runs the risk of seeing depleting employee engagement levels over time. While subtle, disengagement will be apparent over time through absenteeism, lack of participation and missed deadlines.
Quality output is the main factor determining engagement for project managers and it is certainly not subtle or ignored!
- Access to online training and induction or onboarding programs
It remains to be seen how Deloitte will induct new consultants into the fold without a physical presence, though face to face and in-office work is an option. However, perhaps the next generation may be happy with forms of induction and connection which can be delivered virtually.
Interpreting blueprints to understand client expectation of projects is part and parcel of project managers onboarding – and they get very good at communicating the tasks allocated to resources.
- Cloud based access to shared files
Good technology in place for collaboration and sharing, as well as tight security is a must. The PMI Report indicates technical and digital skills as attributes they want to see in project leaders.
While project managers do not need to understand every detail of technology engineering, they know enough to assess the progress of technology, review deliverables and advocate for the needs of the customer.
Security for a 10,000-strong organisation like Deloitte is a must.
One of the Project Economy trends is an increased emphasis on cyber security where project leaders are developing projects that include the participation of cyber security leaders.
- Sophisticated software for allocating resources to project timelines and tasks
Deloitte will need project management software that allows for visibility across business functions over multiple projects, their timelines and available resources according to skillset is critical for success.
Project managers have been using the tools for years and, with the advent of artificial intelligence, they are able to swiftly harness the ability to build What If scenarios for agility decisions made by business leaders.
- Time logs for billable transparency
Established consultancies like Deloitte have sophisticated billable systems in place for transparent reporting. However, the ease with which to upload time logs and any overtime or ad hoc tasks is critical for the success of uptake by remote users.
Project managers work with resources of all different technology access and ability and have learned the art of communicating through appropriate channels for best engagement.
- Shared schedules for task allocation
Deloitte’s policy is very personalized, allowing for public holidays of choice. Having visibility of every resource and their leave requests is going to be a challenge if not managed centrally through a shared schedule.
Project managers tap into shared schedules and calendars and multiple projects taking regular steps to move resources around for optimized output.
- Defined reporting structures
Deloitte has very strong structures within teams and clear responsibilities around its staff.
Project managers have clarity around who has responsibility over tasks within the project.
- A “project minded” culture
Time will tell how Deloitte’s new policy fares. PMI’s Prashara said a key aspect of The Project Economy is that organizations “are going to have to really rethink the way work is done in their businesses. So, we’re seeing the world at the business level becoming projectified.”
He said a significant component of this are project teams that move between functional areas without the traditional boundaries of finance, human resources and the legal department.
Calling all project managers to have your say about the Project Economy and how businesses will fare by taking on a project mindset.
Drive Lynx is a project management software portal that accelerates project performance.
Find out more about Drive Lynx on our website here.