Connecting Talent and Technology in Today’s Economic Climate

Courtney McClay

The global impact of COVID-19 and the resulting economic uncertainty are having a profound effect on many industries. The world in which we operate has drastically changed, and at the recent Talent & Technology Symposium virtual event hosted by PMI, they featured a stellar lineup to take a look at how we, as organizations, can adapt and effectively respond to a global pandemic with our ways of working. While the event focused on the importance of aligning talent with tools, they tackled everything from culture, leadership, the project economy and beyond. Here are a couple of the key takeaways from the event.

 1. Digital Transformation is in Overdrive

Rob Llewelly, who is the founder of CXO Transform, talked mainly on how disruptions are a part of the nature of any industry. The COVID-19 disruption has been significant to business and their operations – what does that mean on our end? Llewelly says that although there are obvious negative outcomes we face from this disruption, there are positive ones that we can focus on, too: 1) Our world is cleaner and healing, 2) Millions of people are getting more familiar with technology, and 3) Antiquated mindsets are forced to change. There is a lot of opportunity for business’ and individuals during a disruption and he challenges his teams to optimize for the better. Llewelly believes that digital transformation is no longer optional, it is a functional step in staying competitive in business and while many organizations were undergoing a transformation initiative, this pandemic has put it in overdrive. Something interesting in Rob’s presentation was a quote by Alex Osterwalder, “Business models expire like yogurt in a fridge.” How are you changing or even analyzing your current business model? Has this pandemic forced you to take a good look at what is and isn’t working? Has your business model expired? New business models are the purest form of transformation – it takes courage and requires new capabilities and being adaptive will get you through these challenging and uncertain times.

 2. Agile is No Longer Optional

The Project Management Institute’s Michael DePrisco presented on how work has changed, so now, the way the world thinks about projects must change, too. A CEO or CTO probably didn’t drive your digital transformation within the last three to four months – COVID-19 did. PMI believes that Ability is Agility – organizations that can fail fast and pivot to what’s next are best positioned for the future. Last year, almost ¼ of all projects were completed using agile methodology, and over the next five years, 50% of PMOs expect to increase their use of agile.So, what does it really mean to be agile? Agile doesn’t just mean managing agile projects or taking on agile software maintenance, it means portfolio-level agility that can adapt and grow in an uncertain environment. Things like being able to respond quickly to changing requirements, having a shorter decision-making cycle, the integration of new business capabilities, a heavy focus on change management, and use of iterative project management practices are some examples Agile processes. At KeyedIn, we believe and fully support the concept of Agile Portfolio Management allowing the PMO to become agile and support an agile model. Our latest product updates and roadmap focus heavily on driving the support of Agile principles for the organization – not just at the project level, but at the product, program and portfolio level. PMI states, “Project professionals must be up on the latest methods and tools,” so double down on Agile and leverage the appropriate technology like KeyedIn that is mean to help you turn quick, react fast and deliver strong.

3. Leadership Looks a Little Different

Another strong point and valuable takeaway from the Technology and Talent Symposium is the concept of Leadership as a virtue which is, of course, always an important trait. However, as we find ourselves in chaos and uncertainty, leadership isn’t about titles or roles, it is about paving the way and driving forward. In the session Leadership in Times of Uncertainty, the presenter Fabiola Maisonnier outlines the importance of leadership and what it means to be a leader when there is no precedent or training. She cites multiple examples of this and the takeaway really is that leadership is key and anyone can be a leader. 

Maisonnier also talks about the levels of leadership and how to uplevel leadership to take the next step. As organizations rely on projects and the project managers that drive those projects, it resonated that the business will be looking to the PMO to help get us through this, and it was inspiring to hear stories of how this can be done.

The Technology and Talent event is an annual event that is available on-demand for PMI members. To learn more about how help you connect your technology with your talent, learn more about our project and resource management solutions.