22 October at 03:45PM
Project Management and Generation Z
Project Management and Generation Z
Project management is an ever evolving field - defined and moulded by the environment it is in. Users of project management methodologies have evolved from the "waterfall" model based construction/infra planners to "agile based" project enablers/scrum masters seen in the IT and tech domains over the years. The evolution of project management methodologies as it transitioned across industries is a story in itself, however it is also increasingly being influenced by the new user demographics that's joining the workforce.
So who is Generation Z ?
Apart from the fact they are individuals born post 1996.
The infographic should give you an idea about some general traits (which should always be taken with a pinch of salt). However the inference that can be reasonably taken is that this is a generation that is:
- Tech savvy
As cited in a recent report on Forbes, three managerial implications to manage such a work force is to get up-to date on technology, support employee development and get comfortable with creativity.
From my personal experience, I worked in a traditional waterflow work environment for over 6 years and then moved into a team that was predominantly 23 years or younger - they were full of energy and had a completely different working style. What I noticed was that the motivators and enablers of projects past wouldn't work here. My colleagues were highly adept in the use of technology and were not exactly defined by an 8 to 5 work culture. They loved collaboration but weren't engaged with formal meeting systems or processes/documentation.
With this in mind, some steps that I noticed that could adapt the project environment are:
1. Move from traditional PM tools to more "fun and interactive" tools
Move from traditional PM tools (gantt charts, action registers, task lists..etc) to more visualistic PM tools like kanban boards, basecamp,slack,google sheets..etc for communication of tasks and information as well as for action ownership and deadlines.
2. Changed meeting styles to be more collaborative and "informal"
Move from formal weekly team meetings in a meeting room to more "informal" task updates and brainstorming sessions every two days at coffee tables or desks where one can go through task lists.
3. Support Remote working and being flexible
Adoption of policies like enabling remote access to office servers boosts productivity as from my observation my colleagues liked working late and at home often with reduced distractions and this was useful in certain creative aspects where individual contribution was essential eg: graphics design.
4. Continuous Learning
Support continual learning of new concepts - coming together as a team and learning new tools and concepts is very engaging as a team activity. For example : I had never used snapchat but recognised its importance and got on board through my colleagues who were able to teach me. In turn, I was able to show my colleagues some tips and tricks on excel and Visio, which they could use to simplify or improve their tasks.
In conclusion, as with most things in life , the project manager has to evolve with the times and then adapt his/her project management methodologies to suit the team and the project. The project manager has to stay on top of trends in technology, and using his/her knowledge and experience, adapt it with the best practices in project management.
About the Author
Anand Menon is a seasoned project management professional with experience in Railways, E-commerce , financial services and Marketing. Anand comes from an engineering background and holds an MBA as well as an MSc in Project Management.