Before social distancing became a part of our everyday vernacular, project manager Martha attended the Deliver Conference in Manchester. Here she shares her key takeaways from the day, including some best practice when it comes to remote working, something we will all need to get used to, and better at, in the coming months.
What is the Deliver Conference all about?
The conference was a broad selection of short and long talks on topics affecting delivery teams working in an agile manner. There aren’t many conferences dedicated to project management and delivery, so I was really keen to attend!
5 Top Content themes:
- Risk Management Theatre, where managing risk becomes a performance task, rather than a tangible and helpful process.
- When looking to change processes, change one thing small and repeat. That way you can improve your process and have a valid methodology for what did and didn’t work.
- There was some really useful content on measuring success, which covered a range of key metrics including: lead time, deployment frequency, mean time to restore, change fail %.
- Governance works best when it’s inclusive, allowing everyone to raise risks and praise.
- Anyone who has to keep saying they’re “agile” probably isn’t.
Overall, I would say that the best presentations came from businesses who shared case studies of improvement.
Any useful takeaways?
One speaker shared their Post-it Note approach to project kick-off. Before a project or work cycle begins, everyone writes down what their role is (not their job title) and then everyone else writes what they need from that person. It seemed like an excellent way to set the scene.
It was hugely valuable (and somewhat timely) to hear how the BBC implemented their long-term work from home strategy. Vivi Campbell, Lead Agile Delivery Manager, BBC Voice and AI, talked about their two-month trial:
Issues to solve:
- Distributed team across the U.K
- Ineffective hybrid meetings i.e where people in the office get together in a room, while those working remotely dial in.
- Reducing travel time and associated expenses
- Improve team happiness and morale
To make it work:
- Created a handbook for remote working containing tips and guidelines
- Prioritised video first meetings
- They got the team on board from the start – it can’t be top down, the team needed to set the rules and expectations
- Headsets are essential!
Rules that were established:
- During meetings colleagues need to turn off notifications
- Assign specific roles in a meeting – i.e. taking notes, chair, choose who speaks next etc.
- Implementing a “raise your hand” policy to make sure everyone gets to speak
- Not everyone needs to be in a meeting!
- Ban hybrid meetings
Following the trial, BBC colleagues chose to continue to work from home 3 or 4 days a week. Video technology continues to play a vital role for long term connectivity and team cohesiveness; something we are all beginning to get familiar with…
I would certainly recommend the Deliver Conference to other project management professionals and will attend the event again next year.