Project Management, working remotely and making it good

Joining J4 has given me vast insights into the world of Project Management, a discipline which although I knew about (coming from a broad background in the construction industry) but actually seeing how the work pans out in practise is enlightening. I’m curious about how people work and achieve their targets and goals, and how clients respond as well.

Wiki tells us “Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.” Projects are by their very nature a temporary assignment, and the brief to meet these goals and add value, or bring beneficial change is more often than not unique. But how do clients know who to trust with this important work and how do they know who will do a good job and be enjoyable to work with? How do people not directly in the industry know what to look for and furthermore do they know what is involved or is there an assumption that PM work is universally understood?

Top qualities that clients say they appreciate and rate are the following: intelligence, friendliness, agility and lots of hard work. Project Management tasks also require leadership, trustworthiness, resilience and honesty. It’s OK in J4 to ask for help and guidance, and the mix of experienced team members with those starting out in their careers blends well. People are often paired up, and a fresh pair of eyes can very often be a major asset.

Working remotely – no office. How does that work? Evidently extremely well. I can’t find a downside to not having a central office and can list plenty of positives: more time to work as less commuting, same connectivity as team meetings are frequent, everyone attends and no one sites “meetings or “work” as a reason not to. These events are important and much appreciated both for knowledge sharing as well as for team morale. Costs are reduced with no office to maintain, and with a strong IT network and capabilities connectivity is good, using email, phone conversations, Whatsap and skype calls. Alf is responsible for J4’s IT and does a sterling job maintaining systems and pushing ahead with technology and ways of working. He holds regular IT surgeries that J4 colleagues drop in to and enjoy his varied choice of venue where it may be. J4 also work from clients’ offices and regularly take a desk there to fully immerse in the culture of a project and to understand their client. This way of working flexibly frees us time and costs and gives J4 genuine work responsibilities that work extremely well around personal lives.

In practice, the management of such distinct production approaches requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies. J4 does this with ease, working in an accommodating way and as one team member put it simply “we’re all just reasonable people”.